What to Expect When You’re 30 and Unmarried

Turning 30 means a lot of things to a lot of people. To many it means: “SHIT!?! Hurry up! Get married, pop out some kids, and quit messin’ around!” Women especially cringe about 30 (and aging in general), because of the looming threat of dried ovaries and sagging boobs. A middle-aged co-worker told me the day before my birthday that I “Better hurry up and make some babies because that clock is ticking!” A relative told me it was time to move back home, get married and start a family. Both things were expressed kindly, but with a wink and a nudge.

In the past I have been guilty of asking, “Do you think you’ll marry him/her/it?” But it wasn’t until I started to plan my cross-country move with my boyfriend of a year at that time, that people began to ask me. Suddenly being on the other end of that question made me feel uncomfortable. I wrote about it back then and you can read it here. The thing that has changed in the last few years is that the asking has turned to telling. Oh, and now there’s mention of babies. I mean, I’m old as the god damn hills so, what do I expect?!

My boyfriend will turn 30 next year and he has yet to be asked about marriage and family by anyone. Probably because he doesn’t have ovaries or boobs. I have been asked about marriage by friends, family and perfect strangers so many times I have lost count. Despite it being the year 2015, a huge part of a woman’s value is still wrapped around her left hand and stored in her ovaries – especially in the traditional Catholic culture where I was raised. To those well intentioned nudgers I mentioned before, it’s simply seen as a gentle push: a lighthearted nudge. It’s never intended as rude or intrusive. The thing is, though, that it is rude and SURE it’s well-intentioned, but it’s actually bullshit.

Humans like sameness. It’s crucial for us to be able to relate to each other. I search for that too! I’m always telling people that they should listen to This American Life. Or to read a really good book I just read. I’m always telling people that Favereds are the best Starburst option by far. I am not, however, telling people that they should get married and have kids. You know why I’m not saying that? Because how the HELL do I know what they want to do with their lives? I know this couple who are in their late 30’s and a few years back they just decided, “Kids? Let’s not have’ em!” These people are not mutants. They are nice people, interesting people, and…happy people. There are others like them too! It’s not for everyone, so maybe stop acting like it is.

I might marry my boyfriend. After that, we’ll think about a kid. (They are expensive and they poop in their pants, so we’ll see.) But I can’t say when either of those things are going to happen exactly. So, if you have a calendar and you have been waiting to find out when I’m going get married and start family, just put, “Kate’s wedding day and Kate’s baby’s birthday: TBA” on every single day for the foreseeable future.




8 Responses to What to Expect When You’re 30 and Unmarried

    Hilary March 3, 2015 at 2:27 am #

    Beautiful cousin, you keep on not having babies and not getting married as long as you want! Love you. 🙂

    • Kate Sammon March 3, 2015 at 4:49 am #

      Thank you, beautiful cousin!

    Sara G March 3, 2015 at 3:49 am #

    Preach it sister friend!

    Also, I’m single and in my 30s and I LOVE it!

    • Kate Sammon March 3, 2015 at 4:48 am #

      Hell yes! You damn fine too.

    Nick Schey March 3, 2015 at 4:38 am #

    Yep, I’m feeling some form (the guy version) of this pressure too… Great to know I’m not the only one stressing about 30 and all the mile markers. I really enjoyed your article, Kate! Smelling great is also something I can relate to.

    • Kate Sammon March 3, 2015 at 4:48 am #

      Thanks a lot, Nick 🙂 You do you as long as you like. I know so many cool people who do their own thing and it’s admirable.

    Hanna Clarin March 4, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    You are so right – life is not a one-size-fits-all event.

    I recently published a book about the search for the right one, but instead of another Pride and Prejudice story, I also asked whether marriage really is the one and only answer to the quest for happiness. The publishers told me that they loved my book, the style and all but that a book that does not lead straight into marriage would not sell. So much for it being 2015!

    One additional thought: There is also the situation where someone does not have a boyfriend but would love and is trying to find that special someone, but it just doesn’t work. In that situation, being asked about marriage hurts, no matter how well-intentioned it may be.

    The cure: Be happy – and to all those who are still looking for love: Do not focus on what you do not have, focus on the good things in your life. It is your life, make the best of it!

    • Kate Sammon March 11, 2015 at 7:49 pm #

      You are so right! It’s a personal choice and can feel invasive for a number of reasons. Society’s focus is way off, but what else is new, right? Sounds like you are on a great path!

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