Monday, February 13, 2017

How To Be: 30, Unmarried, and Pretty Happy

Actress Kate Hudson released the book "Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body" early 2016. It includes healthy living and fitness tips. I haven't read the book. However, I am referencing it because I did watch a clip of her on one of those late night TV shows a few months back (probably the Jimmy Fallon Show) discussing the book and she mentioned she included "pretty happy" in the title because it's unrealistic to expect to always be happy but if people can find ways to achieve happiness a good proportion of the time, then that's a win. 

Inspired by that statement, and Valentine's Day coming up tomorrow, I felt led to write today's post. 

Disclaimer: You mustn't be 30 to relate to this post; you can be younger or older. I included '30' in the title because that happens to be my age and the best experience I can reference is that of my own.  

Turning 30 last year came with a bag of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was leaving the 20s clan and chartering unknown 30s territory which can be nerve-wracking when one thinks of common cultural/societal expectations linked to certain age brackets (e.g. a stable job and considerable income in the bank by 25, marriage between ages 25-27, 2.5 kids by age 29, etc). On the other hand, I was excited at the prospect of new beginnings, new experiences (personal and professional), and new levels of gratitude, joy, and peace I believe can come when one wisely moves into their 30s, 40s, and beyond (cheers to practicing more wisdom in my life). 

The one recurring theme that has grown stronger in the minds of family, friends, and myself is marriageWhen will I marry? Who will I marry? Am I even ready to marry? How will my marriage be? I haven't made "getting married" a priority in the past. I haven't dedicated specific prayers or fasting periods towards finding a husband. The reason being that I've never believed having a joyful and worthy life is directly linked to "having a husband". I've also been put off in the past by ladies I knew that seemed to idolize having a husband and getting married so much that they rushed into relationships that were mentally, physically, and spiritually toxic. 

With all that being said, I'm more aware of the fact that if you want something, you should clearly "say" so -- through mindset, words, and actions. I do actually desire to get married, which isn't a bad thing. I desire to have a husband to enjoy and endure the highs, lows, and in-betweens life has to offer. I desire to have my greatest friend and ally manifest in the form of my lifelong companion. To have these, I know there is work to continuously do. I need to embody the characteristics I desire my husband to have -- courage, compassion, empathy, patience, humility, humor, etc.  I need to be more available and open to a partnership and not operate from an "I" point of view ("I should", "I will", "I need to"). I must accept that no man (or woman) is perfect and those who love us are also capable of hurting us, which means forgiveness is a mandate for every successful marriage. I need to be secure in the knowledge that while I continue to hope for the things I desire, I must be grateful and enjoy the life that I have now. 

Although I might not have everything I want in life, I acknowledge that I have a really GOOD life -- family members and friends that love me with whom I share the greatest stories, laughs, and tears when necessary; a passion for writing and storytelling that brings joy to my soul and provides me with an additional sense of fulfillment / validation as a human being; a steady income that affords me the opportunity to take care of my basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, etc); travel experiences and memories that remind me how connected humans all over the world truly are in thoughts, hopes, fears, and our capacity for empathy. I have a good life, am really happy about certain areas, not-so-happy about others, and I choose to be grateful for all of it. 

Think of this in terms of your own life and you might find reasons to smile with gratitude this Valentine's season. Yes, you might be single, unmarried, acutely aware of your ticking biological clock, and afraid of the likelihood of ending up alone, depressed, with a litter of cats as companions. I can't promise what the future holds for you. What I can say is that living in desperation with an inability to enjoy your current life because you aren't married is not the best route. 

Engage in your creative / passion outlets more (photography, sewing, writing, tech startups, telling jokes, etc). Laugh more often. Be compassionate and kind more. Eat delicious food more. Travel, when possible. Every day might not be a happy day and every aspect of your life might not currently make you happy. However, if you critically look at your life and see that you have it rather good in most areas and you're "pretty happy" overall, then you're more on the winning side than you realize...and that is definitely something to smile about 😊😊

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  1. Your bio says you're 27. You may want to update that.

    Good read.

    1. Good catch Harold, thanks! In the process of updating the blog design and template -- will make sure to adjust that also :)

  2. haha! Very hilarious post. have '2.5 kids by 29' and dedicating 'specific periods to prayer and fasting'. I love your sense of humor. On a serious note, the level of embarrassment many African ladies over 30 suffer from "well wishers" is truly deplorable. They keep asking why you are not married and say its your fault. You're looking for "a ready made man". You have a "high taste". You are "too selective" and such related nonsense. Honestly, its deplorable. The amount of damage "well wishers" have caused to many women is unimaginable.

    For me, the key thing is living a purpose driven life. Its about understanding yourself completely; your strengths, weaknesses and passions and loving yourself unreservedly. Its also about understanding God's purpose for my life and striving daily to fulfill his purpose in my life with the understanding that by comprehending God's grand design for my life and living according to it, I will reach my highest levels of fulfillment. Marriage can be a disaster. So many couples are living lives of quiet desperation. The sad reality is that nowadays a blissful marriage is the exception not the norm.

    The key thing for me when considering a partner are values. What are this person's values? Does this person value God? Does this person understand responsibility? What value will this person add to my life? Will I become so much better over time by sticking close this person? If I cannot honestly answer these questions in the affirmative, then I'd rather be alone.

    On a lighter note, you have some secret admirers. How do they get in touch just in case you're still 'single and ready to mingle'.LOL

    1. Thank you for always having thoughtful and in-depth comments, Don -- I appreciate it!

      As for my sense of humor, I like to think I'm somewhat skilled in that area -- although my brother feels much differently about that lol.

      I love that you highlighted living a purpose driven life and searching for a partner with a similar value system; I'm in agreement with you there.

      LOL @ your last statement about the secret admirers. I implore "them" to courageously make their declarations here in the comments section :-)