Recently I had the honor of attending a beautiful friend’s wedding. Believe it or not, I do own something besides running and workout gear!
Weddings make me think a lot about my singleness. Many times weddings are a bittersweet event for me. Even though I’m entirely happy and content being single, there’s a part of me that is sad that I’ll most likely never have that childhood dream of walking down the aisle in a gorgeous dress come true. I feel sad that I’ll never be able to add my stories to those of other women of marriage proposals, wedding mishaps, and motherhood. If I dwell on that, I’ll eventually convince myself that I’m less of a woman because I don’t have those shared experiences.
So I shift my focus, instead, to what singleness brings to my life.
- Amazing friends. Birds of a feather flock together, right? I’ve found that to be true, especially as I’ve gotten older and remained single. Believe it or not, being over 40 and single is easier than being 29 and single. When I was in my twenties, all my friends were getting married and having babies. I felt very much like an outsider, and I had very few friends my age who were single. As I’ve gotten older, we long term singles, or single again peeps, have found one another, and they have become my life line. Sure, life experiences aren’t the same, but we all get what it’s like to be single at this stage of life and that creates a bond. And if I wouldn’t be single, I probably wouldn’t have met these people. They are a gift of my singleness.
- Flexibility and spontaneity. I’m discovering just how much I value flexibility and spontaneity in my life. On one hand, I get frustrated when people think that just because I’m single I don’t have responsibilities and/or a schedule to keep (duh, who else is there to keep the house going?!), but truthfully, the ability to be flexible and spontaneous in my schedule is wonderful. I’m not tied to anyone’s schedule but my own. Maybe some see that as selfish, but I look at it as a gift of singleness.
- Solitude. Yes, I love solitude. I’m an introvert, so being alone is necessary to recharge my battery. Solitude gives me an opportunity to quiet my body and my mind, to reflect on the day, and to listen to God. Yet, when solitude turns into loneliness, I have a group of friends to run with, my CrossFit peers waiting at the gym, friends a text or phone call away. If I’m alone and lonely, it’s usually my fault. So yes, solitude is a gift of singleness.
- Adventure. As if navigating life without a life partner isn’t advertuous enough, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Australia, Egypt, Uganda, Yosemite, Death Valley, the Sandia mountains of New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Hollywood and to train for a marathon. Sure, I’ll admit all those things could be done married or single, but if I had the hopes, dreams, and desires of someone else to consider, would I be willing to spend the time training to run 26.2 miles? Would I be willing to travel to countries that have been in the news due to violence? Would I have the money to fly to another hemisphere? I don’t know, but for now, I thank God for the time, resources, and ability to experience his amazing creation. They are a gift of singleness.
So while I’m so incredibly happy that my lovely friend has finally met her soul mate and has become a Mrs., I refuse to be sad for what I may never experience when there’s so much out there left to see and do and so many friends to meet. May I never fail to recognize the gifts that are in my life RIGHT NOW.