Monday, June 24, 2013

Confessions of a 30-Year-Old Single Lady

Now that I'm almost 30 years 1 month old, I think I can officially be considered an expert on life in the post-20's. (24 days is all it takes to be an expert, right?)

So far, 30 isn't too bad. But I'm not going to lie. The thought, "What if I'm single forever?" has crossed my mind more often lately than usual. It's probably a combination of turning 30, and entering into full on wedding and baby growing season.

So, in the last 24 days, I've decided I need to avoid being described with the following titles:

A spinster is described by the Googles this way: "If someone is a spinster, by implication she is not eligible to marry; she has had her chance, and been passed by." Now, in reality, this describes someone who has far surpassed marrying age which, for the record, is 30 + a very large number. But, it's hard not to feel like I've missed my chance and there will be no other suitors headed my way.

The feeling of being "passed by" is one that I absolutely resonate with. I've never been one who dated often. Of the three of us kids, my brothers always had a waiting list of ladies trying to take on the Rogers last name. Me? I was always the "great friend." Which then leads to the typical crazy lady thinking, "Am I not pretty enough? Skinny enough? Nice enough? Homemaker-y enough? Damsel in distress enough?" And on and on and on.

Thanks to social media, we live in a world where everyone knows every second of everyone's business at any given moment. In a lot of ways, this is fantastic. We can celebrate with the newly involved. Newly engaged. Newly married. New dog owners. New house owners. Newly pregnant. New parents. And we can suffer with those who are hurting. Who have lost loved ones. Those who have lost jobs. Those who are struggling.

Whether we like it or not, we have others' lives shoved down or throats. And, when you are a little sensitive to a situation, like being a single fish in a pond full of couples, it makes things a little interesting.

Step One to Avoid Being Called a Cat Lady: Do Not Get Cats. WHOOPS. Step Two: Do not get more than one cat. DOUBLE WHOOPS. 

Back to the Googles for a definition: "A stereotypical cat lady, or cat woman, is a single woman who dotes upon her cat or cats. . . Women who own cats have long been associated with the concept of spinsterhood. In more recent decades, the concept of a cat lady has been associated with 'romance-challenged' (often career-oriented) women who can't find a man."

Basically, my two fears collide: Spinsterhood and owner of a cat museum. I'm often worried for people to even find out that I have cats for fear of immediately being labeled with this stigma. And the fact that I not only like to work, but have no plans to be a stay-at-home cat sitter? That's the icing on the cake.

Let me tell you every single lady's worst nightmare: Attending a wedding. Want to up the nightmare anty? Attending a wedding with your entire family and every childhood friend (and their 13 kids) single and without a date.

I will be the first to admit that I have skipped my fair share of weddings because the thought of sitting through another couple's nuptials was more than my sensitive little heart could take at the time. Or that I have had to scroll past a friend's 47th picture in 90 minutes of their new baby on Facebook for the day. But I have also met my fair share of unhappy single women and I don't want a lack of a significant other to be my excuse to be a Grumpy Gus.

The natural inclination of one who has been single for longer than they care or are willing to admit is to cling to the first opportunity that comes along just in case it is the only option that will ever come along. This, single ladies, is a terrible excuse to stick with a fella. 

I am a firm believer in When You Know, You'll Know. You'll know when this guy is worth keeping around. But you'll also know when this guy needs to hit the road.  I look at it this way: I didn't wait for 30 years to take the first guy who comes along without assessing if he is the right one. Because while I think that women can be too specific looking for Mr. Right, there is absolutely such a thing as Mr. Wrong.

Let's be honest. Most days I am probably some conglomeration of all of these things rolled up into one neatly decoupaged ball. Let's be honest. I could very well meet my future Prince Charming at the UDF on Warsaw when I swing by to get my reasonably sized 44oz Diet Coke with a shot of Cherry Coke for flavor. And let's be honest. If Prince Charming at all resembled Prince Charming from ABC's "Once Upon a Time," you will hear no complaints from this little lady.

But, let's be honest. No matter what happens, I'm still going to be a-okay.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

30 Years, 5 Days

Sure sign that I have now reached "real adulthood" as I call it: I am currently sitting here at 7:15 in the morning with a cup of coffee and two slices of peanut butter and banana toast, with hair color on my hair because the thought of going through one more day with those gray hairs staring me right in the face was more than I could handle. Baby face or not, this little lady has been covering up those grays for many moons now. So, when faced with 30 minutes to kill that can't be spent laying back down in bed for just a few more minutes of sleep, I decided I might as well write this post I've been meaning to write for the last 5 days.

It happened. My birthday. I turned 30. In all of it's unfinished list glory, it happened. And you know what? I lived. I honestly think I was more upset about the fact that I have so much more to do on this list than I was about the fact that there are no longer any 2's in my age.

I've never been one to freak out on milestone birthdays, going on and on about how fast time flies, and how old I feel, and how "back in my day we had to walk to school with no shoes, uphill both ways." I've also never been one to want a big to-do on my birthday. In our family, we really celebrate birthdays until you turn 18 and become an adult. After that, we all try to get together for a birthday dinner and there is usually a small gift. Birthdays are just one of many examples of the laid back nature of the family. (That Larry Rogers certainly rubs off on us with his simple ways sometimes).

So, leading up to my birthday, I had a lot of conversations that sounded a bit like this:
Other Person: What big plans do you have for your birthday?
Me: Nothing really.
Other Person: But you have to do something BIG! It's a big birthday!
Me: Nah. It's just a birthday. No big deal.
Other Person: But you're turning 30!
Me: Yep.
Other Person: (looks confused at my lack of excitement)

I'm a big bundle of excitement, huh? The way I look at it, it's my birthday and I can celebrate it any way that I want. For some, they love big, extravagant celebrations with lots of fanfare of cake and people and etc, etc. For me, I despise being the center of attention and prefer a quiet deal, very laid back and stress free and all that goodness. This year was no exception. In fact, my idea of a perfect night was a quiet one, just doing a few things I wanted to do. 

And that's exactly what I did. I left work and drove home to quickly change into non-work clothes. I drove to the Levee and had a salad at Deweys. Because their ranch dressing is one of the best birthday gifts a girl can give herself. While eating, I caught up on my blog reader that had been sadly neglected during an insanely crazy week. And then I went to see the Great Gatsby (not because I was dying to see it, but because it was the best option available). And I got a Diet Coke and a pathetic excuse for a soft pretzel. And all of this was done with "Rogers, Party of One."

And you know what? It was perfect. After the last few months of craziness and so much of my life taking care of other people (which I absolutely love, but sometimes you just need to be a little selfish), I decided to spend the evening taking care of me. And that's okay.

A few other birthday observations:

1. I have the world's greatest friends. My Echo Church ladies know how much I adore sending cards to people, so they showered me with a mailbox full of them for my birthday. And it was awesome. And they have no idea how much that meant.
That Jazzercise inspired card front and center is compliments of the First Lady of Echo Church, Kelly Carr. That picture could honestly have been taken from a "Beth Rogers Goes to Middle School" album. Cheesy glasses and mall bangs were the look. Jazz hands were to come later in life.
2. CONFESSION: As I read their messages about how great 30 is going to be and how their thirties have been their favorite decade so far, I had to keep stopping myself from thinking But your life at 30 doesn't look like mine. Because if there was one thing I wasn't getting for my birthday, it was a pity party.

3. I had to renew my license (and finally change my address from my move almost a year ago) and my first thought when I looked at the picture was Hey. I finally look like I'm at least 25. (pause) Wow, I look older. But at least this picture isn't embarrassing.

4. 30 isn't so bad. I kicked my 20's in the rear end. My 30's better watch themselves.