Written By: Alison Seponara, MS, LPC
Yep. I am single and childless at 39 years old. Not exactly where I thought my life would be at this age, but I am learning to embrace it. While I have struggled with anxiety for most of my life, as I have gotten older it seems to have gotten so much harder to manage.
Life as an ‘adult’ comes with more pressure to be a certain way, live a certain way, & feel a certain way…especially when it comes to getting married and having children. This pressure has created so much anxiety for me, that I have felt so disconnected from my current relationships. My anxious brain is always telling me “I’m not where I’m supposed to be in life and I’m going to be alone forever.” Well you know what? Why do I need to live a life according to everyone else’s ‘timeline?’ My anxiety is what keeps me from taking risks and actually meeting a life partner. So the more I worry about my ‘timeline’ the less emotionally available I become. Also, the pressure to have children in this society is debilitating.
While it may be easier to have children at an older age these days, the unnecessary pressure from family, friends, and society isn’t very encouraging to women over 35. This pressure certainly doesn’t help women to move faster towards marriage and having a family. And if you’re a woman who feels like she was pressured into this type of lifestyle, then I hope you’re feeling fulfilled…because when women succumb to this type of pressure it’s probably because they have decided to settle. Many times, this type of woman settles for the life that friends, family, and society has painted for her and not the life that she may have chosen for herself instead. Well I am 39, single, childless, and while still learning my way, I am so grateful for the life that I lead. And I refuse to settle.
So why would a woman decide she doesn’t want children? One, maybe she doesn’t want children…and that is ok!! Two, maybe she has a vision about her career that includes spending most of her time making only that a priority. Three, maybe it just hasn’t happened yet. There are probably hundreds of other reasons, but this has been my experience so far. Not only with my own personal journey, but also for my other 35+ single and childless friends.
No matter what the reason, if you practice loving your life and yourself alone…you will always find fulfillment and love. Obviously, a career is important to many and there can be times when we go full force into our career for years because we feel this will be fulfilling. Or we have past relationships that leave us feeling hopeless. But as time passes, life goes by faster and faster. You start seeing your friends have children. You start seeing your parents age. You begin to realize that you don’t only want a family because “that is what you’re supposed to do.” You realize that true companionship…family…true love…is really what creates fulfillment.
Now don’t get me wrong, family does not always have to mean marriage and children. If you are a woman who does not see marriage or children in her future, that is 100% OK! But my suggestion is to find family and connection in community. Family does not have to mean your own blood. Family can mean your best friends, your church community, your yoga studio, your support group. Family can mean so much more than just a husband and children, but you have to find connection with others. In the words of Joe Straynge, “Human connection is the most vital aspect of our existence, without the sweet touch of another being we are lonely stars in an empty space waiting to shine gloriously.”
Alison Seponara, MS, LPC is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice located in Lafayette Hill, PA. Alison specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness with women who struggle with anxiety related to a life transition & also works closely helping children with special needs (anxiety, ADHD, & autism). Along with her private practice, Alison has created an amazing social media brand all about how to heal anxiety from the inside out using holistic practices. Alison started her holistic jewelry business, Designs for Healing in early 2019 in which she designs and handmakes healing crystal bracelets and essential oil blends to help heal anxiety and other emotional blockages. You can learn all about her own anxiety healing journey and other tips & tricks by following her on Instagram at @theanxietyhealer. Alison also offers online anxiety healing courses which can be found at theanxietyhealingschool.com. Alison’s mission is to help those from around the world feel less alone in their anxiety and offer awareness and education in mental health.