I’m not much of a “dater” (Feel free to now officially label me as “picky”. It’s ok.) I’m selective about dating, which has led to hardly any dating in general. So I think it’s safe to say that I’ve spent the majority of my twenties with the strange label of being a single. i say strange because there are incredible prejudices – some subtle, some not-so-subtle – against singles
Now when I say single, let’s be clear — I mean single. The don’t-have-a-fiancee, don’t-have-a-boyfriend, actually-don’t-even-have-a-cute-crush-right-now, RSVP-for-just-one, live-my -life-however-I-want, no-i’m-not-expecting-anyone, please-don’t-make-me-try-to-catch-the-freaking-bouquet, put-my-hands-UP-for-Beyonce’s all the single ladies kind of single.
I turn 30 in a few months. I am not married, haven’t had a serious relationship in nearly three years, and until recently had never wished I had a husband, never wondered “what else is there,” or felt pressure from anyone in my life to settle down. But lately, I’ve been fielding a torrent of unsolicited pep talks from friends , acquaintances , relatives , older people offering me advice on turning 30 and how lonely it gets without someone to cuddle, an occasion I had erroneously thought had lost most of its connotation of impending doom. Usually, their words of wisdom boil down to “don’t panic about finding a man.” But what they really mean is, “don’t panic about finding a man yet.”the constant advice from my elders always seems to remain the same; “Don’t rush, it will come to you, just live your life.” But on the other hand, they are the same people do often inquiring; ” So Sanyu, when are you going to get married? you have no child yet? my dear giving birth after 30 is a trick…blah blah blah” Look , i am single,don’t pity me, am not cursed or something, if i could marry myself, i prolly would have already! The pressure dear Lord !!!!!!
What do you think when you meet a man or a woman over 30 who is single? first thing always….pity, “There’s something wrong with him/her.” “They have a fear of commitment.” Perhaps even, “they are or must be a loser.” I know these thoughts not only because people have asked me what is wrong with me,but also because i receive a lot of advice on why i should get married before 30, like men are on supermarket shelves i can just walk in and pick, pay at the counter and go have a blast( eyes rolling!)
Of course, well-meaning younger and older people offering unsolicited advice to eye-rolling women like me is what makes the world go round. My parents will literally turn the house around to make an impression when i visit with a male friend because they hope he could be “the one”………eeeish! I am concerned particularly about the gendered nature of ‘being single’ advice, always being underscored when I talk to single male friends. Unlike me, they are actually a bit stressed about hitting their thirties or forties,but its never that serious, they are worrying about whether they have achieved enough in their career, whether they should be settling down, etc. Yet when I ask whether they receive the same advice I do on a daily, they can’t recall a single incident. “Probably because people think we are beyond saving,” they half-joke.
No, it is probably because people assume my male friends (who are doing great, by the way) are fully qualified to make their own choices, whether relating to their career or their personal life and we the women are left at the mercy of whichever man chooses to redeem us by marrying us. How sad !!. Short of committing a felony, there are few decisions they could make at 30 that would irreversibly ruin their prospects. Even vasectomies can be undone. Meanwhile, in their eyes, my own benefit-of-the-doubt clock is running out even faster than the notorious biological one.
I would like to dismantle the notion that marriage is IT!! The end game,,, like its the ultimate source of joy and all the other things people want us single people to believe. And don’t get me wrong, i am not against the institution of Marriage, in fact i look forward to walking down the aisle some day, but that can’t be all a woman or man wants and desires in life , no no no !!! We need to come to a place where we do not put people on pressure for whatever reason but rather seek to understand them. As for married people who pull these moves, forgetting you were once single , you crack me up.A friend once shared his struggle, and its real. He said , ” the people i find attractive end up being taken or married , twice my age ,don’t like me back, don’t now i exist,not real , dead etc, and people put me on pressure to marry because I’m clocking a certain age , try walking in my shoes please !!!” Picture that!! Musale Puleesa!
I would like to talk about being single in a way that is empowering, vulnerable, hopeful, respectful, honest, refreshing, straightforward, content, faithful, and REAL. I feel incredibly lucky to say that most of the days I have spent single have been exciting, empowering, and wonderfully full.
They have been full of rich experiences and adventures. They have been full of risks taken and lessons learned. They have been full of some really amazing jobs and launching a new business from scratch. They have been full of laughter and smiles and some of the best memories ever. And they have been full of really, really good friends and people along the way. And for that, I give some serious thanks.Because I’m pretty sure the worst thing I could imagine would be meeting the guy of my dreams, and then telling him that I basically spent the last decade moping and waiting around for him. (Ugh. Please, please don’t let me ever be that girl.)
Whether you’re married, engaged, dating, divorced, widowed, and/or single. Young or old. Girl or guy. Whomever. We all have stories to share and lots of experiences on the topic of being single, or knowing people who are single. And I would love more than anything to hear what everyone has to say so that we can (really) learn from each other. So do share your stories……………..