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…)

Bachelor Wednesday

Y’all, I know I said I’d be doing this weekly but if I’m honest I got really sick of watching the Bachelor the last couple of weeks. The main reason being I couldn’t understand the attraction and competition of these women to Nick.

I know some of this show is just the push to get “known” and then capitalize on that to be an internet ad for various products. I’m not naive enough to think they all are in love with this man…and y’all it’d be hard to anyways.

But I know deep down, many of these women are searching for love. They long to be filled with a purpose and mend a heart that seems to have been broken in various ways and by various people. I look at the finalists after watching Monday’s episode and think about how each of them are some pretty awesome ladies, ones that I would more than likely be friends with in a given context. When you have edited content of these women’s stories you can put together a little about why they chose to come onto a national television program to compete for a man. You can see the lies they have been sold in that they need him to make life better, to complete them, to know what love really is for them.

I think that’s why I stepped away from the last few weeks of watching and writing on it, because it just made me sad. That we as women, as a society, have accepted that this is what love looks like or that is what we should be pursuing. Instantaneous physical attraction and just a few hours spent with someone means a match for the rest of our lives? It’s an immature approach to relationships, and most importantly, to a commitment to marriage.

I wonder if that bill of goods is now the generally accepted law among my generation and the Millenials. I wonder if deep down we are okay with the dynamic of our culture in pursuing takeaway relationships instead of deep-seeded growth with one another. Instead of being known by another person deeply, we’d rather have the immediate perception of coupledom and being wanted?

 

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:

13fc1f59ff1db79441d7f8a6d7c1e65f

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.

A Single New Year

December 30th…when the tension starts to rise a bit for the singles. We have navigated the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas or Hanukkah, hopefully with some success and self-confidence in tact.

But y’all we are heading into New Year’s Eve. So many years I spent putting alot of pressure on this eve of a new year, thinking that it would be the culmination of hopes that I had all year long. Plans, dresses, dinners, and plenty of social activities. Some years I had plans months in advance, others found me with none. Absolutely zero plans. It felt like it was a reflection of my marital status…FAILURE.

So for quite a while I lived in that reality that I had to have plans, a date on New Year’s Eve. That this specific date-December 31st held some significance in how my life lived out the next year. It set the standard in my mind for quite a while.

But let me tell all my singles right now, on December 30th, that it’s a lie. NYE is just a reason for people to make life goals they’ll have forgotten by April and an excuse to indulge in excess one last time before the slate gets “wiped clean” so to speak. How you spend your NYE is not a reflection of your life in the last year, or in the one to come.

Don’t let a day define your life. Don’t let plans, or lack thereof, do it either. And most certainly DO NOT LET YOUR MARITAL STATUS AS SINGLE DEFINE YOUR YEAR! I think that’s hard for some people to accept and live with. I think they wrap up all of who they are in having someone, being with someone, whether a date or a girlfriend or a spouse, that’s how they define all of their life.

But it doesn’t have to define your’s. Whether you find yourself sitting at home watching the ball drop this December 31st, or in a large crowd of friends and family, know that your 2017 isn’t laid out in how you spend it or who you spend it with (or who you don’t).

Happy New Year readers!