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So I'm Single, 40, And Childless... Now What?

Kelly O'Brien
August 20, 2013
Kelly O'Brien
By Kelly O'Brien
mbg Contributor
Kelly O'Brien is a freelance health and wellness writer based in Chicago.
August 20, 2013

I'm 42, not married, and I don't have kids. Can you relate? If your life is anything like mine, you've gotten plenty of comments from well-meaning friends and you've got a pat answer to the question Don't you want to have kids?

Little do they know, this can be the most celebrated time of your life! Consider yourself blessed and enjoy the freedom. To travel. To date and choose a partner. To revel in wellness, and have fun babysitting your friends' children. (And them back to mom!)

By now, I hope you've learned that the key to happiness and health is not found in anything or anyone but yourself.

I used to think the true answer in life was finding a mate. This was until I got into a marriage too quickly and realized how incredibly lonely life can be when you aren't with the right partner.

Then I got divorced in 2007 and realized that life—single or married—should be whatever you want it to be! There are things to celebrate about being 40 or over, single, and having no children: here's five I've found 

1. You can travel.

You don't have to wait until retirement to see Europe, Costa Rica, New York, Belize, or New Mexico. You can explore the world with friends, family, or join one of the endless getaways that are offered for singles. Another idea: Missionary work. It's incredibly fulfilling and by joining a volunteer group, you can just pick up and go while being surrounded by new friends.

2. You have an opportunity to nurture your other relationships.

You have the time to nurture friendships and continue connection to your family. When you're married, a large percentage of your energy and effort goes into your spouse and children. When you're single, you have the opportunity to build upon relationships that you wouldn't otherwise have the time to nurture.

3. You have time to pursue your passions. 

Think of all the hours and resources your can put into your wellness journey! What a rare gift! What are you passionate about? Go do it! Yoga, guitar lessons, poetry, blogging, cooking classes, hiking, running marathons, baking, etc. Explore, be spontaneous, try new things and discover anything and everything that makes you shine from the inside out.

4. The dating pool is large in your 40s—much larger than you'd think. 

A large majority of our population is divorced. What this means is that the dating pool in your 40s can feel larger than in your 30s! There are so many social media dating sites and social events in every major city. I was astounded when I turned 40 how many fish were in the sea! This is a fabulous age to date! You know what you're looking for, you have more life experience underneath your wings and you understand hardship by now—and so do most of the people you're dating.

5. You have financial security.

At this stage in life, you have the resources to do whatever it is you want to be doing and no other financial obligations outside of yourself. There are many positives: you can secure a wonderful retirement package for yourself, invest in your present and future, and provide a large emergency cushion for any future challenges.

There are so many more things to celebrate about where you are in life, but I wanted to draw attention to this particular age bracket. I know people who are married and happy, and single and happy. But I also know many people who are married and suffering with loneliness, and those who spend all of their time complaining that they don't have a spouse or kids.

The key is to be thrilled with where you are right now. Embrace your age, circumstances, lifestyle and those that you so choose to share it with. If you're unable to authentically embrace where you are? Change where you are.

Kelly O'Brien author page.
Kelly O'Brien

Kelly O'Brien is a freelance health and wellness writer based in Chicago. Her mission is to inspire those that suffer from chronic health conditions. She curates the blog Snapshots of Wellness.