Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On Being Single

I don't typically share too many posts where I'm more vulnerable about personal stuff, but I'm feeling inclined to do so today.

Out of the seven people on the beach trip last week, 5 of us are single.  We made a lot of jokes about dating and picking people up as single people on a vacation are prone to do, but there were also some more serious conversations about relationships and what it's like to be single.

I think it's a misconception that single people spend most of their time thinking about being single.  I know a lot of comments have been made to me in the past that indicates that there are non-single people who really think that it's like that for us.

It's not.  I mean, sure... there probably are some people out there who can't think of anything else, but I'm not that girl.  And I don't think my friends are like that either.

A few comments were made when the topic came up last week along the lines of, "We're good people.  We like each other just fine.  So why are we still single?"

I've had a friend or two make a comment to me over the past few months about how they don't understand why I'm still single.  I know these are compliments, and I accept them... but believe me, when I do think about being single that's pretty much the only question that comes to mind.

I think it's easy for us to all walk around thinking we're quite a catch and that anyone would be lucky to have us. But there's a fine line between feeling that way with confidence and feeling that way with arrogance. (And fellas, I don't even flirt with anyone who is arrogant.)

I like to hope that I feel that way with confidence.  I know I'm not perfect.  I know the things that I do sometimes in a relationship that are less than ideal. I have my weaknesses.  But I also know that I know how to be one hell of a girlfriend.  I know I can be a lot of fun and an excellent listener, supporter, encourager and so on and so forth.  I know that my strengths outweigh my weaknesses.

Sometimes I don't know why I don't write more about my faith on here.  I suppose it's because in some ways it's something that I find intimately personal and feel more comfortable sharing in a smaller setting than the ole internet.  But allow me a moment to be a bit more open... I believe that God gives us our desires.  I believe he put it in my heart that I am especially made to share my life with someone else.  And I believe he'll give me that desire of my heart when the time is right.  I am sure of it.

I have days when I feel impatient... moments when I wish I had someone to watch a movie with on the couch... moments when I wish I didn't have to stress over finding a date to a wedding... moments when I want someone to cuddle up to me in the bed... and moments when I just LONG to have that special person that I connect with in a way that I don't connect with anyone else spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically...

But most of the time?  Most of the time I'm content.  I have no doubt that the relationships that I've been in that have ended are in the past for good reasons.  I am also sure I've learned a lot from each of them that has made me more prepared for whoever is out there for me.  And I know that when the timing is right, I'll be ready.

I guess that's why I had no interest in flirting much with the guy at the bar who wouldn't leave me alone one night last week.  It's not that I think there's anything wrong with a little harmless flirting, and sometimes I do engage in such activity.  It's fun to flirt, and it's always flattering to know someone is in some small way attracted to you. But sometimes I'd rather just hang out and have a good time with the people I came to the bar with rather than flirt with some stranger that I'll never see again.

I made a comment about the guy not being my type, and another friend suggested I try getting outside my type.  She made a valid point, though ultimately I just didn't want to hang out with him vs. my friends in this particular case. But at the same time, I don't really even know my type.  When I look at the guys I've dated over the past 5 years or so, they all seem so totally different to me. The only common factor is that I thought they were smart, fun and attractive.  

There was a conversation in the car on the way home about the Sex and the City episode where Carrie questions if she's dating the wrong type of men... I know when I saw it recently I wondered the same exact thing.  But I can't figure out what's wrong about being attracted to men who know how to be a gentleman, men who are responsible and driven, men who are both intelligent and funny...  I see no sense wasting time on this thought.  Either I'm attracted to them or I'm not.  I joke that I'm picky, but really I don't know that I am.  I've gone on a lot of first dates and tried out a lot of different types.  It's kind of fun to meet people who are different from what you're used to.

But it's interesting... every guy who has ever broken up with me has pretty much said the same thing: "you're a great catch, any guy would be lucky to have you, I'm just not in a relationship place."  I could waste a lot of time trying to figure out why it seems like every man I've liked in 3 years has said the same exact thing, or I can keep on living my life and knowing that in time there will be a man who knows he needs to hang on to me instead of tossing me back to sea.

My life is good.  Despite being unemployed, I'm feeling at peace about figuring out my next purpose in terms of a career. I'm excited about finding something new.  While I'm not thrilled about packing and the search for a new place to live, I'm looking forward to moving in the coming months.  Part of me is thinking of moving somewhere totally new, and part of me is thinking I just need to move more into Nashville where things are happening.  I love my marathon training (most days).  I have a ton of people in my life who make it good.  I'm involved with things that mean something to me.

And being single is FUN.  I can do whatever I want.  My money is my money.  My time is my time.  All the decisions are mine.  I can go out and shamelessly flirt with a hot guy, or I can go out and have a blast out on the town with a big group of friends.  I can go on a date whenever I want.  I always set the course for what I do with my time and resources.

Do I still feel a small ache for the missing person?  Sure.  What single person doesn't?  I think the most important thing we feel in life is the desire to love and be loved.  I know I'm loved by a lot of people.  There are a lot of people I also love.  My life is better because of this love.  But someday, I'd like to be IN love again.  I want to share this life with someone else.  I know I'm made for that.  And eventually, it'll happen.  And I'll be thrilled to have to consult someone else and share in decision making with another person.  I'll know I did all the single things and that I made the most of my singlehood.  I'll be ready to engage in couplehood.

I'll be the first to admit that I do have my moments where I don't have as cheery of a disposition about singlehood. It really does suck sometimes.  But today?  I'm feeling happy and content.  I'm sitting on the cusp of a lot of change, and I feel excited about it.  Being single is nothing I can worry about.  It's nothing I can really and truly control.  I can't make a boyfriend appear out of thin air (though that'd be a neat trick!) But I can enjoy my life.  I can enjoy my friends.  I can get out and about and do things that I enjoy and want to do.

I think you have to be able to feel confident about being single before you can ever feel confident about dating.  I can't be part of a couple unless I really know who I am as a single.

And I gotta admit... It feels pretty good to feel confident about who I am as a single.


danielle said...

What a beautiful post, Mel! Love you and miss you girl!

Kimberly300 said...

in some ways I think you are so very lucky.. I have never really known single life.. got married first at 19 and after that one failed am now married again. I have 3 wonderful kids but I always wondered what it would have been like to be single and not feel guilty whenever I am able to sneak a pedicure in...

but of course I don't think I would change a thing if I could..

Sharon said...

Beautifully said! Love is all around us - in all shapes & forms. You are wise beyond your years. God will bring you your true love when the time is right. Until then, enjoy all that life has to offer and it is clear that you are doing just that :)

Nicole said...

I love this post!!! :) Thanks for sharing! And for the record, i think you are a hell of a catch and someone would be LUCKY to have you as a girlfriend too-- and i havent even 'met' you yet! :)

Niki said...

Thanks for sharing girl! You're right that God will bring the right man into your life at the right time! I know it's hard to be patient but it will be so worth it:)

Amy said...

I so feel you. I used to always feel like that scene out of Bridget Jones where she's the only single person at a dinner party and some douche asks her why there are still so many single girls in their 30s out there and she makes the comment about how it's probably because they've all got scales underneath their clothes. And then no one laughs. I love that scene.

Anyway... you have the perfect attitude about life and love.

I've recently embraced my singledom wholeheartedly... and I gotta say... I've never been happier.

And, seriously... your life these past few months has sounded awesome. Just think of all these opportunities, trips, etc that you've gone on that might not have happened if you were with someone.

Wendy said...

His timing is always perfect!

Alisa said...

While I'm not single I can certainly relate to this post. You articulated relationships and love quite well.

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I was single and hadn't met Justin when I did. Where would I be living? What would I be doing? All that said, I love my life and I wouldn't want to trade it for anything and I think that is the real key to happiness. You have to love your life for what it is =).

hernamewasgrace said...

Okay, I'm probably not the best person to comment here since I disagree with most people on this topic, but I'm about to anyways. I think it's okay to just be single. Perhaps 'God's timing' is timing for you to be single (not get married). I'm not trying to be pessimistic, because I don't think being single is such the awful thing. Can you tell I'm a bit anti-culture when it comes to relationships? haha. GREAT post. :)