Hello, my name is Megan and I am single.
[Oh she’s single? Well that explains a lot.]
At this point in my life (I’ve been divorced now for 7 years) my singleness has become a running gag.
Whenever I blurt out whatever I’m thinking thus causing a stir with my inappropriate and profoundly irreverent thought bubbles: I close it with a “and that’s why I’m single folks.” This stance seems to curb the shock and helps others absorb my brand of humor even if it makes them uncomfortable.
Which is frustrating for me to no end how my single status makes others uncomfortable. Get over it: I have.
I’d like to take this platform to point out the hidden, yet meaningful attributes of being single that not many others seem to grasp in this “must be married to be successful” culture. May I just shout out to those of you like me (albeit less obnoxious) that whether you’re a veteran or new to the game: we are hardly alone and we are NOT failing at life.
Singledom is often depicted as a bridge between youth and adulthood. Painted as a temporary limbo: a transitional phase that we must endure till our life “really begins.” So when we go against the norm and dare step into adulthood without that ring, it tends to rock the boat: making some of us a bit self-conscious even though we have no need to be. Yes you are in the right boat—no they will not throw you over-board for not fitting the status-quo.
I mean, let’s hope not.
Being unmarried, divorced or widowed is not a phase one simply grows out of. This status is not the baby’s breath of life’s bouquet, “filler years” to pass until the roses start to bloom. Instead this stage is a passage where we must take advantage of the time given to truly find ourselves, our purpose and our dreams. Yes you can find those while being married—but, and here’s the shocker: you can also find those flying solo.
1) Our purpose in life is not just to be married and create mini-humans. Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation is to gain a body, to find and accept Christ into our lives, and return with honor. God will not count how many children we have or haven’t, how many failed relationships, marriages, divorces or “the one that got away.”
He will however take note of our faith, our good works and our attitudes. What did we do with the time given to us? Did we compare our apples to others’ oranges demanding that we be given the same blessings? Or did we focus and persevere: grateful that we weren’t given prunes?
2) This is not a time to “wait”—patience is the exercise of faith, obedience is the foundation of faith and I for one am not going to say “well when I’m married and raising kids is when I’ll be serving my higher purpose.” Instead I will live in the moment and enact my divine purpose to serve God NOW.
3) Find out who you are, embrace the alone times, and discover your dreams, so that when you do connect with someone else you’re not bending to their ideals. Turns out I’m not a football fan. I can tell you every NFL team name, city and mascot; which team used to be in what city and I can explain what a Nickelback is, yet none of that means I actually enjoy watching the 3 hour game riddled with pre games, post games, and fantasy football.
So all those times of naively thinking I must know football to impress a date was for naught. Now rugby—that’s a game I can appreciate.
4) Pay no attention to those wondering when you’ll be married, when you’ll have kids or those who patronize you for being less than because you’re not a spouse/parent. “You don’t get it because you’re not married/a parent” just needs to be put to rest already. Also, don’t allow others to speculate on your behalf “well once you lose that weight you’ll find someone.” Or “you just need to put yourself out there.” Because it’s that easy. And of course my all-time favorite: “you’re just being too picky.”
5) Stop thinking of yourself as a lesser member—you have so much to offer and give, it would be a shame to wallow in the shadows when the Lord needs you to be up on the front lines. From someone who just got called into my ward’s Relief Society’s presidency (I was hijacked from Primary) I can say that my single status has not been a deterrent or a hindrance to the spiritual well-being of my fellow sisters. Being single is not contagious.
Instead they’ve embraced my quirks and allow me to freely discuss what it’s like in my own little world and how to keep moving forward despite the stigmas I’ve faced within the Mormon culture. No, nothing is wrong with me.
Which segues into the next bullet point:
6) Stop feeling the shame and social stigmas of being single. This isn’t just a church thing but a social inaccuracy, and it does not reflect your true self. Help fight the stereotype by making others see what you are capable of on your own two feet.
7) Stop waiting to live. While its ok to want and hope for your own family, don’t allow it to consume your ability to enjoy life’s ups, downs, sidesteps and cliff hangers.
God has not forgotten you and He does want to bless you but in His way and His timing. I know it’s easier to say than to apply but it doesn’t make it less true, and it stands repeating. Once you let go of your disappointments and frustrations you allow God to fill those voids with His blessings, so that you can be content, even happy, with your true purpose in life: to be one with God.
Even if you are a solo act.
Are you single? Share your thoughts in the comments below.