32 and Single – Don't Judge Me Too Quickly

I might be biased but…these days it seems like television, movies, and literature portray thirty-something single women as either 1. glamorous party girls constantly moving between conquests or 2. whiny homely chicks who are immensely dissatisfied with their lives and can’t understand why they aren’t married. (Because they are a drag to be around, that’s why.)

At My Happiest With My Niece, Anne Shelton Porterfield

At My Happiest With My Niece, Anne Shelton Porterfield

Don’t get me wrong, there certainly are women out there who fit both these molds, but what about the rest of us? I know this is going to be a surprise to a lot of you, but there are some 30+ year old women out there who are looking for more, they are looking to be more. They are struggling to balance their dreams of being savvy career women with their dreams of being married and having kids – and fearfully facing the reality that they might not be able to have it all. And probably just like you, they are trying to have faith in the plans God has for them, “plans to give [them] a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12)

Candidly, being 32 and single has its advantages and its disadvantages. Here is a brief sampling of some things I love/hate about this stage of my life:

1. I LOVE being able to really get to know myself – my likes and dislikes, my dreams and fears. Last year, when I moved to Nashville I realized that I could recreate myself without really worrying how others might react. I could dream big, stretch myself, and take a stand for a different life without having to get others aligned.

2. I HATE of only being thrown into groups with other single women. Being somewhat new to town, people are always dying to introduce me to other single women they know. Why? Because they are single and they are women and so they think we should be friends. Call me crazy but I still like to hang out with a diverse crowd that includes guys, married couples, and families with young kids. I love to cookout, play at the park, and watch football. I don’t want to spend every Friday night with eight of my closest girl friends complaining about the lack of men in Nashville. I want to be invited to your kid’s birthday parties and game night. (I could go on and on, but I will spare you. You can thank me later.)

What about you? What do you love/hate about your stage of life?

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  • Meredith Taylor

    love your blog entry! it’s such a strange thing how “married” or “single” become the only definitions given to women in their 30’s… though I find it much more profound in the south. In SF, practically NO ONE is married before 35! As a matter of fact, I only know of 2 married couples in my entire circle of friends. For the longest time I was the weirdo because I wanted such traditional things as marriage and a family; then of course I moved to Bham and felt like the odd man out again, but for the exact opposite reasons 😉

    • lindseyreadenobles

      Scoti, That is very powerful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Leslie Reed

    I so know where you are living. Before I married at 35, I was actively engaged in life and the lives of my friends (single and married). It was frustrating to encounter other single women who put their lives on hold. They didn’t entertain because they didn’t have matching dishes or serving platters (they were waiting for their wedding registry). They didn’t reach out to single or married friends because they felt they had been left behind. I say LIVE. Buy a box of 5-piece place settings for 4 at Macy’s. Ask for a food processor for Christmas and a Calphalon pan for your birthday. Initiate encouters and conversations. Don’t hide. Open up.

    Great book by Connally Gilliam–Revelations of a Single Woman: Loving the Life You Didn’t Expect. Check out a couple of excerpts at http://www.connallyg.com

    • lindseyreadenobles

      Jessica, Thanks. Hope to see you soon.

  • Marcie Porterfield (aka Lindsey’s sister)

    Great posting! Connally is a friend of my friend Heidi Metcalf–I don’t know her, but have heard she is wonderful, as is her book!

    So love/ hates for my stage of life would be that I don’t like feeling a bit disconnected with 3 kids at different ages in different schools/ stages especially with Kate being 18 months and taking two naps a day. But then my highlights would be kissing those very chunky cheeks of Kate’s, playing games and going to the library with Anne Shelton before she starts kindergarten next year, and hearing Macon’s more insightful first grade questions.

  • i love being surrounding by all the chaos of my boys. pray regularly that since i love the noisemakers i’ll appreciate the noise that comes with them!

    i hate not going to pee by myself! you asked for honesty! 😉

  • While married it was stressful balancing career and marriage. When I achieved many of my goals and my spouse and I achieved our goals, I thought, “Is that all there is?” It all felt rather empty. Then I was propelled into single parenthood with a 9-month-old son and a three-year-old son. I hated being segregated into the “single’s only” division at the church. I missed being with families. I related more to wives with children, because my life was theirs—plus the responsibility to provide. I felt strange with whiny singles and divorcees. I didn’t want to be with people who brought me down any further than I already was. All I wanted was to be with normal, upbeat people, whether married or single.

    So I started a Precept Bible study in my home, partially because I couldn’t find childcare for my two young sons. The group included never-marrieds, divorced and marrieds. I loved it when each group shared their prayer requests (a.k.a. relational complaints): the marrieds complained about the difficulties of marriage and with their partner, the never marrieds and widows shared their complaints about not being married and having a partner, and the divorced shared their complaints about not being married and their X. I found it all rather humorous. Why do we yearn for the greener grass? No one has it all. Slowly, each person began to see that their grievances didn’t seem so bad compared to others in the group.

    There are so many aspects of singleness that I love. When the not-so-likable aspects get me down, I laugh about it. All I can do is accept some of the disappointing realities of singlehood. Today I talked with a friend who is struggling with loneliness. We both acknowledged that we long to feel connected to and included in community. Thankfully, my married, writing critique partner includes me in her life. She says, “I fit.” Why? Well, I don’t whine or complain. I enjoy being with her married friends.

    This year instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I adopted one word—gratitude. That attitude helps me manage my fears, puts reality into perspective, and transforms my struggles into opportunities to understand and comfort others.

    Being “married” or “single” also defines women in their 40’s, 50’s and 60s! I’m writing a chapter “Living Single—Forever?” that deals with finding peace, contentment, “the one,” or “The One.” Oh to be a happy nun, married to Jesus. Life would be so uncomplicated!

    One day I realized, “Why is it I desire to be pursued by a perfect lover who will cherish me and will never leave nor forsake me, yet I ignore Him?” Today, I found this quote by Mother Teresa about The One: “There are so many religions and each one has its different ways of following God. I follow Christ:
    Jesus is my God,
    Jesus is my Spouse,
    Jesus is my Life,
    Jesus is my only Love,
    Jesus is my All in All;
    Jesus is my Everything.”

    Today, I’m single and happy pursuing the passion God put in my heart and excited to see where He will lead.

  • Jessica

    I am a 100% with you! GREAT POST

  • I love being married for 10 years and not having to worry about the dating stuff.

    However, I hate that since we’ve chosen not to have kids we are kind of the “freaks” among our married friends. Friends our age all have kids so they don’t invite us to hang out anymore (I guess they think that since we don’t have kids, we don’t like kids – NOT TRUE!), and we don’t quite fit in with young marrieds either. It’s kind of a weird season for us.

    • lindseyreadenobles

      I miss you too! I am seriously going to look at my calendar and figure out when I can come out to visit. Feel free to set me up with cute single men. I am not scared.

  • Laura

    This is so spot on… I love being married and a parent, but there are days when I absolutely yearn for my independant life. For the days before I was married and had my daughter. I have so many fond memories from college and with my dear friend Lindsey- those are the days I really want to go back to when it all seems to be too much. Back when I was “Laura”, not someone’s wife or mother. I think there is a sense of identity that gets lost in the shuffle when the labels come out. There is this unspoken social morees that single people don’t care about your children and your marriage and that married people can’t relate to the struggles of the single or somehow pull the patronizing “I remember those days of bad dates and lonely nights”. The essence of who we are hasn’t changed, although our daily function has. C’s birthday is May 6th and you are more than welcome to come- I won’t even invite any single guy friends in an effort to have you fall in love and be whisked away to SF. And well, we can schedule a game night if you are here! Miss you!

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  • Laura Anne

    I hadn't read this post, but Amen. I'm 25 and single (and a Christian too…gasp!!!) and so agree with all you've said here. I feel the exact same way.

    My recent post LFS Introducing… getting ready for lift off!

  • thanks for posting this…my heart definitely needed it. I agree completely about there being some love and hate about the single stage whatever age. Here are some of my thoughts right now:
    love: that I was able to just pack up and leave for a year to do missions, that I get to learn more about me and truly find out that He meets ALL my needs, a different kind of focus on Him, the time I have to pour into others
    hate: dealing with the desire to be married and knowing I'm supposed to be single for this season, how hard the battle is sometimes, being in that inbetween of not a kid and not married
    My recent post JOY

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  • This is so great! I'm turning 29 in a couple of days and I'm tired of people giving me a hard time about being single at this age. Thanks for the great post!
    My recent post Hero & True Gentleman