I’ll be turning 38 this year and I’m still single. I hate it, but that’s what I am. So I deal with it.
You know how? I live it up.
Let’s face it. I have tons of free time, I make money with little obligation, and I have few major responsibilities. What could be better (aside from the wonderfully massive responsibility of being a wife and mother and spending my money on grocery shopping and tuition bills)?
Being single, I have some extra time. I’d love to be spending with a husband and build a beautiful marriage or a happy family. I’d sometimes dream about helping my children do their homework and cook healthy dinner for them. But right now, that’s not my lot. So I spend my time doing other things I love. I make sure to spend time with friends and family and keep those relationships strong.
And yes, I spend “me” time – working on myself and sometimes just marching to the beat of my own drum. I feel blessed to be able to spend my time doing things I enjoy and bettering the lives of people around me instead of sitting in the proverbial waiting place.
As crazy as it sounds, I wouldn’t trade my past years of pain for anything in the world. The lessons I’ve gained of being an active, empathetic person have enhanced all my relationships, especially in dating. In the past, I had focused on protecting myself. I never stopped to think that the man sitting across from me probably has been just as hurt, and is just as scared as I am. And besides, looking out for others is essential for creating a good marriage.
Being alone as we arise after a heartbreak can be a blessing. Being single can allow us to wake up to our discontent with the space to examine our cycles and heal wounds. The mistake occurs, however, when we wake up to the longing for true joy, and we attach specific circumstances to those feelings. We decide “true joy” looks like a brand new job. We decide “true joy” exists in the love of another person. We mistake the outward manifestation as a symbol of our worth. True joy can exist in the absence of what is tangible. We tend to forget that we can still experience true joy ALONE.
“Being alone provides an opportunity to wake up to the longing for true joy, heal old wounds, and understand the cycles that previously held us back.”
The road is often lonely, being single isn’t in and of itself a spiritual dilemma. It can be hard, scary, and disheartening, but beyond the occasional blind date from well-meaning friends, there probably won’t be charitable donations or fundraising initiatives to fight the plight of the unmarried. But that is okay.
The crisis of being unhappily single is not actually about the absence of a partner. Nor is the crisis of being unhappy in a relationship actually about an unsuitable mate. Instead, it is a crisis of perception. Many of us believe that being single means no one wants us, that we’re not attractive enough to the members of the opposite sex and being unwanted means we’re tainted. The truth is, despite the tangible evidence a Facebook feed provides, our perception is often limited.
So, if you find yourself healing deep wounds inflicted on your heart, please know that you deserve love no matter where you are on your journey. You are as worthy of love today as you will be next week. Even at in your most obnoxious state, you deserve the things you want. Your status as a single person is a gift: you’re allowed to practice being the partner of your own dreams. You’re allowed to shower yourself with all that you desire. You’re allowed to be selfish in the most delightful ways. As you process your past, and face your inner-gremlins, know that you are worthy of love in this very moment. You don’t have to pass some cosmic karma test. You are worthy of a partnership, and you are beautiful standing by yourself.
It’s a blessing to be on the giving end. And it’s a choice. I spent many a time sad, lonely, and cynical but it didn’t get me anywhere. I realized it wasn’t my situation per se that was depressing me; it was me depressing myself. This was at least one area I did have control over (do we really have power over anything else?).
Yes, it’s hard not being married, but I’ve been given an in-the-meantime-blessing. And I plan on using it as best I can.
Sharing the lessons I have learned on being single:
You complete yourself.
Getting into a relationship doesn’t automatically complete you as a person. Only you can do that for yourself. It’s important to get clear on any personal issues you have before you join together with someone else. Fill yourself up with things that you enjoy and add to your identity. You’ll have so much more to give, not only to your partner and your marriage but to other relationships as well. I’m so grateful for all the time and opportunities I’ve been given to work on my character traits. I’ve been able to focus on what I enjoy and figure out who I am. Although it can be frustrating to still be single in your mid-30s, I am so much more comfortable in my own skin than I was when I was younger. I have a greater clarity on my outlook on life and what I want to contribute to the world.
Nothing in this world is for certain. When I welcomed my last serious relationship into my life, I really thought He was “The One” so my life kind of revolved around him. So after he has left me, I felt so devastated.
Things can change in the blink of an eye. It’s so important to be grateful for every opportunity and every blessing that God gives you. I try to think of five things on a daily basis that I’m grateful for and they have to be different things every day. Keep a gratitude notebook; it can come in handy during those down moments. There will always be things that you want in life, whatever stage you’re at. You can either spend every day yearning for what you don’t have or appreciating what you do.
I don’t mean to be a ray of sunshine here. But let go and let God. It may be quite difficult to understand but we are in certain situations in our lives where God has been leading us somewhere . God must be preparing us for something greater. And there’s what we call the life of the “single blessedness.” Accept the fact that not everyone’s meant for marriage.
Identify personal strengths and weaknesses
I am discovering which ways of giving come most naturally to me (i.e. physically, emotionally, etc.), and how to use them effectively to enhance the lives of others. And in the areas of giving that do not come as easily, I am trying to improve.
Put God into the picture
When you’re a single man or woman amongst the married masses, it is really easy to feel alone. By trying to keep God in the picture, by asking Him for help and strength, we are transcending the illusion of solitude that is a source of much pain. And in those moments of connection, we are allowing ourselves to be vessels for His blessings.
Love yourself (Self love)
Nothing can take the place of a loving marriage. So rather than judging yourself for having occasional feelings of sadness and loneliness, embrace your humanness and accept these sentiments for their normalcy. Talk them out, run them out at the gym, and yes when need be, cry them out. I’ve accepted that it is natural to crave the closeness that comes with the love of a spouse, and to feel a painful lacking without it. But that doesn’t mean I need to settle for a sub-par existence in the meantime.
When we do meet the right one, hopefully we’ll be able to look back with no regrets. We’ll say to ourselves, “I milked that sacred time for all it was worth.” Because single life can – and should be – absolutely fabulous.