Thirty-four years old and single—yikes?
Unfortunately, as women, we have been conditioned to believe that success at this age is categorized into two special boxes: a proper relationship perfect for Instagram or a career that kicks serious ass.
Anything in the middle can make you feel like you are being outpaced in a fast-paced society.
Frequently, I have found myself straddling between feeling unworthy and knowing the entire universe is inside of me. Conquering this chapter of life has not been easy, and I do not want to wish these moments away, for life is precious, but that does not make them any less isolating or lonely. And who wants to admit that? Admitting that makes you appear weak and, quite frankly, it’s not a fun topic of conversation. It’s much more fun to talk about weddings, vacations, and new house purchases, so I pivot.
Despite the constant introspection and moments of fragility, the one thing that makes the juice worth the squeeze will always be love. The most vibrant and potent version of me is present in that light; I feel it on a cellular level. After all, even if you think you’re too cool to care, we all have a deep and inherent need to connect, to relate, to share our love.
So why is this all so elusive? Years of first dates, seconds, and thirds, awkward and cringe-worthy moments, stories that would get me on the best-seller lists have all led me here. Surely, there must be a reason—or so I tell myself.
Books, yoga, music, therapy, green juice, Netflix binges, and ice cream can only help for so long. It does not seem to matter how I show up; it still isn’t “enough.” As if “enough” is even what any of us are supposed to be? That thought process has forced a dark cloud to hover over my heart like a pathetic little story that I cannot seem to rewrite, even when I know it only spews falsehoods.
My ugly inner critic has much to mention about this part of my life. Am I in my masculine energy too much? Have the years of necessary independence hardened the femininity that men find attractive? Am I too abrasive, too suggestive, too much sunshine, or cloudy days? Each beginning with another brings a spring in my step and a gentle naiveté, as I try not to let the past barter with my present. Though as each connection comes to an end, it seemingly all gets harder.
It all feels extra challenging because I firmly believe our whole is severely distorted. This generation has perceptions of unattainable perfection askew in a world meant to be only graced by the purest of our love. Time is not on our side—it never was, and it never will be—and yet, we toss away our hearts and that of another as if it’s a fresh new pair of white canvas shoes we can easily replace.
When we get to a certain point in our life, we start ticking off the boxes of those milestone moments. At some point, you realize you are standing there alone on the road, with the next mile marker out of sight, drenched in the morning fog that never seems to lift. But you and I keep moving because years of holidays standing as the odd number, toasting to another’s love, full moon, heartfelt wishes, have still left us hopeful.
I will not discount the other forms of love I surely experience; the unwavering warmth from my family and friends, the never-ending distinct nudge from my cattle dog, the peace in a stranger’s eyes when you unknowingly made their day a little better, and vice versa. Too, those moments matter. Deep down, I know this, and I practice the acceptance of this, but still, the void buzzes in my ear. For there is something about a partner’s connection that makes the world turn in technicolor.
Until then, I will chase the music that tingles my skin, gaze at the night sky that illuminates my longing, and live in my love. For if I exist, he must too.