30 and Single

Single at 30 | gimmesomelife.com

(Taptaptap.  Ahem, is this thing on?)

Hi.  My name is Ali, and I am 30 years old and single.

And call me crazy, but I’ve decided to blog about it.

Single

Now when I say single, let’s be clear — I mean single.  The don’t-have-a-fiancee, don’t-have-a-boyfriend, actually-don’t-even-have-a-cute-crush-right-now-except-for-my-adorable-pup (although I promise I’m not that crazy dog lady), rsvp-for-just-one, set-the-thermostat-however-I-want, no-i’m-not-expecting-anyone, please-don’t-make-me-try-to-catch-the-freaking-bouquet, put-my-hands-UP-for-Beyonce kind of single.

This fact still feels a little surreal since I never would have guessed a decade go — heck, even a few years ago — that I would find myself single at 30.  I have always hoped and wanted to eventually be married.  And frankly I have lived most of my adult life assuming that marriage was inevitably just around the corner.  After all, that’s how it seemed to happen for everyone else, right?

But I blew out 30 candles this past May.  And while I did so genuinely loving my life more than ever, I definitely entered my thirties sans husband and very single.

Adventures In Dating

Don’t get me wrong, though.  I’ve had plenty of times in my life when it wasn’t just MeMyselfAndI (and my dog).

In fact, I think it’s safe to say that over the years I have gone on a somewhat ridiculous number of set ups and and blind dates.  (Ok, that last one’s a total lie – I am an expert Google pre-stalker for “blind” dates.)

I’ve learned the difference between EHarm and Match, filled out awkwardly bright and shiny profiles, and rolled my eyes while “shopping” photo after photo of shirtless, car-boasting, ex-girlfriend-partially-cropped-out, “tired-of-the-bar-scene”, “I-love-a-night-out-but-I-also-love-a-night-in” men.

I’ve dated guys halfway around the country.  I’ve dated a neighbor on my old street.  I’ve dated guys that I wanted to keep seeing again and again, and guys that I was more than happy to never see again.  I’ve dated guys that gave me butterflies in my stomach and made me a better person, and guys that infuriated me and made me feel terrible about myself.  I’ve dated guys that got my hopes up.  And I’ve dated guys that made me want to stop hoping altogether.

But through it all (and maybe because of it all), I honestly came to conclude mid-twenties that I’m simply not much of a “dater”.

(Feel free to now officially label me as “picky”.  It’s ok.)

Since then, for better and worse, I’ve been more selective about dating, which has led to hardly any dating in general.  So I think it’s safe to say that I’ve spent the majority of my twenties with the strange label of being a single.  (Or as the illustrious Bridget Jones would say, a singleton.)

8 Dresses

Meanwhile, I live smack in the heart of the Midwest.  And attended a small Christian college.  So it’s safe to say that wedding bells have been playing this past decade for (seemingly) just about everyone else around me.

A few fun facts:

  • I have sung or played music in literally over 100 weddings (the virtues of being a musician and years spent working in a church)
  • I have bridesmaided in 8 weddings (and absolutely never wore those dresses “again”)
  • I maid of honor-ed for my younger sister when she married her catch-of-a-husband four years ago (who happens to be the talented web designer of this site!)
  • I just officially became the last single girl in my very large extended family when my cousin got married this summer (to a guy who won her heart by writing long-distance handwritten letters, true story)

Navigating all of those weddings while single is another post for another time.  But I will say it has been nothing less than awesome to watch my friends grow to love and marry some wonderful people — especially those of my friends who find their spouses after years and years of waiting.  (Those weddings are now some of my absolute favorite moments of the year – priceless.)

Some of those marriages have gone on to celebrate anniversaries and pregnancies and babies and more.  And some dear friends have found themselves navigating the painful road of divorce.  But my twenties were definitely a decade of lots of new relationships and marriages celebrated, and it has been a wild and mostly wonderful adventure.

Wishin’, and Hopin’, and Thinkin’, and Prayin’…

That said, when you’re not in a relationship most of the time, you have a lot of time to watch others’ relationships.  And think about relationships.  If I’m honest, being single is something I think about — in some way — every day of my life.  It’s kind of hard not to.

Granted, the nature of those thoughts have evolved and changed and I would say improved in the last decade of singleness.  As have the lists, books, prayers, conversations, and conversations, and conversations again that I’ve had about relationships.  Because I will tell you that being single at 18 is very different from being single at 22.  And at 25.  And at 28.  And at 30.  And I have no doubt it will continue to be beyond.

…But Life Is Good.  Like, I-Really-Mean-It-GOOD.

But like most important things in life, I have found a growing paradox to be true about singleness:

I still really hope to be married more than ever — albeit for different reasons than at age 22.  But I genuinely love my life more than ever as it is — including the fact that I’m single, and in many ways, because of the fact that I’m single.

Yes, there have been lots of hard days.  Some of them are painfully, despairingly, bitterly, question-the-core-of-who-you-are hard.  The kind of days that threaten to turn you into that single person you do not want to be.

But I feel incredibly lucky to say that most of the days I have spent single have been exciting, empowering, and wonderfully full.

They have been full of rich experiences and adventures.  They have been full of risks taken and lessons learned.  They have been full of some really amazing jobs and launching a new business from scratch.  They have been full of laughter and smiles and some of the best memories ever.  And they have been full of really, really good friends and people along the way.  And for that, I give some serious thanks.

Because I’m pretty sure the worst thing I could imagine would be meeting the guy of my dreams, and then telling him that I basically spent the last decade moping and waiting around for him.  (Ugh.  Please, please don’t let me ever be that girl.)

So…..

Call me crazy, but I’ve decided to bite the bullet and blog about being single.  I have mixed thoughts about putting this side of my life “out there” on the big, wide, and very-public blogosphere for anyone from complete strangers to my family to former boyfriends to read.  But I made a list of reasons why it seems like a good idea today.  (So, um, please remind me of these tomorrow if I get cold feet and feel like hitting delete!)

7) I rarely see any other bloggers talking about being single.

Ok, maybe this is because I primarily spend my days reading food blogs.  But in my experience meeting (and reading) nearly 200 food bloggers over the past year, about a whopping 3% of them are single.  No exaggeration.  When I go to conferences with hundreds of people, I’m one of the few single ones.  I’ve been on 6 blogging press trips when I am the only single one.

Now amongst my friends and community here in KC, there are lots of super-cool single people I know.  But in a blogosphere full with mom bloggers and wedding bloggers (who I love), I do notice a shortage of bloggers to relate to on this topic.

6) But it needs to be talked about!

I don’t know what I would do without my good friends around me who keep me sane, and have those conversations about being single again and again.  But I’ve also met lots of people over the years whose friends have literally all gotten married, and they’re not really able to process the topic as freely — or at least relate to someone about what it’s like to currently be single anymore.

So if this series can in any way provide a glimpse of encouragement to anyone out there, awesome.  Really awesome.

I was also talking about the series with my Dad, and he reminded me that as a longtime married guy (and as my dad), he would love to get some fresh insights into the the lives of his single friends.  And I know that many other of you cool married folk might be in the same boat.  So if this series can in any way provide that glimpse to all of you dating/engaged/married folks, doubly awesome!

5) Personally, I want to push myself out of my comfort zone.

I can talk about food online all day long.  And I can talk about singleness and dating with my friends for hours.

But talking about singleness online? That’s a new one.

I’ve kept quite a bit of my personal life fairly private on my blog, and really only talk about relationships with trusted friends and family.  But I haven’t been able to get the idea of writing a series about singleness off my mind lately.  And sometimes in life, that seems to be a clue that it should at least be tried.  So ready-set-go!!  I’m hitting publish before I completely talk myself out of this series.  :)

4) I would TOTALLY love to hear from you and have this be a conversation.

Whether you’re married, engaged, dating, divorced, widowed, and/or single.  Young or old.  Girl or guy.  Whomever.

We all have stories to share and lots of experiences on the topic of being single, or knowing people who are single.  And I would love more than anything to hear what everyone has to say so that we can (really!) learn from each other.

3) It’s time someone talked about being single in a way that IS NOT…

…whiny, bitter, depressing, man-hating, defensive, hopeless, rose-colored, or full of terrible Christian cliches or assumptions.  (This, coming from a Christian.)

2) It’s time someone talked about being single in a way that IS…

…empowering, vulnerable, hopeful, respectful, honest, refreshing, straightforward, content, faithful, and REAL.

1) I’m writing this as a single.

Most single people probably won’t tell you this, but sometimes it can be hard when someone who recently just got married, or someone who was single at “some” point in their past, tries to give lots of advice how to live the single life.  I totally respect and validate your experience being single in the past, and know that some of the best advice I’ve received about being single has been from my married friends.  But sometimes it’s just nice to discuss the topic with people who are currently single.

So if nothing else, you can count me as someone talking about this from the “currently single” boat.  I’ll let you know if that changes.  But for now, all of this single talk is coming to you live!  ;)

So Stay Tuned.

So there you have it.  I promise more posts won’t be so all-about-me, but I did want to give a little background on where I’m coming from.

More posts coming soon!  (Including some lists.  I love lists!!!)

I have a handful of ideas on some posts on random topics related to singleness and dating to come.  And I have a handful of friends who are different kinds of single and live it out in different ways that I look forward to having share.  But if you have any requests, please let me know!!  Funny, serious, stories, lists, advice, you name it.   Just leave a comment or you can email me as well.

Ok, massively long post!!!  I promise the next ones will be shorter.

Thanks for reading along!  :)

Single at 30 | gimmesomelife.com

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330 comments on “30 and Single”

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  1. I love this. Thanks for making single not the dirty word it is my family. I am not tired of everyone giving my their two cents as to what is wrong with me to being single with pup at 40..

  2. I heart you. I heart this post. I heart those photos. I heart every recipe you write. Can’t wait to read more! And PS I just sent this to my single 32 yo BFF who now also hearts you. :-)

  3. What a brave, put-yourself-out-there post, Ali! You are an amazing woman who knows who she is and is not only funny, sweet and whip, but cute as all get-out.

    By the way, I think I remember a really cute, single avocado farmer in California that would be perfect for you. I’ll bet you could Google him. ;)

  4. I just love you! And lists, too! :) Loved reading this.

    PS: HOW ARE YOU SINGLE?
    PPS: Is that one of the things that married people aren’t supposed to say to single people? Probably but…umm…I dunno. I have no excuses.

  5. I love it, Ali. You are such a joy to know and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the subject of being a singleton in this age!

  6. I am so happy to read this! I wish I had the courage as you do to blog about it! I can’t wait to read more!

  7. Hi, Ali! Thanks for sharing. I, too, am single at 28. I am also a Christian & was pleasantly surprised to find you are as well. I’ve really enjoyed your blog & have tried some of your delicious recipes. My story is a bit different, however, in that I’ve never had a boyfriend. The whole idea of actually dating someone is so foreign to me yet, for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a wife & mom. When I turned 25, I had to release the next 5 years to God, knowing I may very well not be married by the time I was 30 (& it’s looking more & more like that will be the case). Yet I am becoming more & more content in my circumstances as a single woman. Thank you for being willing to open up about this part of your life. I look forward to your future posts!

  8. ALI! I just love this post! I applaud you for your honesty and laying it all out there. It takes courage that I know I wouldn’t have. This post is like a breath of fresh air. Realness. Xo

  9. Truly, thank you Ali! Looking forward to following this. How brave of you. :)

  10. Love it! I love gimmesomeoven. I am so glad that you decided to be personal. Thirty, flirty,and thriving!

  11. I still can’t believe you didn’t give Craig at Coyote Ugly a chance ;)
    Seriously will live this series!

  12. Love the post Ali :) 30 and single? No biggie….at least in my world. Take your time, enjoy the freedom, and when/if it time “he” will come along. Mean time, I look forward to the posts. Especially any date posts you might make. Love first date stories. I am, well, lets say 40+ and was single for years until recently so I KNOW what the dating scene is like and the horrors of some first dates. Bring em’ on girl :)

  13. Nice series. :) I am one of the majority bloggers (married) but interested in what you have to share.

  14. Ali,
    This is awesome! As a happy single person myself, I’m super excited to read more! I can’t even find the words to express my happiness about you taking on this subject and sharing that aspect of your life.

  15. You go, girl! You’re right. Far too many people–especially in the church–care for singles, whether they’re suffering or silent or perfectly ok. As a Lutheran, I’m finishing up a book for Concordia Publishing House called “Hello. My Name Is Single.” that addresses many of the concerns you mention. So keep writing! Those of us who are called to this vocation of speaking on behalf of those who don’t want to or can’t have to stick together. :)

  16. Right ON! I loved 30!!! Also there are so many losers out there.. Hang tight and enjoy life.

  17. You are a brave girl indeed and I enjoyed reading your thoughts! I celebrated my 30th birthday as a single with no future guy prospects. I married the man I waited and prayed for by age 32. Hang in there. He could be right around the corner and while I waited and sometimes whined about being single, I am glad I waited until I was older. I too watched every friend get married (I lost count of my bridesmaid dresses) and start their families. I had time to do things for myself; career, school, friends, etc. first and become more financially stable and ready for marriage and family life! Life is good!

  18. Ali, you’re awesome. XO.

  19. Thanks so much- your writing is wonderful.. I totally agree that single at 22 and 26 are completely different experiences. If you are looking for a funny read check out “The Curse of the Single Table.” Keep ’em coming!

  20. Hi Ali, I am so amazed and glad to read about your personal situation. I am 29.5 (almost there) and single and although not a blogger but have been following food/decor blogs for quite a long time and you are right how you are one of the few single bloggers out there. I appreciate you putting your personal life out there and I look forward to reading more of your blog and new series. Continue being as awesome as you are!

  21. I love this, thanks for being real and sharing your heart! I am one of the single ones and so I can relate to so much of this post. I love your upbeat attitude and appreciate your point of view. Looking forward to this series!

  22. Now that this is published with those adorable photos of you… I give it 2 months and you’re no longer single. ;)

    xoxo

  23. All I can say is thank you for writing this! I have a feeling reading your blog is going to be really good for me, especially since I’m at that point where I’m soon to be the only one of my friends who is single. So keep it up, and thanks again :)

  24. I got married right after graduating college (I just turned 30 in May too!) and met my husband 11 years ago so I’m looking forward to what you have to say. I love my husband to death and wouldn’t have it any other way but I’ve wondered what it would be like to be in your shoes. So, thank you for putting yourself out there (so to speak) and I’ll be watching for your next post!

  25. You are adorable and I love this. Looking forward to more posts!

  26. Ali, I love this. And those pictures?! Girl you are so freakin’ cute!

  27. Now imagine how you’ll feel if you’re in this same boat at 36! That’s the boat I’m in and it doesn’t get any easier, I’ll tell ya!! I used to live in KC, we should have had drinks sometime… maybe the next time I’m there for a visit. I’ll be following this blog with lots of interest!!!! Thanks for sharing your feelings, it helps to know I’m not the only one.

  28. Thanks for sharing this! I’m in my early 30s, single and recently left a city where I had many single girlfriends and loved my single life to a city where I feel like I’m the last singleton standing. It’s been difficult reminding myself what I loved about being single when constantly surrounded by couples. This post helps – looking forward to reading more.

  29. Super excited about this! 33…single…Christian…and tired of people not understanding what it’s like to be mid thirties and single!

  30. Love. This. Post. I’ve been married for four years now and I can still glean so much from this series — most of all learning to be comfortable in my own skin whatever my external circumstances. You are inspiring, Ali! Go, girl! :)

  31. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I especially love the line about writing about being single from a non-bitter perspective. Being single is about enjoying your life for what it is at the moment, not about waiting for that “right” person to come along. I’ve done some awesome things in my 20’s and with a 30th birthday right around the corner, I look forward to continued awesomeness! And yes, I would love to have someone to share that with, but not at the risk diminishing what I’ve built for myself. I look forward to this series!

  32. Ali, you are awesome! And so cute!!

    I may only be 19 (gonna be 20 soon!), but I am single and cannot wait to read more post!

  33. I’m glad to see someone else is writing about embracing being single instead of dwelling on it. Can you please comment on “But wait you are so awesome, how are you single!?” That drives me nuts! As a 31 year old I’m content I don’t have to change diapers, worry about others but rather I can volunteer, travel, explore all while not being selfish (another common thing u hear single)!

    I’m patiently awaiting future posts!

  34. I love this post Ali, a lot. It takes so much courage to talk about the things that just aren’t talked about online, so props to you for doing it! I’m excited to read your series!

  35. I just love you! You won’t be single for long! Not only are you gorgeous but you are one of the best people I know! Some guy is going to be very lucky! You are as good as they come! And until you find Mr. Right you can watch Coach Taylor and Tim! : ) xo

  36. What a fun and honest series! Can’t wait to follow along!

  37. A friend of mine sent me a link to your facebook page and I found this post! I turn 35 in a couple months and I am single. I love being single and have a tendency to fall into the camp of glorifying singlehood. I don’t know if I will marry. I think I may secretly want to, but if I verbalize it I will then it will make it real. I think that is why I may glorify singlehood; I use it as a defense mechanism.

  38. Hi Ali,

    I really appreciate you putting this all out there. I see you as a vibrant, confident, and fulfilled woman. I hope that others will find encouragement here.

    Also, I’m married (to a rather picky eater) with a toddler at home, too. Is this the right place to say that I’m often jealous of the beautiful things you get to cook and not have rejected in favor of pizza rolls?

  39. Ali – I admire you for putting it out there. After meeting you at the Dole event, I know you are a great catch and the Mr. Right is out there. I was 30 and single and shortly after that, I found my Mr.Right. I can only imagine that your Mr. Right is out there and you will find him soon. Great post!

  40. Ali! I’m so glad you’re writing this series. Spending your 20s getting to know yourself and spreading your wings is such a gift, isn’t it??
    Ps tried the biscoff ice cream. Fab.u.lous.

  41. Great post. It’s interesting for me to read because I an married and yet most of the people I spend my time with are single, so sometimes I feel like the odd man out…not saying this is negative in any way but I do find it ironic at the least! But it also leads me to want to push back on your comment about married people not having the right to talk about single hood…are not everyone’s past experiences equally valuable? Maybe I just need to hear more about what you mean by that….either way, great post and I’m obsessed with those photos!

    • Gah – poorly (and kind of snarkily) said. Really sorry about that. I went in and edited the last point. Single people certainly aren’t the only ones to have the “right” to talk about singleness — I support that for absolutely anyone. I think sometimes it’s just helpful to talk about the subject with people who are currently single, versus those who were at some point in the past. Different needs on different days. But I’m ALL for talking about the topic with married friends, and think that is way needed to balance and give perspective to the conversation. Especially when those married friends are cool, and sensitive, and encouraging about the topic (like someone I know).

      Thanks again!

    • Maux, my thoughts on this topic are briefly this: someone who got married at twenty-four doesn’t understand what it means to be single at thirty-four. Being single in your twenties is waaaay different than still being single in your thirties. And, even being single again is different than a continuous experience of singleness. That said, everyone experiences some amount of singleness and can relate on a basic level. But I find it to be a common misconception that people who married young think they can “totally relate” to older single people. I disagree, but then, I’ll never be able to relate to that experience of being married young. It’s all good.

    • Thanks, ladies–I think we’re all on the same page now… the edits Ali made since last night (and our brief email convo) make a lot more sense and I find totally agreeable. ;) Thankful for you people. As a married person, I’ve learned a lot about singleness and it’s always an uplifting experience coming from you all.

  42. I can’t wait for this series Ali!! I loved so many things about being single, but I have also loved so many things about being married – I think there is a delicate balance to enjoying both of those times and roles of your life. Ben is perfect for me because I feel independent and single (minus the wild nights at the bar and being hit on by creeps), yet still together enough to be married and love every minute with him. It’s such a beautiful balance and totally fulfilling. I know you’ll find your perfect package and it will be everything you dreamed.

  43. I love you for this! Your heart is one of the biggest I know and I love that you are pouring it t here. I can’t wait for more! Xoxo

  44. I can’t believe there are not 400 men who have not left their phone number on this post! Mr. Right is out there and he will find you and you him. Such a great post Ali!!

  45. You’re possibly my new hero. I’ve spent almost the past year being single-ish & I could relate to everything you were saying. Being single sucks some days – and others it’s awesome. I can’t wait to read more (and feel empowered to write about being single myself!)

  46. I loved reading your post and i can’t believe you are single- you are gorgeous! I love your food blog as well, look forward to more posts. You are very brave to put your feelings out there and thanks for writing so honestly!

  47. Ali, I LOVE that you’re writing this! I love every single part of this post. WAY TO GO! This is going to do SO much good for SO many people. WAY TO BE BRAVE!!!

  48. Love this! As a 25 year old who worries about turning into a crazy dog lady everyday I can relate and can’t wait to read more