Dear Auntie Seraphic,
Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 29. I am feeling very depressed about approaching 30. I would not mind being 30 at all if I was married with children. Recently a 6 year old told me I was older than her mum.
I will be attending the wedding of a friend who is 24. Another girl I know is getting married this spring to her boyfriend of 5 years. She is 22.
Please pray for me, Auntie Seraphic. It is so terribly hard to be single right now. Also, any tips on how to get through the wedding(s)?
Dear Birthday Girl,
How I wish I were 29, with skin as clear and luminous as that of a South Sea pearl. Alas! But I feel your pain because I have often thought that I would be depressed on my 40th birthday if I had no husband or children. I now have the husband, but no children, and next year I turn 39, so eek!
Now, my poppet, I was 37 when I met B.A. Thirty-seven. And I got married at 38. Thirty-eight. And on my wedding day, I was not thinking, "Boo hoo, I am old." When I wasn't thinking "oh my God--it's not just raining, it's HAILING and if my dress gets wet/dirty I will DIE," I was thinking "Yay! Yay! Yippee!" It was a day worth waiting for.
You should also know that I went through a "form of marriage" at 25 and then suffered a yucky divorce, a yucky annulment and years of therapy that cost mucho dineros. It is better to be Single, 29 and hoping than Married, 26 and in despair. Trust that God knows better than you do what is good for you. It could be marriage to Mr. Perfect when you are 50, for all you know right now.
Ignore the six year old. Believe it or not, having children in one's early twenties is not an unalloyed delight. A conscientious Young Mum gives up career opportunities, travel, wild nights out with the girls, sleeping in--you name it. Of course, there are Young Mums who keep on partying like they have no children. They feature largely in the British newspapers, especially when their babies end up dead.
I can't remember if I had a boyfriend on my 29th birthday. But I definitely did not have a boyfriend on my 30th birthday. And what I did for my 30th birthday was this: I called up a ton of friends and reserved a big table at the BEST Chinese restaurant in town. After our magnificent feast, we all went back to my tiny apartment and ate cake and drank champagne and took photographs. I put the photographs in an album along with my birthday cards, and treasure them all to this day. My birthday ROCKED. And my brother was so inspired by my rocking 30th birthday party, that he did something similar to prevent his own I'm-30-and-not-married depression.
Culturally-scary birthdays like 25, 30, 35 and 40 are the birthdays in which a woman splashes out and makes sure that she, at very least, treats herself like a princess. If 29 is a scary birthday, then I suggest you spend today making sure that tomorrow totally rocks. Here is a possible banner: "First Time Twenty-Nine". Book an impractical and enjoyable appointment at a beauty salon. Book a table at a restaurant. Line up a club or a film to go to afterwards.
Now weddings. Wedding suck when you are Single, this is true. You know there is no law saying you have to go to them, right? But if you have to for the sake of family harmony or friendship, there are things you can do to survive and even have fun:
1. You sit with friends (this includes well-beloved family members). No friends there? Don't go. Send a gift instead.
2. You look like a MILLION dollars. Hairdresser. Cute dress. Lipgloss.
3. You remember that this is your friend's big day; it is not about you. Be a considerate guest. If you have to fake happy, fake happy!
4. You begin conversations with strangers at the reception according to the rules I laid out. You are going to look like a million dollars, so whoever it is will want to talk to you.
5. Do not get tipsy unless you are having a GREAT time. Alcohol is a depressant, after all.
6. You leave the reception as soon as you politely can, going with a friend or in your car (or if tipsy in a cab) because busses are so depressing.
7. You have a big treat waiting for you at home, like a DVD of a comedy you really want to see.
Now I hope all this is helpful. Birthdays are for celebrating.
Grace and peace,
P.S. You might notice that I mention my age all the time in my blogs. It is my rebellion against the stupid (but, in the West, age old) cultural prejudice that being over 30, as a woman, is a mortal sin. And I want to rub it in well to all that it is okay not to be married before 35. It is okay.