Relationships

Single Woman Seeks Role Model

Single Woman Seeks Role Model

When I was a child, a friend once asked me who my hero was…

It was recess, and a group of us sat on the playground, not far from a rousing game of handball. One by one, each girl named her hero: Sojourner Truth… Gloria Estefan… Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. Then it was my turn. I shrugged. It’s not that I didn’t look up to these women, or to many, many others, but it hadn’t occurred to me to hold one person in particularly high esteem.

A child of the 80s, I grew up obsessively singing the lyrics to Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All,” and somewhere around the thousandth time, my course in life was pretty much set. Whitney told me never to walk in anyone’s shadow, and that sounded pretty good to me. She also told me the greatest love of all lived inside of me, and that sounded pretty great, too.

But a decade later, around the same time I moved to New York, I stumbled across the highly accessorized, highly flawed Carrie Bradshaw. Freshman year of college, my group of four friends would spend our New York City nights crowded around someone’s laptop, watching four single women living out their own nights in New York City. (Meta.) Lord help me for typing this, but they became our urban role models. (What can I say? We were eighteen.)

We didn’t love these women because they were promiscuous or powerful or hopeful. It was only marginally about the fashion. We loved them because, like Mary Richards and Murphy Brown before them, Carrie & co. represented a woman’s ability to make it, on her own, in a large and uncertain world. I loved that these women lived by their own principles, even when they were principles I didn’t subscribe to.

But the show, bless its 2004 heart, still chose to give Carrie a fairy tale ending. The final season ends with a man rescuing her, from another man. And then they kiss. The show may have been a celebration of female friendship and independence, but the ending was something else entirely.

I am now 34, the same age as Carrie during the show’s inaugural season. Like Carrie, I live alone, with more shoes than I care to admit, and make my living as a writer, which sometimes includes writing about my personal life. But here, outside the realm of fiction, I recently found myself searching for that long lost role model.

If your life — whether by choice or by circumstance — doesn’t end with marriage or children, it can feel hard to find kindred heroes to look up to.

There is Linda Rodin, who I admire not just for her love of bold lipstick and faux furs, or the fact that she lives with her beloved dog in an apartment bursting with curiosities, or because she launched a wildly successful business. Rodin has a full, fascinating life that does not include marriage or children. “I loved being in relationships with wonderful and really interesting men,” she says, “I just never felt the pressure to get married. Still don’t.”

And of course, there is always Oprah.

And yet.

Where, I ask you, is the role model who talks about filing taxes as an individual? Or who they turn to in an emergency? Or how they tackle difficult life choices? Or whether they have regrets? Can someone tell me how they summon the courage to answer nosy people’s questions and fill the lonely hours and kill large bugs? Do they travel alone? What are they afraid of?

Then one quiet evening, that old Whitney Houston song popped into my head. Maybe I didn’t need a role model after all. Maybe eight-year-old Caroline was onto something: maybe I could be my own.

I am currently working on a book of essays, and after much soul-searching, none of said essays focus on dating, or relationships, or even being single. As it turns out, I’ve had many worthwhile experiences on my own.

As it turns out, my heart is full, as is my life.

When social media was still young, and shiny images were just starting to circulate through our collective consciousness, I thought it was important to talk about what goes on behind-the-scenes. To that end, I shared stories about less-than-ideal moments and posted photos explaining the messes lurking just outside the frame.

Now, for every airbrushed vacation photo, there is another of someone willing to share his or her heartbreak, depression, insomnia, debt, disappointment, personal loss… and I am thankful for all of them. The most powerful thing we can do is share our stories, to help create a common narrative and know we are not alone.

This is true for ALL stories — including triumphant stories starring unmarried women.

And so, I’ve stopped shying away from sharing happy moments. In fact, I will go out of my way to do so. If I’m proud of a success, personal or professional, I’m not going to hide it. If I love my apartment or feel like dancing with glee, then guess what? I will make it known. I no longer fear showing the bright spots (along with the struggles), because I’ve realized they carry just as much weight.

So I’m here to say, speak up. Be the role model you wish to see in the world. You don’t know who’s watching, and you don’t know who it might empower.

In the words of Joan Jett singing the title song from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, you’re gonna make it after all. Perhaps, you already are.


P.S. On traveling alone and 12 women on becoming the person you’re meant to be.

(Illustration by Alessandra Olanow.)

  1. I loved reading this, I think I needed this the most today. In a world where everyone is looking for someone to look up to and to find a role model in, it is important to realise that you can be your own role model. Be proud of your accomplishments and share them. I have started doing that and I’ve helped myself a lot by doing it.

  2. I’ve had this post open for the last month now and I finally sat down and read it fully.

    THANK YOU!

  3. Novi says...

    Thank you Caroline! made my Sunday =)

  4. Mado says...

    Oh my… I am late to the party because i was on a trip and didn’t have wifi for three weeks, so i’m catching up on all the wonderful posts this morning, jetlaggued and sickish and not sure what time it is and this. This just brought tears to my eyes.

    I hope it doesn’t sound too corny, but you Caroline have been a person i have looked up to in the past few years. Being single, living in a ridiculously small appartment in Paris on my own, i once was desperate to find some role models to hold on to: strong, single, independant women, who aren’t married or have no children and despite what society tries to tell us, aren’t unhappy and miserable but quite the opposite instead. I looked and looked, but there was no one in sight.

    And then you popped into my life thanks to this blog and i started furiously reading everything you wrote; thinking ‘i love this woman” at the end of every article. Being a few years older than me (i’m 28) you became my role model: you made me laugh and weep and wish i knew you personnally; you helped me articulate thoughts and feelings i had but didn’t know how to express. And then, with time and a whole lot of self-work, i kind of realised that i love myself and my life enough and perhaps, i can be my very own role model. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

    (I’m still very much looking up to you and avidly reading everything you write though) ;)

  5. Sarah says...

    Beautiful. Just what I needed to read this morning ❤️

  6. Alexandra Gagnon says...

    You hit it spot on every time.

    What a beautiful piece that is sure to make the rounds in my group of girlfriends.

    xx alex

  7. Julia says...

    Cue.. Whitney Houston and credit role….

    I decided long ago
    Never to walk in anyone’s shadows
    If I fail, if I succeed
    At least I’ll live as I believe
    No matter what they take from me
    They can’t take away my dignity

    (Insert me singing loudly in my head at my desk)

    Nicely written! Celebrate YOU.

  8. Caroline you are such an amazing writer. Thank you for this post it is what so many of us need to hear. 💪

  9. Ssan says...

    A very comforting piece, Caroline :)

  10. Sarah says...

    Fellow 34-year-old single lady here! I just want to say how much I appreciate your voice on this blog. It’s hard to find writing I can relate to – the fact is, there just isn’t much out there that speaks directly to single people, especially single gals in their 30s.

    BUT, I do have to say, I am a diehard SATC fan and disagree with your analysis of the ending. Carrie left The Russian on her on own will, with no knowledge of Big’s “rescue”. And while yes, it did end with her being in a relationship, it didn’t end with a marriage proposal or even him living in the same city immediately. And she talks about how the most important relationship we have is the one we have with ourselves. I feel the need to defend my favorite show because I feel it gets an unfair rep sometimes as just a silly show about women sleeping with men, but yet I find that even in 2018 it still speaks directly to me.

    Whew, I guess I really love SATC! :) Thank you :)

  11. Rose says...

    Gosh, I hate to be the outlier here, but this rubbed me the wrong way. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s written beautifully and I get the message to a degree…but) Why do we need role models who are single and sans children? I overwhelmingly feel like women are defined by their relationships to others (so-and-so’s wife, so-and-so’s mom, so-and-so’s sister) and while these are of course pivotal roles in our lives, do they make us unrelatable to those who don’t share them?

    I’m an emergency contact for married girl friends, I prefer to travel with girl friends over partners, I kill large bugs without the help of a partner (I’m hoping we’re not making the assumption that a partner/bug killer has to be male, btw), I honestly couldn’t tell you whether the women I most respect in my organization are married or mothers. I’m not trying to hate on this article, truly. I just read it and felt discouraged at best and perhaps even slightly offended at having yet another divide between women based on their personal relationships.

    • maïa says...

      I loved this article but I second this as well!

    • Abby Favro says...

      I agree. Also, I think single peeps are way more into sharing personal or professional success. I do feel there would be some side eye action if I (married with kids) decided to wax on about how *great* being married and a mother and having a job is… I often share the messy a.) because it’s funny but b.) to not come across as messy

    • Sarah says...

      I think the reason we “need” role models who are single and sans children is that people look for people to look up to / relate to that feel like them. And like it or not, when you’re in your 30s and your friends are getting married and starting families, if you are single it can feel like you’re the odd one out. So it helps to have someone out there who you can relate to or look up to in some way. Of course our relationships / lack of relationships are the only things or the most important things that define us, but they can have us longing to share in the human experience for some who “gets it”.

  12. Jackie says...

    Where, I ask you, is the role model who talks about filing taxes as an individual? Or who they turn to in an emergency? Or how they tackle difficult life choices? Or whether they have regrets? Can someone tell me how they summon the courage to answer nosy people’s questions and fill the lonely hours and kill large bugs? Do they travel alone? What are they afraid of?

    I haven’t heard her speak of taxes yet but Cheryl Strayed.

  13. Stephanie says...

    As a 32 year old single woman, this spoke to me. I love my life. Bought a house last year, I have a career that I’m happy with, I have a great relationship with my family, a couple of close friends, and fulfilling hobbies. Sometimes I think, “I’m single, and I like it. Why can’t I just stay this way forever? Who says I need a partner?” And then I remember that I think I may want kids someday and that I should probably get on that and then I’ll feel… I don’t know. Confused I about what I really want. Am I really happy being alone? Would I be forever?

    • Maeve says...

      You just articulated EXACTLY how I feel, Stephanie. Happy in my life but every now and then… I remember I may like to be a mom. One (joyful and fulfilled) day at a time. <3

    • HH says...

      Stephanie, I relate to your comments as a 38 year old single lady! I really would like to have a best friend/marriage partner and don’t want to rule out kiddos but it gets increasingly difficult to meet men who feel similarly at this
      age and who are not… odd. I’d rather be single than be with any of the men I’ve met online and sometimes it’s just easier to just “be”rather than participating in the dating game. But then I fear waking up at 50 or 60 or 70 alone and regretting the love I didn’t open my heart to. Ai yi yikes. Adulthood is tough! And it’s sometimes tougher when you’re the only single person in your friend group—you become the de facto confidant, therapist, babysitter, helper, etc. to all, which is a blessing, but sometimes to the detriment of your own personal life.

  14. Shannon says...

    Thank you Caroline! I look forward to reading your book of essays.

  15. G says...

    Thank you for this, Carolyn. An honest, thoughtful and thought provoking essay. I’d like to add another aspect to it – we shouldn’t forget that things do not end with marriage and kids. Another phase in one’s life starts and the journey of self discovery and personal development continues. I am happily married for 9 years now, with two kids and I am so grateful for my little family. However I still struggle with issues such as low self esteem and the need to find my self worth within and stop craving external validation. In other words, I’m still working on the greatest love of all.

  16. I think being single is hard because at the end of the day, we are all searching for love and acceptance. But, one of the great things about being a woman is that we adapt easily, and we can find joy in our lives, regardless if we are single, married or, like me, divorced. It may take time, but we will always get there. I too gave up on the perfect social media profiles, and only writing about the happy things. As a good friend of mine said, my divorce was the best thing to happen to my writing. Being honest about my journey has helped me become a better writer, and more true to myself. Thank you, I loved this post!

  17. Ashley E Miller says...

    And I thought my love of Caroline couldn’t get any bigger. I’m married and a parent but these words still spoke to me on a very deep level. There is something so new, so inspiring about the idea of being your own role model. I’m moved to tears by the idea that being me — without looking to others for validation or guidance or ways it “should” be — is not only enough, it’s beautiful and wonderful.

  18. Oana says...

    Yes! A thousand times YES! I just turned 40 and, while I’ve been married, the married and kids life doesn’t seem feel appealing for me. So here I am, looking at my life, firmly planted with both feet, deciding to make my own happiness and create meaning that feels authentic to me. I come from the old world (Romania) and the values of that world are deeply ingrained in me. Deeper than I though. I’m grateful to see all the amazing people around me redefining meaning and happiness. Like you. Inspiring me to share my story. Can’t wait for your book!

  19. Kristen D Williams says...

    Caroline’s posts are always the best. I recently was rewatching old SATC episodes and she was turning 35 (my age), which was jarring haha.

  20. Sarah says...

    Yes, yes, yes. I’m 39, single, and Mary Richards has always been my North Star… bit that show didn’t teach me about personal finances, setting solo goals or how to fill time once my friends got married and had kids. Got to be my own North Star!

  21. kt says...

    this, just this. <3

  22. Claudia says...

    I love it!!!

  23. anon says...

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m 39, have been married almost 11 years, and have 2 awesome kids. Yet, I am seriously contemplating leaving my marriage for the mental and emotional health of my children and myself. Today is the first day I have decided that I need to formulate a plan to make this happen. It’s terrifying and reaffirming at the same time, and I’m pretty sure it’s the first step in being the role model I need to be, for myself, and my children.

    • Another Anon says...

      I love your comment. I am 39 and married and no kids and on a similar path to formulating a plan to leave my marriage for these very same reasons (I realize slightly less complicated without kids, but all the same terrifying). Somehow reading your comment gave me so much hope. We can do this!

  24. Kaitlin Fine says...

    My goodness I will be first in line to preorder this book. This summed up my entire New York experience and, while I’ve found myself coupled now, I pride myself on keeping my “Greatest Love” as the one in myself. Thank you so much for always verbalizing these universal experiences so beautifully.

  25. Kate says...

    I am 32, a happily married Mom of two. But that’s irrelevant. I have loved every single thing you’ve ever written, just simply for the words, and you MAY NEVER LEAVE Caroline!

  26. Brooke says...

    Thank you thank you thank you!! Deeply beautiful, touches the poignancy, grit, longing, sassafras, questions, prosaic and profound elements of being a woman on my own. I have to think one of the hardest parts is how little our experiences is talked about in public spaces in a full and rich way. We are expected to be not *really* starting life until we find a partner or else totally happy “rocking” every moment without one. You capture the human realness so fully. Others have mentioned Glynnis MacNicol’s new book No One Tells You This and I also remember anything by Sara Eckels gorgeous tender grtiiy writing especially these two:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/06/26/being-single-weddings/HUrIuquqJ1bRPXrrpC8YAP/story.html

    https://www.salon.com/2014/04/18/when_being_single_stopped_being_romantic_partner/

    And sooon I will be reading & recommending YOU!! Can’t wait for your book of essays (and your children’s book!).

  27. Claire says...

    Thanks for the wonderful article, Caroline. As a 32 year old eternally single woman, it’s helpful to remember to focus on the good in life. I choose to stay active with a variety of hobbies, yet don’t enjoy traveling alone as much. Society certainly makes me feel as if I’ve failed at times, as the majority of my friends are dating, married or have children. Having a wonderful career and living in a wonderful city is enough for now.

    • Marisa says...

      Right here with you, Claire. Keep up the good work <3

  28. Dodie says...

    Caroline, your writing brings me so much joy! Thank you.

  29. LB says...

    In the 1970s I idolized my 4th grade teacher, Dorothy Woodford, who was the most fascinating person in the world to me. She was an American teaching in Paris (where my family was living) and she had such interesting stories of travel and intrigue. Our class was in such awe of her. And to our delight, she could write with both hands! I remember my friends and I thinking she was just the coolest, and I never wondered if she was married. I found out later that she lived to be 96 (and as a single woman.) Here is her obituary if you want to read about her adventures in the Red Cross in World War II or her time tutoring the wife of the French president.
    https://www.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/dorothy-woodford.56626
    Such a life well lived and a true role model. xo

    • Meg says...

      Ah, thank you for sharing! Wonderful.

    • Gabrielle says...

      Wow, what a fascinating woman. A true inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing. xo

    • Heather says...

      Wow! Thanks for sharing. I read the obituary and lived in some of the same places Dorothy did in Michigan! Made my heart smile :)

  30. Lisa says...

    Celebrate your freedom and independence, Caroline! You will never regret this time of growth as a single person. I was single until I was 40 and before I was married I had bought my own condo, started my own consulting business, and saved $250k into my own retirement account. I am an introvert and I celebrate being alone, so marriage was a whole new world to navigate. I am confounded by people who can’t be alone or who fret about it. I have a colleague who went from her parents’ house to her dorm to getting married at 23, and at age 60 she has never spent one day on her own. I feel sorry for her. You do not need a spouse to live your life! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! And, if you want to be married, just know that it will happen when you are not looking for it to happen.

  31. Alex says...

    I loved this and can relate to it so much. Thank you so much for sharing it xx

  32. LJ says...

    I’m also 34 and unmarried. A week after my 29th birthday, my first-ever relationship of 7 years ended. I’m of Southeast Asian descent and although I’ve lived in Australia for most of my life, I knew (felt?) that the expectation for me was to already be married by that age…

    The hardest thing about the breakup was not the end of the relationship itself but trying to find out what I wanted for myself beyond the expectations and ‘ideals’ I grew up with. I was supposed to be married by 30 (I’m not), I’ll have children one day (I don’t)–it took me some time to understand that I can live a different path even if I did not know that it exists; that I can carve one of my own decisions (and my ex’s indecision). In hindsight, I am thankful that the juncture gave me the opportunity to re-evaluate and better understand my own values.. instead of being swept up by external factors inculcated in me.

    But oh hey, to be honest, I do still hope to be married some day–but because I’d like to not cause I’m expected to.

  33. Ila says...

    This is so powerful. And answers so many questions I didn’t know I had. Cup Of Joe continues to be my happy place on the internet <3

  34. Daynna says...

    This! This is why I’m so happy you’re back, Caroline! You’re a f*#king phenomenal writer and this post hits so many perfect notes (wistful, hopeful, daunting, triumphant, empowering, warmth and more). I am married with two kids but I still relate to all that you’re saying. I’ve been in similar places, figuratively speaking, but even if I hadn’t, your words and the way you phrase things is just so evocative and imbued with real meaning. Like, this feels weighty in the best possible or way. I’m a voracious reader and the best types of writers are the ones who make you actually want to jump right into the world they’ve created. Like, literally. Even though that’s impossible, obviously. But this post made me feel that way. It really did. The second your book is available I’m preordering the hell out of it.

  35. Savannah says...

    I’ve been loving the posts about female friendship. This one makes me want to cry because I had been sharing them with a woman that I am no longer friends with and that friendship had been so incredibly special to me, like a little light in the dark.

  36. Roxana says...

    You write so beautifully.

    I’m late to commenting, because I had to marinate in your words.

    Like several other commenters, I may be unlikely to “hear, hear!” your sentiments, but I will “hear, hear!” them anyway. I will be 40 in a few months. I’m a mom of four, and a SAHM at that. My life is, admittedly, somewhat prosaic. There are moments when I feel done, and down and out, and then there are moments that are so beautiful I have to hold my breath. I know that there are other women out there who are not married, who do not have kids who probably feel the exact same way about their lives. . . and they should.

    Before my husband and I got together, I had my heart broken by another man. The other man turned-out to be a scum-bag. Because love is sometimes blind, his scum-bagginess did not mitigate my heartache. I remember thinking “This is it. I lost my chance.” And, of course, I didn’t. But I don’t say that because I ended-up marrying my husband, etc. I say that because after that heartbreak, God opened my eyes to the fact that if I never got married, if I never got what I thought I wanted, what I expected out of life, I would be okay.

    For so many of us life does not turn out the way we think it will. Even if and when you’ve seemingly checked the boxes. Our expectations are not met. They end-up dashed on the rocks and shattered. I think growth and beauty come when we live through the shattering. One day at a time.

    That said, I’m not going to lie to you, I think I would rather be married and have kids than not. BUT, if there is one thing that I have (ironically) learned in the last ten years of having both, it is this: everything in life must be held with an open hand. Everything. We simply do not know what tomorrow brings. Or what tomorrow takes away. Life is so fragile, so fleeting. The only thing we are truly capable of doing, by God’s grace (I’m a believer, if you can’t tell), is living out today. Nothing more. Nothing less. So, do whatever you can to spend each day being your best self. Love those around you, whoever they are, as fully as you can. And as you so beautifully put it: “Be the role model you wish to see in the world.”

    • Grace H says...

      I love this entire paragraph: “For so many of us life does not turn out the way we think it will. Even if and when you’ve seemingly checked the boxes. Our expectations are not met. They end-up dashed on the rocks and shattered. I think growth and beauty come when we live through the shattering. One day at a time.” This is exactly what I needed to read while trying to process the seemingly endless disappointments in life right now.

    • Shruti says...

      Rosanna, Tightest hugs. ( I am bed and sobbing reading this, very similar to my life and ethos).

    • Lucy says...

      This is beautiful. Thank you, Roxana. And thank you, Caroline!

    • Sarah says...

      “if I never got married, if I never got what I thought I wanted, what I expected out of life, I would be okay.”

      This is the exact sentiment I’ve been working towards for years. I sooo want to be at peace with this, but it continues to be a struggle for me. I’m always wrestling with the balance between knowing it’s OK to want the things I want, but also knowing that if I never get them, I will be OK.

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    • Lily says...

      “everything in life must be held with an open hand”

      Roxana, I want to read articles by you!

  37. Courtney says...

    Yes yes yes. As a person who has had so many independent and enriching experiences on my own and of my own making (and who believes my enriching friendships with bold, fierce women are fundamental to my well-being) I 100% related to this. I eventually did get married and have kids, and I find a lot of happiness in those roles, but those were never end goals and I spent a lot of time before that on my own.

    I highly recommend this book: https://www.amazon.com/H-Spot-Feminist-Pursuit-Happiness/dp/1568585470

  38. Laura says...

    Yes, love these sentiments! I’m almost 33, married, but I also have a life of my own. I have my own goals, interests, and dreams. I’ve found that a lot of the younger women I meet are surprised that life doesn’t become boring or predictable past the age of 30. The journey continues! Life is rich for women as we reach adulthood, and I think it’s a beautiful thing that you’re sharing yours with us– single or not.

  39. Steph says...

    Yes to Linda Rodin!! And single 30 something NYC women :)

  40. Sylvia says...

    Amen. We are the stories we tell. To ourselves, to our friends, to the public. Thanks for writing this and thanks for sharing it. I’m a 40-year-old single mother of a 6-year-old girl and have watched her “play house” a million times now. Sometimes there is a dad, but often there is not— in her version of “house,” the dad is often “away, working.” At first I used to think, “Oh my god, what have I done? I’ve raised a child who has no idea what a ‘real’ family is! Dammit, what have I done??” And then it dawned on me that the single mother in every version of “house” was happy and doing great (often frazzled and looking for her cell phone) just like we are. And I realized maybe this is pretty wonderful, and the kid is going to be all right after all.

  41. I find that I’m enjoying Caroline’s writing more and more each time she posts!! This book of essays sounds intriguing … When will we get to hear more about it?!

  42. S Kay says...

    I would LOVE if CupofJo did a series on single women, similar to “Motherhood around the world” but maybe something like “Being 30+ and single”. Interviewing women on some of these topics that Caroline discussed: planning for an emergency, finances, home (do you still have roommates? your own place? shared home?), etc.

    You are such a beautiful writer!

    • Annie says...

      Plus one to this! I would love to see more stories about single women navigating these big life things.

    • Katherine says...

      I second this request!

    • Christina says...

      Yes please!!!! Would be awesome!!

    • Christina Harger says...

      This would be so cool! Great idea! (And I could be interviewed…I love my single lady life!)

    • Lotte says...

      Yes Please! Maybe it‘s the wrong block as it‘s more on motherhood! And/or different family settings – queer, single, divorced, godmothers and other helpers,

    • Corina-Alexandra Cucutianu says...

      That sounds like a wonderful idea! if anyone is reading this, I subscribe!

    • Victoria says...

      I second this idea!! Would love to see more real-life stories of happy & fulfilled (who are also probably sometimes confused & lonely) single women

    • Michelle says...

      Yes!!!

    • Abbey says...

      I also LOVE this series idea!

    • Yes, please!!!

    • Taryn says...

      Yes, please! Who do you make the beneficiary on your life insurance? How do you save for a down payment on one salary? How do you remind yourself that this is real life and you’re not waiting for anything to start? How do love your friends’ kids so fully while also being afraid you might never have your own (or while thinking you never want them!)? Who has a spare key to your place? The big and the small questions. I want perspectives on them all!

    • Josie says...

      I absolutely agree – a 30+ single series would be wonderful!

    • Kira says...

      I am SO here for this idea! Love all the moms and mom stories out there, but as a singe 36 year old on the verge of 37, I am a dying breed and could use some support out there!

      Also, CAROLINE – YOU ARE MY HERO! Thank you for writing this piece.

    • cm says...

      Will also put my hand up for the “30+ and single” series!

    • Hanna says...

      Yes!!! Also second Taryn’s suggestions!

    • Eli says...

      Yes yes yes!

    • Priscila Cacola says...

      Yes! yes! yes!

    • Jane says...

      + 1!

    • maïa says...

      I completely agree with this, but I also sometimes feel a bit unconfortable with this kind of articles about “single ladies”.
      I read it with great interest (and will forward this one to a few friends) but at the same time I sometimes feel like it contributes to “stigmatize” single ladies and to depict single women in their thirties as a problem (which society makes us feel enough). I would be also interested then in single men in theit thirties and how they handle this.
      And I need to read and hear about this big biological inegality : as women, if we expect in europe or USA to live around 80years, we are fertile only 25 years (15 to 40) and not judged if we have kids in a short period of 10/15 years in this fertility window (I’d say in France between 25 and 35/38).
      So in the the big life span we’re so lucky to expect, we’ve such a little window of opportunity to meet someone we love and have kids with! It makes me question society models we have and helps me to remind myself that my path to growth and meeting a love/life partner will happen in its own way, whatever the time and society pressure I get from time to time.

    • Kate says...

      This is an awesome idea!

    • Kelly says...

      I would totally appreciate this. I love Cup of Jo and read it regularly, but sometimes I find it unrelatable because, while it does acknowledge varying female lifestyles, it can be pretty mom-heavy. I’m single, in my early 30s at a moment in my life when I’m grasping for any writing that relates to this experience.

    • Sandy says...

      Just adding my support for this “single women over 30” series, in case anyone out there is watching. What a great idea!

  43. Megan Lec says...

    As we get holder I think naming our role models gets harder. In my college entrance essay I wrote line after line about looking up to my mother and how she had inspired me. A decade later, I love my mother but I also see the intracacies of her and where we diverge and she isn’t the ‘hero’ I imagined her to be, or expected of her, I see her humanness. At 28, married, with an amazing son and exciting career path, I still have lots of growing up to do. Many women inspire me and inform who I want to be as a person, mother, and leader, but I also see and love my unique path and identity that inspires me too.

  44. Katrina says...

    I love this post and everything about it.

  45. Emily says...

    This was completely beautiful. I am 36 and getting married this fall. I chose be to solo until now and I have had beautiful experiences in single years that I wouldn’t have changed for the world. I am looking forward to new experiences with my fiancé but this also reminds me that married, dating, single… at every stage of life you are responsible for your own happiness and you deserve to love every second of your life. I cannot wait to read your essays! Thank you for sharing.

  46. Poly says...

    First of all, buying your book once it comes out! Thank you for this! I’m happily coupled up, but am not on the parent train, and so this resonated with me for that reason!

    I had an internal conversation regarding role models, when I was trying to figure out if I wanted kids or not. My partner doesn’t, never has, and I’d never really thought about it. Around the time I met him, my friends were starting to have kids, so I figured I needed to start thinking about my future and the kind of family I saw in it. I started to look at the women around me as a way of trying to see what I wanted my future to look like the most, and realized one of the people I admire the most is my one of my closest aunts. She’s much younger than my dad, so she’s more of a friend to me! She got married in her 40’s, doesn’t have or want kids, but does so much to help those around her, while also traveling whenever she wants. She has changed careers multiple times, and is constantly exploring her creativity. And then I looked at other women older than me in my family, and couldn’t find that same comfort and admiration (although I admire my mother for the strong person she is, I don’t want her life at all!) in any of them.

    I know my life is also very different from hers, but having someone close to me who doesn’t have children and feels complete without them, really comforted me – and since it’s not a binary decision, I tend more towards not having kids, but am content in knowing I have the flexibility to be happy where I am today, and choose what’s right for me, if and when I decide.

    The only problem now is dealing with all the pressure and questions from the rest of the world!

  47. Katie says...

    Thank you, Caroline! ❤️

  48. Lee says...

    Hell yes. Craft the life you crave and burn so bright you blaze your own trail.

  49. Lizzy says...

    I once went to a yoga class in Philly. The instructor suggested different poses for different people. If you’re new, you do one thing, if you’re advanced you take it further. I hesitantly looked around only able to do the beginner poses. The instructor told the class to “stay on your own mat, focus on your own journey.” I often think about that as a metaphor for life.

    • Shruti says...

      Lizzy, what yoga class was this? I will like to, no, love to experience it.