'I'm 31, newly single and living in a share house. It makes people really uncomfortable.'

Do you remember when you were a kid and what you imagined your life would look like when you were an adult? I always used to say that I wanted to be married by the time I was 25, own a home and have a ridiculous number of dogs. 

One, two, skip a few and I am recently single after a 10-year relationship; turning 32 in a month's time and living in a share house in Melbourne's inner north. 

It's fair to say that my "plan" did not exactly come to fruition. (Aside from my adorable dog, Tuco.)

Now – what was your reaction to the earlier paragraph? Was it that of sadness, contempt or even despair? Because my life does not look the way it is supposed to? 

Enter, the White Picket Fence theory.

The White Picket Fence theory is something I was discussing with my housemate over a wine in our backyard one night. 

As two women in their early 30s, both of whom are not homeowners, aren't married, don't have stable careers and aren't sure if they want to have children, there's a sense of sadness and "oh don't worry, you'll get there" from others around us who seem to "have it together", especially those who own their homes in the outer suburbs.

Watch: The things single people always hear. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

There is a feeling of not being able to be "placed" by someone who is living their White Picket Fence life. Like the way I live my life is so foreign, it is hard to understand who I am, that I am weird, or something is wrong with my life. 


When I say I want to explore my creativity, that I am choosing to not have a baby or that I am genuinely happy living in a share house, it can feel as though people who live the White Picket Fence life, simply can't comprehend my lifestyle choice, and either try to tell me that the tide will eventually turn one day or the pass judgements which simply aren't true.

Now, I know I am going mad with the quotation marks, however when we close our eyes and remember what our younger self thought what it was to "have it together" in our thirties, we most likely have an internalised shame scale that whizzes and whirrs loudly when a 30-something-year-old is rooting around on dating apps and isn't saving for a house with their long-term partner. 

Instead, we like to sit within the confines of our homes and project our judgements onto that which we hold so much value  - a partner, house, babies and savings. 

If we don't tick these boxes in the standard way, we automatically judge that person and place them into a nicely stereotyped box, wrapped up in a big red bow. (Not to mention, most likely dead bolted to the ground and super glued shut.)

Share house = Party house. 

Single woman in her 30s = Poor lonely girl. 

No savings = frivolous (spending too much avocado toast at cafes). You get the idea.

When telling people I had ended my decade-long relationship, I was met with a furrowed brow, overturned bottom lip and a kiss of the teeth – you know the "oh poor you" look. 

Yes, this was a sad time that still endures a lot of pain and grief, however, there is also so much new space for unlearning, growth and expansion.


Listen to Fill My Cup where Allira gently shares her best practise, what she calls 'Mirror Talk', for shifting our minds and bringing in more self love. Post continues below.

I now live with my best friend in a five-person share house, where we each cook dinner one night a week for the house, watch MasterChef together every night, host fashion parades before a hot date, and have wine debriefs every Friday night. 

We ALL have automatically generated stereotypes and judgments that we place on people, however, just because we don't have the White Picket Fence life, doesn’t mean we've lost the game, or are unhappy. 

Of course, I am not speaking for every single person in a share house - it's more an opportunity to spark conversation about not being pressured into thinking this is the right and only way to live and not to make direct assumptions about how others live their lives.

We can live happy and fulfilling lives that are outside of the "Australian Dream." 

There are so many pressures with life, social media and status that we're all trying to keep up with, (I’m looking at you, Kardashians.) 

Yet perhaps it's something we need to view now as something of excitement, joy and community. 

Stability doesn't have to be one dimensional, it can be a wide range of different things, and to stereotype or place your automatic judgement on someone because of our internalised shame scale can be harsh and unhelpful.

Feature Image: Supplied.

 Are you a big spender or an ultimate saver? Take our short survey to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!