Can I be happy on my own?

This letter writer loves her life, but is starting to panic that she will never marry or have children. 

You are enough, says our elder. Enjoy every moment and take the pressure off yourself.


Dear EWC

Hi there, It’s funny to be here again. The last time I sent a letter was when I was 23 and struggling with the loss of my mom and the end of my relationship. Now, I’m just shy of a few months from turning 30, in a career that I absolutely adore and that allows me to travel but it seems as if my dating life remains at a standstill. It’s no wonder that with the scary age of 30 lurking right around the corner I find myself reevaluating my past decisions and future ones. A big part of that is realizing that I’m “running out of time” as a woman. You see, I just broke up with a man who didn’t value me and what I had to offer as a partner. He was a very limited man with anger issues that he did not want to work on and at that point, what can you really do? So I packed up whatever dignity I had left and said my goodbyes. In my (almost) 30 years of living, he is the first person I’ve ever “truly” broken up with. I have a bad tendency to stick around for far too long without realizing that I’m wasting time. A nasty habit that I’ve come to learn is a knee jerk reaction to my insecurities. 

I guess you’re wondering why I’m reaching out. And no, it’s not to complain about my life. I actually have a very nice life – owner of my own home, have a flourishing career, like myself as a person (this one took a lot of therapy and self-reflection) but at the end of the day I cannot seem to get my dating life in order. With 30 around the corner how do I stop myself from panicking? I’ve always wanted children and a husband but it seems so far out of reach right now. Can life truly be fulfilling on your own? Will I regret never meeting anyone? These are the types of thoughts that are creeping in as the months lead up to that fateful day. Hoping you have some insight into how I can keep them at bay and not let them consume me entirely. Thank you.


Dot replies

I’m so glad that you reached out to Elder Wisdom Circle. I must say that reading your letter the first thing that popped into my mind was that I was so proud of you for leaving a situation that wasn’t healthy for you! In light of the fact that you said in the past you stuck around far too long not realizing you are wasting your time. I love how you say you packed up your dignity. I’m so glad you trusted your gut to know that this was not the man for you. Leaving a relationship is never easy.

The one thing I want you to remember is that you are “enough” just the way you are! You sound like a confident, competent young lady. If you were my granddaughter, I would tell you to try to live in the moment. Enjoy each day and find gratitude even in the little things. I understand your desire to have a family. It’s great that you know what you would like in life, and you very well may find that. But as you found out, being in a bad relationship isn’t better than being in a good relationship with yourself. Stay open to finding new passions in life. What things do you enjoy? Have you considered volunteering for a cause that you feel passionate about? I have found that this is a great way to meet people of like minds. Have you found time to explore things you haven’t had “time” for while in this relationship? Do you enjoy things like photography, writing, art, or outdoor activities? I suggest spending free time enjoying those things you have put on the back burner. Who knows where it might lead? Your happiness and security is most important. By putting yourself first you may be surprised that you find you are reaching out to others in a way you never expected. 

You worry about having regrets about not meeting the right person. My best advice is to just be open to new experiences and to whoever is brought into your life. When I was growing up in the 1960s it was expected that I would marry and have children. My dad even told me that he didn’t have money for college for me because my brothers came first. I would marry and have a husband that would “take care” of me. It took me a long time to find that independent woman that you have already discovered. You are ahead of the game. If you do find a partner to share your life with you will be a great role model for your children if you are so blessed. There are also other options that you may consider. Foster care and adoption are open to single individuals now if that is something you are interested in. 

So yes, I do think you can be happy on your own. You have so many options to explore. I know that 30 seems like time is running out, but believe me when I say you have so much to look forward to. Try not to put expectations on any dating relationships that you find yourself in. Be yourself and enjoy what each one will bring. I think each relationship shows us what we want or don’t want in a long-term relationship. None of us know what tomorrow might bring, so it’s important to enjoy what today brings without expectations or regrets. I will be thinking of you and wishing you the best. Please feel free to write back anytime if you have any other thoughts. We are always here to listen. 

Article #: 494671
Category: Dating/Relationship

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