Celebrating In This Season
Living with joy and confidence is a choice.
I remember when I found the one. He was a charming musician with curly brown hair and the voice of an angel. He didn’t know who I was, but I was his biggest fan. I was dreaming of our future and waiting for the day when he’d finally notice me. But after a while, I had to face reality and realize I would never marry Nick Jonas.
Most girls dream of their future. Their perfect man to marry and their perfect kids to raise in their perfect house on the perfect street in the safest town with the best schools. At a certain point in life, most of those girls realize that what they have in their head isn’t what’s going to happen in real life. It’s been a while since I realized that my dream of getting married young, having four kids by the time I was 28 and being a stay-at-home mom in my Pinterest-worthy house wasn’t going to happen.
I’d love to say that I have always been okay with the way that my dream didn’t play out. I’d love to say that I have never been insecure showing up alone at parties or weddings and that I never mind my relatives asking me when I’m going to get married at every Christmas gathering. In all honesty, every time I would hear the word “single” I would cringe. It made me feel like I was broken or unworthy, simply because I was not in a relationship. Too often I would find myself in a place where I would pity myself simply for my relationship status. I was constantly ashamed and embarrassed because there was not a man in my life. It got to a point where I thought that there was something about myself that I had to fix. I would blame it on the notion that my appearance wasn’t good enough or that I was boring or that there was something wrong with me. I felt like my singleness was a sign that I was broken or unwanted. There were many times I felt overlooked for things just because I wasn’t in a relationship or married.
The people around me didn’t tend to help those feelings. At a certain point I was convinced that if I heard the words “there’s someone out there for you” or “you’re still so young, your time will come” one more time, I would lose my mind. I knew that the intentions behind those words were good, but it didn’t help the way I felt. The constant attempted setups or “what about him” questions constantly reaffirmed all of the insecurities that I had about being single. It felt like people only saw me for my relationship status. The single people around me began dropping like flies, and I found myself getting left out of social gatherings because I wasn’t going to be bringing someone else along.
I will be the first to admit that I am definitely not an expert on how to be single. I really don’t think anyone is, because you can’t generalize something that is completely different for everyone. What I do know about singleness is this: singleness isn’t something that happens to a few people, it is a normal part of life that everyone experiences. It isn’t a punishment or something to be embarrassed about, but is a season of life that literally everyone goes through. For me, singleness was a season of so much insecurity that actually ended up producing confidence and personal growth.
My insecurity of being single was deeply hidden. I would pretend that I was simply content or that I didn’t really care. I masked my insecurities with jokes, dancing alone during the couples dance at weddings, joking about being forever alone, or making comments about my man getting lost on his way to me. People around me would have never known how deeply I was hurting on the inside. I was growing bitter toward friends I loved simply because they were in a relationship. At a certain point I knew I had to make a choice. I could choose to sit and sulk or I could live my life and choose to find joy and confidence where I was.
Once I made the decision to choose joy and confidence, everything was perfect and life was great and I never heard the word single again! NOT. There were still days where I felt like my singleness was showing, but my mentality and intentionality about how I lived was different.
I chose to try doing things by myself and I grew to love that time. Whether it was strolling the aisles of Target, stopping by the beach after work, or even sitting down at a restaurant alone, I started to become more confident and realize that I didn’t always need a counterpart to do something or go somewhere with. I came to the realization that in this season I was the only one I had to please and that I could do what I want, when I want, how I want, and I didn’t need to worry about what others thought of it.
I chose to look at and foster my relationships differently. I have a circle of friends in my season of life, but I have others in many other seasons. I have friends who I stepped away from when they got married that I am now reconnected to and am accepted and loved by them and their husbands. I began to try and make sure that I didn’t remove myself from community, which meant looking at an invite and not turning it down when I was one of the only single people on the list.
One of the biggest things that helped change my mindset was ending my constant pity party. Why should I feel bad for myself? Being single isn’t wrong or unfortunate, and it most certainly doesn’t make me less than anyone else. As much as I felt all of that, I had to get in the mindset that it wasn’t true. I had to remind myself that I was so much more than my relationship status and that I needed to live like I believed it.
For anyone who may not get why single people sometimes feel the way they do, just try to put yourself in our shoes. Take off the rose-colored relationship glasses that you’ve been wearing for a while and remember the way you felt when you were in our season of life. Maybe when you see us next, don’t make our singleness the first thing you address. Rather ask us something else, anything else, literally anything else. Get to know us as we are. We’re your sisters...in this season of life and always.