Religious, Single and 30

I’m single and 30.

There, I said it. Double whammy. Boom, boom, boom.

The truth is, I’ve been pretty down the past few months. I don’t want to be single. I don’t want to be thirty.

I live in religious Crown Heights but truth be told, but truth be told (and thankfully) I don’t think about what they (might) think about me.

It’s MY OWN unachieved expectations life plans and goals that make me sad. The most important goals for me. I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to be in a serious, committed relationship. I wanted a home.

Seriously it was not in my plan book to be 30 and very much alone in an apartment in New York city of all the places, writing a blog post on being alone and single.

GOD.

What is your plan for me? Because I certainly don’t know it. And that’s with no lack of planning.

So I’ve been down.

Because I’m just hovering.

I’ve left a bunch of failed relationships in my wake. When I say failed I don’t mean disastrous, I’ve had some good relationships too. But failed in that they ended, and here I am single.

I also keep starting and stopping school, its been my tango for the past 6 years. I voraciously reading and fact find and obsess on how to get the best internship, how to be successful, how to find my ‘niche’.. blah, blah, blah.

I’ve thought that perhaps I’d be better off at this single business if I knew how to navigate it.But then I realized that’s just not it.. I’m doing fine, as a single.

The problem is that’s its not what I WANT.

So how to navigate a life that not what you want is a different story. How to navigate a life, where you’ve done all the work to get to your goal of settling down but you just can’t.

Perhaps its less about the navigating and more about the goal.

Us (religious or not) singles have a goal to get married, settled down, start a family…. have any number of kids.. all by the age of 25.

If not, there’s something wrong with you.

But, (I hate to tell you, because you’re probably trying to find it) there’s nothing really wrong with me. Statistics anyone? You know, the bell curve. Most people fall into the average, they get married between the ages of 20-25. And then there are the outliers.

See, I’m just part of the bell curve of the non achievers. The ones who past the age of 30 are not married.

If anything, this post is about emphasizing that fact: just because you are supposed to get married, doesn’t mean you are lucky to find the one you are going to marry. Stop with insisting it is a goal to be reached at a certain time when it is beyond anyone’s control.

Yes, you can teach the Sholom Bayis classes in seminary if you absolutely insist (though total waste of time in my opinion) but do it with class.

Do it with open eyed awareness.

Let the girls, (and the guys), KNOW. Stop with the roses and sunshine.

Just like marriage is hard, with its ups and downs, being single is hard and nowadays, a more often part of reality. Especially when Jewish life revolves around family: shabbos tables, family get togethers, couples dinners, and most conversation is about your kids, your relationships, what schools you’re sending your kids to, what’s the cheapest brand of sheitel or kids shoes. By the way I don’t mind at all when friends/families discuss these things in my presence, it’s a total normal and relevant conversation for them and you shouldn’t have to walk around eggshells because there’s an older single. But that’s the point. We’re around. We’re normal. And there are more and more of us.

I wish I had answers but I don’t. I clearly don’t want to be single and thirty. I want to be settled, with a family. But I don’t have a choice in the matter. I have no idea what I’m going to do the next few months, let alone days. Some days its super hard. But I can only take a deep breath and take one step at a time. The only way is through.

3 Comments

  1. Adam February 1, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    It upsets me that you feel that you are an under achiever just because you aren’t married by an age that’s dictated by the community that you live in. You should be proud of your achievements, whatever they may be, don’t let your society choose whether or not you can be happy.

    Reply
  2. jjbiener February 1, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    There are worse things than being 30 and single. One is being 30 and married to the wrong person. In my 20’s, I was lonely and wanted to get married. I met a woman who was also in her 20’s, lonely and wanted to get married. It made perfect sense for the two of us to get married. We pretended to be happy until we lost a child in childbirth. There wasn’t enough love between us to hold us together because there was never that much love to begin with. By the time we were in our thirties, we lived different lives. The marriage came apart. Later I was on a business trip and met a woman and fell madly in love, and she with me. This was the woman I was always meant to be with. I lost faith and stopped looking for her. Because I did, I led a lot of unhappy years.

    My suggestion is to open yourself up to loving and being loved in return, but with no expectations. Open you heart and your spirit and let God and the Universe do their work. No amount of analysis or soul searching or intellectualization is going to find the right person. When you find him, no amount of logic will be able to explain it. He will just be there and you will know. And so will he.

    Reply
  3. Beth February 1, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    I’ve been where you are, and it’s really, really hard. I felt the ‘not doing the right thing’ very keenly. It wasn’t so much the having a family part – I saw children as part of a marriage but I didn’t have a burning desire to be a parent – but I’m a romantic and have been ‘seeking’ my other half since I was very, very young. I just want to tell you that there is hope. Many of my friends did get married in early to mid twenties, then many stayed single a few years more and suddenly there was a rash of marriage in late twenties/early thirties (I’m from a MO background). And then there were those of us still single, learning to live in the outside world without a family, learning to try and fit in that way, learning to hide the jabs to our hearts. Well, I got married at 34 and I can tell you that with all the pain of waiting, he was worth the wait. And many of my friends who found themselves still single also got married around their mid-thirties, and none of them were compromising just to ‘be married.’ They truly found good guys and have healthy, loving marriages. It feels like there are no good guys left but it’s not true. I never ever would have believed I could have been as blessed as I have been and now am. It’s facile to say that it happens for everyone, eventually – that’s not true. My heart hurts for those I know who have not found their partners and are now in their forties. But there is definitely hope. I hope that your guy is out there for you.

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