I grew up an only child so when my parents and I would go skiing, inevitably one of us had to ride the chairlift up alone. And for those of you that ski or snowboard, you know the protocol when you’re the odd man out is to yell “Single!” while waving your hand. This way you can pair up with someone to ride with and keep the flow of traffic moving up the mountain at optimum efficiency.
I remember having a love/hate relationship with this when I was little. On the one hand, I hated not being able to ride up with my mom or step-dad as it was easier and more comfortable to go up with one of them vs. a stranger. Nonetheless, I was a chatty-Kathy when I was little so typically, once I got over the initial shyness and shame of having to yell out “Single!”, I enjoyed my interactions with strangers, particularly those with cute males who were a good ten or twenty years my senior. I was told I was quite the flirt while not trying to be; the curse of being a precocious child.
I think about that now, as I reflect on what it is like to still be going through life single at age 39 and 11 months. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it. On the one hand, I miss the familiarity of having a regular, known entity to go up the mountain with; on the other hand there is an exhilaration with always being free to the unknown – not knowing who may or may not join you on the path but not being stuck in a rut, or with someone you may no longer like.
Today at church, our pastor said, “Careful not to think God owes you anything.” Guilty as charged. I have been thinking God owes me a husband and family – or geez – a boyfriend at least – for about eight years now. And I don’t understand why He hasn’t delivered this with a bright red bow like a car delivered on Christmas (oh – that just happens in the commercials?). But seriously, when you’re raised from the time you were three on fairy tales and Barbies, you come to expect that when you grow up, God will grant you a partner and children. When that doesn’t happen, it’s a very bizarre reckoning.
I am not the only single woman I know who has never been married. There are an increasing number of us out there – attractive, intelligent women who for whatever reason, the stars haven’t lined up right for when it comes to the mating phenomenon. We either got caught up in our education, careers, dysfunctional family patterns or simply unlucky. Like during the latency stage, we were kind of oblivious to the opposite sex or we were all too aware, sleeping with people way too quickly and with way too many people as opposed to building friendship and intimacy. And some of us got caught in jobs that are saturated with females or people it’s unethical to date.
I do know this: I’d rather be alone than with someone I don’t love or with someone who doesn’t treat me the way I deserve. And I’m extremely grateful that I’ve never had to go through a divorce, domestic violence, messed up joint finances or vicious custody battles.
But the question here is – where does one go to yell out “single!” It’s not as easy as in the chairlift line. (Or maybe it is when you want it bad enough but whatever happened to good old fashioned falling in love vs. having to go out and seek it like hunting for a job?) It’s a fine line between trusting in God to bring love according to His timetable and being completely lazy about trying to get out and date (via the internet, bars, “it’s just lunch – they want you to pay 4k by the way, or singles functions – often very surreal).
Lately I’ve been meeting some really cool people. People who feel like my kind of tribe. And it has been wonderful. A beacon of hope that hip people actually exist. But all these cool people have already found their immediate clan. It’s an odd place to be – to be a part and yet not a part. Grateful for community, yet sad when community makes you yearn for more. For an actual family vs. a symbolic one.
I am almost forty and still get carded at the grocery store. This is nice but it adds to the confusion. People assume I’m young and that I have plenty of time.
People make a lot of assumptions. But then I do too. I don’t know that the grass is any greener on the other side. I have a pretty nice life with a lot of freedom and good. Yet I do believe God is wanting more for me and of me. Yes, I do believe there is more. Now I must learn how to be grateful for what I have while also reaching beyond this point.