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”

  1. I’m a 36 year old single with fairly similar sounding experiences. Nothing makes me giggle (and often frustrates!) me more than people not ‘getting’ the single life. I often get the ‘oh, you’ve given up’ sad conversations from married friends who just don’t get how great a life it is! I look forward to reading more of your adventures! There is more to life than simply finding a man, and I’m hoping to read more about your thoughts on that!

  2. Ali, I think this is a great idea! I am 30, single, and a christian as well :) Looking forward to reading more!

  3. Super excited for this, I am pushing 28 and am single and I decided dating wasn’t for me along time ago, can’t wait to read your perspective and experiences.

  4. LOVE it!
    Thank you for that!!

  5. Pingback: 30 and Single

  6. quite the opposite of you, i find myself 30 years old and in my first serious relationship! i still enjoyed reading this very much, as it’s how i’ve felt for many years. i’ll be paying attention! :)

  7. I am SO pumped to read this series! I admire your boldness and know this will be awesome.

  8. Although I’m not single I totally agree with you, it’s worth sharing and needs to be talked about. It’s better to be alone than waste time with the wrong person so we are not labeled “single / abandoned / whatever”. It’s not a label, it’s a choice. Until we feel that we’ve found the right person, you just keep on your own. You enjoy life with your friends, your hobbies, your rules. and sometimes that is so great!
    I live with my partner for more than 6 years now, but both of us like to keep our individuality, like going out with our friends, having our own moments alone, and that’s something we should never forget

  9. Hi Ali, I happened to stumble upon your blog and it couldn’t have come at a better point in my life. I’m turning 30 this weekend and am single as well. You are brave for sharing your thoughts and I can’t wait to read more from you! :)

  10. Wow. Ok, I know I’m going to love this series.

    I’m a newly wed, and I’m 29. I definitely watched all of my friends get married before me. Especially since I’m from the South, where people start getting married at 18. No joke, my best friend from highschool had 4 kids BEFORE I even met my husband.

    I will tell you: I miss being single sometimes. The prospect that each day could be something great and different is exciting.

    But I mostly want to tell you that I think there’s a strong difference in ‘wanting to be married’ and ‘looking for the man to spend your life with.’ Wanting to be married is a societal status. To say “I’m married” or toss the word ‘husband’ around in your daily conversations is a superficial thing. Wanting to spend your life with someone great who will encourage you and make you a better person is a whole different thing. It’s the good thing.
    So, I know you don’t want advice from married people, but I think you should look at it as looking for a life partner to make life even better than it already is. Something about looking for a husband is cheap.

    I know you’ve heard it a million times, but you are BEAUTIFUL, talented and have such a great outlook on life. You are a serious catch. I KNOW you’ll be married someday. So, enjoy this time (I know you already are).

    Thanks for sharing, Ali! :)
    xo,
    Christina

  11. I think I’m going to love this series Ali – I may not be single but I think I’m going to learn a whole lot about how to get to know and love myself and find it so empowering. Good on you for writing it! xx

  12. I’m so excited about this series. I wish we lived closer so we could gab about being single together. Reading this post felt like I was reading about my own life! Cheers to you for putting it out there in such a fun way. Sometimes I feel like folks think being single in your 30s is a disease. Looking forward to more posts!

  13. I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this in my rss reader (I’m a reader of your food blog). Point #7 is dead on, you start to think your the last single person out there. I’m single, and painstakingly close to 30. Can’t wait to read future posts on this subject!

  14. I am really looking forward for these series Ali because all my friends and cousins are married and are already having babies while I am no where close to that. Although I am in no rush for all that, it sometimes sucks to be looked by people as if something is really wrong with you..

  15. I absolutely love this series. I am in my mid thirties, recently divorced single mom, but this post is so refreshing and hilarious and I can’t wait to see/read more.

    I commend you for being so open and honest, it’s not an easy thing, but you are doing an amazing job!!! Congrats!!!!

  16. Ali, This is fantastic. I love that you decided to do this, and I know it will be a blessing to lots of people all across the spectrum of singleness and relationships. I especially love number 3! That is so needed! I went to a tiny Christian school also and the culture and language around dating and marriage verged on the ridiculous at times. No cliches…just honesty. LOVE IT! (And I can’t stop laughing about pre-stalking. That is awesome).

  17. A friend passed on this blog post, and all I have to say is, oh girl, I am SO there. I turned 30 three days ago, and like you I spent most of my 20s furiously single. I’m so happy with my life right now though and while I do want to get married and have ALL the babies someday, that day is not today. I’m looking forward to more of your posts. (Food blogging apparently is a lot like book blogging – all the marrieds and little ole single me).

  18. I may not be single but I loved reading this. It’s absolutely wonderful to hear someone talk about being single and NOT include a ton of whining about how awful it is. <3 reading, can't wait for more!

  19. wow, Ali! so proud of you for doing this! honestly, it’s nice to get perspective on what it’s like on the other side of the relationship spectrum and it’ll be really refreshing to read!! what an awesome idea and you’re hilarious! go you!

  20. This sounds like a great new series! I’m actually on the other side of the coin. All my life I assumed that I’d stay single – you know, date occasionally but always have my own place, go where I want when I want, be able to cook ridiculous food in pajamas while singing to Disney/90’s pop music (my biggest vice), live the “single professional” life – but life just hasn’t turned out that way, and I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. So while you and I are at different places in our lives, the part about not living the life that you assumed would happen really resonates with me, and I’m excited to read more about the single life and enjoying where you are even if it wasn’t where you thought you’d be.

    So thanks for being so open and honest about where you are in life, I can’t wait for more! :)

  21. I saw your preface to this on IG yesterday and can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that you are doing this series!! Getting ever closer to the big 3-0 mark and being so so so single is definitely an experience. Especially when you are the last of 2 girls in your friends to be single. I agree that it’s hard to talk with friends who aren’t single and that it seems like every blog I read is written by someone married/engaged/in a relationship. It’s incredibly refreshing to see this post and I can’t wait to keep up with this series!!

  22. I can’t wait to read more about this series. I love your reasons for doing this and really admire your courage for wanting to have a conversation about this topic. Now I just need to figure out how to not miss any of these posts…my email subscription only alerts me of the food!

  23. Sooo looking forward to your posts! :)

  24. Your are so freakin adorable I don’t know how your not beating men off with sticks, literally, but then maybe you are and they’re all losers, lol. You’ll know when the right one comes around. I found mine really young, but I think it was pure luck. We all have our own paths. And it’s more than okay if you don’t give some fantastic on paper guy the time of day because it doesn’t feel right, you know! Right before I got married a friend was trying to pressure me into this other “perfect on paper, rich guy” He was handsome, loaded, interested in me and perfect, for someone else that is. I kept what I knew was right.

  25. so much love and respect for you! i’m obviously far from single, but excited to read this and pass it along to some of my single friends!

  26. Great post and am looking forward to the series even though I have been married for 7 years. I actually had plans on being single for much longer than I was but I guess God had other plans. I love being married but loved being single as well.

  27. This is brilliant, just brilliant.
    Not single anymore, but navigated the waters of eHarmony and Match and would have loved this post and the ones to follow while I was doing so. Can’t wait to read what you write.

  28. I have never seen a blog which has resonated with me so much! I past my 30th a while ago and like you have seen my family and friends (new and old) transition from being single to happily being in relationships. I just became an aunt for the first time (with my younger sister’s help!); and proudly show pictures and videos of my nephew to friends. My parents (after pestering me for years) have now almost given up asking me about my dating life.
    I have gone through the tumult of questioning myself, to questioning God’s plans, to questioning everything and reached a place of acceptance and peace. I still hope to marry, and have kids, either naturally or by adoption. But, if I am to transition from my currently HAPPILY single state, I need someone awesome enough to change my mind.
    I think that this is the hardest point to get across. Its not that I am picky, or hard to please; I am not looking for the “perfect” man, I haven’t given up on love, I am not lousy at relationships. In fact, all my relationships have ended amicably and have left me (and hopefully my exes) a better person. But for one reason or the other, it just hasn’t worked out for me. And I say this without self-pity or regret. It is just a fact. Like that I am 5’3″ and a brunette.
    I am so glad that you blogged about this. I think my favorite part is “Being single IS…
    …empowering, vulnerable, hopeful, respectful, honest, refreshing, straightforward, content, faithful, and REAL.”
    Thanks for having the courage to put it out there and good luck!!!

  29. As a mother of a current single and one who at 35 married for the first time, I really appreciate this insight. I knew when these 2 left for college, neither having ever dated, their experiences would be vastly different from mine as they were through high school. I would try to imagine how life was for them at different times, but with no personal experience, marrying while in college myself, I realized I really couldn’t.

    Both of them, like you, have been blessed with close single friends with whom they could share their feelings and I know that has been a huge gift. And like you, they embraced the single life and made the most of it. I’ve come to see there is a freedom to it that those of us who are married don’t have since there is always at least one ‘other’ we must always consider.

    I’m looking forward to more posts and insights. Thanks for being so brave and taking this on.

  30. wow..i loved your post for the boldness and positive outlook.
    You beat me on this post..i have always wanted to write a post on being single and loving the solo life..How society looks up at you, how much peer pressure you have..i have always felt marriage is just a part of life..you can’t just compare your life to others happily married. I have reached a point where i started ignoring the people who try to pass on their pity to me. I look forward to your posts on this. Yo go girl !!

  31. Thank you for your openness! I’m 37 and single with no dates on the horizon, and very few single friends. I’ve spent plenty of money on eHarmony, Christian mingle, match.com, american singles, you name it! Almost everyone at my church gets married immediately after college (most went to my small Christian college alma mater which is right across the street from church…) and begin popping out babies right away. While I love my married friends, with and without kids, it’s often hard to find common ground. They don’t truly understand my life and my struggles, and I don’t really understand theirs. It took a long time, but I am finally content in being single. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have moments where the loneliness and need for a companion doesn’t hit me hard. It’s a subject I don’t talk about often because the response I usually get is that I’m so lucky I can do whatever I want and don’t have to worry about family responsibility, or that I just need to be patient and God will provide. I am truly looking forward to reading more about what you have to say. I’m pretty I will be nodding and agreeing with every post!

  32. As the mom of a 26 yr old single woman, I’ll be watching these posts eagerly. She has gone the eharmony route and currently, like you, is not dating or even thinking about dating anyone. As a Christian, she has certain standards she wants and so far no one she has met has even come close to them. All of her friends are married or getting married and as time goes by she feels less and less in common with them. What she REALLY wants to do is travel and I’m all for it. I would have loved to have to courage to plan her life the way she has. Marriage is in her someday but right now she has too many other plans to be worried about it. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

  33. I am the ONLY cousin in my family over the age of 18 that does not have a kid. THE ONLY ONE. And I have over 40 cousins. And I’m an only child, so there is tons of pressure at family reunions. At 32, I am in no rush or hurry. I think about my future husband and our beautiful brown sugar babies often, but I am not in a rush…

  34. I’m looking forward to this! I have thought about writing about my single life too. But shied away for a ton of reasons including privacy. Maybe I will join in this discussion on my own blog.

  35. You’re a single person who has purpose in life and a zeal to live it to the fullest, you are a Christian, and you are 30+—- wait a second, HIGH FIVE! It’s so cool you live in KC, as do I. I have many friends like myself, in their late 20’s and early 30’s that are in the same “single status” boat. It is so refreshing to talk openly about our desire and value for marriage, while at the same time not moaning about our current single state. Yeah, I have days where I think it pretty much stinks. But there are more days where I realize the world is at my fingertips, I can really do anything… and that is really exciting.

  36. I’ll be following along! As someone who is almost 50 and has never been married, I’ve come to embrace my singleness. Sure there are times that I think what if (and why, God?), but I’ve learned to be content with myself and find dating at this point to almost be harder than being single. I like to think that God made me for singleness and I have to find my purpose in that. Can’t wait to read more from you!

  37. Earlier you said you were picky…don’t sell yourself short! We all have to weed through the frogs to get to our prince, so to speak. In all honesty, it’s not being picky, it’s knowing what you want after so many dates with so many random guys! After meeting with most of these people you learn about your likes and dislikes. No worries, someone will come your way when you least expect it!

  38. This is a great series and I can’t wait to read more. I met Adam when I was 31, and while I had times of loneliness or doubt leading up to that, I had such great times, and adventures, and moved wherever I wanted a few times over. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything! It’s so important for us to learn to be present in the moment, and not so easily duped into the lie of “I’ll be happy when…” because that is a constantly moving target! Be happy now! Bravo, Ali!

  39. You rock. This is so very well done. I am impressed and inspired! Again, you rock :) I have so much love and respect for you and am excited to watch your story unfold. Just don’t get famous and move away from us ;)

  40. Awesome. So awesome. I will be following along.

  41. I absolutely love that you are doing this! As a fellow single girl who is just about 30, I can’t wait to have a place to come and share my thoughts about it!

  42. AMEN!! very well said and i appreciate you sharing your heart. i’m 39 and single and it can be tough because this just isen’t how i imagined my journey would go and pride prevents me from speaking about it to anyone other then family basically. …and all my family is married so as you can imagine…i’m not always understood. i look forward to seeing/reading other posts. SMILES!

  43. Can’t wait to read more on this series, Ali. I can relate to so many of the things you said in this post, and I am a singleton among many married/attached friends and family. The dating world is difficult to navigate these days! At least in my experience. Looking forward to reading more!

  44. Ali, I’ve looked up to you in so many ways through college and through your blog. I can tell God has truly blessed my knowing you! I’m excited about this new series and growing and being encouraged through it.

  45. Loved your post! I agree, it’s quite different being single at your 20-something than your thirties. And I also know what it is like to have your friends getting married (and having your high-school and uni classmates all posting pictures on FB of their weddings and now babies!)
    Congrats on having such a positive approach! I believe that one should be happy and feel blessed with one’s life as a single person and if God brings along the right person, then that would be adding to your happiness!
    And you are not picky, it only makes sense that you choose well what you want for your life.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts and thanks for sharing! :)
    @ Christina {Dessert for Two} I loved your phrase: “looking for a life partner to make life even better than it already is”.

  46. Ali!!!! I honestly love you! (Sang that.) You are absolutely the most marriable single girl I know. (Picky does not = High Maintenance.) I’m sure you won’t be single much longer, and that will be one lucky man! I’m just glad you are enjoying the ride, most days. BIG HUGS!

  47. Oh my goodness! I loved this post! As a close to 30 and still single girl, who would love to be married and having babies, but it hasn’t happened for various reasons, it’s refreshing to know that I’m not some weirdo like some of my married friends seem to make me out to be. I’m excited to share in this journey!

  48. This is a fabulous idea, Ali! I love your attitude, it is so refreshing. I’m about to turn 30 in a few days and so I have a lot of friends the same age that are single and some of them are so incredibly negative and bitter.

  49. So happy to read this series! Thanks for doing this and celebrating being happy, successful, and single! Too many blogs whine about it but it’s worth enjoying!

  50. Thank you so much for sharing! As someone who is also 30 and single I can’t wait for future posts and discussions!