I’m turning 35 this year. I’m single. For shame! I’ve been asked why I’m single so many times recently I feel like my marital status is pasted on my forehead like the “Use By” date on consumables. I can hear my mother now: “You better use up all that milk. It’s going to expire!!” Of course, she’s actually talking about milk.
About a year and a half ago at a party, I was asked if there was any update on my life – when my answer didn’t include me ‘meeting and keeping someone’ the person turned around and walked away. Literally.
I’ve listened as family and well-wishers whisper that they must get me married. I’ve been told that now that I’m older I shouldn’t have such high expectations. “You’ll get what you get.” What that last statement says about the way people view available men is something scary, leave alone what that says about me.
“Don’t be so intimidating.” “Don’t say anything too intelligent” – as if I was looking to attract some sort of wild animal with no capacity for lucid thoughts or emotions. (SIDE NOTE: wild’s alright.) Look, if you have the capacity to say things that make me want to shut up and listen, I will. Sincerely. That’s what I want.
Let’s drop this bomb before we go any further: I like being single. I’m good at it. I have a full life. I have lived well. I have worked hard. I have loved hard. I have stood under the myriad of stars in Africa and listened to Pink Moon by Nick Drake as I’d dreamed I would. I have stood on the precipice of an ancient Fort in Jaipur and imagined the battles that were fought on the land below. I have sat in a plane and watched as the hot middle Eastern desert passed slowly below. I have sipped a cold whiskey in a jazz lounge in rainy Chicago listening in on musicians talking shop. I have stood teary-eyed at the crossing of Saroyan Place and Kerouac Alley on a foggy day in San Francisco. I have looked into the eyes and hearts of countless people and held the heartbroken, sick, grieving, hopeless and talked them back to the shores of Love. I have shared romantic, real, honest moments with people. I have loved my people well. I, yet, love them deeply. I have lived and loved and fought and argued and apologized and reconciled. So when you ask me if I’m single. I am. But only romantically.
Look, of course, I want romantic companionship. Of course, I get lonely. Of course, I have my own desires. Oh, do I have desires and an active imagination to add to it. I have also wanted children for a long, long time – I have prayed Hannah’s prayer countless times. I seriously looked into foreign adoption as a single parent. At my age I am surrounded by couples, marrieds, young parents, and children. I’m an idealist romantic, there are days when that can feel quite excluding. I take care of my heart on those days. (NOTE: Single people, I get it – the world doesn’t celebrate you. Take it upon yourself to do so.) I am not shamed by my feelings – those needs and desires are a righteous part of this life. But, it’s not about getting intimidated into finding someone just to please and appease other’s or give into fear. You need to think about what you are looking for before you go looking.
I have the privilege of age behind me so I know i’m not just looking for someone I’m attracted to anymore. I’m a visual person. I’m attracted to Beauty. And, boy, there are so many beautiful people! Let’s just appreciate that for a quick second.
But, there is so much more that I value in a romantic partner. Not only do I need to desire this person, I’m looking at the future father of my children. I’m looking at the man who will have to take care of me when I can’t do it myself. The man who will challenge me and disarm my stubbornness. I’m looking at the man who will give me another set of good grandparents for my children. I’m looking at the man who will work hard to take care of his. A man who knows who he is and Whose he is – who has his own passions, dreams, and desires. I’m looking at the man who will love God more than me, who will teach my children how to reach for eternity in their hour of need. Someone who will honor my family and get along with my friends and the people I choose to have in my life. Who will love people – oh, do they need to love people! Someone who will not only be able to play but who will be reassuring through the hardness of life.
I know I bring those those to the table. I know the vitality I bring to a relationship. I know the passion, the experiences, the spiritual covering, the comfort and the care. I know all those things. I also know that I have emotional needs that are very specific. Not anyone fits that bill. And I don’t fit the bill for everyone either. No matter how old I am.
There were times in my life I chose singleness for my emotional and spiritual growth. I’m not there any longer. I am pro-active about this sacred search, but, I also believe that God speaks to me about everything else in my life – I reckon He speaks to me about my partner too. In the meantime, I have so much endless love, and life, and comfort to give, places to visit, prayers to pray, miracles to witness, meals to enjoy, friends to make, fires to light, books to read, music to listen to, laughs to laugh, tears to cry, stories to tell…
And, friends, I’m only 35.