About the Author: Kate Oswalt makes her bed every morning, always has her nails painted, and is obsessed with mascara. She has the dorkiest dog and the most carefree cat. She is currently the Men's Health Single Girl blogger, because she's been through enough (the good, the bad, and the hairy) and is bold enough to the give details. Here, she admits, "I am happy."
This past week I had the pleasure of babysitting my 10-month-old niece Zoli overnight. What a good kid. I mean seriously, not a cry out of her. Ok, so she may have slept horizontal in my bed, and I may have stayed up all night because I was terrified she would stop breathing, but all in all, it was a great time.
As I lay in my bed—with Zoli's feet in my ribs, my dog lounging across my legs and my cat desperately looking for her place in the pile—I realized I'm happy. I'm 31 years old, I own a home, live alone, I'm singleÃ¢â‚¬”without any childrenÃ¢â‚¬”and I am HAPPY. Whoa, did I just say that? I am happy.
For years I put pressure on myself to fit into the mold. I have almost perfected personal life question dodging skills: "Anyone special in your life?" "No Mr. Right yet?" or my favorite: "How can you be single? I just don't get how you aren't taken!" Seriously? Why do people ask me these questions? What are we supposed to say? I mean I could take them with me on a magical journey through boyfriends past, but I'd rather spare myself, and them.
There is no one special in my life right now (and, if I've learned anything from my past mistakes, I'd keep him far from nit-pickers until I was real sure he was shooting glitter out his arse). And who is this Mr. Right? Take a look at your own relationship and ask yourself if you married him.
I'm happy being me. I'm content watching Chopped while giving myself a manicure and pinning things to Pinterest in the comfort of my tidy home. Is that so bad? Frankly, I don't think the fact that I am not longing for what many 31-year-olds already have makes me strange; it makes me realistic. And ya know whatÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I am not ashamed!
I truly think too many people have bought in to this socially normal ideal and look at marriage and kids as the golden ticket to happiness. I almost settled for someone who I thought was "Mr. Right"— someone who in a year, never once told me I was pretty even when he knew I was feeling my ugliest. To this day, I am pretty sure he thought I looked like a troll.
So I ask: would you rather I settled for that so I didn't have to answer your questions? It makes me wonder if the people asking those questions are struggling with their own insecurities or discomfort. I have learned the hard way in life that those who are insecure will do anything in their power to take your security.
And as for the 'ticking clock'—yeah, I hear it. It is almost as annoying as my dog barking in my face at 3 am. Yeah. It's the strangest thing; if I decide to have kids one day, I realize I might be 35 or even 38 years old. Well doesn't that suck? Because it just so happens that although I might be more financially secure and self aware, my body might not be so capable. You see where this pressure comes in? Women literally do have a clock, ticking and ticking away. Sometimes those ticks get so loud that we feel we have to jump on it (literally) and start that path to marriage and family.
But you know what? Screw the ticks. If I happen to be 45 years old when I meet someone who I want to spend my life with, or have a baby or whateverÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ What will be, will be. Every day is a day to know yourself better, which in the end would make you a better partner and parent, no?
Let's get real, if I met someone tomorrow who I genuinely believed would make an awesome husband (forever is a LONG TIME) and father (if we want that) then I can adapt to that; but I am not going to stop living so I can find it. I want to focus on today, on being secure within myself, on my happiness and appreciating what I have—dog on my legs, cat up my arse and my niece's feet in my ribs (for one night only!). This is happiness, no questions asked.
For more from Kate, check out her Single Girl blog on MensHealth.com.