30 & Single – part 4 “Single Holiday Blues”

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.


“We stealthily try to avoid the conversation when Aunt Susan starts asking us about our love life, and spend our time in the bathroom searching for “survival guides” for single women.”


Annelies Keus shot by Annette Marie Leo, Venice 2017

Let’s be honest, being single during holiday season sucks. Not that it doesn’t from January through November, but somehow all the coziness of romantic evenings by the fireplace and talk of bringing someone home to Mom for the holidays really just makes us singles feel as if we’re missing out on all the fun.

Therefore, we stay away from all social media in an attempt to save ourselves from the pain of having to watch our high school bff – who we haven’t been in touch with for nearly a decade – getting engaged (for the second time) on Christmas eve screaming “isn’t it romantic!” in a slightly too perfectly edited 60-second video – as if she didn’t see that one coming.

Instead, we end up stealthily trying to avoid the conversation during Christmas dinner when Aunt Susan starts asking us about our love life, and spend our time in the bathroom searching for “survival guides” for single women, telling us how to get through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds – although spending Christmas day alone with a ‘dinner for two’ to eat by myself while staring into Jude Laws dreamy blue eyes watching The Holiday sounds awfully tempting. Sounds familiar? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!



Over the past years, with no one to kiss at midnight on NYE, being single put an exclamation point on what I know was still missing in my life: a kind and loving man. Because while my friends are committing to a lifetime together with their significant others, I couldn’t even get a guy to spend the holidays with me. And being surrounded by friends and family members who are already partnered up has been a painful reminder of – one of many – social expectations we’re “supposed” to be meeting by the time we hit thirty.

So, I inevitably fell back into old patterns, going over a list in my head of past years’ dates and wonder: Have I been emotionally distancing myself from men this whole time? Or had I, once again, allowed my emotions to get in the way of an opportunity to find my long-lost ‘other half’? To then always come to the conclusion that, whatever it was that went wrong, there will always be next year!


Feel the fear, and do it anyway

To be honest, I think the problem is that we don’t celebrate singleness in the same way we do marriage or relationships, especially during holiday season. As single women, we should embrace the opportunities of the unknown future still ahead of us, and share our gratitude and appreciation for the important people in our lives. In fact, if you’re still in search of a meaningful gift, write your loved ones a letter and give it them as their holiday present.

Truth be told, this year, I can honestly say I am looking forward to spending the final days of the year with the people I love most. So, instead of pouting on Christmas eve, I’m going to throw myself a hot bath, sleep until noon, splurge on an overpriced pair of shoes and watch two movies in a row while eating a box of chocolates. Because fact of the matter is, conflicting feelings about singleness can coexist. And I’ve decided that it’s totally fine to desire the kind of relationship that someone else has, as long as that desire doesn’t drive me to bitterness. In fact, while writing this page, I couldn’t help but wonder: if I could master enjoying the holidays as a thirty-year-old single woman… could a successful relationship really be that far behind?


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