What I learned being single at 30

I have a confession to make: I was still single on my 30th birthday with nary a marriageable prospect in sight. Not even that guy your parents think you should date but whom you find him socially awkward and would be embarrassed to be seen with him in public was still around. Yes, even that guy had found an equally awkward wife by the time I turned 30.

In my twenties, the possibility of being a "spinster" at 30 was so horrifying that my best friend from college (a guy) and I had even made a pact: If neither of us were married by 30, we would marry each other. Fortunately, neither of us saw the need to make good on that pact given that (now) a marriage based on pure desperation does not sound appealing. (And, of course, he was already married by age 27).

So, without further ado, here's the good and the bad of what I learned while being single at age 30:

It's not the end of the world.
This is really contrary to the belief of most 20-somethings I know (and myself when I was in my 20's). You don't die of a strange curse as soon as you blow out the fire hazard number of candles on your cake and you don't mysteriously wake up looking like Carol Kane in The Princess Bride. You're not even relegated to some spinster colony where you're forced to become a crazy cat lady (or man). Life goes on pretty much like it was when you were 29.

You're a better dater in your 30's.
Your standards improve beyond "a cool guy with muscles and a motorcycle" to "a guy who lives his faith, has a stable job and his own home." In your 30's you get down to what really matters and what you need out of a relationship. You also know that a guy who is "fun and sarcastic" or a girl who is "hot" doesn't necessary make a good spouse. (And this is because you dated "fun and sarcastic" in your 20's and realized you'd eventually be more of a mother to him than a wife. Your brother dated "hot" and she didn't have much going on between her ears.)

Everyone is single for a reason.
(Which may or may not be because you're weird) Seriously, though, it's where God wants us to be. Who can argue with that?

Married friends/co-workers tend to assume you have nothing better to do.
How many times have I heard "Well, you don't have a husband/kids so..." in reference to making appointments or deciding who should work the holidays? Translation: "you can't possibly have anything more important than I do" and if I had a dollar for each occurrence, I'd be retired by now. It's not fair and it's not even kind but it is a fact of life as a single 30-something. You deal with it as politely as you can... and secretly plot to adopt four children so you can have Christmas off one year.

The time you are able to devote to your family is priceless.
All the times you are able to drop everything and show up to doctor's appointments for your parents or grandparents or just take your nieces and nephews out for ice cream on a whim are absolutely worth every second. Being single in your 30's often leaves a lot of time to bless others without having to worry about a family of your own and you'll never regret being able to do those things for others or the time you spent with them.

Tactless 20-somethings think you're weird.
And say stuff like "I'll just die if I'm not married by the time I'm 30!" in your presence. (Commence eye roll a la Liz Lemon) At which point you refer them to the first point.

Well-meaning friends stop giving you those "someday" platitudes when you're 30.
The biggest blessing is that those lame "you'll find on the one, someday..." phrases seem to drop off. Whether your friends have given up on you or realize they've been parroting those phrases like every other well-meaning friend on the planet, it's hard to say but this is definitely something to look forward to experiencing. As an added bonus fewer people tend to ask you why you're still single anymore... Obviously, it's because you're weird...

Single is just easier sometimes.
If you don't believe this, ask your married friends with children to tell you about their Saturday (three soccer tournaments, a ballet recital and a headache-fest at Chuck E Cheese). Or about the argument they had over who should do laundry. As a single you know you can easily get out of any of the kiddy activities when you are childless or just go to them for the sake of novelty (and to remind yourself why you don't have children). And you're the only one who's doing the laundry so you might as well just do it!

Cooking for one is hard!
Seriously! You either make one, lonely chicken breast or a giant casserole which you end up eating all week (consequently, near gagging toward the end of the stuff). Then on the opposite extreme you resort to the frozen stuff or fast food which isn't as good for you. This is why once a week I invited people for dinner so I could make a regular-sized meal to share. That meal yielded a reasonable amount of leftovers, some of which I would send home with other single folks. Win, win!

After 29, being mature isn't a level of development anymore, it's a choice.
Just because you're a career-minded, home-owning adult doesn't mean that most 30-somethings are of the same mindset. Some 30-somethings choose not to grow up. Mostly because there isn't anyone nagging them about messy rooms or encouraging them to spend less time with video games or extreme Frisbee. Blessed are those who figure out they aren't teenagers anymore and choose to act like adults even if they don't have a "traditional" family.



Were you single when you turned 30? What are your thoughts on living the 30-ish single life?

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Mansfield Park
An Assembly Such as This
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I Know What You're Thinking: Using the Four Codes of Reading People to Improve Your Life
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