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August 15, 2019

Single in Your 30’s

I wish someone had told me that life wasn’t about finding someone to spend your life with, advancing in your career, or buying a house and making babies. But as every Hollywood movie ever made, my parent’s generation and their parent’s generation would have it – it is. Although I sit here almost 32 and don’t have any of these things, there isn’t much I don’t like about what I do have.

Honestly though – I love living minimally. I love that my apartment is relatively inexpensive and allows me to save money and travel (and get up and move some where else if I want to). I love the fact that I have a whole other (though small) room where I can sit here and write this, practice yoga, meditate and talk to my plants. I love coming home to my cats who are desperate for attention after me being gone all day. And I love that I get to remain minimal with my furniture, my art, and my clothes. (Books are another story, let’s be real.)  And if I get truly honest about it – I love my alone time. (Something I realize now is a gift).

There’s a sense of freedom that comes with being single that is like no other and I love it most of the time. I can do whatever I want. I can go wherever I want. I can shave, or not. I can wear make up, or not. (But let’s be real I rarely wear make up anyways). I can be naked all day in my apartment. I can try on 4 different outfits and decide not to even go anywhere. But I am reminded of my freedom every time I tell my mom friends I slept in on a Saturday, or I just watched Netflix for 4hrs, or I took a vacation out of the country. They look at me with shock and ask, “What’s that like?” because they are lucky if they even get 5mins to themselves. Then I sort of get it in my head that I somehow owe it to myself to “be something” what with all the freedom I have and all.

I have never been very “maternal.” I can remember being 13/14yrs old and tried babysitting the neighbors and I was definitely that babysitter that burned the pizza and had no idea what to do for fun with the kids. I remember running to my parents house once (a kid in each hand) because I got scared that someone was in the house. Flash forward to today with my friends kids – I kind of just repeat what they say in question form and try to get a laugh or 2 out of them. There is something so beautiful about a child’s mind, so full of wonder, joy, and aliveness. They remind me all the time to not take life too seriously. But there are times that I ask myself if I want kids and I always come back to this response – “Why would I want that? Why would I want to give up my freedom, my time, my money,  my work, my stress, and my sleep?” Don’t get me wrong – there is something incredibly magical about growing a human inside of you and pregnant women don’t get near enough of the time and respect they deserve. But the idea of being responsible for another human being sounds like a terrifying job. But really what it comes down to for me is that I don’t think I could be the type of mother I’d want to be and continue to have freedom and be dedicated to my work all at the same time. I realize this is possible and that there are many women that do it – I just don’t know that I could do it WELL. It would feel like I would have to give up parts of myself that I can’t imagine giving up. I’ve had numerous people in my life say, “Well when you find the right person, you realize you do want kids.” Maybe that’s true – and maybe I’ll read this one day and laugh, but there are other things I want to birth into the world.

So let’s talk about the “right” person for a moment. I grew up with this idea (like most people in our culture) that monogamy is the jam. Find the one, and you’ll be with them FOREVER. And I’m not sure I believe in it. I understand the growth and the depth (and probably the incredible sex) that comes from being with someone for years and years but it just seems like eventually something happens and it becomes more work than enjoyment. And it’s not like anyone is telling us it’s ok to outgrow someone, or it’s ok to leave your husband if you have 4 kids, or that it’s ok to be single in your 30’s or even your 40’s, or that it’s ok to just fuckin walk away if you’re not happy.

I realize at some point in writing this that it’s unavoidable to talk about my relationships with men (and my examples of relationships) and that you’ve probably guessed at this point that they haven’t been the best. (Whose is?) Without going into too much detail (and protecting my parent’s privacy) when I was 16 I found out my dad wanted to leave my mom (he didn’t) and I took it as he wanted to leave me and my sister as well. So what manifested in my life were a series of men I knew weren’t good for me, whom I allowed to take advantage of me in multiple ways, or were emotionally unavailable. I’d unconsciously push them away because in the back of my mind they were just going to leave. What was the point? So I didn’t really trust men, and in some ways I still don’t fully (for numerous reasons) and I know that is part of my work in healing. But it’s hard to sit here and admit to myself that I haven’t been in a healthy relationship.

When you wake up one day and realize all your friends are in relationships, (including your ex boyfriend who just moved into your building) and what seems like every day someone on facebook is getting engaged or pregnant – there’s a loneliness that comes and a “what’s wrong with me?” I don’t have anyone to travel with, to snuggle on the couch with, or lay in bed with, or to just share my day with, the things I’m excited about or the things I’m afraid of. The weekend comes and I think to myself, “what should I do?” Alas my freedom starts to feel not so glamorous anymore. The desire for touch is unbearable sometimes. In the past I used to just get drunk and ask someone to come over and 9/10 they would (cuz let’s be real, women have that power). But now that feels meaningless to me and would only leave me feeling lonelier than I did before.

It took me a long time to get to this place in my life where I know my worth, where I stopped asking the question “does he like me?” and as Janne Robinson would say, “do I like him?” where I stopped using my body as a tool to get men, or where I self sabotaged good relationships I did have. I’d be lying if I said I got it all figured out and that I’m healed from all of it, but now my standards are as high as they’ve ever been and I’ve gotten so clear about what I want and everyone that isn’t that isn’t enough for me. And to be frank – I won’t settle for any more bullshit.

 So I’m in this weird place in my life that people call “dating.” And because it’s 2019 and humans of my generation struggle with having real life conversations they’ve decided to make an app for this phenomenon. I’ve tried them all. I probably have a profile on every single free dating app (yes ok, maybe I should pay for one) but honestly they all just feel like a modern day aol instant messenger with an added bonus of a game element added to it. How many matches can I get?! Plus if I see one more dude holding a dead fish I might loose my shit.

After meeting a few dudes (both here and while traveling) and not having the best experiences, I realized that men are just as broken as women (if not more), and that simple fact makes it feel like I’d be “helping” or “mothering” them and I am way done with playing both those roles. You’d be surprised (or not) at how many men out there are still emotionally unavailable, that shut down, don’t communicate, or just straight up don’t take care of themselves very well (yes you do need to exercise and stop eating taco bell). I’ve done a lot of work on myself to get to where I am today and on top of being newly sober, (a real question I’ve been asked –“You don’t drink? So..what do you want to do?”) it hasn’t been the easiest to find a man who’s on the same wavelength or even a man who’s willing to rise up to meet me.

So I’m working on restoring my relationship with my dad, and finding good male friends in my life to practice building trust and remaining open to any potential relationship that may walk into my life. In the mean time, I’ve taken up a new venture – dating myself. I take myself out to dinner, to movies, and even treat myself to sexual pleasure at the end of the night. I treat myself to baths, pedicures and massages. My self-care is at an all time high because my body is sacred and whomever is going to be with me will know the same and I won’t have to convince them of otherwise. I remind myself that I am a powerhouse and I fuckin I know I have a lot to offer, give and receive. Regardless if I find “the one” or not – I have the tools to fill myself up. The rest I surrender to the universe.

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