I think there is a stigma that life can only end up a certain way for most of us. The typical fashion for people my age (especially women) is go to college, find the man of your dreams, marry him right after graduation, start your career, and have babies. The end. No flourish or surprises.
Then there are people like me. I did everything by the book. I didn’t date in high school so I wouldn’t be distracted from my main goal: go to a big university. Of course I had the guys I crushed on and pretty much loved as a teenager, but I knew I would find the man in college.
I went to college with all these ideas about getting my Mrs. Degree and living a fairy tale like in all those books and movies you watch. Around my sophomore year, I pretty much figured it out that it wouldn’t end up that way. At all.
Senior year rolls around and my friends start getting the proposals. Every day it seemed I got a phone call or a text from someone who had just been asked to spend the rest of their lives with other 21 and 22 year old people. The rings were pretty and we all giggled and laughed about what the wedding would look like. Exactly how a ring should look like for a broke college guy. That summer ended up being 8 weddings in two countries. What?!
Now here I am. Two years after graduation with no ring. No boyfriend, even. Now if you took the outside influence out of the equation, I would love where I am in life. Frankly, I do kind of love it. I enjoy being a teacher and my life really just revolving around them. Some days I get lonely, and wish I had someone to come home to other than my cats, but most days I am perfectly fine. But the weddings haven’t stopped. Now there are pregnancies to go with the weddings. I’m sitting over here in my teacher clothes that still feel like they aren’t really me and they’re wearing maternity clothes?
When did life start moving so fast?
As a society and as a church, there seems to be a disconnect on where people like me should stand. We don’t fall in the college category anymore, and quite honestly, I can’t keep up with college students really either. I’m just too darn tired all the time. And we don’t fall in that place of “young married’s” as those Southern Baptist churches call it. So where do our awkward puzzle pieces fit? Why is there barely anything to be done for people like me? I realize we are few and far between, but we do exist. By golly, I exist.
I’ve been told to go to the singles ministry a lot by older people in the church. Excuse me, I’m in my early 20’s. The singles ministry does not have anyone remotely close to my age in it, thank you very much. Plus, I don’t want to go just to be paired off with someone that everyone thinks is “adorable for me”.
To put it simply, people need to stop saying that we need to this or that to be noticed. God is going to put someone in your life that will notice you for who you are. We don’t need to be labeled as career driven or singles. We are all equal in God’s eyes.
Paul advocated for singleness in the Bible. He himself was single. Fancy that. We have great advantages to being single. Love and marriage and dating are beautiful things, and I know that some day I will fall into those labels and love it. But I refuse to waste my single-life always just waiting for Mr. Right. I’m not career driven, but I am driven to enjoying my own company and learn who I am as a person. I can stand on my own two feet. Paying bills is hard, eating alone is hard, but there are worse things to do in life than that.
So here’s to the people like me. Loving and living a life worth enjoying.