I’m a single 32-year-old woman with no kids. I’m going to pause for a second to let that sink in, and to let you think about the images and feelings that spring to mind when you hear that phrase. Pop culture would tell us that I am either: Standing in a leopard print dress at a bar saying extremely loudly, with a slightly to very crazy look in my eyes, “I LOVE being single! I never want a relationship! Relationships are for the weak! Look at HOW MUCH FUN I AM HAVING!!” Sitting in my pajamas, eating a vat of ice cream while watching When Harry Met Sally and sobbing about how lonely and empty my life is.
I’m here to tell you that while I am neither of these things, this is not going to be one of those posts, which always seem to reek of desperation to me, where I list 10 things that are SO GREAT about being single, including things like “you get to watch whatever TV you like!” and “you can sleep sideways on the bed!”
I’d say that I am a (fairly) confident woman who has a pretty great life, full of meaningful work, a large support network of friends, and a loving family. I’m not going to go on and on about how great my life is, but I will say this: I recently made a huge life decision, on my own, to change careers and move back to my hometown. I’ve never made a better decision, and honestly, this move is one of the things I’m most proud of in my adult life, because I took a deep breath and took a huge, terrifying step to follow my dreams (ugh, cheesy, I know). And guess what, it worked out! I love being home more than I could ever imagine, my work is immensely fulfilling and I have managed to build a wonderful group of new friends.
However, I’d also say I’m a woman who finds herself occasionally lonely, would like to eventually find a long-term partner, and (hardest of all) sometimes can’t hear herself think because of the pounding noise of her biological clock.
I do actually fall much more into the first description of myself, and work really hard to both focus on my life and not internalize all the negative stereotypes we are fed about single women and remain confident that the things that I would like to see in my future will happen.
That is pretty hard some days, and in my experience, the hardest thing about being single in your 30s is not actually being single, it’s putting up with the constant barrage of comments and pressure to “find someone” and “be happy” (with the inference that if you are single, you must be miserable), almost all of which come from women.