I’ve postponed it as long as possible. I didn’t want this to be a “single girl” blog. However, for whatever reason I have had a lot of conversations about singleness, and more specifically my singleness, this week and it seemed appropriate to tackle the topic. After all, being single is one piece of my reality. It isn’t my only reality by any means. There’s the reality of being a sister and daughter who loves her family, the reality of being a professional entrusted with the task of daily caring for over 150 college students, the reality of being a reliable friend, a passionate student and counselor in training, a mixed woman, and, most importantly, a beautiful child of God. My relationship status doesn’t define me; it doesn’t determine my identity. With all that being said, it has shaped me and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. Today, I love who I am, and in more ways than one, I have my singleness to thank for that.
But… When I’m at a baby or bridal shower, a wedding, or the birthday party of one of my friends’ children I’m struck by a strange, indefinable feeling. The best way I can describe it is a warmness that comes from seeing a person you love happy, mixed with a sick sadness that one more person has moved on to the next chapter leaving me left behind in the dust, chased by the thought of, “Wow, I think everyone should get a personal shower where they are celebrated. I could really use a spice rack and a new set of towels right about now.” In that moment, I know more than ever that the stage of life I am in is a gift, but it’s a HARD gift. I love that I can work a crazy job that keeps me busy on late nights and weekends without having to worry about anyone else, but still it would be nice not to come back to an empty apartment after a long day. It’s great that I can spend my money on sparkly eye liner or a trip to see my sister without answering to anyone about where the money is going, but budgeting would sure be more fun with another person’s opinion. A second income wouldn’t be so bad either. I like that when I graduate next May I can pick up and start over and not worry about whether or not that action forces someone I care about to start over as well, but it might be nice to have someone to share the adventure with. The stage I am is bittersweet to say the very least.
Perhaps it isn’t just singleness that is bittersweet, though. Maybe that’s just life. My newly-married friends tell me how difficult the first year of marriage is and though they wouldn’t trade it, it isn’t easy. My friends who are new parents tell me about long, torturous, sleepless nights, bouts of cabin fever when it is too cold to go outside or the kids are sick, or the frustration of tantrums from toddlers. More seasoned couples tell me about the struggles with keeping their marriage fresh and alive while managing busy schedules and just doing their best to make sure their children grow into healthy, well-rounded adults.
So that’s just it. Life is a gift, a hard, HARD gift. We could spend our whole lives wishing away the chapter we are in, only to discover if we flip a few pages, the next chapter is just as difficult. There’s financial struggles, fertility issues, divorce, illness, career confusion, and the list of opportunities for pain goes on and on. Though the bitterness never ends, the sweetness will never begin if we keep thinking happiness is only attached to one particular past or future moment.
So, I’m done buying into the lie. I’m finished believing I will never have as much joy as I could have if I had a ring on my finger or this were a “pregnant lady” blog instead of a “single girl” blog. There’ll be no more thinking a great partner hasn’t walked into my life because I am not pretty enough or I am doing something wrong. I have no more space for putting my dreams and ambitions on hold because being a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it and appears not to “need” the opposite gender is troublesome for some men. I proclaim this to be a season of contentment! One where fairytales come in all shapes and sizes and the fib of happily ever after stays in the Rom-Coms and storybooks. I’m writing my own kind of story now and this chapter is turning out great.