On Being An Older Single

She spoke to me: “As an older single, you…”

At that point I tuned out. Spaced out.


Older Single?

Am I an Older Single?

I watched those two words tattoo themselves on my forehead.

I guess that in each culture/social circle, that ‘Older Single’ age is different.

And that in this particular subsection of the world, I am.

I mean… it was always 26, right?

When my friends and I would talk, it would always be 26.

When our cohort got married at 20 and 21, 22 and 23, we would console ourselves: “It’s alright! We’re good! It’s not like we’re 26. We’ve got time.”

But how do we console ourselves now?

A bit ago, someone very kindly told me that she wanted to set me up with a boy.

“How old are you again?” She asked me.

“I’ll be 26 this summer.” I replied.

“But you’re still 25. We’ll just go with 25.”

Which I understood. Because there’s something about the number six.

I mean, after all, 26 is totally different than 25.

25 is almost 24 which is almost 23 which is practically 20.

Whereas 26… well.

26 is almost 27 which is almost 28 which is practically 30. And 30 is…

Also a good number?

(Yeah, I don’t really get why 26 is the boundary).

Maybe females just expire after the 25th. Or, not expire but… get moved to the back of the shelf.

That age is like a ‘best if sold by’ date on grapes.

The grapes can still be bought, but… just… be aware. Because the ‘best if sold by’ has passed.

A few months ago, I saw an acquaintance on the streets of Brooklyn who wished me the most glorious of wishes, “we should hear good news about you!”

And we all know what she meant. She wanted to hear about an engagement.

I responded: “I can tell you good news from this morning!”

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Because I woke up this morning.

And lived.

Because we all live, us 25 and 26 and, yes! Even 35-year-old single people.

We still live.

Just like people in committed relationships. And people in fleeting relationships. And people with children. And people without children.

We all live.

“It must be difficult being single.” People emphasize.

Of course.

Of course it’s hard.

Of course there are those days. And those nights.

There are those moments when it gets to be too much.  When I wish this stage of my life was over.

Those less enjoyable dates. Those times I want to be something more than ‘just’ me. When I wish I was building something greater than my own empire.

There are so many reasons why this is hard.

But what I think people sometimes forget is that everyone, at every life cycle stage, experiences those feelings from time to time.

The feeling that their life stage is difficult.

The wish that they could move forward or backward.

I may not be there yet, but I know there are evenings where married people wish that they had freedom again. Could travel. Could make decisions without always taking someone else into consideration.

I know that there are nights when parents of babies wish that they could go back to the nights they actually got 7 hours of sleep. Or could leave the house in less than 15 minutes.

Life is frustrating for all of us sometimes. Thanks for acknowledging that.

But don’t feel bad for me.

(Or do. I mean, I always appreciate emotional empathy).

But know that most of the time, don’t feel bad for me.

Because I’m actually quite happy.

Realize that although I may be an ‘Older Single’, most of the time, I don’t feel Old. And most of the time, I’m not focusing on the fact that I’m Single.

Because this is Life. And Life is a uniquely-flavored cake composed of beauty and ugliness and independence and loneliness and joy and sadness and eggs and flour.

And maybe 26 year olds have passed the ‘best if sold by’ date.

But sometimes, expired grapes turn into wine.

And who doesn’t like a good Cabernet?

(Image by L. Whittaker)