Mid-Thirties, Single, and Why It’s OK

I live in the South. Land of fried chicken, sweet tea, and SEC football. Where people are raised saying “yes ma’am” and “no sir”. Where people are usually pretty friendly and there’s at least one neighborhood BBQ a year.

But there’s also a pretty solid stigma that is VERY true down South. A stereotype that has probably literally been around for over one hundred, maybe even two, years.

Marriage and kids by a certain age… or else you are an old maid who can’t possibly be happy.

I kid you not… no pun intended. I face this battle daily from the outside world.

My grandma told me at just the age of 27 that I was getting to be an old maid and needed to freeze my eggs. Seriously. I can’t make this shit up. I never even wanted to attempt to have a baby before the age of 30… FYI.

I have been told more times than I can even count “oh you are beautiful, don’t worry, you’ll find someone.” As if my self worth is only based on my looks finding me a husband and any other accomplishment besides a Mrs before my name and a ring on my hand are less than stellar. (side note: no one clearly thinks my personality is awesome enough to get a boyfriend… not sure how I feel about that either)

My own mother used to even act like I needed to stop being so picky and has said she doesn’t want me to be alone. There has been MAJOR fights as I’ve called her out on this kind of thinking. She’s actually even said she’s scared that she raised me to be TOO independent. Over the years, she’s either realized one doesn’t need a marriage to be happy or she’s just flat out given up on me doing what she always aspired to: marriage and motherhood.

Here’s the thing: I would love to be married. I may even love to have one kid… maybe two… IF the right man came along.

But what if this doesn’t happen? What if I am really destined to be single my whole life? Or if the right man comes along, we chose not to have children? Or even worse, we chose to have them and are unable to for various reasons?

Am I supposed to assume my life is worthless if things don’t go according to how others perceive life should go?

I’m sorry but asking someone why they aren’t married or saying in a condescending way that you’ll find someone is just as bad as asking someone why they don’t have kids or when they are going to start having kids. It’s fucking rude.

Unless you are incredibly close to someone, it is NONE of your business. You don’t have any idea what a person’s backstory is or why they haven’t done the whole marriage and kid thing. You could be asking a woman why she doesn’t have kids and assuming she doesn’t want them when in actuality she may be in an incredibly hard battle to HAVE them, going thru IVF, or suffering multiple miscarriages. Just like you don’t know why someone is still single. Maybe they’ve already been divorced and are a little more cautious. Maybe they haven’t gotten over a broken heart. Or maybe… gasp… they just haven’t found the right person to settle down with yet without settling on what they want.

I think it is incredibly rude to tell someone maybe she should be less picky. Why? So I can be in a miserable marriage like you? Always bitching about my spouse. Go fuck yourself is what I’d like to tell these people.

I have an amazing life. Without a husband. Without a child. Shocking right?

I have a great career. I’m financially independent (even if I’ve made a few mistakes with debt). I own a home. I can pay my own bills with no help. I am college educated. I take amazing vacations around the world. I have passions and hobbies that make me a well rounded person. I am comfortable in my own skin. I place my self worth on my career, education, and the opinions of the people who know me best in this world. NOT on whether or not I have a ring on my finger, a baby in the crib, and how people who don’t really know me perceive me.

I’m at an age now that divorce is becoming more common. The college sweethearts who married a second after getting their diploma are getting divorced. I’ve seen couples that I never dreamed would split going thru bitter divorces. I’ve seen couples who literally hate each other staying in loveless marriages because of kids.

Is that how we are telling the children of society you are supposed to live???? That your self worth is based on having the picture perfect marriage and baby with a white picket fence, etc. To keep encouraging future generations to keep up with Jones’ next door?

Well guess what… with age I’ve learned the Jones’ aren’t really happy. Their marriage is filled with fights and barely being able to tolerate each other. Mr Jones probably fucks around and Mrs Jones drowns her sorry in a martini by noon and focuses on keeping her kids looking like they are the perfect angels. Reality: the kids are probably failing a class, getting high, sleeping around or any other mishap that isn’t considered perfect while trying to rebel from the pressure put on them to maintain a perfect image by their parents.

If I do have a daughter one day, I’m fully planning on raising her to be independent and put value on her accomplishments rather than always have that underlying need to be married to be fulfilled. I plan to encourage her to get an education so she doesn’t have to settle and depend on someone to pay the bills. So she doesn’t need to be stuck in a job she hates because she doesn’t have options. I’m going to encourage her to have hobbies that don’t involve having a partner, to travel the world. To LIVE. I’m not going to start setting aside things for her wedding day before she can walk and constantly mention marriages and babies. If that’s what she wants, I hope it happens, but I’ll make sure she knows her self worth isn’t dictated by those things. And I will definitely make sure she knows that if she should marry the wrong person, that life is too short to stay if it’s better to walk away and start over.

Let me be clear: there is NOTHING wrong with wanting to be married or have kids. If that is really all you want in life, then I hope you get both. Because being a stay at home mom is no joke if done right. My mom was one. My older sister in law is one currently. And both of them busted their asses to keep a family chugging along.

My issue is the constant judging of people who chose not to do life like you do. In any way. It’s such a broader statement than just what I’m talking about with marriage and kids.

Its human nature to judge in some way. But I think people who judge, may a lot of times, be judging based on some flaw they recognize in themselves.

What a concept! A person who’s telling me to hang tight and Mr Right will come around, probably is actually a little jealous that I may be juggling 4 gorgeous successful guys while she is tied to one dick now for the rest of their life. #realtalk

Or the girlfriend who’s saying I need to hurry up and have babies like her? Probably a little jealous that I just went to Paris and am already planning 3 different vacations for next year that she can’t take… because well kids, school schedules, day care money, etc.

Maybe one day, I’ll have the ring and the kid on my hip. But you can damn well be sure I’ll be telling my single friends to date a lot of guys, travel as much as possible, and have fun finding yourself before settling down. Because marriage isn’t all its cracked up to be (#divorced) and I’m guessing having kids isn’t always either.

So before asking someone why she is single or doesn’t have kids… take a step back. Maybe instead compliment her on the promotion at work, ask about the latest exotic trip, or enjoy the crazy disastrous dating stories that she for sure has.

Maybe if women lifted each other up for their differences instead of tearing each other down, we really could conquer the world.

Until next time…

 

xoxo

The Penniless Princess

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