With all the posts about birthdays, it reminded me that we have to start making 40th birthdays for the never married singles a thing. If you never got to have a wedding, then 40th birthday parties where everyone comes together to celebrate you needs to start happening.
Over the past year or so, I’ve realized that I’ve most likely missed the wedding boat. Not in the sense of “I will never get married and will die alone with my pets”, but the whole big to-do that people tend to do in their late-20s, early-thirties. That kind of wedding was never much my style anyway (no judgement if it is/was your thing because I’ve had a blast a many of those types of weddings) but it always made me sad that *if* I never get married, then I’ll never have the opportunity to get everyone I love to come together for one big party to celebrate me. I was going to potentially have that kind of party for when I got my PhD but that idea was nixed when my PhD went down the toilet.
Enter the 40th birthday.
I got the idea from reading Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies book (from what I remember, she mentions it was a thing that Kate Bolick and some of her friends did, described in Bolick’s book Spinster). And I think the idea has merit. If you’ve never had the opportunity for a big blowout where everyone comes together to celebrate you, then you throw yourself as big of a party as you want for your 40th. And hell, if you want a whole month of shit, then do it. You want a big party plus a close girls trip for a weekend (like a wedding day plus a bachelorette party) go for it. You want to go south for a week and invite all your friends? Do it.
I must admit, after hearing about this idea, it made me think of a friend of mine’s godfather. He was never married, never had kids (but was heavily involved in my friends life - she had an absent dad and her godfather pretty much was her surrogate father). He decided to go to Law School a little later in life and when he did, he had a small party and set up a “send me to law school registry”. And he made sure all to let all of his friends know (those that had gotten married and had kids) that it was their turn to help him out and celebrate his choices - he had attended all their wedding, gave them gifts and helped out with their kids and now his generosity was to be returned in kind. I loved this when I heard about it, especially since it happened in the 80s when I assume shit like this was unheard of.
And I think that a 40th birthday is the best milestone (since everyone has a birthday) to have this kind of party. You’re far enough in your life that you’ve probably achieve a whole lot and that’s worth celebrating. And for me, especially now (after having been dumped last summer and wondering if I ever want to get into the dating game again) the idea that I *could* do this and have this kind of celebration makes the prospect of getting older more exciting and as something to look forward to. Basically, if I stay single forever, I won’t have missed out on the chance to have a big ole’ party to celebrate my life and future with all my friends - which at it’s core is why weddings are important and ultimately meaningful celebrations (in contrast to what seems like the focus on the gifts and pageantry that have come to dominate weddings and all opinion piece about them in the last few decades).
Because as I navigate life on my own again, after being coupled up seriously for a year, being single is hard. And it can be really lonely. I would rather be alone than in a shitty relationship, but I understand why people stay in shitty relationships because life in our society is easier for people in couples in subtle and not so subtle ways.
I think that if you’ve reached 40 as a singleton, you’ve lived long enough and weathered the storm of life enough that you deserve to be celebrated just you are right now, with everyone who helped you out along the way present.
And yes, all of Groupthink will be invited to my party :-)