Oh That Single Life We Weave

Singleness can be hard. Actually it is hard.

Yes I hear marriage is hard too, and I have seen first hand from friends and family that it is hard as well.

But some days, it is just plain hard.

You’re the one responsible for all the bills. You’re the one who has to figure out dinner, lunch the following day, laundry getting folded and live into this social life so that you might meet someone you’d sit across a table from on Taco Tuesday at Dave & Buster’s (oh that’s a post coming soon y’all, cause it happened).

You’re the one at night, after a day of just life, that comes in to an empty home and just want to bounce life off of someone else. Yes, friends are there. Yes siblings and parents are there. But it’s just hard when you’re single.

And we don’t talk too much about it. It sort of has a stigma attached to it that we get all this “free time” and what not, so we should hush up or we’ll be likened to a spinster. So we hush up and muddle on. Until we stumble…until we hit a bump or a quiet space and we just find it’s hard to be alone.

I don’t have a magic fix or application here today y’all…this thought of the hard single life has become prevalent in my writing privately at the moment, and my thoughts. When you’re 36 and single, you find the people around you are for the most part married up, having babies, and living their coupled lives. So maybe you’re single, recently so after the holidays (oof…another topic for another post), or maybe you’re just finding yourself at a place in life that your marital status as a single is just hard.

IT’S OKAY. It is hard. That’s what I am slowly going to start diving in around here. Giving you all a glimpse of single life (if you’ve not been privy to it as a married up for a bit) and talking through some of finer points of dating in your 30s (oh the joys and hilarity that ensue), navigating how your faith and singleness intersect and maybe dropping some truth bombs on what it means to be #wifematerial.

A One-Woman Man

Y’all, I normally don’t post mid-day and rarely link to other sites to get you over there but singles, this one stuck. I wanted to share this post over at Desiring God with you as a means of conversation and dialogue, among both women and men.

Because it is needed y’all.

So here it is. 

I’d love to open up the comments below and get your feedback, your thoughts and well…just your opinion on this. It’s something I am currently writing about in the book and definitely feel the need to place on the table with singles (and marrieds too y’all…)

Living in La La Land

rs-la-la-land-3d3a431a-8329-4539-b953-51e2d61a396cInitially I wanted to see La La Land, but then when the hype and awards buzz hit peak level I slowly started backing away from it. Opting instead to see new favorite Hidden Figures (it’s amazing, you must see it). But alas, I finally saw it in the last couple of days.

And y’all, I loved it. LOVED. Here’s a caveat, I keep a skeptical eye on musicals. I am really not a fan when people break into song for no apparent reason. They also tend to be overly sweet in nature, sometimes not, but often so.

Back to the matter at hand, La La Land…y’all it is a great telling and portrayal of the tension of ambition and love with the backdrop of Hollywood. But to see the tension fully of the two individuals play out was something that really pulled the story together. I love me some Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (hi Crazy Stupid Love, anyone?) but more than that, they showed the conflict they were both living out so well.

Because often the struggle of pursuing dreams, dreams that break you and hurt you, can be in direct conflict with love and a relationship because we like the idea of a clean separation of both, of handling both, but what often happens is they are pulling and tugging us in directions that come across as opposing. I could not help but see the beauty in that mess on the screen. The messiness of life in general can cause us to hurt and emote in ways we wish we didn’t, or even lead us to give up on that pursuit simply out of the need to not be hurt anymore by it, choosing instead the more solid route of comfort and security.

Seeing La La Land was a reminder that messy can be beautiful and it can be both temporary and permanent, it can leave us longing and wondering, but it can lead us to places we’d never thought possible if we recognize the tension of both and allow the tugs and pulls to be in the right direction. But we may not get it all the way we thought we would, and there in lies the rub of it all with our own selves.

We struggle against the path of perfection, of our ambition and love both intertwining easily in order to get all that we expect instead of living out the hard tension of hurt, heart break and wrong timing. When we are able to face them we understand more about who we are and how we resolve those. Maybe we shouldn’t be living so much in la la land with our expectations and instead find a way to live in the tension of ambition and love a bit more.

Bachelor Friday

It’s been quiet this week around here as I have battled quite the cold/flu/sinus infection concoction that seems to be after everyone in these parts. Have any of y’all had this crud? It’s rather infuriating just how easily something like that can take you down for days. I digress though, y’all didn’t pop over here to hear about my sickliness. On to the Bachelor…

I had to go back and re-watch the first half hour again because I was in such a sick fog I completely blanked on who went home and what occurred between the crazy and the crazier out there on the patio furniture in Wisconsin.

My poor namesake Sarah, I was rooting for ya girl. You had a funny opening line as the “runner-up” when you met, you seemed bright and witty…much too good for this dude. You even weighed in to the Corinne crazy to help guide her a bit, but alas you went home, and were you ever emotional about it.

That’s what struck me this week (over the voodoo dolls and two-on-one date nuttiness) is that you get very vulnerable when you open yourself up to a relationship with someone, even in the format of a reality show and knowledge that 20+ other women are vying for this same guy.

After a few interactions with a person you get a certain comfort level that allows your heart to open up at the possibility of something more, that this could be the person you marry….Women, we tend to get invested at that point. We put our focus and our heart into it much more than a guy for the most part. We look beyond the present and start to see a potential future, leaving our hearts open and willing to look past circumstances or rational thinking (sometimes) at what might be a life partner.

I watched Sarah break down in the post-ceremony catch up at how she wants to be loved, and I think at the heart of the matter they all do, much like we all do at our core. We desire that love when we release ourselves at the possibility of a relationship. We find we do want that even if we’ve kept ourselves guarded and unexpecting of anything further. It takes courage to be vulnerable and also realize you are wanting love like that in your life, the love of another person who is right there in front of you and you see a connection with. It hurts all the more when that’s not what they desire or it doesn’t pan out how you had given yourself the freedom to hope it would.

So we find ourselves much like Sarah was on Monday night, emotional and questioning if love was meant for them…wondering if love from another is what we all are destined to have.

Bachelor Friday

As promised in last week’s post, I have this week’s Bachelor recap thoughts. I had to watch it Tuesday since I had plans Monday night, and then you know, life happens.

 

Y’all I nearly came unglued when one of the girls who is all of 25, and did not receive a rose at the ceremony, is sobbing about how she’s tired of being single. At 25. (insert largest eye roll ever) I hope your 35 year old self sees this a decade down the road and claps back at you for it. From what I could see of her brief stint on the show, she seemed likable and rather put together. She was very pretty and truly was looking for a companion.

But darlin’, don’t bemoan to a camera how you are tired of being single at 25. There is no sympathy for that. None. Am I being harsh? Probably so…

But here’s the thing. While I don’t know her detailed dating life, I do know at 25 it’s hard to bemoan your singleness. Especially when you elect to go on a television show where you vie with 30 other women for a man. You’ve probably been single for a couple of months, maybe even a year. But I can guarantee you that you don’t know what the single life is like with clarity and perspective.

Maybe I am completely wrong about it, but you’re not even at the average age for women to get married in the US , so darlin’, hush up.

Being single means you get to discover who you are, YOU. Not who you are with a man, or how that defines you. You get to do you, figure you out at 25, at 30, and at even 40. It opens up your life to who you are meant to be and not defined by the ring on your finger or the man at the end of that aisle. Single and 25 means you get to explore, travel, learn…spend copious amounts of time with friends and family, dig into the career and life expectations. You get to figure out what YOU want.

Piece of real advice here for the 25 year olds bemoaning single life, the guy I wanted at 25 is most definitely not the guy I wanted at 28, at 30, at 32 and now at 35. Truth be told, the older I have gotten the more I have seen what I truly desire in my life isn’t defined by the presence or absence of a man at my side. Be single with yourself to see what you really want, and who you really want to be. For yourself.

Bachelor Mondays

Not since I was interning at my first job out of college have I watched The Bachelor. That’s right kiddos, 2003 was the last time I chose to watch women vie for a man’s affections. Let me just say that in the last 14 years, times have a’changed.

Thanks to a writing project AND The Popcast Bachelor recaps (I shake my fists at their infectious podcast suck of needing to know) I am now experiencing life in Bachelor world once more. My roommate can attest to the fact that this is how I watch on Monday nights:

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It’s confirmed some things I long thought about the show, and it’s also caused me to question the juggernaut that is the female culture in it’s current state. This is, after all, my thoughts and opinions but y’all, I’m worried for my fellow ladies out there in singledom. I also have my questions about why a 36 year old man would want a pool of women whose average age is a decade younger than him, but I think we can all deduce that issue down to one thing….

Last night as I was watching a young woman devise a plan to make sure the Bachelor remembered their relationship (involving a trench coat and whipped cream mind you) was the important one, I could only think that what we’ve been sold as women is exactly what we’ve accepted. Use your body to get his attention, that’s all he’s looking for, all that any man wants. That we have to compete with one another for him rather than encourage and empathize and get to know him to see if what he values and what we do mesh…if he is who we are seeking to have as a partner as well.

Watching The Bachelor showed me more than I cared to see about dating life these days (and more of certain women than I ever want to) but it taught me a valuable lesson that when I question whether my standards for being pursued or being in a relationship are a bit too high that it means I value who I am as well in the relationship and am not just turning into someone who I think he wants me to be in order to not be alone. It also affirms my desire to talk with women of all ages (and the men of our generation as well) about what singledom is, how we can walk it with beauty and dignity, and how we can all respect and enjoy single life and the pursuits of relationship without the degradation of ourselves in the process.

I didn’t show up to the Bachelor watching to preach on a soapbox but to see what a decade-plus later is teaching us and the Millenials about dating life, about relationships and boundaries. But I am also here for the hilarity that is Dolphin-Shark girl, how many times I hear “I am here for the right reasons” and the moral compass that keeps getting reset each week. (Also Corinne…y’all that’s a whole book in itself) I am here for the fun of watching dating life play out in a weird vacuum, edited for entertainment and then presented to the masses starved for a break from their own relationship woes, or lack thereof.


Join me right back here each week as I look a little deeper at the episode and what it can teach us all about dating and the single mindset.

Not Interested

Today was the day. I had an extra pass to a movie screening this week as the opening to see if he wanted to go out. I thought if I finally saw him I would just ask. It has to do with this whole “do something you’ve never done before” idea I am carrying with me this year.

My interest in this guy goes back to April of last year. I met him at a service event and we chatted. But after that I couldn’t bring myself to really strike up a conversation with him…On a whim over the summer I thought I’d facebook message him, kinda joking that it was easier that way…no response. So life moves on and we get to November when I let it slip to a friend of his that I think he’s cute…seriously, am I in middle school? What has gotten in to me? (That’s what I asked myself all through December as I weighed my words and how very immature I was being about this interest in a guy I did not even know)

So here we are today. Yes, today, I think I am just going to do it. When I am met with nothing short of uninterest. That’s truly the only way to describe. Did I ask him? No, because I was greeted with a mumbled “hi” and staring at a phone.


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Why did I share all this with you all? Simply so I can share that it’s okay if he’s not interested. It doesn’t mean he’s the worst person in the world, or that he doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged. It simply means that he’s not that into me as I had been with him.

That’s okay.

It’s a kick to the ego and pride a bit, and I think we could all say that hurts. Here’s the thing, life goes on. I am not balled up in the floor worrying over what it is about me that he’s not into. I am going to keep being the me that I am growing into, that God is molding and making.

I do hope there’s a point where I can be friends with this guy because he seems like a cool guy, who serves and is interesting. It doesn’t mean I close off having any friendship with him or paint him as some horrible person. But I also don’t allow it to be a reflection of myself. There just wasn’t an interest there.

I think we have become a female population that believes if a guy isn’t interested that we must overhaul all that we are in order for him to want to be with us. Ladies, no. Fellas, I seriously love ya but you gotta stop finding these molds of perfection too. They simply aren’t real. They lead to alot of pain, for all of us.

The  next time there’s an interest there, go for it. And if it’s not reciprocated, if he doesn’t call after that first date, or you don’t get a like back, remember it’s okay. It’s not about who you are (unless you are a hoarder of all things cat, and then maybe it’s a little about you). It’s not the end of all things though. It’s a part of who you are becoming and how you respond to it that speaks volumes, not if he’s not into you.