Sex and the City did an episode titled ‘Single and Fabulous, Question Mark?’ Something about the modern woman and her drive to get what she wants out of life – with or without a man – sends society absolutely moggy. If you don’t have a ring on your finger and a baby in your belly before your 3rd decade, everyone who ‘cares’ about you is suddenly worried and concerned that you are failing at life.

Yes there are countless movies/books/articles now days that portray the more independent woman – Thirty, Flirty and Thriving – but even these somehow always taper off with a vague air leading to a knot un-tied. Loose ends. A woman unwed – oh my!

Why? Why do we put so much pressure on a woman to be ‘hitched’ by a certain age? Why is a woman’s value only deemed worthy when coupled up with a partner? Why do we see the George Cloony’s of the world as the ultimate catch, but the Jennifer Aniston’s as borderline jar-of-prunes-on-dusty-shelf?

One of my dearest friends deals with this stigma daily. She is sick to death of being branded with a scarlet letter for her single status, and decided to speak out here on my blog. She wishes to remain anonymous, but here is her story which I would like to borrow-title:

‘Single and Fabulous, Exclamation Point!’

Why does being single at thirty almost feel like I’m wearing a scarlet letter?

This post hasn’t been written as an act of defiance of social expectations or even to express a torrent of feministic ideals; it is to simply explain why some women heading into their thirties or who are comfortably sat in the middle of them, can be quite content without a man at their side.

Now just to set the record straight, I would like a man in my life – believe me, I would. But my point is that I do not feel I need a man to be happy or indeed to feel content. So why then is it that my family seem hell bent on insisting that I am wasting my best years by not being in a relationship and perpetually asking if I’m alright (with just a smidge of pity in their voices nonetheless)?

Well firstly, don’t treat me like some sort of lame animal. Believe me when I say that although they can be fun, contentment is not having a penis in your life – particularly if it’s not the right one. Besides, I already have a lot of love in my life as I have a family I adore, I have drive and ambition, I have my health, a host of fabulous friends (both single and married) and more importantly, I have the belief that love will come into my life when it’s good and ready. I am not going to ‘settle’ just because my third decade is approaching quickly. Settling is definitely not happiness. It’s a waste of what might have been had you only held on a little longer rather than worrying about age.

In fact, even though I am months away from celebrating my thirtieth birthday, I would happily go as far to say to that my best years are yet to come. Your twenties are for deciding who you are and your thirties are for living them confidently without fear of reprisal or trying to fit into an ideal of what other people think you should be.

There are people who got married young, have their beautiful children before their mid-twenties and then might wonder where to go from there. Shouldn’t society pity that as much as a woman approaching thirty who has had none of it?

I mean, just think about what I have to look forward to: finding love; building a life with that love; having children and bringing even more love into that life. So how have my best years (allegedly my twenties) possibly passed me by? Why should I settle for anything less than what I expect of myself and for myself, just because I have a ‘biological’ clock?

I don’t expect my idealistic view of life to start today or even tomorrow…. or even next year, but I have every hope that it will happen. Until then, I have managed to start a successful career, I’ve paid off my student loan, I have a car and I’ve bought a house on my own (which I love in itself) and life is good. You see, although I do want a man in my life, I didn’t need a man to achieve what I have done so far.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of people who I believe have ‘settled’ in life – some in a bid to escape their thirties as single agents, for fear that it is not a socially acceptable concept not to be ‘with’ someone by then and others for not feeling they were worthy of anything better. Are these relationships built on love, a desire to never be without each other or simply a fear of being alone?

I read somewhere that love is not finding someone you can live with, but someone you cannot live without and if my thirties have to come and go before I find it, then I can make my peace with that. Maybe I have watched too many rom-coms and read too many romantic books but my romantic ideals are not based entirely on fiction. They are based in a confidence in myself that I am deserving enough of a love that knocks me off my feet – not one that tickles them. And what I need people to realise is that until that arrives, I am still happy. I define myself; a man who loves me and accepts me for who I am would be the icing on a cake that’s already filled with love and friendship.

Everybody is different and wants different things. Celebrate your single friends’ choices and help them enjoy life rather than introducing elements of doubt or negativity into their world by assuming they will not be happy unless they have had the same life as you. You can’t fail at life, you can only fail to live…so let me live mine as I see fit, with no settling and no compromises.

Throw that scarlet A into the trash and give me an A+ for loving life and who I am.

– Anonymous

I personally find my friend to be immensely inspiring, amazing and fabulous – all by her ace.

Stay beautiful, strong and powerful in and of yourself,