For some reason, even in 2018, there is still the notion that if a woman isn’t married by a certain age (or heaven forbid, ever), something is lacking from her life. As if the only way a woman can live a truly fulfilled life is if they have a partner. Newsflash, folks: that is absolute bullshit.
Having a significant other is supposed to be a loving addition to your life, not your entire reason for existing. And the fact that we start to impose these completely arbitrary deadlines on women for when they “should” be settling down is ridiculous.
Why is it that if a woman is approaching 30 and single, then there must be something wrong with her? First of all, we know that many millennials are postponing getting married for a myriad of reasons, but even if they aren’t, 30 isn’t even old. Women are just moving into the prime of their lives, and they don’t need the stigma of being single attached to them.
Women of all ages are out there living their best single lives every day and it’s inspiring as fuck. And thanks to an Instagram account called “Not Engaged,” we can all revel in their awesomeness.
Mary McCarthy is a 30-year-old documenting her everyday life on Instagram, but here’s the catch: her entire account is pictures of her ringless left hand. She is doing normal things like riding the subway or going to the beach, but by showcasing her naked hand, she is showing that people who are #notengaged can do the same things that married or coupled folks do.
“[W]hen ur #notengaged and u don’t make ur bed cuz honestly ur just so busy swiping left on people u don’t have the energy,” reads one post of her unmade bed.
“It’s basically how I’m living my life, and how I’m single and I have my own apartment and how single girls are doing just as fine as everybody else,” McCarthy told Good Morning America in an interview.
I’ll second that, thank you very much.
Two years ago, just a month before my 30th birthday, I ended my 6.5-year relationship with my son’s father. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, and I was scared as fuck. The last few years of our relationship, I spent so much time agonizing over where the relationship was going. As we approached 30, it seemed like all of my friends were getting engaged and getting married. I knew my ex loved me, but I felt so much pressure to be married. Because if you’re in a committed relationship in your late 20s, then naturally you’re supposed to be thinking about marriage.
It got to the point where I felt like I couldn’t be on social media without seeing yet another ring picture. It felt like Facebook was pushing those posts through my newsfeed at a higher volume, and while I was happy for my friends, I couldn’t help look down at my own naked finger wistfully, hoping that sooner rather than later it would be graced with a ring.
“As jokesy and silly as it is, I try to skew it more to empowerment … even though there’s the emoji with the huge tears streaming down,” McCarthy said in the GMA interview.
Single women are constantly barraged with imagery that makes them feel like they’re missing something by not being married. I can’t begin to tell you how many time I’ve been standing at the grocery store checkout line, my eyes skimming the magazines and seeing at least three different bridal magazines. I’m just trying to buy my frozen meal for one in peace; I don’t need to be stared down by the latest issue of Modern Bride, okay?
As a single mom in my early 30s, I feel an extra amount of pressure to find someone and settle down. Or at very least, I feel the pressure to date. Dating is on my radar, though I have a pretty awesome life without it. But I’m still inundated with the notion that I need to be partnered. Every time I use the hashtag #singlemom on Instagram, I get likes and follows from dating apps and websites. It feels like someone is sitting and waiting for someone to share a hashtag using the word “single” so they can pounce.
That’s why McCarthy’s “Not Engaged” account is so appealing — it’s the antithesis of what we as women are constantly being told. We can absolutely be living our best lives without a significant other. We are perfectly capable of living our best lives completely by ourselves if we choose to.
There are so many women out there absolutely slaying life — they have fulfilling careers, are surrounded by a loving circle of friends and family, and are doing kick ass amazing things. They’ve realized that you don’t need a romantic partner to live your best life. It’s inspiring as fuck, and frankly, we need to be giving them more praise. Shine on, ladies.