If it was only a Carrie Bradshaw kinda life.
Late thirties, early forties and single in Edmonton is a challenge. Maybe it is a challenge in other cities too. Logic says that no matter where you live, as you get older it gets harder to meet people. The pool gets smaller as people marry off and have small litters of little ones.
But I only know late-30′s and single in Edmonton. And I have many friends that fall in the same category who also feel the pinch of Edmonton single life. So even though I am typically private about these kinds of things, I felt it was important to speak out. Run the risk of being labelled as “negative” or “having issues”, and tell it like it is here in my beloved city, solo, at 38 years old.
I had a very real, “This is actually happening” moment nearly three years ago when the man I thought I’d be with for the rest of my life was suddenly no longer in my life as he decided (misguidedly so, in my opinion), that the grass was greener elsewhere. At the time, I remember my gut telling me….this is going to be bad….single at 36…the city is not going to be kind.
Not because I don’t think I am a catch. Not because I am not humble. Not because I am unwilling to try, be adventurous, put it all out there. At its core it was just about finding one good man in one mid-sized city. Couldn’t be that hard, could it?
Apparently, it is. Why? Because Edmonton has a secret, unspoken formula for relationship bliss. Now I am generalizing, but here is how I think it adds up: Edmonton is a couples city. The single scene past the age of 35 is more than a little sketchy. There is nowhere to go, few places to meet people. Wherever you might go, it is dominated by 20-somethings. Everywhere else, the people you meet are a significant other and have a kid or two. Or have recently shed the significant other and come with some serious, overweight baggage. And there I am, no significant other, no kids, only light carry-on baggage, and definitely the lone wolf (but never the cougar).
My friend Lesley, a high school friend who now lives a glamorous, lawyerly life in Washington D.C., once said that she could never live in Edmonton at our age. From her bigger city vantage point, everyone in Edmonton is married and has kids and if you didn’t fit those moulds, you just don’t fit in. For her, life in Chicago and now DC was always a perfect fit. Strong singles scenes no matter what her age, letting her be the norm rather than the one sitting on the outside looking in.
I have done everything you are supposed to do to meet a good Edmonton man. I feel like I deserve a gold star for dating effort. So many set-ups. So many random drink dates. There have been pirates and liars and spark-killers and baggage handlers and of course, the socially challenged. They haven’t all been bad. One was pretty good but sadly, our timing just wasn’t right. But no white knights. No rock stars. Yet.
This isn’t a vent. It is not a cry for help. Definitely not an extended online dating ad. Just the truth about my little single life in couple-friendly Edmonton. Sometimes being late 30-something and single in this city can feel very isolating. When deep down, I know I am not alone. There are others that sit at home on a Saturday night eating popcorn with red wine. There are others that wish the pool had a bigger deep end. There are others that don’t want to be single, but would choose singleness over a messed up relationship any day. There are others that also wonder, “Is it me?” There are others that wish they had a Carrie-Samantha-Charlotte-Miranda quartet to turn to. There are others that wish there were more places, more opportunities to find that right guy or right girl. There are others.
Be kind, sweet Edmonton, to your older model citizens because no matter what our age, we all deserve our very own Mr. Big.