Single & Independent in my 30s
As I approach 35 as a single woman, I feel lucky to be financially secure, generally happy with my life, and able to make decisions for myself. Yet people still—and often—ask why I'm single and when I plan on getting married.
Dating today is tough. Younger generations seem to take a pass on the traditional approach altogether, relying on technology and swiping rather than striking up an actual face-to-face conversation.
And that same technology means the grass can often look greener in that next spot. The unknown is enticing. What if? If only. But you forget about all the negatives. Losing flexibility and full autonomy of your day-to-day. Having space to zone out, meditate, or hide in a quiet blanket cave without other humans in shouting distance, if you feel like it. There are positives and negatives to dating just like there are positives and negatives to being single.
I read an interesting book last year that walked through happiness studies related to relationships. It turns out that many couples were happiest leading up to marriage and that their happiness levels fell off drastically thereafter. Just like you will derive happiness from trip planning given anticipation of excitement, planning for a wedding has one thinking about parties and the idea of a happily ever after. We all watched Disney films growing up, right? However, being married—being in a relationship—is work. A relationship alone will not lead you to a better life of mindfulness and self-worth.
Being happy is not about being in a relationship.
This seems uncontroversial. But in those recurring questions—Why are you single? When do you plan to get married?—there is an expectation that a relationship is a critical step toward my future happiness. Happiness studies indicate, however, that the happiest individuals are ones with strong community ties and close family or friends.
Am I against marriage? Absolutely not. I’m open to it, I date regularly. But I am against being with the wrong person just to not be single. So I don’t prioritize the search for love over hanging with close friends and things I enjoy, things that make me feel happy and content with where I am.
I am lucky to have discovered and studied yoga and mindfulness over the years. These practices have allowed me to manage and navigate through difficult times while keeping a healthy perspective.
Do I ever question my choice to remain single? Sure. But then I think about the great things in my life and feel grateful to be exactly where I am. By navigating a healthy perspective of the present and understanding my individual needs I feel confident that I will make the right decision for me whether that’s rolling solo or with a copilot. And in any case, recent studies show women sleep better with dogs than humans, and from experience I can definitely support this.
Natalie holds a BSE of Industrial Engineering from the University of Michigan. She is passionate about health and female empowerment in addition to rescue pups and enjoying life.