And then it happens… The big 3-0. Most women’s biggest nightmare. People assume that by the time you hit 30, you’ll have it all figured out. In addition, everyone all of the sudden tries to force dating advice down your throat as if starting a family is the foremost important thing you should be worrying about as a woman. But many millennial women are finding life after twenty-nine to be a lot different from how they’d pictured it. Founder Annelies Keus (30) shares her personal experiences about life as a single woman and gives advice on how to make your thirties the most fabulous years of all.
“Why did I felt the need to hold on to relationships that didn’t work out? Did I really lose every shred of faith in finding someone that genuinely cares, that I was left with no other choice than to rely on old flames?”
Life in quarantine. It’s week twelve of home-isolation. As I’m sitting here looking at this blanc sheet of paper, I’m wondering; am I really going to bother everyone with my sad “I’m single and home alone’-story? Well, as it turns out: Yes, I am.
To be honest, I have never experienced loneliness throughout my 30-year existence. Though I have been single for a fair share of my adult life and have never lived with a potential life partner, I’ve always had a vibrant social life and a few close friends, which whom I share my most precious moments. However, being forced to spend three full months in home-isolation with the only social contact being the cashier lady at the local supermarket, made me wonder; Has ending up alone now become one of my latest fears?
Spending double the amount of time on social media then I otherwise would have, I noticed an increasing mention of the word “decluttering”. Though this was mainly used in a sense of getting rid of materialistic things and committing to a minimalistic lifestyle without unnecessary items, I felt that I could use this strategy to get rid of something else that seemed to be blocking my flow of positive energy; the ghosts of old hook-up’s past.
Deleting every contact in my phone that didn’t include a last name sounded easy, nevertheless, it was the emotional labour that came with it what was frustrating me. Why did I felt the need to hold on to relationships that didn’t work out? Did I really lose every shred of faith in finding someone that genuinely cares, that I was left with no other choice than to rely on old flames? And what if I never find love again, will my life become meaningless? Despite so many reasons crossing my mind telling me why I shouldn’t, I came to the realisation that, as a thirty-year-old woman, I no longer need to hold on my 20-year-old back-up plans, nor did I want to continue being theirs.
The new perfect
As I expected to shed a few tears and be left with a feeling of emptiness by letting go of what I once thought would be my ‘emergency exit’ in case I’d end up being unmarried at 40, hitting that delete button felt surprisingly liberating. For a long time, I thought that I’d be married by the time I’d be 27 and have kids by 30. Now I realise those things aren’t a given. I’d be lying if I said I never wanted to get married or have children. I do want that, but I’ve always seen (and still see) that as something that would be in my future. The question remains; when will this future arrive? When will it actually be ‘too late’ and how do we know when we have to decide between being childless or settling for less? When will ‘good enough’ become the new ‘perfect’?
The perks of being 30 and single is that you have to ability to put things into perspective. There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind every obstacle we face every single day. Most of our worries are based on assumption that ninety percent of the time, never even happen. Most people experience anxiety because they are trying to live up to certain expectations. Whether the bar is set too high by their own imagination, or by those around them. In fact, having to force yourself into doing something your simply not ready for will inevitably end in you being unhappy.
So why do we feel like we have to be successful in every single aspect to achieve a happy and fulfilling life? And how do we know when what we are longing for is not what we actually need? I don’t think there is just one right answer to these questions. The answers to these questions can only be found within ourselves. It’s a learning process that comes from previous failure and life experiences. We all have certain patterns and all we need to do is recognise them, acknowledge them whenever they occur and try to do things differently next time around.
Credits: Photography by Louiza Mei King, exclusively for AV-mag