"If hate were people, I'd be China."

- Phil Berquist
one single mind on not minding being single

i've been contemplating a post on singleness for some time and thought it would be "appropriate" to publish on valentine's day. as i write this, i'm not sure what tone it will take, let alone what tone will be received. i'm not out to be harsh, self pitying, too serious or too comical. if i veer into any of those areas, hopefully i'll course correct and balance out!

as a single, 30 yr old i sometimes wonder if my perspective/experiences are normal or if i've been taking crazy pills. i, personally, think the life of singles in my age range is not easily grasped by those not in our shoes. i once joked on my (now defunct) myspace blog that early in my life as a single, people would say "just wait ... she'll show up when you're not looking/least expect it" and things of that sort. then, as the single journey continued, people started asking things like "have you considered one of those internet dating sites?" and saying i needed to "put myself out there."

it's almost as if, right when you become ok with being single, everyone else isn't ok with you being single. (PLEASE NO COMMENTS ON HOW YOU'RE OK WITH PEOPLE BEING SINGLE. I'M NOT LOOKING FOR CONFESSIONS OR APOLOGIES, WHETHER YOU MEAN THEM OR NOT!) married people LOVE to set their single friends/loved ones up. they just want us to be happy, (because we obviously can't be happy alone) yet single people are often "encouraged" with reminders of paul's words on the benefits of being single. "you can do so much more ministry when you're single ... you're not tied down." i get that. i totally understand that. i mean, as far as i can understand that without being a married person looking back on single life. i've even heard people try to exhort with the phrase "it's really better to be single." almost as if they're jealous or something. don't step to me with that phraseology! if it's better, why are you married? i don't mean to sound bitter, because i'm not... really. i just perceive that sometimes married people don't know how to encourage single people and some of the things they say aren't what need to be said. you don't feel bad about being married, and i won't feel bad about being single... AND don't feel bad about me being single, and i won't feel bad about you being married.

i do believe there are blessings and opportunities specific to both lifestyles, but over time, somehow, the singles of our churches have become the "bless their hearts" gang. married folks want to fix us like we're incomplete! i don't have a problem with people desiring happiness for me or wanting me to find that special someone. i just want those people to be ok with my singleness in the meantime. i don't want my singleness to be viewed as a handicap or obstacle to happiness and then face attempts to convince me that's it a blessing.

i don't try to cheer married people up by reminding them of the blessings they have in marriage (could get a lil awkward!). if i've conveyed that i do need to be cheered up because of my singleness then, by all means, have at it. but please don't assume i'm miserable because i'm not experiencing what has brought you so much joy!

again, my perspective may not be shared by other singles my age, but if it is, i wanted to throw these ideas out there. i'm hoping my views just might help people understand the single p.o.v. (mine anyway). i'm not writing this in response to specific individuals, either. i'm writing in reaction to a, potentially, largely shared attitude amongst today's married population.

most of us are "ok" with being single. ("ok" is a loose term! i know people who are "ok" with being single but are ready to leave it behind ASAP!) we're (many of us, i'd say) aware of the blessings singleness brings while also aware that marriage offers many blessings, too. the problem may be that the blessings of being single for a long time are only theory to people who didn't spend much time as a single adult. that may be why people often sound like they're trying to convince themselves of said blessings while reminding us! it's cool. i appreciate the kind intentions of the non-single population... i just want them to stop worrying so much!

oh yeah.. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! (or Discounted Chocolate Eve, as some might call it)


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Comments on "one single mind on not minding being single":
1. flyawaynet - 02/19/2009 9:01 pm CST

Thank you. Jared linked to you and I'm glad I made the trip over. I don't need pity for being single, I'm happily single. I'm not even sure I'm ready to leave it behind just yet. But, just like anyone, I certainly have my days.
I confess though, on those days I quote Paul to myself. ;)

2. jenspeaks - 02/23/2009 1:26 pm CST

I saw the link at Jared's, too. I've moved into the smug married category, but I was single until I was 38 years old. Your post is a good reminder to married people who forgot what single life was like (or maybe never really experienced it because they married young).

When I was single, I shared your thoughts. It was mildly frustrating to have to assure people that I was completely content being single. Some thought I protested too much. Others ignored what I said, thinking I was just trying to make them feel better. Being single is sometimes very weird in a couples-oriented/marriage-minded world, especially as a Christian. I think married people think it's weird to sort of like being single.

3. Alisha - 02/24/2009 1:13 pm CST

I actually think this is more a result of people feeling they need to "constant comment" on what they think should be the next phase of your life. Although I had a short single life, all I've heard the last 15 years of marriage is "when are you having kids?" Trust me, so many seem concerned about our lack of interest in becoming parents. Considering the possibility of biological reasons behind this, it can be very hurtful and annoying.

What's really needed is the acceptance that some are meant to be single, and some aren't meant to be parents. It's a great big world with a lot of room for variation; different blessings happen to different people and perhaps aren't meant for everyone.

Thanks for your honesty!

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