My Not So Empty Nest
I am 31.
I am single.
I am childless.
Enter your best cliches or stereotype here.
While my closest friends have had children for practically a decade now, I have remained just me. Sure there have been relationships, some better left behind in my twenties and a few that were real love and who remain in my heart.
As the years have gone by my social feeds have become a never ending scroll of engagement announcements, stunning wedding moments, endlessly creative expecting posts and those all too cute welcoming of new life photos. I would not be human if I didn’t feel something when I read each and every one of these. The moments of joy I see in those posts are truly beautiful and are without a doubt worthy of all the warm and fuzzy feels. Do not get me wrong, I love seeing people that happy - if you know me well you'd know other peoples happiness has often sat well above my own in the pecking order. (Martyr right here - lol).
I am of course not one of those weirdly 100% optimistic people, nor am I a pessimist - I prefer realist. Life’s struggles and it’s dark moments (of which there have been many) have taught me it’s okay to feel whatever it is you feel - each and every emotion is valid in its own right. It’s about how you then process it, accept it and learn how to move and grow from it as whatever it was good bad or ugly came into your world for a reason.
My happiness for these special milestones is no less genuine just because there is a tiny piece of my soul that at first sight will feel a little like a failure for not having achieved any such 'event'. And I do not think I am the only one who experiences this. Only it is not talked about, and by not talking about it we stigmatise it.
So yes, a part of me when bombarded by these Kodak moments longs to find love again, and maybe even some of the other things that follow (maybe).
I have even found myself asking what I am doing with my life? Am I achieving anything? Why is my life this way?
Then the pragmatist in me slaps me clean in the face, and brings me back to my life. My life I love, my life I created.
No ones journey is the same. Yes many of us do the same thing in theory (marriage, kids, house) but even those similar things are all different. No one marries the same man (unless you’re in a weird situation or one of those communes in middle america), no one has the same child, and no one buys the exact same home.
My question to myself then becomes, what is it that niggles me - the missing “milestones” or the journey itself. The answer I believe is neither (I know profound right?)
I like my life, I like my freedom, I like my little apartment that is solely my space.
I like having the time to study my passion and the chance to build a business from scratch.
I like being able to travel at a whim.
I like being able to do whatever I want without answering to anyone.
That being said, the pressure from ‘society’ to notch up some of these occasions is a constant feature in the single thirty-something girls life. The ‘so are you dating anyone special’ or ‘don’t you want to get married’ or my all time favourite ‘are you even going to have kids’, like I have a expiry date they can all see counting down on my forehead. The questions are unnecessary and I believe are more about others need to validate their life choices (and put me in a box they understand) than my need to do any of them.
Maybe I’ll do all of them.
Maybe I won’t.
Only I know that, and guess what, I have no fucking clue. What I do know is, I am doing what I love and am only going to do things that make me say “fuck yes” anything else - no thanks.
My so-called nest might look empty, but it’s not.
I have a new business starting, a great job, and countless travel plans pending.
I have an amazing diverse family who are completely crazy and supportive. I have a close circle of friends who love and respect my life just as it is. I am also a blessed Aunty and godmother - childless? I think not.
Best of all - I have my own support and a huge appreciation for my own company.
I’ll keep my empty nest for now thanks.