Saturday, August 02, 2008

It's a Single's Life For Me

Somehow as I started to write this post the Pirates of the Caribbean song got stuck in my head. "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me." And now I can make no guarantees about where the thoughts in my head might lead me.
I'm single. There is no white knight on the horizon. I have a cat. I live alone.
And I'm okay with that.
I'm not saying I wouldn't like to find a man to share my life with. I'm just saying I'm happy. Which seems to come as a surprise to some people lately.
In August there are 3 articles in the LDS publication, the Ensign. You can read one by mental health professionals and parents of singles here, an article by a single male that is so generic as to be useless right here and one by a single woman about "finding comfort" in the Scriptures about our horrible horrible singles lives.
All three articles made me gag.
Let's start with mental health professionals. Seriously?? That's the message you want to send to singles? We need mental health counseling? I read the article. And if I wanted an interesting case study on what a single could be defined as, I would recommend this article.
Where's the useful and helpful advice? Do people really think we still need counseling at age 33 on communicating and being patient? REALLY?? PATIENT? To quote Charlotte from Sex and the City, "I've been dating for half my life! Where is he?!" Trust me, after 17 years of dating (which is actually more than half my life) I've got patient covered. And last I checked, I've mastered communications and even got a degree in the subject to prove it.
I can't find any useful counsel to singles over 30 anywhere. Believe me, if I could find it, I'd share it. But since I can't, I'm just going to have to share my own 2 cents worth of advice.
First, be true to yourself. Find your own happiness. Chances are you may never find someone. Do you really want to spend your whole life holding your breath and not appreciating the happiness around you? Be happy with who you are and what you have built for yourself!
Second, always remember the definition of insanity. "Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result." If that is what your dating looks like, stop and think about it.
Don't put your life on hold. I am so tired of hearing people say, "Oh I want to be married before I go to Hawaii." Do you really want to risk never doing anything interesting on the hopes of finding someone? BE SOMEONE! Be someone worth meeting. Don't put your life on hold.
Create your own support network. Fill your life with good friends and people you love. Make meaningful relationships. Having valued relationships and love in your life will never completely take away that basic human desire to have a significant other, but they will help keep you company.
And that's it. That's my advice for now.
Also, I want to share something a friend said on this subject today pertaining specifically to LDS singles.
In this church we lump everyone into categories from the minute they can walk- Sunbeams, CTR's, Beehives, Deacons, etc. And then we do or don't becomes Singles, while the other adults our age just become Saints. Is there any question as to why we never feel like we don't fit in?
I've been in family wards where I have fit in. I've been in singles wards where I have fit in. And I've been in wards where I never did fit in. But the Gospel is still the same. I just wish more people remembered that the Gospel is one size fits all.
And one last thing. There is no singles mecca. Utah does not have some sort of magical pull over singles. In fact, I find it harder here to meet people than I ever did back in DC, FL, and even CA. There is no convenient way to meet people. And there is no central gathering place for singles. And I miss that a lot. I miss the sense of community among singles. And I really miss the go-getters that helped create that community. Utah is seriously lacking in community.

It's a Single's Life for me. I plan to make the most of it. I just wish more people would.

10 comments:

  1. Great post... and I don't really take it as your being critical per se', but just noting that the Ensign editors just don't know how to speak to singles in the Church --- or that perhaps singles in the Church - do not need to be categorized in such ways.

    The Gospel is a one-size fits all - for sure:-) As individuals, we apply the principles of the gospel, which are relevant in all circumstances... and that is what makes these principles - eternal.

    tDMg
    LdsNana-AskMormon

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  2. Very well written blog. I'd rather see your blog as an article in the ensign than usual bland articles.

    Maybe if we demanded better quality articles from Ensign, we wouldn't get crappy articles about coping with singleness.

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  3. I'd have to agree, as a 38 year old single, that it is difficult to feel like an outsider, and to have people think that there is something wrong with you if you aren't married. Even when people are welcoming and care about you, many of them think that all your problems would be solved if they could just match you up with someone. Instead of treating you like a person, you are somehow a lost half-person. People tell you to get on an internet match site, or move somewhere where there are more Mormon men... but as noted here, there is no Single Mecca. I've lived in Utah and Arizona (where they actually have Middle Singles wards, unlike most places), and sometimes I just want to ask people what it is they expect me to do... is it really better to be in some of these incredibly horrible marriages I've seen than to be single? Are single people more in need of meaning and purpose (and mental health... and patience...) than other people? Erin makes an excellent point... all of us, no matter our marital status, need to do something with our lives, find things that give us meaning, build our own community of social support, and trust in God and believe that the things that he wants us to have will come along, in his time... not ours. Meanwhile, let's enjoy living our lives, not emphasizing our difference, but our similarities.

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  4. I think the best thing to do is work towards being your best self whether you are married or single. Being married does not automatically make you a better person just like being single doesn't mean that you "missed" something along the way when you weren't watching. Life takes work no matter where you live or what people/animals you live with. I see too many people making excuses for their behavior "because they are in a crappy marriage" or "because they are single" or "because they are having a bad hair day." No matter where you are in life you will have trials and joys. That' just a fact. I was happy when I was single and am happy being married. And that's just because on a daily basis I choose to be a happy person. If a person chooses to be miserable, they will be, no matter who is in their life.

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  5. Great post!
    As you know I'm not Mormon, I'm Catholic so I'm getting the impression that being single is even more concerning among Mormons. Like they really feel sorry for you and find you incomplete.
    Where, I would imagine if they examined their own lives with a critical eye, they'd find someone much more pathetic.

    I have even consulted with my priest about writing an article for singles in our Archdiocsean paper. He said don't bother - that the Diocese isn't interested in anything like that.
    Really too bad.

    Anyway. I'm happy yes.
    Honestly. Marriage is sort of a goal for me. Not everyone reaches all of their goals.

    and I say goal because almost everything I've wanted to do in life - I've done. What is left on my 'bucket list' all requires a life partner. I don't want to have kids alone. I don't. But at this rate, I may not get to have kids WITH someone either.

    God has something in mind for me... and he's not letting me in on it.
    Accepting that is the key to being single.

    I'm just really irritated that your Ensign seems to equate single with mentally deficiant. That's highly disturbing.
    (I'll read the articles later - so maybe I spoke out of turn here.

    Erinannie - you're the best!

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  6. The link to the first article isn't linking for me. What is the title so I can search for it?

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  7. I have tried to fix the broken link several times now. For some reason, it just won't fix. Very odd.
    So here's a direct link-
    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=54ece97864a6b110VgnVCM100000176f620a____

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  8. Also, thank you all so much for your comments. My blog has had an explosion of hits yesterday. I'm a little amazed at how many hits actually.
    Obviously, this is a subject I am very opinionated on. I wish I wasn't categorized by my marital status every where I go. I'd rather be known for what I've done and what I can do. And not for someone I haven't met.

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  9. "Utah is seriously lacking in community."

    AMEN!

    And I think you are exactly right in your post on singleness...it makes sense. Far more than "being patient" or putting one's life on hold makes sense.

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  10. I am single, 36, and have 2 cats.





    ;)

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