My best friend at uni grew up in very cool and securely attached family dynamic, and she always amazed me with the grace she donned travelling through her 20’s. It was therefore perplexing when we both reached our 30’s and she seemed to start wearing life like a straight-jacket rather than the chic, well-styled persona that I’d been so in awe of.
So, what changed to turn this graceful, flowing woman, from confident to the now, what often came across as the desperate wanting-to-be-housewife? I’d spent many an alone wine night trying to figure out how someone changes once they reach that pinnacle moment of quasi ‘maturity’.
Our 20’s are supposed to be the era of nailing down our profession, working out exactly who we want to be as grown-ups, deciding if we’ll be the corporate exec or the mothers group attendee, and setting our boundaries in a world were boundaries are changing fasting than the parting of the red sea. With all the items on our to-do list, we still view our 20’s as the I’ve-got-time-to-ponder and find myself, decade.
But now we’ve arrived at our 30’s and still don’t have it all figured out, right? The problem with being 30 something and single is that society and the people in our lives, all expect us to have a Wikilife manual; our entire plan and goals all mapped out down to the chickpea salad were having for lunch. Not only should we have the plan, but we should be on the road to already achieving most of it. We should be performing like a Suits character, be in a committed relationship, have the children quandary sorted and generally be successful and content.
Darling, I hear these days, freezing ones’ eggs is quite successful … from a well-meaning mother who’d love nothing more than to be a Grandmother. We’re even supposed to take seriously those married girlfriends who offer us their Buddha-like wisdom … well you have had more dates than a palm tree, why don’t you just choose someone. WTH!
I remember my mother always dropping subtle, yet non-ambiguous hints which pitched me against how my sisters were going in comparison to where I was in my life. I did, and still do feel the pressure from her, to be someone else, to be something better, says Bec, a single, 36-year-old corporate professional.
30 something and single, so what’s the problem anyway?
So, what is the issue with being in our 30’s and still being single? Bam … absolutely nothing! When we succumb to the pressure, whether it be from society or significant others in our lives, we set ourselves for a lifetime of trying to reach the expectations that others have placed on us, and not our own. This type of pressure often results in making distorted decisions, or in other words, decisions we would not normally make in the absence of this pressure.
We are the best judge of our own desires and destiny given the freedom to make that choice without influence. Well-meaning friends and family might be just that… well meaning but that doesn’t equal knowledgeable and wise. If you choose to be single and that works for you, stay with it. If you’re looking for meet someone because that’s in your own game-plan and not to please others, then that’s great also.
How our decisions impact on others
The people in your life may not be aware, but are likely to have their own vested interest in the advice they give you around being single. If you feel pressure from others to partner-up, you probably don’t have perceptual schizophrenia. They may have their own reasons which can look something like:
- The friend who has met a partner and wants you to do the same – she’s already planning the dinner party menu.
- The married girlfriend who can’t wait for you to meet someone and have babies at the same time.
- The mother who wants you to settle down and have children – Being called Nanny, she can’t wait.
- The partnered girlfriend who gets into trouble from her boyfriend when she goes out with you. Partner up and all that goes away.
- The ex-partner who wants you off his back and relieve his guilt for leaving in the first place.
- The married girlfriends who don’t want a single girl around their husbands would even support you teaming up with the Hunchback.
You are the best person to make decisions about your life, around dating and what being in your 30’s should look like. If you really feel that you need advice from others, seek the services of a quality professional who can help you navigate the journey without personal bias or hidden agendas. In the meantime, enjoy the decade – it won’t come again!