It was supposed to happen by now, they say. It was supposed to happen years ago. Yet, it hasn’t.
I remember stepping onto my college campus and noticing all the young, fresh smiles and eager minds. I was caught up in the euphoria of being away from home for the first time. This wasn’t all I noticed. I, also, remember watching the numerous available men walk about with their book bags and converse. At that time, I thought it would be easy. The president of this conservative college likened finding a mate to “shooting fish in a barrel.” My young 18-year-old self imagined that I would be married by the age of 24 and have a family by the age of 27. I thought it would be simple but, well, life doesn’t always work like that and I didn’t stay at that college.
I am 31 years old. A stark number when faced with all the pretty southern American women asking me where is my “feller” as they adjust the baby on their hip. These women don’t ask me what it was like in Paris when I went during Christmas. They don’t ask how Spanish culture was different than ours while I was living in Madrid. They don’t ask about my return to school. Rather their faces and the collective “they” of society asks me, “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you have someone?” This is easy to brush off the first couple of times. However, after being asked many multiple times, you start to ask yourself the same, “What’s wrong with me?”
I started to question myself. What is wrong with me? I thought I could find it on social media. Thus, I started down the dangerous path of social media comparisons. Each day, a happy couple popped on my newsfeed with their bald babies or their white wedding gowns, tuxes, and flowers. It was like looking at a club that I was not invited to be a part of. I was happy for them, of course. There was no malice except for the nagging question of “Why not me? What’s wrong with me?”
This was especially punctuated when my ex-boyfriend married the girl directly after me. I thought of all the things he had said to me in his lisping Spanish accent and I realized what a bitter pill I was swallowing.
Again, the question was “Why not me? What’s wrong with me?”
Society. Social media. Ex-lovers. My friends. Me. We all seemed to be narrowing in on my insecurities and self-worth. It’s because I’m too tall, too fat, too this or too that. You’re getting older. Time is ticking. You are 31 years old. You should have someone. You should be happy. You should have a family. You should, you should, you should. Why not you? What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong? Why? Why?! The endless questions circling and consuming my mind.
It wasn’t until I found myself in bed, crying over what I didn’t have that I realized.
Nothing is wrong with me. I have had relationships. Some have lasted longer than others. I have been in love. I am not incapable of love or intimacy. It just hasn’t happened yet and there is nothing wrong with that.
There is no rhyme or reason to why love happens to some and not to others just like there is no rhyme or reason to why some people die young and others live to be centenarians. It’s just not the time.
Maybe it will never happen? The thought frightens me, if I am honest but here is the thing. Love comes in many forms. I am not without love. I have my family, my friends (not the aforementioned “friends”), my dog, my career. There are genuine people who love me. It may not be the romantic love that I see in movies but it is love nonetheless.
So, I decided to put it out of my mind. Instead of letting my age and what society thinks dictate my life, I began dictating it. I began writing my own narrative again.
I am going back to school, I am working on my career, I have trips planned to NYC and the beach, I am writing again, reading again, and finding myself again. With or without romantic love, I am in control of my life and I can have a fulfilling one at that.
That’s the thing. Being single in your 30s should not be something scary or frowned upon. How you live your life is up to you. It is not up to the people around you, society, or social media.
If you really looked at other people’s lives, they are not quite what they are made out to be. Social media is a highlight reel. Over 50% of marriages now end in divorce. Not everyone is as Instagram happy as they seem.
So, live your life for you. Find yourself. Find love in other ways, no matter what your age; even when life doesn’t go according to plan.