This totally mirrors my situation, feelings, and events swirling around me. Well written and on point 🙂
How I Stay Single and Sane While All My Friends Are in Relationships
By Shana Lebowitz
I’m trying here! haha
Just there for my annual visit, ya know. He walked in for the exam and it went something like this:
*examining chart* Ah, you’re 27 now! So young! So, so young! All looks good, let’s go ahead…
*starts exam*…breaks silence with:
Doc: So when are you having babies?? No babies yet, why not??”
Me: *nervous laughter/laugh it off, he can’t expect an answer, merely doing his job by reminding me in a casual way that my biological clock is ticking*
Doc: No, really – why haven’t you yet?
Me: *sighs – clearly he’s not letting this go…* Heh heh, well, I’d have to be married first and uh…yeah…
(I trail off to prevent myself from complaining about the dating pool/being scarred bc he’s in my ‘business’ so this isn’t the time or place)
*doc and assistant share a look of shock as if I just said something politically-charged*
Doc: Oh…so…you’re not even in a relationship? Not even on the way to being married?
Me: *pissed off at this point; but firmly state* NO, I actually have been single for a year and a half.
Doc: Ah, I see, so you actually have to find a guy, one that’s willing to be a dad, all that…
Me: *no response, thinking: yes, asshole it’s just that simple – I’m not looking for a sperm donor; call me crazy but I’d need someone that’s worth it andd happens to want kids…*
I proceed to walk into his office for paperwork…
*awkward silence as he scribbles, I look around and act interested in the framed degrees…*
Doc: So – No relationship, no steady relationship?! You’re just sort of…
Me: *firmly bc he’s trying to make me out to be a slut with commitment issues* NO – I’ve been very single, keeping to myself and am not interested in anyone.
Doc: *cheerfully* Ah, yes well next time you can actually come see so-and-so assistant since you have no issues, and actually, so-and-so assistant is a midwife, so she can help you when you’re pregnant – yes, that’s perfect! I tell you what, you come and see midwife assistant next time, so that this time next year for your exam when you are pregnant, she can help you with all of that!
Me: *eyes filled with tears, tilting head back to not let them roll down my face…nod in agreement with a fake smile because I’m not about to argue with this man; I’m fed up and have no idea why you’re so invested and how you have the balls to assume I’ll be with child in a year – nothing about this conversation has suggested that, in fact I made it clear that I’m not going to anytime soon, not really by choice but because men are stupid and I refuse to settle*
I booked it out of his office. UGH. Let the tears flow in the car. Like I need another reminder of what I haven’t accomplished in my life but planned on doing. Just rubbing salt in the wound. Such a smack in the face. I guess he meant well, but seriously?! Again, I’m a strong girl, I make a habit of standing on my own and being comfortable with my own decisions despite others’ opinions…but yeah, I still have feelings lol And as much as I’m fine with not getting married…not having kids *killllllsss* me.
I can’t. Gn.
So my recent 27th birthday has caused me to realize that I’m making the turn from mid-twenties to late twenties, also known as Looming Death & Turning 30.
Thirty is a big deal – nothing really happens after 21, you just sort of cruise through your twenties without a milestone. Then BAM – 30 smacks you in the face causing you to re-evaluate your entire life if you haven’t gotten married, had kids, or established a career.
I can’t say too concerned about turning 30 – as I’ve said before, I think I’d actually pat myself on the back for being strong if I happen to still be single then (read 99% chance). The things I will freak out about?? If I’m still stuck in a career I despise and if I’m not a mom. The first shouldn’t be too hard, but the second entails the whole marriage thing so, eh…
In any event, I bought a Smash Journal over the weekend – perfect for where I am since I like to write/create things/document things and am doing more photography. (Again, all of my hobbies to distract me from misery) The journals often feature lists like top 10s. I love a good list (I make about 5 a day, it’s how I survive and stay “sane”). So all of these factors taken together, along with New Year’s Resolutions coming up…I’ve got some work to do.
I’ve seen a few 30 Before 30 posts and bucket lists floating around the Internet and blew them off – “Ick, that’s SO far away, whatever…” But guess what? I’m in my late twenties now (is 24-25 mid & 27-29 late??) and 30 is right around the corner. I’ve been inspired to create my own 30 Before 30 list and spend three years tackling it, which is a good pace spread out. I’m still finalizing the list, but I found comfort in noticing that I’ve actually already done a good amount of significant things:
Get a tattoo
Learn how to live alone
Get a master’s degree
Tell a boy you love him
Own your own home
Swim with dolphins
Learn to walk away from a crappy job
Learn to forgive
Take a dance class
Put a baby to sleep
Go to dinner/a movie alone
Hit on the hottest guy in the bar
So yeah, not too bad – a good foundation. I’m looking forward to lots more. And getting out of this quarter-life crisis; hopefully this list will serve as a guide/help keep me on track and focused!
As usual, it’s time for a bit of reflection. Every year I try to make it a point to have some sort of milestone or “big thing accomplished.” When I was 24, I bought my house. When I was 25, I finished grad school. Neither of these things are necessarily age-specific or age-related, but still things I should be proud of I guess.
So I just finished my 26th year and what do I have to show for it? What spectacular thing happened that I will one day look back on and be proud of? I learned to walk away. This year was pretty shitty. I hated my old job, was getting screwed over, and had no business being there – I deserved so much more for all of the hard work I put in, and instead was held back. Then there was my “love life.” A relationship I put more into than I care to admit…we planned on getting ma for God’s sake. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief. Bottom line, things somehow got shitty.
I walked away from both this year. It really, really wasn’t hard to walk away from the crappy job. But I can honestly say that walking away from him is still the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not everyone has the balls to walk away from a crapy situation – it takes real strength and it takes practice. Look around you – how many people do you see stuck in relationships that are beyond over? Or they deserve better? Or people stuck in jobs? Or wasted talent? Or just settling in general? A lot, I know. I’ll admit, I stayed in some relationships longer than I should’ve. But I was younger and not as “wise.” So I’m proud to say that at the age of 27, I finally got it right.
I’m not saying you should just throw your hands up when anything little arises, and use the excuse of “this is enough, I refuse to settle.” But I’ve learned that it’s important to 1. Be able to recognize when your efforts aren’t being returned and you’re getting screwed over, and 2. Actively doing something about it. Obviously the second part is the hardest, but I know plenty of people that aren’t even capable of the first – they make excuses instead.
Well now what? Now that I’ve learned to walk away, the next question is…Where am I walking to? lol I’ve got this clean slate to start over with and I need to decide what to do with it. I’ll admit, I just had a cliche tearfest because I am NOWHERE near where I had planned on being, or deserve to be for that matter. Ever since I was 16, I decided that by 27 I’d already be married and about to have a baby. My mom had me when she was 29 and my parents had been married for 3 years prior. YES, YES, I know – it’s not realistic to have such a deadline on such things, that’s not the way life works, you can’t measure your life by your mom’s, times are different now, it’s pathetic to cry over your birthday being a reminder of what you haven’t done. I know all of this. But it’s not so much about the timing – it’s more about the fact that I’ve worked so hard to achieve the things I want, that there’s no good reason they haven’t happened yet. Yes, I know the world works at its own pace and you have to let some things happen and can’t plan every second of your life. But shit not paying off…sucks. A lot.
And as I’ve said plenty of times before – the fact that I’m single and probably will never get married does not bother me…at all, I swear. Yeah, it’s what I’ve always wanted, but my years of wisdom have shown me that it’s not for everyone, you haven’t failed if you don’t do it, and actually…you’re probably better off if you don’t because most marriages don’t work and it’s better to be alone than dealing with a crazy situation. But here’s the thing that’s been bothering me lately: I think I’m dodging something that I’m actually cut out for. This keeps coming up in heart-to hearts with a close friend. We constantly battle because I tell him I’m a jaded bitch who has given up on relationships not because I’m a quitter, but because all of my experiences and everyone around me has shown that I’m better off alone, and more people would realize the same thing if they used their heads but most don’t because they’re scared to be alone. And he always replies (because he knows me better than anyone else): I can talk crap all I want to, but he knows I’m a nurturing person who enjoys being in relationships and is awesome at them; and then he spends 20 minutes trying to convince me that I just need to try again, and take a leap of faith – after all, I can’t expect perfect or assume the relationship will fail; and my “favorite” part – I just need to find someone as willing to work at the relationship as I am. HA. And he tells me that I have nothing left to lose since I’ve already hit rock bottom, I can’t get hurt any more, it can only get better. hahahahaha Hilarious.
The point is that out of all of that garbage and feeble attempts at proving me wrong (not gonna happen, EVER), he is sadly correct about one thing – I’m awesome at relationships, and “all of this” is being wasted. “If you’re so good at them, then why have all of your past ones failed?” Yeah, well…just because I treat someone well doesn’t mean that they are smart enough to appreciate it, it’s enough for them, or that the timing is right (people can just be at different phases of their lives). It comes down to what’s between two people – there isn’t one man on this planet that’s so nice that every woman placed with him would make a perfect couple. But I do know this – I feel like I’m cut out for it – the whole white picket fence and 2.5 kids thing. But not in a Stepford Wives/barefoot and pregnant way, I still rock a career. I mean, I already do all of the things you’re “supposed” to do; the things girls prep for in setting to go out husband-hunting. Going to the gym, making sure their hair and nails are done, cooking, cleaning, nurturing/being able to do the baby thing, managing household finances, entertaining, picking out gifts, planning trips, etc. I do all of these things for myself! I’ve got them down lol Minus the baby thing, but I think my dogs have given me a leg up.
That’s just been popping up in my head over the past two months or so – also why I’ve been blogging m.i.a., because I’ve been busy throwing myself into every hobby possible: collecting millions of recipes, trying out said recipes, doing crafts, finally decorating my house after 2 years, and mastering household cleaning tricks that you think only moms know. (it’s important to note that most of this is of course fueled by Pinterest, with a lot of HGTV thrown in; I’m proud that I actually turned simply pinning things into really doing them). I’m slightly ashamed of all of this because these are 45-year-old mom things. For instance: my gift from my mom was super-foodie fancy cookware (instead of like a cool purse or VS gift card, who am I?), and I took a few craft classes with her (she’s pumped that I’m into it and got me a sewing machine; I mean, I turned my guest bedroom into a craft room). UGH. Between the Crockpot and the sewing machine, please someone just get me some mom jeans and the soccer van, I mean really.
I’m sort of kidding, but I just keep thinking that I’ve got all of this stuff down and it’s a shame no one benefits from it. Ok, yeah I enjoy my house and have to eat to live, but cooking good food…you kinda want to share it with someone; like give someone something to look forward to; some fulfillment comes from knowing someone has been looking forward to you making their favorite for dinner, or you can’t wait to try out a new recipe because you found it and immediately knew that they’d love it, and then it’s awesome when you see that they love it. Or getting to plan a dinner party – being the cute couple to host it, even though you do most of the work, but it’s fun to plan drink recipes, themes, and desserts, and spreading everything out in a nice presentation on pretty platters, and you send him to the store to get wine, and he even offers to help set up or clean up, and you all sit around playing a board game…And the shared experience of buying baby stuff and seeing how excited he is to try to be a good dad…You see?!?! I’m pathetic. I guess it’s normal to want all of that. It just sucks that all of that is “in me” and I don’t have anyone looking in the same direction. Yes, it’s fun to do it on my own, but some things are better shared. So for me to a) likely never have that, b) have worked towards it and planned it already with someone, and c) try to sit here and pretend that I no longer want it…sucks.
Ok, this has been the longest, saddest post ever hahaha All in all, I know everything happens for a reason…but I can’t help but ponder: Should I just be ballsy and set out for my 27th year goal to “get back out there”? I mean, it only seems right – now that I’ve walked away from bad situations, and since this is something I really want, then I should shift my focus to getting in the mindset of being open again? Or go all out and try online dating? Not in a “this is it, this has to work” desperate way, but just as a first step to at least expose myself to potentially getting that dream? Eww, gross…nevermind. I feel like even considering this goes against my independent personality, everything I have been taught and stand for lol But I guess it’s ok to be independent and still wanting to have someone…I just feel like wanting this is “needy”…and it’s not something I need to feel complete at all…just something that I wouldn’t hate. Bah…the adventures continue…