Being a 30 year old divorcee (gosh, that sounds so glamorous and cougar-like) means that society feels as though I must be under a lot of pressure. I got married at a very young age (22), before I knew who I was or who I was becoming or even wanted to be. I had an amazing partner whose love I could not accept, and I was drowning, the heavy burden of responsibility weighing me down at such a young age. I was fortunate (and strong) enough to leave my marriage in order to find myself. And find myself I did…and continue to do, every day, in every interaction, getting better acquainted with who I am innately and shaping my internal landscape and thought process more to my liking, sharpening some edges and softening others, being kind and gentle and loving to myself. As I am going through this process, aging along the way, I notice people’s responses to me change.From the outset, to people who don’t know me or don’t know my story, I look like a 30 year old single (not divorced) young woman, no kids, no boyfriend. And I find that the expectation or impression of women in this position, at this stage of life is this: I am desperate to get married, have children, start a family and build a career, before my eggs and partner prospects dry up, before I get stuck as a spinster, freezing her eggs and praying to god for a partner, working her way through all the eligible bachelors on all the most popular dating websites. I find this assumption and expectation to be offensive and entirely untrue. I’m single because I choose to be. I could be partnered with children if I wanted to, no problem. But I choose myself, again and again, rather than settling with someone in order to satisfy some unfounded expectation of society. Thankfully I am not religious, or the pressure would have come much more fast and furious, as I’ve heard from friends and clients. Do I want to get married? Absolutely. Will I hold out until however long it takes to find that right match, the person who clicks into my being with ease and openness? 100%. Do I want kids? I’m not sure. I don’t feel a very strong motherly urge to take care of anyone other than myself at this moment. But I do love kids, for short periods of time at least. So when I smile at your child, please don’t give me a sympathetic smile and a pat on the hand, and a furiously insulting platitude like “It will happen for you, don’t worry.” Worry? I’m not, I’m just saying hi to your kid. Why does that make me desperate for one of my own? I have a full and varied life that I love, with incredible friends, with dates and lovers, in a cool city with great roommates, a life I have authored and constructed myself. I am pleased with my creation, not sitting around bemoaning the fact that I haven’t “figured it out” yet. To assume a woman of a certain age thinks less of herself because of her “life circumstances” is insulting and entirely incorrect. For all the badass women out there who choose the life they love rather than the life they “should” be having, this is for you.