The Right to Be Picky

Now that I’m over 30, a lot of my family and friends always have the same comment when I reply as to the type of guy I want to marry. After explaining my standards (which have nothing to do with looks or money, but more with character and personality) they tell me: “You can’t be so picky, there are less guys to choose from at your age.”

Ahhhhhhhh. There is that bad word again. Age. I thought I had already explained my thoughts on that (Which I have; read “Age IS Just a Number”), but apparently our culture is still stuck on that awful “A” word.

As I’ve explained many times before, you cannot place an age on when something should be accomplished. Marriage, school, kids, sustainable bank account….it’ll all happen when it’s meant to happen.

Here is my theory on why as we get older, we should be pickier. When you are in your late teens/early 20s, there are a lot more people in your circle who are compatible with you. A lot. So really, you can choose practically anyone and be happy (enough) with them. There are lots of single people in your age range (give or take 5 years) with your same interests and hobbies.

In your mid to late 20s, it starts getting harder. A lot of people settle down in that time, so sometimes you can find yourself in the midst of a pool of couples. So it might be hard to choose that partner who will suit your needs. You may have to look a little harder, but they are there. You also may have to go down or up a few years in order to find that person, but that’s ok, and still acceptable.

Once you go over 30, though, this is where it gets tough. At least in our culture. The stigma of being a “woman over 30” is still standing strong. I remember dreading my 30th. Not because I didn’t want to get older, but because I just knew what people would say about me still being single. Once you hit 30th, it’s a downward spiral. But not in everything. Your career will flourish. You will start having a more positive outlook on your body image. You will learn what makes you comfortable and happy. You will have a thriving social life. You will be more financially secure.

The only thing that will be missing is that other person in your life, and that is the one thing everyone will choose to focus on.

It won’t matter if you are happy; everyone will try and convince you are not. They will continue to mount the pressure on you, telling you that you need to find someone before you dry up and get discarded with the rest of the unwanted things in society. So you try and be open-minded, saying to yourself that you will not discriminate and raise your standards too high because- well- you can’t afford to!

But your newly well-established and secure mindset will not allow for that to happen. You want what you want, no matter how old you’ve become or how small the pool may have gotten. You still want the never-married guy with no kids, who is as outgoing and fun as you. The guy who will still want to wait a couple years before having kids, even though you are 33 and he is 37 and everyone thinks you’re crazy for waiting because you’re old enough as is. Or maybe you want the guy who is a few years younger than you, who is the opposite of everything you would have wanted in your 20s, but seems so perfect for you right now. He is outgoing, carefree, hasn’t had a serious relationship ever, and doesn’t even want to think about kids.

You can choose whoever you want, but that doesn’t mean that society will support that decision. If you choose the 37 year old, everyone will pressure you to start the family right away and to stop acting like you are in your early 20s with plenty of time for fun. The 27 year old likes you, but his mom doesn’t think an older woman would look good to the community, so she tries and convinces him that he can do better- namely, a 20 year old still living at her father’s house. (I have experienced both scenarios. They both hurt equally).

Whatever your choice is, someone will always have something to say about it. And it will rarely be nice. However, even though we are getting older, it does not mean that we must settle for something far less than what we truly want. After all, this is marriage; we will be with this person for the rest of our lives. Call me crazy, but I want to enjoy the next 50 years with him. So you know what, I’m gonna be picky. I am going to check my list off, one by one, and make sure I have everything I want in my partner. Is it going to be harder? Absolutely. That once large ocean of possible mates has become a shallow wading pool. So it may take a little longer to go through each choice because you now want to make ABSOLUTE sure that he possesses all the qualities you want.

Just because we get older, it does not mean that we do not deserve the same choices that those ten years younger than us receive. I have just as much of a right as a 22 years old to turn away suitors. I can meet a guy at a set-up by my friend and tell her no, he’s not my type. But YOU don’t have the right to tell me to not be “so picky” because of my age. Finding a partner is not easy, nor is it in our own hands to make it happen whenever we want. It is all fate. God will make it happen when He knows we are ready.

So next time someone tells you not to be picky and that you should settle before you get “so old no one wants you,” ask them this: when they finally found the One, did they settle? More than likely, they did not. So what gives them the right to expect you to do the same. Age is not a factor. Find someone you want to build your future with. And if it takes you a little longer to get exactly what you want, then so be it.

Happiness is not living for others. It’s living so others can respect you for being who you are, even amidst all the negativity.