2016....the year that I claim as the year to embrace my singleness.
Last year at this time I would have been writing a completely different blog about singleness. I had just gone through a pretty traumatic break-up when the Holiday Season rolled around. It was hard, I was mourning a relationship that I had thought would end up in engagement and marriage in the next few years. I was dealing with a lot of opinions about myself that this past relationship had allowed me to believe. I was in the beginning stages of grief. For I had lost someone very close to me. Up until about a month ago I was still in the process of grieving the expectations that go along with a long-term relationship that turns into what you think is a friendship. The truth is though that there are some people that we just can't stay friends with. There are some people that we have to completely cut ties with.
In cutting those ties, we realize that string, it was in fact holding us back from freedom.
I cut the ties.
I choose to embrace who I am.
Singleness I feel like has a really bad place in our world. For a long time I agreed with those that thought it was not living out a real life to be single. Those that think that singles cannot truly make an impact on this world. Or that singles are just waiting till the day they meet their match and then they can truly be welcomed into the "bigger community" of moms, dads, husbands, and wives.
I used to think that way too. Actually up until like a month ago...then I realized what I was doing. In every move, in every chance encounter... inside my head I would ask....is he the one? Or maybe him? Should I go back to online dating, or maybe I should see if someone has a friend they can set me up with? Why? Why are those thoughts the first thoughts that come into my head?
I think it is because that is what we are programmed to think. That somehow if I am single, childless 30 something year old there must be something wrong with me. That I need to just look harder and then I will find someone. I will be complete once I find someone. I will fit in more to the social norms once I find someone. That my life will begin once I find someone.
Sure maybe people won't say these things to my face, but they think them.
So....what do I do with all of this?
How do I face these expectations head-on? I think by embracing a single life. I think by showing society that the social norms, don't have to necessarily be norms...
How do I live authentically single?
#1 I don't focus on "finding someone." Life isn't about that. Yes, God created us to desire to have someone to share our life with, but the reality is that not everyone ends up with someone. I don't need to analyze every single male I come in contact with and wonder if they have the qualities that I am looking for. I don't focus on "finding someone."
#2 I focus on myself, and what God needs to do in me right now, during this season. Obviously I am single for a reason. There are things that God needs to teach me during this stage of my life that He couldn't teach me if I was married with 2.5 kids. I need to learn things NOW, so that I am READY for whatever is to come.
#3 I don't compare myself to others. We all do it, in life we all compare. I find that living an authentically single life means I don't compare myself to anyone else, especially other single 30 something year olds. My journey is mine, it is not theirs. I am not in competition with anyone, but who I was yesterday.
#4 I take time to heal. There are some bruises and quite a bit of baggage from my previous friendships/relationships that impact how I deal with people today. I need to heal from those. I need to allow myself to feel them, and then let them go. I need to acknowledge those things in my past that could possibly affect my future. I need to break down those walls, so that when the time comes I am ready to freely love.
#5 I don't put a time limit on when I am going to "find someone." There isn't a time limit, that person is not going to just "pass me by." I can't give it a time limit, because that isn't what it is about. I am not counting down the days until I am considered an "Old Maid." I am not going to explode if I don't get married by 35. A time limit does nothing but set unrealistic expectations on everyone involved.
#6 I give myself grace. There are going to be days when I HATE being single. On those days I am going to allow myself grace. I am going to let myself grieve the relationship that I crave, and then I am going to pick myself up and keep going.
#7 I will love. I will love those around me in mighty ways. I will fill my life with people that I can spend quality time with, and I will love them no matter what. I will break down walls and love no matter what risks there might be.
#8 I will be intentional. I will take time to talk to those around me. I will make authentic community a part of my everyday. I will seek out those that might be alone, or lonely. I will intentionally connect on a deeper level with everyone I meet.
#9 I will embrace this season. No matter if this season lasts for 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, or a lifetime (hopefully not), I will embrace it. I will not feel sorry for myself, think that there is something wrong with me, or allow myself to get caught up in the expectations that society places on me. I will embrace this season for what it is...an opportunity to grow, change, and love in a deeper way.
#10 I will develop strong friendships. The biggest mistakes I have made in the past were jumping into relationships without getting to know the guy first. The best kind of marriages come from friendships (or so I'm told.) So I will develop strong friendships, not to find a husband...but to learn how to be a friend that someone can depend on, care about, and is there through all the ups and downs.
#11 I will pray. Prayer is vital to remaining content in my authentically single stage. Connecting with God, going to Him, and listening...I can't do it without that.
This isn't a post that I thought I would be writing, but I couldn't get past these thoughts today...so here it is. These 11 ways are how I choose to live Authentically Single in 2016, and for as long as God wants me to.