Suddenly Single

What am I up to now? Yes, I am always up to something. It trips me out to see the way that my life as a single woman is unfolding right before my eyes, so I thought the least I could do is to share this crazy journey with all of you!

Three years ago today, I was living the daily routine of married life: getting the kids to school, dashing to work, fixing dinner, going to class, and getting in bed just in time to perform some supreme wifely duties. There were holidays with in-laws, fake smiles, fake hugs, fake conversations, and very real – but well masked – internal angst. I never expected that any of this would change. I would just stomach it – and hopefully over time, it would just get better.

But chaos struck my world and rocked our little routine-dependent household in the form of a beautiful young, Gabrielle Union-esque neighbor from Zimbabwe that my husband simply could not resist. Need I say more? One night I was doing the family routine, clueless of what was to happen over the next 24 hours. The next night, I was packing my bags, never to return. Suddenly single. Just like that. I had to face myself and the reality of what our marriage really was – that she was not the first, nor would she be the last. I had to come clean about the denial I had been living in for more than a decade. So I did what I believed was best for me. I filed for divorce, and for the first time in 12 years, I set foot into the world as a single lady, this time in my 30s, and clueless about the life I was about to embark upon. Was I in for a surprise!

Being single and 30 is quite different than being single and 20 (and in college). Here are a few of the differences that immediately had me stunned:

  • In college, there is a built-in social community of people with similar goals and interests. It’s so much easier to meet people!
  • Although I had my young son in tow with me during my college years (he was born when I was 19), it’s a whole new ball game when you have 2 kids and full-time career. Meeting people isn’t quite so easy. You have to be deliberate about it.
  • Men in their 30s tend to opt for the younger, more spontaneous-because-she-can-be 20-something woman, especially if she has never been married and has no kids.
  • The world moves at a much faster pace. By this, I mean no one wants to take time to get to know each other before, say, jumping in bed together! (Haven’t yet figured out if this is because I’m dating guys in an older age bracket, or if the world has indeed started moving at a faster pace – I have, after all, missed an entire decade of dating).
  • Women in their 30s and 40s seem to be much more bitter and hopeless… so it’s difficult to find female friends who are not (a) trying to compete with you; (b) trying to compete with you; (c) trying to compete with you. Most women I have met are just flat out irritated (or threatened) by my commitment to keep it positive.
These are just a few of the differences I have observed. The social researcher in me is actually kind of intrigued by this process. I’m learning about how men and women interact with one another, about how they think, and about myself! Because I am deliberately self-perceptive, I am blown away by what I see in myself and how much I am changing. Some of what I see in myself is good, some is not. But I always do what I can to stay positive and change for the better.
I haven’t always been a hopeful romantic. I actually used to be pretty hopeless – until I took a deep look inside of myself and made the choice to perceive life differently. So as a hopeful romantic, here are some rules I have set for myself:
  • Love my life! Be inspired by love, stay positive, treat each new day and each experience as a gift.
  • Stay out of woe-is-me mode. This is a process of growth, not gloom and doom.
  • Be open to new experiences, but never compromise my values. In other words, stand firm on what I believe in.
  • Follow my instincts. If it doesn’t feel right – get out right then. Ask questions later.
  • Always, always, always remember my worth.
So… are you ready to take this journey with me??? No need to pack any baggage. Leave all that old stuff behind and let’s go!
Pamela Antoinette, This Hopeful Romantic
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