About 7 or 8 years ago, a friend and I were sitting in a coffee shop. My friend turned to me to say that she recognized a woman there.
“She’s on a date!” my friend exclaimed. “Oh my God! I haven’t seen that girl in years. She’s probably like already THIRTY now! I hope that’s not me when I’m thirty, still single and trying to meet someone online.”
I agreed with her. Thirty seemed WAY too old to still be single.
We were both in our early twenties then. Now that I look back, shame on me for thinking that way. Shame on me for agreeing with a stereotype that there must be something wrong with a woman if she’s still single in her thirties. Shame on me for judging a woman for her unmarried status.
This was what I was thinking about last weekend on Valentine’s Day.
There seems to be this old-age taboo thinking that a woman should be married by the age of 30. This thinking does not apply to men, who can be 40 or 50 and still be considered an eligible bachelor. Meanwhile, ladies who remain single are considered crazy cat ladies.
First of all, cats are awesome. And I take pride in being a crazy cat lady. But that has nothing to do with my single status.
Second, I think as a society, we need to stop focusing on fairy tale happy ever afters as the end game of life. Marriage is great. But it’s not the only thing to look forward to in life. True love may be around the corner for some, and that’s great. But for others, love may be more difficult to find, frustrating at times, and it’s totally okay. We need to encourage people, not disparage them. We need to stop judging singles who are older than most. We need to stop pestering singles, stop accusing them of being “too picky.”
Next Valentine’s Day, let’s not focus on it being a SAD, SAD “Singles’ Awareness Day.” Instead, let’s love our single friends and our married friends. Let’s send Valentines to children and adults, to young and old. Let Valentine’s Day be a day to love EVERYONE, not just a commercialized holiday that focuses on romantic love between couples.
Let’s send love letters year round to strangers. Let’s send smiles and kindness everyday. Because love should be extended to everyone.
Because: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
That’s what real love is.