Sloane Crosley summarized the feel of being in your late 20’s better than anyone I know. She said, “There’s an ‘Everything must go!’ emotional liquidation feel to the end of your twenties, isn’t there? What will happen if we turn thirty and we’re not ‘ready?’”
That’s exactly it, when your late 20’s hit and 30 is looming on the horizon there’s a very big push to get your ducks in a row because it’s okay to be a mess in your 20’s, it’s expected. But you don’t want to be 30 and a mess. That is how people will preface it. You won’t just live with your parents you’ll be 30 and living with your parents, 30 and in a dead end job, or the very worst thing — 30 and single.
It’s been a few years since my late 20’s now, but I still remember that sense of foreboding that I would regret not finding someone before crossing the magical Rubicon where dating becomes more difficult (or impossible). I was scared. I went on lots of dates I didn’t care about because I wanted to “be open” and “give him a chance” and “have realistic expectations.” It was a waste of my time and a waste of the guy’s time because my heart wasn’t in it. The truth was that I was a late bloomer, I wasn’t ready for a forever relationship. I wanted to hit the other milestones — I wanted to be financially secure, I wanted to have a home I was proud of, I wanted to be in the best physical and mental state of my life, so I let myself focus on that stuff.
The big campfire legend on the internet right now is about what a mistake it is for women not not settle down young. The mythical average woman is in a ton of relationships with bad boys in her 20’s (which, LOL, I would never) or consumed with her career in an attempt to compete with men (I just make enough money to be happy, and focus on other things) so then she’s suddenly 30 and uglier than she was at 20 and unable to find a partner because men no longer find her attractive even though she’s willing to “settle” for a successful, but uglier guy than she used to chase after. It’s like this big revenge porn fantasy, that if a woman rejects you when she’s young you can be certain she’s doomed to a lifetime of unhappiness later.
What I wish someone would have told me is that I can relax. Reality doesn’t work like a revenge fantasy. People in real life want to be happy, they don’t want to be angry and hold on to a rejection that happened 10 years ago.
Dating in my 30’s is the best it’s ever been. I can attribute probably most of this to the overarching fact that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I don’t have to stress out about money anymore, I don’t stress out about the direction of my life, and I’ve developed a sense of confidence, rather than panic, when any other difficult situations arise. This is the natural result of a tumultuous 20’s filled with soul-searching and self-improvement.
The guys are better, too. It’s kind of funny to advise women to find partners young because only a small percent of young 20-something dudes want a committed relationship. In their 30’s, that is what most people are looking for. There’s less of a guessing game. And everyone is more confident so they simply say what they want and move on if it’s not a good fit. There’s no drama, people are happier, the sex is better, there’s nothing to worry about.
I wish someone would have told me that it’s okay to be a late bloomer, because all my worrying was for nothing. I think that’s how it works with everything. When you’re jogging the point isn’t for someone to pick you up and drive you if you’re not getting to your destination fast enough. You’ve got to go at your own pace. Go after the goals that are right in front of you and don’t worry about missing out. This is what makes a person happy and content and confident. And happy, content, confident people are the kind people want to be around.