You are exactly where you need to be right now

A stance against the pressure of settling down once you hit 30

Right now I’m on a plane back to San Francisco from a bridal shower for my younger brother’s fiancé. As the oldest of the family, tradition holds that I should be the first to walk down the aisle, but that isn’t always how it works. Not only my brother, but also both of my younger cousins, will be getting married within the next year. My groom is still TBD.

Many of my single girlfriends have admitted that once they turned 30, they became overwhelmed with the pressure to settle down. Wedding announcements start to flood your Facebook feed. You see photo after photo of friends babies dressed up as pumpkins on Instagram. Ironically you are dressed as a slutty pumpkin yourself heading out to the bars on Union Street.

Little by little your friends start coupling up and you wonder why you can’t seem to get past date three. That wedding invite comes and you pray you aren’t the only one without a plus one. And that dreaded question from your mom or nosy aunt, “Are you dating anyone right now” or even worse “Why are you still single?” You start to wonder, “Is there something wrong with me?” “Why am I the only single one here?”

You can’t help but question why you aren’t stacking up. You’re winning in all other areas of life. You have a fantastic career, great friends, and live in the best city in the world (San Francisco, of course!). It’s just that one relationship part that seems to be the missing piece.

Why should there be all this pressure? Society projects that you are incomplete if you don’t have 2.5 children and a white picket fence. These days, we are focused on many other dreams such as being CEO, traveling around the world, moving to a new city, etc. etc. Women can even freeze their eggs! Why do we feel the need to have a set timeline to marry by 30 and have babies by 35?

A wise guest on the Date/able Podcast said recently:

You are exactly where you need to be right now.

She described a recent relationship that didn’t work out despite having immense mutual feelings of love. She considered him a soulmate, but they both had personal things to work on and were not right as lifetime partners. He was what she needed at the time to learn about herself and qualities in a partner that brought her to her current boyfriend. For that, she was thankful.

Her positivity on the situation floored me. I had also been in a relationship that ended, despite being in love. I wish I could say I was as positive as our guest…

While there was some sadness, there was also a whole other range of emotions I felt around reclaiming my “single” status. I dreaded getting back on apps such as Tinder and Hinge. I didn’t want to make small talk at bars or on first dates. I had outgrown the party scene.

I was not looking forward to starting back at square one.

A breakup is clearly disappointing, however, I learned from the guest on our show. I started to focus on the positive and not fixate so much on the ticking clock. Starting and ending this relationship was an important step for my life and personal development. Even though it didn’t end in marriage, I believed wholeheartedly that this relationship was exactly what I needed at that time, and that time only.

I reflected back on my own life and my dating history.

There was a time that I wanted only casual relationships. I wasn’t looking for anything serious when I first moved to the city and in turn, I developed other aspects of my life. I built a strong group of friends and began excelling in my career. This allowed me to become self-employed, self-sufficient, and gave me a foundation for my life in SF. I also became more sexually confident, which is never a bad thing either.

You are exactly where you need to be right now

I had a ‘relationship’ (read: friend-with-benefits situation) that spanned almost 2 years. He was upfront that he didn’t want a girlfriend and never wanted to get married. Everything was out of convenience and he was never invested in me. I’ll never settle for someone that isn’t excited about me, as I now know my standards, and what I’ll never EVER tolerate again.

You are exactly where you need to be right now

There was a period when I was on every dating app under the sun. I went on 3–5 Tinder dates a week, sometimes even double booked in a single night. None of them turned into anything serious, but I learned so much about what I was looking for in a partner. I got comfortable on dates; being playful, flirting, and becoming a good conversationalist. It helped me grow as a person and be ready for a real relationship.

You are exactly where you need to be right now

And my last relationship? It showed me how to love someone unconditionally and put someone else’s needs ahead of my own at times. I learned that I can be a pretty damn good girlfriend and began to appreciate what I bring to the table in a relationship. I figured out what I need and expect from a partner in a serious long-term relationship.

I’m now ready for that next step and more confident it’ll happen when the time is right.

So next time things aren’t going according to plan, see if there is a silver lining. There isn’t a single road to success in life, we all have different paths and will get where we want to be when we’re ready. You could be out partying and having casual hookups, maybe you’re recovering from a traumatic heartbreak, or even going on a new date every night — it doesn’t matter.

You are exactly where you need to be right now

@juliekrafchick is the content producer for Date/able Podcast, which opens a candid conversation about dating in San Francisco. Listen to the full episodes at

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