Single and 40: Dealing with Disappointment

Balancing the feelings of frustration and gratitude

This week on Java with Juli, we talked about being single and sexual. I loved hearing from my friend Lisa Bishop. I hope you'll listen to our conversation! —Juli

I am 43, single, never married, and have no kids. That's me. While those statistics do not define me, sometimes I let them do just that.

Like many girls I dreamed what my life would be like as a wife and mom. Honestly, there was never a time where it even crossed my mind in early adulthood that my life "status" would not include married with kids. There were even times when my belly would be bloated after a big meal and I would stand sideways in the mirror and think, This is what it will look like when I am four months pregnant! Being a wife and mom was something I just naturally assumed would come to fruition.

Let me assure you that this post is not a bitter, depressed, 40something waxing on about being single. (And by the way, if you are bitter and depressed, I feel you; those feelings can be so intense. Know that you are loved and you are not invisible. You matter.) This post is about some realizations I have had over the years about the probability that I may never be married and certainly will not birth my own kids.

My cousin is beautiful, 27 years old, lovely in every way, and recently got married. I was watching a video online of her dancing with her dad at her wedding reception when I was struck with some thoughts. The sweet daddy/daughter dance is always a highlight of emotion at weddings. My cousin and her dad danced to the song, "I Loved Her First." The song is about how a father is the first man to love his daughter, and then comes a beautiful point when he gives her away to the next man to love her, her husband. That must be such a poignant time in a father's life! The emotion and beauty of giving his daughter away is powerful. As I was watching them dance, I was reminded of how being single has felt like more than a "me deep" experience of disappointment. It affects other people as well.

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