I may only be 29-and-a-half, but I think I am qualified to speak on a certain subject that many ponder but far too few address. That subject is the taboo endangered species that is the 30-year-old single woman with no children.
Everyone has that single friend. You know? The friend who has to change her hobbies because she has no one left to go out on a Friday night. The one who takes multiple vacations each year. The one who buys the elaborate gifts at weddings and showers because she has the luxury to spend all of her money on herself because she has no “real” responsibilities. She is the cool, care free, and independent friend. That is, until she turns 30. Something about 30 makes her desperate, lonely, and tragic. According to society that is.
What is it with society?! When did we become so judgmental? When did we leave the notions of our past? Not so long ago it was important to emphasize liberation and choice. It was perfectly okay for a woman in her late 20’s to seek after things like education, career, and self-development. Women left the kitchen to pursue degrees and careers in a male dominated society. Choice was the new black. Now, instead of applauding women for exercising choice we have become critical and skeptical. We asks questions like, what’s her deal? Something must be wrong with her, right? Is she bitter and cold? Can she not land or keep a guy? Is she baron? Is she a lesbian? Is she really single by choice as she claims?
The more I think about it the more I believe it’s society with the problem, not us. Society subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) belittles women who either by choice or circumstance find themselves single, without kids at age 30. The ironic part is that 30 also happens to be the age of double standards. It’s the age when men start to take their future seriously. A single 30-year-old man with no kids is a catch. He is also an endangered species. But he has an opposite effect. That of a precious commodity to be captured and cherished for eternity. Meanwhile a women in the exact same position must be sad, lonely, or damaged.
In case the self-doubt between 25-30 isn’t enough society will gladly to help you out. From the local pharmacist to the tax preparer to the gynecologist and every family member in between… first there is the interrogation.
So, are you seeing anyone yet?
Why is it that you’re single again?
So. No kids, huh?
Haven’t you thought about settling down?
(Every box you check includes a judgmental category) Single. 0. Unmarried. No dependents.
Then comes the guilt trip to the pity party. You know, the statements to make you feel better as if you constantly need consolation…
Well, just don’t wait until it’s too late. Before you know it… (Heed the warning)
You’ll find someone (Hopefully)
You just have to put yourself out there (Because it’s something you’re doing wrong)
Well, I guess you’re still young. You have time (In the condescending doubtful voice)
They might as well cast you off to the leper colony and be done with it!
I am here to shout proudly from the mountain tops that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with being a 30-year-old single woman without children. Do not allow yourself to be reduced by society’s limited perception of your life choices. Believe as I do that people need to spend more time focused on themselves. Loving yourself, developing your relationship with God, pursuing your dreams and desires, etc. is something that people don’t spend enough time in life doing. I like to think I am spending my time grooming myself to be a better wife and mother when the time comes. I take notes from those around me. Will things be exactly as I imagine? Of course not. But without a doubt, I will have better insight into who I am and what I need before I give myself to anyone else.
We don’t all have the same paths. There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing the road less traveled. It’s not to say that this has to be forever. What’s wrong with learning yourself before learning someone else? What’s wrong with taking care of yourself first? What’s wrong with trusting God’s will rather than being reduced by social norms? Do not allow yourself to be controlled by your “biological clock” to the point where you make haphazard decisions. You are not on the brink of extinction. You are not an exhibit on display in which people can offer commentary on every aspect of you. Do not be interrogated. Do not be ridiculed. Do not be bothered. Do not buy into people’s notions of what you should be doing with your life.
Instead focus on being secure and complete. Focus on self-development and career development. Politely ignore people who interrogate and judge you. Secretly many people are wishing they made some of your same choices. The truth is, your life is not to be justified or modified to fit into society’s box. When society questions and judges tell them you are letting patience have it’s perfect work. One day they will understand. Be 30. Single. And Proud!
James 1:4 NIV – Let perseverance (patience, endurance, steadfastness) finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.