A chill blew across my chest as I lay on the doctor’s table. I pulled my open front gown closed in a pathetic attempt to warm myself. In a weird way, the cold was comforting. Between the summer temps and my anxiety levels, I needed something cool and comforting. I wiped tears from my eyes and took a deep breath. “You will be fine. Just relax.”
By this time, my head was pounding. I’d been crying for three days, and my body just couldn’t deal. I lay across the table thinking I had breast cancer. Thoughts of my aunt, my mom’s twin sister, who’d died of breast cancer at 53 crossed my mind, but death wasn’t my fear. Death was barely a bleep on my radar.
“Who’s going have my back? Who’s going to take me to chemo? Who am I going to vent, cry and whine to? Why do I have to do this alone?” My fear wasn’t death or cancer. My fear was doing cancer alone. At 32 years old, that was the moment that I longed to be married more than any other period of my life.
My life is good. I bought my home at 24. I have an awesome, smart and aware 15-year-old son. My career is where it should be. I have the time to focus on my writing, my business, my non-profit, and my volunteer interests. My social life is decent and whether alone or with friends, I’m not afraid to enjoy the town and meet new people. And if we’re keeping it 100, I’m not missing any orgasms either. So in most areas, I feel that the things people look to marriage for, I’ve done pretty well of accomplishing on my own. I would LOVE to have someone to share my amazing life with, but part of me realized at 28 maybe that just wouldn’t happen for me…and part of me has made peace with that. But the days when I just want to cry, whine, be held and get booty rubs are the hardest.
On the days when I’m overwhelmed and simply want someone to cater to me, my tummy hurts and my mind wanders. “Did I miss someone? Do I have any regrets? Should I have entertained him? Am I just an awful, unlovable individual?” And the answer is always no. Even on my lonely days, there’s no one from my past or a random encounter that I wish it would’ve worked out with. I think of the guys who would’ve married me and the ones who would marry me today, and there are no regrets or desires to call them. And I’m actually pretty fucking awesome, so the ideal of me being awful and unlovable is ABSOLUTELY absurd. 🙂
Presently, I find myself in a place of hopeful contentment. If I never find a partner to play Spades with, I’ll be fine. But I’m hopeful that my partner, not my king, covering or guide, will cross my path and we will get to body life together. But one thing I’m sure of is that I DON’T want marriage just for the sake of being married and proving to the world I’m “choosable.” I know what I want. I know what it looks like. I know what it feels like. And I want that more than I just want to be married.
Over the last two weeks I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to a number of unmarried women over 30 about their experiences, hopes, fears and regrets. In listening to their stories, so many similarities came up, but they also proved to be an extremely diverse group of women. They are single, dating, engaged. Straight, lesbian and bi-sexual. Single moms, hopeful moms and never wannabe moms. Divorced, unengaged, casual daters and serial monogamists. They are college-educated, entrepreneurs, upwardly mobile employees and visionaries. They are amazing women who, by anyone’s standard, defy the stereotype of old, broken, leftover woman that often attaches itself to unmarried women of a certain age.
Over the next few Mondays, I will share their stories, and I hope you will join us as we explore what it truly means to be 30+ and unmarried.
“Old and Unchosen: My Story” is part one of a series on being 30+ and unmarried.