By Paige Nesbitt
How many times have you flown across the country, either for business or pleasure, and had to stop in a town nowhere near where you wanted to go? Dallas-Fort Worth, Cincinnati, Atlanta -- the hubs for many major carriers.
And on those layovers, how many times have you been too rushed between flights to sit down for a solid meal at Chili’s Too? The snacks that you do eat “don’t really count,” you tell yourself. “They’re not a lifestyle choice.”
For single women in their twenties and thirties this time of life is often portrayed as a layover -- an in-between phase – one that lacks substance and legitimacy – one that “doesn’t really count.”
From this vantage point, the worst news we could possibly hear is that there’s ice on the runway at our destination – keeping us in between locations for an indefinite amount of time.
By extension, the next logical assumption is that of course we would spend this transitional time working too hard at a job we will probably leave when we get married and start a family. Or partying too much, because everyone loves a single good-time girl. Or making any number of dubious decisions that we will not be at liberty to make when we become the woman we want to be someday. When we arrive.
For people on either end of this journey -- the undergrads who may still live at home or cram four people into a two-person apartment on the one side, and the white picket fencers on the other -- I can understand this perspective.
What upsets me is seeing my peers, the single twenty and thirty-something women, believing and living that way. Worse yet, some have started believing they have missed their opportunity for whatever they want and are destined to drift into perpetually single oblivion.
This is bothersome for many reasons -- the biggest and most glaring of which is that this time may not be an in-between phase at all. This place is just as valid and important as the rest of the journey; one could argue it is even more precious.
This is the first time we have been out of school for long enough to have the savvy to understand the bigger picture and how to work within it. Right now, we have the exquisite opportunity to hone our informed objectives and to start moving in any direction we want, if we are not already there. We know realistically that goals take time to achieve and change can take a while to implement – and accordingly, we are prepared to think long-term.
This is the first time in our lives that we are sophisticated, aware and flexible enough to go after anything we wish – and this time will not last.
Committing ourselves to leveraging all of these intellectual, emotional and energy resources does not mean giving up on being a wife and mother someday, if that’s what we want. The decision to do so is almost completely within our control.
It means we cannot afford to squander now as an indefinite limbo between where we were and were we want to be. This is the place to unpack, fully inhabit our lives and open ourselves to whatever we wish.
Paige Nesbitt is a Los Angeles native, an author and a blogger. Her blog www.martinirescuesquad.com is based on her manuscript, Martini Rescue Squad, A Peer Expert's Guide to Being a Single Woman in Her Twenties or Thirties and Loving It. Nesbitt has a Bachelor’s in Theater and French from Vanderbilt University and an MBA in Finance from Pepperdine University.