Are People Pitying Me?

I remember when I thought 24 was kind of old to be single. Being single at 24 meant you were having an unusually tough time getting married. You’d been out with a gazillion guys and seriously, you still couldn’t find anyone to marry? You were nebach and you were suspect.

Now I know that at 24 you haven’t gone out with a gazillion guys. That engagement isn’t a milestone you pass like a birthday, and that it’s not something you can miss by accidentally taking the scenic route. It’s something that very consciously doesn’t occur when it isn’t a good idea for it to happen.

But most of all, I don’t think 24 is kind of old any more. Women my age with 2.5 kids fill me with wonder, not envy. Maybe I’m behind in building a family, but I haven’t been wasting my time. I’m not a pathetic single, sitting around waiting to get swept off her feet. I’ve been busy, living and learning and growing.

Now is not as good a time for marriage as ever before – it’s better. I’m older, I’m more mature, I know more and can do more and can feel more. I’m more patient and less judgmental, more crystal about my own desires and less clouded by the expectations of others. I’m different from the person who graduated seminary, in some ways perhaps for the worse, but on the whole, I think, for the better.

It was that high school self who thought the current me was a sad case. And the people who currently agree with her are probably in the same stage, or never had reason to move beyond it. To all those people: I’m sorry for causing you such distress. But please don’t waste any sympathy on me, because I don’t feel like a nebach case. I’m 24 and I feel great.

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20 thoughts on “Are People Pitying Me?

  1. I have to agree with you completely. Looking back, during these last few years of growth post-college I have grown in terms of maturity, self-awareness and experience. These are critical years during which people change drastically, or perhaps even more importantly, consciously make the decision not to change. I can only speak for myself, but I am now far more aware of what I am looking for in a spouse, what I have to offer as a spouse, and what kind of a marriage and family I wish to have. And I also can tell a big difference between girls I’ve dated who are fresh out of seminary or college and girls who are a few years older and have actually formed a few opinions for themselves. Thank God for 24+ year old singles. 🙂

    Primum Non Nocere: The DOG Score

  2. The reason people pity you is because as every year passes, it becomes harder to get married and people want you to get married. You might be more mature but you wouldve reached that maturity anyhow. You’ve accomplished but you wouldve accomplished anyhow. It has nothing to do with people assuming your just sitting around. It has everything to do with people worried that you’ll never really reach that amazing point in life where you are building your own family. It gets harder to get married when you get older, now 24 happens to be not that old and chances are you’ll get married eventually but the longer it takes, the harder it gets. I would even argue that due to the fact that your expectations are now so much clearer, it would be harder now more then ever to meet those expectations and thus make it harder to get married.

  3. Soul – I totally disagree. People DO NOT reach maturity or accomplish things in life “anyhow .” That is an utterly immature assessment and makes me wonder if you are married yet. Being married takes a lot of time, energy, and devotion to make it work and to grow as a couple. As such, the ability to achieve and matyre as an individual is not the same whatsoever. You can and do mature and achieve while married, but in different ways and in different capacities. I highly doubt Bad4 would have been able to switch her educational focus if she had gotten married at 20, and her life wouldn’t be as personally fulfilling otherwise. Now, when she gets married, soon hopefully :-), she will be a far better spouse based on her experiences. It’s not fair to lump her into the same category as single 40-year-olds who are very set in their ways and very unyielding when it comes to looking for a spouse. 24 IS young!

  4. I agree. But now I’ve got to ask bad4shidduchim the obvious. At what age is does one to start feeling sorry for a single guy/girl?

  5. Welcome to the older singles crowd. The main problem is you’ve got to think about who you can and can’t date more, if say you’re 25 you have an age limit of say 20 to 29, if you’re 26 it’s 21 to 29 and so on. Also it’s harder to find people because you’re likely to be out of college or if you’re in college you can’t date freshmen and sophmores or undergrads if you’re a grad student. However you’re also more mature and have a better idea of what you’re looking for, so it’s not entirely a raw deal.

  6. I understand your predicament. I’m also in the class of “older singles”, i.e. over the age of 21, and sometimes think back to when I was in high school and had teachers who were 18 or 19 and seemed so old to not be married. My teacher in 7th grade was considered a nebach case for being 22 and not yet married. I watched my older sister date until she was in her late 20s and finally get married when she was close to 30, and was so scared that would happen to me. But now that I’m older and have dated a lot (and seen a few friends get divorced and several have broken engagements), I realize that what I once thought of as a “dream” or of some sort of milestone is worth waiting for if it means finding the right person who you won’t end up unhappy with, or that you won’t end up divorcing at the age of 22. People who are “older” are wiser, more mature, more ready to get married, and don’t deserve your pity. I think the ones that deserve your pity are the ones who settle for the first guy they go out with, or settle for a person who they can tolerate (and not love), or those who end up marrying because of peer pressure, or are 23 and have 3 kids and still haven’t finished college or lived their life devoid of their husband and kids. Stay strong, badforshidduchim! Don’t let anyone pity you.

  7. sol – the age changes as you age. The younger you are, the younger the “feeling sorry” age is. 😉

    I sort of agree with SoG and soul. Yes, you can mature when you’re married, but you’re also trapped and there are certain things you can’t change without jeopardizing the relationship. In a way, getting married straight out of seminary is like identity foreclosure. Some people can live with it. Some can’t. I’m glad I had time to figure out some things now that would have been very difficult to learn if I was married.

  8. On a more serious note: While the maturity that you have gained since 18 will hopefully enhance your marriage, don’t forget the senior kallahs of the world with very happy marriages. Were those girls way more mature than everyone else, or did they just mature very quickly the first time their husbands left the toilet seat up? I think there’s a fair amount of luck/siyata d’shmaya/”Hashem gives you what is best for your growth” involved too, no?

  9. Some singles I know are just doing to the same boring job day in day out, and are basically sitting around waiting… for their ‘rescuer’. Yes, I pity them. I’d rather be 24 with 4 kids then. I don’t pity you, Bad 4. I wish more girls would have your attitude. You go, girl!

  10. some of these comments made my stomache drop and my throat constrict. why should i be petrified at 20, this society is the pits!!!!! im hittin the clubs

  11. Congrats BadFor! Welcome to the world of ‘older singles’. So what if people pity you?! One thing I’ve learned-we can’t REALLY control people, they will think what they wanna and say what they wanna, but we are who we are and its all about Attitude! If you believe you’re a nebechcase and you walk around and act like one-people will believe you ARE one and you will too. If you are confident with your age and stage in life and act like it-people will see you as a confident, smart, single-with a GREAT attitude. Kudos to yet another happy ‘older’ single.

  12. Devil’s Advocate over here (yet again.) Why write the post at all if you already feel vindicated- because if you feel vindicated- it doesn’t need to be said that you don’t deserve pity…because that would make one feel pity…I think. (If I didn’t confuse myself with that.)

    But I agree. I sometimes feel that I wish I would have done more personal growth before I got married- as doing it while you are married is harder- in a way.

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