THE RANTINGS OF A SINGLE WOMAN AT 30
I came across a letter I wrote to myself a few years ago, long before I turned 30. I remember writing it to prepare myself for the feelings that would assuage me when I turned 30 as a single woman. Funny stuff! Looking back, I always thought I’d enter my thirties sans husband and very single. Don’t get me wrong, though. Back then, I had plenty of times in my life when it wasn’t just MeMyselfAndI (and my books). I dated guys halfway around the country, I’ve dated a neighbor on my old street. I’ve dated guys I wanted to keep seeing again and again. I’ve dated guys that gave me butterflies in my stomach and made me a better person, and guys that infuriated me and made me terrible about myself. And I’ve dated guys that got my hopes, and guys that made me want to stop hoping all together.
But through it all (and maybe because of it all), I honestly came to conclude mid-twenties that I’m simply not much of a “dater” (oh, feel free to officially label me as “picky”. It’s OK).
Anyway, I picked up my pen and this letter to myself at 30. It was inspired by some friends of mine who were already in their thirties, but single and miserable (I don’t know why).
Tomorrow is my birthday. Starting from tomorrow people will start to look at me with suspicion.
Tomorrow, I’ll go through all the signs of shock, denial and just generally freaking out.
Tomorrow, I’ll think of all those landmarks I thought I would have hit by the time 30 rolls around –like marriage, kids, family vacations and all – but just haven’t happened yet, thanks to a ton of outside factors that I never considered when I was younger.
Tomorrow, I’ll consider married couples I know and think to myself: “I’m just as pretty as she is. Why don’t I have a husband too? What’s wrong with me?”
Tomorrow, I’ll be a woman who finds herself occasionally lonely and won’t be able to hear herself think because of the pounding noise of her biological clock.
Starting tomorrow, I’ll discover that my single status is akin to some flesh-eating disease, which if unchecked, would eventually consume me in some awful way. It will be hard for me to understand certain people who think they have the right to tell me that it’s my fault that I’m not yet ‘partnered’. I would deal with friends giving me lectures on how I just need to “go out more” or “put myself out there” with no real idea of how much effort I might be putting into meeting someone, with no real results.
Tomorrow, my pool of available and ‘datable’ guys will shrink and so will my pool of close friends who are still single. Now, I’m not saying I won’t get along with married friends, but I know something is to be said for knowing others that are in the same life stage as you. I’ll do some things to hopefully remedy this, and find myself some single girl friends, but again, this will be harder.
Tomorrow, my desire to be married and have a husband will be deeply ingrained in me and while the prospect of being a wife is wonderful, the continual longing to be changed from a single woman to a married one will be a heart-wrenching and emotional time.
Tomorrow, I’ll hope more, pray more, fast more, struggle more and question God more. My constant prayers will be “Dear God, I don’t want to feel like an old maid. I don’t want to end up alone, working a crappy job in a crappy apartment after a long string of bad endings. I don’t want friends shaking their heads in pity while I dress my cats as kids and wait desperately in bars. God, please.”
Starting tomorrow, I’ll cry myself to sleep instead of treasuring my Father’s presence. I’ll miss out on God’s peace and joy because I will begin to believe a lie. Deep down, I’ll believe God isn’t giving me my greatest desire because He doesn’t notice me, He doesn’t hear me, He doesn’t love me.
Tomorrow, I’ll start to condemn myself to a two-person chain gang digging trenches in conjoining manacles so people won’t wonder what is wrong with me. I’ll be perceived as being too picky, too difficult and too proud. And even worse, I can count on the news of my single status being met with the shock that will attend the visage of Virgin Mary appearing on the walls of The Medina.
I could do all that tomorrow or I can age out of the prime mating market and approach the game-changing event that occurs in the 30s. I would prefer I start to work really hard to both focus on my life, and not internalize all the negative stereotypes I am fed about women, and remain confident that the things I would like to see in my future will happen. I’ll choose not to project my hopes and dreams on someone else but direct the energies of worrying about ‘tomorrows’ inward.
I know there will be moments of self doubt and evisceration, moments when I’ll panic and hyperventilate, moments when I’ll be weighed down about my disease to such an extent that all I can do is weep with sheer misery. But there will also be moments when I’ll remember that what doesn’t kill me makes me strong and wipe my tears and get on with life. I’ll remember that ‘Single’ isn’t a status but a word that describes a person who’s strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.
Tomorrow, I’ll publish this under a pen name because while I think this is a subject that needs to be addressed, there is a part of me that feels I will be judged as a “bitter single woman”. And the fact that I have this fear, despite knowing that I am anything but, does make me sad.