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“Mom, if I turn thirty and am still single, can we try on wedding dresses for my birthday, because clearly I’m never going to get to otherwise?”
I distinctly remember saying that to my mom in my early twenties.
It may sound a bit dramatic but...ok, it was dramatic. Let’s call a spade a spade.
But the reality was that at that time, I thought that turning 30 would be the end of all my marriage hopes and dreams, and set me on a path of an empty life. So God forbid that I wouldn’t get married before then.
I was so naive in my thinking back then.
Thirty sounded so...well, old. And dear goodness, who couldn’t get themselves married by the time they were 30? What is so wrong with someone that they can’t find a partner by then? Holy moly, how pathetic.
But then it actually happened. TO ME.
I turned 30 and was still (am) single.
And you know what? My mom and I didn’t go try on wedding dresses for my birthday. Instead, we threw a party with everyone I know and love, laughed until we cried, ate good food, and celebrated another year of me being on this earth.
Why? Because in my 30 years, I’ve learned that there are no “be all, end alls” of life. 30 isn’t a show stopper. Life continues beyond it, and hope still remains. I still meet men. I still go on dates (no, seriously). And while yes I do have a cat, I do not feel that it’s time to go adopt a whole shelter of them (although sometimes I want to anyway).
I didn’t feel like I needed to fabricate a reason to try on wedding dresses because I still feel that I might have a real opportunity to do it one day. And I didn’t need to sulk in a corner instead of partying it up because my life has had so much value and adventure despite (or maybe even because of) my singleness.
You see the reality that I’ve found is that everyone is on a different journey.
To say that someone is pathetic, or less, or to pity them, especially for their singleness, is to negate the purpose of their path.
I’m on this road for a reason, and maybe you find yourself walking it alongside me. I can’t tell you why we haven’t met that person yet. I just can’t. But I can tell you there’s potential for a life of abundance along this road, as we live out the purpose of this journey.
Is it the road that I wanted to take? No. I think that's pretty clear from the opening line of this post. And I would be lying to you if I said I don't still find myself wishing and longing for a spouse to come alongside. I'm not trying to sugarcoat my reality.
But I am evidence that while waiting for what we are hoping for, life can be a great, unexpected adventure, if we let it.
Look back through my old posts and you’ll see this theme time and time again. Though I've been single far longer than expected, I’ve done more than I ever thought possible. I’ve taken more chances than I knew I was capable of. And I’ve done more on my own than I ever thought I could, and than I ever thought I wanted to. From living abroad, to running a marathon, to jumping out of an airplane. All things I never thought I would, or could do, especially on my own. I chose not to let my singleness stop me from living a life that I don’t for one second believe is or was “pathetic”, and I truly hope no one pities me for it.
Personally I can tell you that now that I'm older, and my greatest fear came true, the only person that I would now ever pity for being single, is the person who allows their singleness to stop them from seeing life for what it can be. And pity isn’t even the right word. It's more of a burning, aching, uncontrollable desire to want to help them see the light.
So maybe even after reading my story, and me telling you that everything has turned out alright, my story still terrifies you.
Maybe you still worry about turning out like me. Well, honestly I couldn’t blame you, because I would have been thinking the same thing many years ago.
But something that you will one day realize, if you haven’t already, is that no one is handed the exact life circumstances they desire. At some point all of us find ourselves in the less than ideal. Yes, even people who are married (shocking, right?). And we all have a choice of what to make our lives despite it.
I made a choice to not let my singleness limit my life.
And I can tell you my life has turned out to be more than I could have imagined.
And if this is the path that you end up on, I promise that yours can too.
Don’t even bother for one second worrying about it. It is wasted energy, because I can already tell you how things turn out if the “worst” happens.
There will still be hope, and there will be abundant life to be lived, but only if you choose it.