Approaching 30: Not married? No children? No problem.

Approaching 30: Not married? No children? No problem.

When you’re approaching 30, you start to reflect on your 20s and your life as a whole. You find yourself wondering if it has lived up to your expectations. My guess for most of us who are approaching 30 is that it probably hasn’t but is that such a bad thing? Here’s one of the many ways in which my life didn’t go according to my plan.

At around 18 or 19 years old, I decided one of my goals was to be married by 25.

My logic for this was that to reach a 50th wedding anniversary, myself and my partner would need to live to be around 75. I’ve never decided if I think that reasoning is sweet or silly. In any case, it seemed do-able. I was undecided about children but thought I’d be looking to have them at around 27-30. That was the plan. Spoiler: it didn’t happen and I’m learning to be okay with it.

You can’t plan when you’re going to meet someone and fall in love with them. To put a time limit on that was very naive of me, and I learnt that the hard way. It caused me to make some silly decisions.

At 23, I was in a serious relationship.

We were living together but things were not particularly great. He didn’t have a job, hadn’t done for over a year and was showing no motivation towards getting one. I wasn’t earning a lot of money so I was struggling to pay the bills. He usually had his eyes glued to his computer screen and he very rarely did anything around the house or spent time with me. We were arguing more and more.

I should have taken these as signs to walk away, but we got engaged. I took that as a symbol of his dedication and believed that things would improve. Not to mention the fact that this was right on schedule! My plan was on track! This was what I wanted, after all. If I didn’t seize the opportunity then it probably wouldn’t happen within my deadline. (Don’t feel guilty if you’re laughing at how ridiculous that is – I can laugh about it too now.)

At 25, I was single.

Thankfully, I saw sense before following through with it and called off the wedding. Things didn’t change and I knew I couldn’t stay in that relationship. That’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life. Everyone was looking forward to the big day and to have to announce that it was no longer happening was upsetting and embarrassing. I am surrounded by such wonderfully supportive people that it didn’t take me long to realise that nobody was judging me or disappointed in me.

My plan wasn’t working out too well. When that was over and done with, I started to panic. It felt like everyone else around my age was settling down. Where on earth was I going to find somebody now? All the best people were surely taken or would have children of their own and I didn’t want to be a step-mum. That’s not to say that I don’t agree with the people who are. I have indescribable respect for step-parents but I didn’t feel it was right for me. I’d like to think that, had I met somebody who I really liked who had children, I would have risen to the challenge but I wasn’t convinced.

By 26, I had met somebody new.

Well, actually, for a short while, I made a valiant attempt to make things work with an ex. I truly believed that we were “meant to be” and that this was our time. As with many others things in life, I was wrong. Needless to say, that didn’t have a happy ending, either.

So, I lost some weight, focused on things I enjoyed doing and started to feel better about myself. I joined an online dating site a couple of months before my 26th birthday and met my current boyfriend, Neal. He didn’t have children but he did live 300 miles away. Why is there always a catch? He was great, but I’d tried long distance relationships in the past and found them too hard. Neal was determined, though, and travelled to see me as much as he could. We spent every spare second we had talking to each other. It quickly became serious and we managed to make it work.

At 27, I’m in the happiest, healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in.

Fast forward a year and a half, I’m sat in our flat, writing this post. Neal is wonderful and treats me better than I ever dreamed. I couldn’t possibly imagine being with anybody else and know, beyond any doubt, that this is the person I want to spend my life with. Whenever the time is right for us, I’m confident that we’ll tie the knot and spend many years tormenting each other. It’s a good job I didn’t settle down at 25. I wouldn’t have what I do now. Besides, if we decide it’s right for us, I could still have a child by the time I’m 30 – who knows?

That said, I do find it difficult some days when it seems like everyone else my age or younger is getting married and/or having children. I’m under no illusion that, for most of them, it’s not as perfect as it appears to be. Parenting is a huge challenge and one cute video on social media is probably 5 minutes out of an otherwise hectic day. Yet, I feel like they’re doing better than me. I feel like they’re where they should be and I’m falling behind. Isn’t that ridiculous?

So, here I am, approaching 30…

…and nothing has gone the way I thought it would. I used to scoff when people talked about the pressure to do these things. “Just don’t do it if you don’t want to.” That was my argument, never taking into account how lonely it is when everyone else is doing it and you’re not. Nowadays, I think the pressure for some of us comes less from people telling us to do it and more from feeling like we’re missing out. We’re inundated with posts and pictures and it’s hard to escape the feeling that we need to catch up. We’re not necessarily subjected to people asking us when we’re going to get married or have kids, but we are concerned because we’re not there yet. (The “yet” is very important.)

When I’m being reasonable and fair to myself, I know that there’s nothing wrong with me. My life is simply moving at a different pace to other people’s and that’s absolutely fine! Also, there’s plenty of people my age or older who are in the same situation. It really doesn’t matter. I could have followed my plan and stayed in an unhappy relationship to fulfil it, and I would have been miserable. So, I got out and maybe my life isn’t where I thought it would be, but it’s a whole lot better! Plus, we have the added bonus that we still have those things to look forward to! I’m trying to keep this mentality in play as much as I can, but it does get hard sometimes.

What about you?

If you’re reading this and can relate, I just want you to know it’s normal to feel both ways. It’s also fine to want reassurance that there’s nothing wrong with you for taking a different path. It could be that you don’t even want to get married and have kids – that’s totally cool. There are so many others ways that life can be enriching and exciting. Things can still be great, even when your life doesn’t look like other people’s. This applies to everything in life, not just relationships. It’s fine to feel jealous that other people have gorgeous weddings, crazy adventures and cute kids, but it’s important to understand that just because you don’t have it right now, it doesn’t mean you never will. Scientifically, it is more challenging to have children later in life, but there are more options now than there used to be.

No matter what stage of life you are at – a teenager, approaching 30, over 50 – just keep pushing forward with decisions that are right for you and things will work out just fine.

Approaching 30

35 Comments

  1. 28th April 2018 / 3:03 pm

    I love this post! When you’re younger you think that you will get mist things done before 30, but it just isn’t the case! I’m so glad that you’re happy now, that is the most important thing 🙂

    I’m 25 and although i’m in a serious relationship, i’m about to start Medicine as a second degree and it will take me 5 years to qualify! This means that realistically I won’t start a family until after that. Not what I expected, but in the long run it will be worth it!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      28th April 2018 / 5:52 pm

      That’s great news about your degree in medicine. I definitely agree that will be worthwhile once you’ve completed it. I wish you the best with it.

      Thank you for your comment!

  2. Elise
    28th April 2018 / 10:23 pm

    Having your life planned out is a brilliant idea, until it doesn’t quite go to plan. Although you haven’t stuck to what you wished for, you have gained a happy & healthy relationship which is incredible! That’s definitely worth more than simply being married to any old Tom, Dick or Harry at the age of 25.

    I hope your relationship continues to go well, and who knows? you could get married at 30 and still live to your 50th wedding anniversary.

    Elise // elssthinks.co.uk

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      28th April 2018 / 10:24 pm

      Exactly! You are 100% right. 🙂

  3. 29th April 2018 / 1:31 pm

    I really enjoyed this post 🙂
    I’ve been through something similar in terms of university. I went later than all of my friends so they’ve all graduated and got ‘proper jobs’ a few years ago while I graduated last summer at 24 and I’m still trying to find my way. But then I have to remind myself I’m in a different place to them in terms of other life achievements and goals. I’ve nearly signed a contract to buy my first house and my partner and I have been living together for over a year now. So I think it’s good to remember even though you might not have done everything someone else has, you might have done something that they haven’t 🙂 x

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      29th April 2018 / 1:41 pm

      That’s a good way to look at things. Congratulations on graduating! I think that’s a fantastic achievement at any age. And that’s fantastic news about getting your own house! It sounds like you’re doing really well. You should definitely be proud of yourself. 😊

  4. 29th April 2018 / 11:06 pm

    This is so great! I had the delusion I wanted to be engage during before graduating college because my sorority had a ritual for you if you got engaged. Thank goodness I didn’t end up with that guy. But there is such silly pressure to be on a certain timeline. I am now with a man who will one day be my husband but in our own time. I have friends who ask me every time we talk ”so when are you getting engaged” whenever we feel like it! Lol

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      29th April 2018 / 11:16 pm

      It’s such a nice feeling realising that things have definitely worked out for the better. think “whenever we feel like it” is the best possible response! Thank you for your comment.

  5. 30th April 2018 / 12:33 am

    Over 30. Not married, no kids, living my best life.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      30th April 2018 / 12:57 am

      That’s awesome! 😊

  6. 30th April 2018 / 10:20 am

    I can relate to this post & my 15 year old self thought that I’d have my stuff together by now & back then 30 seemed old. Now I’m fast approaching it I panic and realise it’s not old at all. I went through the same cycle as you with an old relationship trying to make it work but when your in the right relationship these expectations leave and you can enjoy it with no pressure. Loved your post & your writing style. Open and honest.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      30th April 2018 / 10:23 am

      I do exactly the same thing. I have to give myself a reality check and say to myself “you’re ONLY 27!” Glad you enjoyed it.

  7. 30th April 2018 / 12:21 pm

    I love how honest you are about your feelings. And I think it was really courageous of you to call of the wedding when you realized it wasn’t the right thing! Good for you!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      30th April 2018 / 12:25 pm

      At the time, it was incredibly difficult, but now I’m thankful every day that I made that choice. Thank you so much for your kind comment.

  8. 11th May 2018 / 8:35 pm

    I can definitely relate😂. I’m 19 now and my plan is the same as yours lol. Get married at 25-26 and have kids between 27-30. We live in a society where people want to rush everything without thinking about the reality of things. Like college, jobs, buying a house, etc. You never know where life will take you. I’m currently in a serious relationship, we’re soon going to hit 3 yrs. I hope everything stays good and I get engaged by the next 2 yrs (I hinted it to him lol). But people think they can just plan their life like a book, but life is going to hit you with many ups and downs to ruin ya plan lol.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th May 2018 / 8:36 pm

      Very true, you just never know how things will turn out! But I do hope that things go according to plan for you and he finally picks up on those hints 😉

  9. 13th May 2018 / 8:13 pm

    I remember having similar goals and dreams and targets when I was in my teenage years. But that was now over 40 years ago! I learned much later that the most important thing was to be enjoying each moment as it was happening, and to just do things I love, and to be around the people who bring out the best in me. Everything else falls into place after that.
    I thought I knew who I was when I was 25. Now at 55, I’m still discovering new things about myself every day. The key is to find someone to spend your life with who will welcome change and new discoveries along the way – because your life is bound to be full of them!
    Blessings and Happiness Always,
    Joan

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th May 2018 / 8:19 pm

      What a wonderful comment. It’s great to see it from another perspective. Thank you so much!

  10. 23rd May 2018 / 11:28 am

    This is a great post, Ruth! I really admire your bravery to end your engagement, that must have been tough. Just before I turned thirty I spent a lot of time pondering where my life was going – though my thoughts were more career related than anything else. Turning thirty may seem scary, but it really isn’t. You learn a lot about yourself in your twenties and by the time you reach thirty, you’re generally a bit more comfortable in your own skin – that’s certainly how I’ve found it!! 🙂

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      23rd May 2018 / 11:49 am

      Aww it’s good to know turning 30 isn’t as scary as it seems! You are definitely right about becoming more comfortable with yourself – I’ve definitely noticed that, particularly in the last couple of years.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  11. Mary Beth
    25th May 2018 / 1:45 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever related to anything more in my life. I went through some of the very same things in my 20s. From 21 to nearly 25, I was in a serious relationship with someone and we broke up through unavoidable circumstances (I’ll save that story for another day!). Met someone at 26 and I thought that was the real deal, but I was sorely mistaken. Fast forward to today, I’m 28, I’ve been living in Korea just about a year and a half now, and I’m in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in and have been for a year now. I don’t know what the future holds for us, and it’s harder as even my close friends are starting to get married, but I know I’m doing well and things will fall into place however they’re supposed to! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      25th May 2018 / 10:30 pm

      Aww thank you so much for commenting! It sounds like we’ve had a very similar journey to get to where we are now. I’m delighted to hear you’re in a happy and healthy relationship, too. As you say, whatever the future holds, I’m sure you will be fine and things will work out as they’re supposed to. It’s such a nice feeling when you reach that realisation 🙂

  12. 3rd June 2018 / 10:52 am

    Just been reading a few of your blog posts and the way you write is so lovely to read, very endearing. LOVE love love this topic for a post – I’m 23 and I do NOT want kids and can not see myself marrying … but whenever I say that to people, people are like shocked, sometimes even sad.

    I think it’s just a typical 18 year old thing to do, really. Plan your life … but then again at 18 I thought 25 year olds were proper adults and proper old and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Christ, if I went by my 12 year old selfs life plan I’d be married now with 4 kids (hahaha)

    Love your blog. You’re doing amazing! Defi became my blogging role model x

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      3rd June 2018 / 11:56 am

      This is one of my favourite comments I’ve ever received so thank you so much for taking the time to leave it! It’s so incredibly kind of you.

      I had the same idea about 25 when I was younger. It seemed so grown up. Now I’m realising no one really has any idea what they’re doing! 😂

      • Ema
        3rd June 2018 / 12:11 pm

        Naaa, seriously. You’re killing it!

        And SO true. NO ONE has a single iota really, winging life to.the.max

  13. 24th July 2018 / 3:47 am

    Really well written blog here Ruth and I must say you come across really well. You’ve done a fantastic job putting this together. It looks amazing!

    Admittedly I had some goals before 30, I didn’t meet them in a way I thought I would, but when I stopped worrying, my life got better and now have been on a 2 year mini retirement. Something I would never have even thought about when I was 18-19!

    I guess what I’m trying to say is not to worry, not to compare, be happy with your lot and good things will come. Now I have a loving woman, feel attractive as f*ck, I am attractive and love my life!

    Thanks for sharing this Ruth, i’m sure like myself, many other bloggers are looking up at your blog and commending what you have done.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      24th July 2018 / 9:03 am

      Awww, thank you very much! I’m glad to hear you’re loving your life! 🙂

  14. 11th August 2018 / 9:12 pm

    I think it is good to plan ahead and to have dreams for our future. I also think you have the right idea. We don’t have to do what everyone else is doing because it is OK to live our own lives. Life hardly turns out the way we plan, but accepting what does happen helps us to live a life without regrets. By the way I had the same plans, they didn’t go the way I thought they would either. 🙂

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th August 2018 / 9:37 am

      Very well said. 🙂

  15. 12th August 2018 / 10:02 am

    Real cool post Ruth 🙂 I turn 28 in December and have had many a silent freak out this year. All of my friends have children and are super happy which is great. But the thought of it for myself terrifies me. Then it’s like by the time I feel “ready” will it be too late? Stupid biology!! I’m in an awesome / commited relationship and we have two cats. Haha Although that has never been a “must” if that makes sense? (The BF NOT the cats they are a must lol) I’m quite happy in my own company. I think that’s half the problem 😂😂 #LoneWolf pahaha

    http://www.rachaelhope.co.uk

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th August 2018 / 9:35 am

      Hahaha, that’s what worries me as well. I find myself wondering if, by the time I feel ready, I won’t be capable! I guess there’s not much point worrying about it – whatever will be, will be.

  16. 22nd September 2018 / 8:53 am

    30 is the new 20! It’s better to wait for the right person. I didn’t meet my husband until I was 33, I was pretty much giving up on dating and ready to get a cat, but we met on the train and now at 39 we are new parents.

  17. 22nd September 2018 / 10:04 am

    I really enjoyed this post – I’m lucky in that I met my husband at 15, but it took us a week off of eleven years to get married. My thing has always been purchasing a house, I moved out into a council flat at 21 due to family circumstances, so didn’t have the luxury of saving up all of the money I could to buy one at 26 like some of my friends. I think it’s easier to put everything into perspective and like you said, remember everyone’s paths will be different and it just means you’ve got it all to look forward to! ❤️
    Gaby xx
    http://www.thefashionfauxpasofgabrielle.com

  18. 22nd September 2018 / 2:33 pm

    Great stuff. The important bit here is that you now know that things just happen as you go. There is no plan to follow. I never though of serious relationships. In fact I used to say that I’d be single until my fourties. But I was just 20 when I met my partner, I fell in love and now we have 2 boys.. 🙂 I’m happy and I love my family.

  19. 22nd September 2018 / 4:42 pm

    Can totally relate to this! I didn’t so much have a plan, as I thought I should because everyone else did… So I kept trying to do what everyone else did. I got in a serious relationship, even though I didn’t *really* want to be in one (and he was awful). I started a degree (multiple times)… Now I think I’m on track, but it feels like if I’d just listened to myself from the start I could have saved myself a lot of struggle. I’m glad you’re figuring you out now, too 🙂

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