There’s one word that greatly reflects turning 30. That glorious word is “pressure.” We all know it, have felt it, or will feel it. For anyone that doesn’t, well – I bow to you. You superhuman, you.
So why does 30 paralyze us? If age isn’t “just a number” then why does it still feel like it’s all about the number. The answer lies in the expectations and comparison that begin somewhere around the age of 27, when we start to feel like we should “get it together” and be a little more of an adult. We start to want to make people believe that the years of keg stands and day drinking are far behind us, and that we invest our time planning for future adult-like needs. “Make people believe” – meaning we may not necessarily feel ready to abandon these behaviors completely - we simply feel that we should. And we are arriving at a difficult transition that leaves most of us in the dark and unsure.
There’s a certain stigma associated with any woman who pops into her 30’s without a husband or a husband on the way. Lucky for us, it’s 2015 and this way of thinking has subsided. But the pressure still remains. Regardless of what anyone says, the worry weighs heavy on all late twenty-something women. Is it a coincidence that I was invited to 17 weddings in one year? The same year that all of my friends entered into their upper twenties? Methinks not. We spend entirely too much time investing our thoughts and actions into doing what we should do to find a man. It worries me, for us – that there are blogs out there entirely devoted to being 30 and single. Don’t feel sorry for me! I’m so empowered, being 30 and alone and all! And sure that’s a nice thought, but it just draws more attention to the matter of 30 and single being a “thing”.
Can it stop, please? If not now, when? I’ve sat amongst women at work, in groups of friends, and in my own family for years and the fear still weighs heavy. The pressure is still pressing and women can’t let it go. From overheard conversations to deep discussions, the number one issue remains: “When will I find my husband?” This unnerving question populates the minds of women, and takes up an outrageous overabundance of real estate. It can destroy years of living in contentment as a single woman, stir enough anxiety to kill a small animal, and lead us down paths that aren’t necessarily the best for us. It overpowers us, not empowers us. It makes us reliant on behaviors that aren't true to us that we think will land us a dream man. I know, because I’ve been there.
Now I’m not saying it’s abnormal or bad to worry about this. It’s actually highly normal and expected. I’m saying that I wish I hadn’t spent the majority of my twenties worrying if I’d ever find someone. Out of fear, I spent entirely too much time working around the best plan that would inevitably put me in a situation where I would meet the right man. I stayed in Chicago, out of fear. Fear that if I left, I’d never find a husband. Fear that I would waste too much time acclimating to a new city, and I’d be getting older and less desirable along the way. Woah, that was all crazy! There is no right "plan" to find a man. And I can’t believe that was me. You guys, don’t think this way. I'm telling you now – I so highly regret the amount of concentrated time wasted on men in my twenties. It could've served for such greater opportunities. I'm not saying you shouldn't invest time sending links of hot guys to your friends and day dream about them while eating a boring salad at your work desk . You just shouldn't allow them to heavily dictate your path or your self worth.
We can’t predict the future. This life is a crapshoot and that includes the happiest couples posting smiley pictures all over Facebook. They could be divorced in a year and you could be eating grapes in an Egyptian castle fed to you by the world’s hottest man who is vying for your love. We just don’t know. And that’s ok. But that’s exactly why you need to do what’s right for you regardless of your age or a worried repeat thought process. Be brave, be bold and own your life like Colonel Sanders owns Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I love finding really inspiring wisdom in movies with mostly comedic intentions. In Wedding Crashers, the great Christopher Walken so wisely says: "We have no way of knowing what lays ahead of us in the future. All we can do is use the information at hand to make the best decision possible. It's gonna be fine. Your whole life is gonna be fine." If we can take one day at a time – armed with the information that we're going to be fine – I’d go ahead and say we have nothing to worry about, at any age.
Are you in your thirties? Getting ready to turn the big 3-0? How do you feel about it?