Thursday, May 3, 2012

The State of My Single Union

As I mentioned in my recap post earlier this week, I read the book “Single State of the Union” last month.  It’s a collection of essays written by single women - they focus on various aspects of their life:  careers, child rearing, living alone, traveling, etc.  It was nice to read the thoughts/reflections of women whose lives more closely mirror mine.  Living in the Midwest where people tend to marry in their 20s (like my siblings and all of my college friends have) I don't have a lot of people in my life who have similar lifestyles or have been in my shoes.  I am not complaining, it is just a fact of life that most of the people that surround me have found their life partners - and I am so happy that they have!

When reading that book, I couldn’t help but think what I would say in an essay about my single life.  Right now, I can honestly say I am really happy with my life as it is.  I have a wonderful family, a great group of friends, a rewarding career, and a home that I adore.  I’ve pursued/am pursuing difficult endeavors, such as getting my MBA and working towards obtaining the CFA designation.  I’ve discovered the hobby of running, ran marathons and half marathons, and have met wonderful friends as a result.  I’ve had great adventures – trips to Paris, trips to British Columbia to meet up with other runners, trips to other cities to visit friends.

My goal in my late 20s was to get to a point where I was happy with the state of my life and didn’t feel like it was missing anything – I spent so much of my 20s waiting to meet someone so I could feel that sense of ‘completeness’.   Well, I’ve left that mindset behind, and I no longer yearn for someone to complete me – instead I hope to meet someone who will compliment my personality.  But that’s a topic for a whole other post.

So bottom line – yes I am happy on my own, and I could continue to live this life I am living and be happy.  But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be disappointed if I never get married – because I would.  I’d like to share my life with someone and have the opportunity to have children, but if it doesn’t happen for me, I know I'll be ok.  Actually, I'll be more than ok - I'll still be happy.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if I was built for solitude.  Most of my interests are solitary pursuits (running, reading, knitting).  I feel comfortable living alone, traveling alone, eating alone, running alone. But there are still moments when I yearn for companionship - someone who will seek out great adventures and share in the inevitable burdens of life.  But at the same time, the thought of meeting someone almost exhausts me – and scares me.  I feel like I keep dating the same person, over and over again.  He has a different name and a different story, but the ending seems to be on repeat.  And while I try to hold onto hope that I might experience a different ending some day, after 16+ years of dating, it gets increasingly harder to believe that. And I begin to wonder if maybe I'm meant to be alone.

Of course, all of this pondering feels like a rhetorical question right now as my life is so not conducive to dating right now...  But it will be soon and I wonder if my attitude towards dating will shift or if this ambivalence towards dating will stick around.

So this is the state of my single union.  Happy. And trying really hard to remain hopeful.  I know that regardless of whether I ever meet someone, my life will be full of great adventures – and it will be full of love.

I'll close with the chorus of John Mayer's song, "Heart of Life", which perfectly sums up how I feel.

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won't all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good


missris said...

I LOVE that song--it's one of my favorites. As you know, I'm from the south, which means that everyone I know is already married and has babies. For several years after college I felt like I was failing because *I* wasn't married and having babies. And then I realized hey, I don't want to be married! I don't want kids! It was so. freeing. I became completely content with being alone, and doing whatever I wanted with my time, my life, etc (like moving to Chicago). It was wonderful. One thing that really helped? Nilsa asked me if my life would be a failure if I never got married and my immediate reaction was "hell no!" So yeah, that took the pressure off a lot once I was ok with the way things were. Then of course then they changed!

abbi said...

Good to hear you are happy with where you are! I always thought I'd be alone because I'm a solitary person too but things just kind of happened with my husband. We are very different though, some people probably think we have an odd relationship but it works!

Nora said...

John Mayer has some great lyrics. Forgot how much I enjoy his music.

I remember having a conversation with my parents after I finished my last final for the MBA on meeting a guy. I recall telling them that I was frustrated with dating, because like you, my story seemed to be the same when it came to boys and relationships and I was tired of being hurt. Putting the effort into it. Playing games. Like you, I also had 95% of my friends who were married and having babies and of course they couldn't relate to my life without a guy, which I honestly didn't think was so bad. There were definitely times were I resolved to not get married and I was ok with it. I thought of all the things I could do if I didn't settle down.

This is probably going to sound bad, but even now, should for some reason things fall apart with me and Knight? I have a plan in place. It involves moving to Florida. Changing my life completely. Making myself happy (I do that now, but in a different way, if that makes sense).

I love you for sharing this post; I love you for being happy and hopeful and most of all I love you for you because you do have so much love and joy, so much to share and so much to give. <3

Marlys said...

This was a very honest post, Lisa. I am so happy that you have learned that happiness comes from within, and isn't dependant on another person. The Priest on EWTN this morning talked about the single life in his Homily and it was beautiful! I will share some of the things he said when we see you this weekend! Have a beautiful day!

Abby said...

This is such a Beautiful post, and truly shows how strong and established you are. What a success to reach a point in your life where you are allowed to just be comfortable and happy where you are at.

Love you Lisa!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

This post is so real. Thanks for being honest. I feel very similar to you, in that I have had to learn (and am still learning) who I am and what makes me happy, with or without someone else. And I am a solitary person too; I don't need big group activities or parties or hullabaloo. I am happy to do things alone.

However, it is nice to have someone who, like you said, compliments you. Who you can still travel with and they don't make you feel burdened. Its like traveling alone...with someone! Or who you can still sit at home and read with and be yourself! The games people have to play for dating are exhausting, but you will find someone that you don't have to play games with! And like you said, if you don't, you will be disappointed, but you will still be off doing the things you love and enjoying your life!

Amber said...

I really like this post. I think you have come a long ways in the last couple of years and it's obvious you are very happy and your life is definitely VERY full of love!

I also love what Abby said. "What a success to reach a point in your life where you are allowed to just be comfortable and happy where you are at."

I think that is SO important regardless of relationship status, age, job etc. As long as we're all happy with who we are and where we are in life we are successful and our life is beautiful!

Great, thought-provoking post. Love you! XO

Amy said...

I love that song.

You know, being single is an interesting thing, to me. Before Andrew, I was in a seven year relationship, and I spent two years in between living alone, dating a bit but mostly single. I think that those years were two of the best of my life---I love being alone, and I enjoy solitude. Yes, I miss the closeness, but it was great. I actually find it HARDER to be with Andrew---even after almost five years, it's difficult for me to be unselfish and give up things to spend time with him.

What I admire about you is that you're NOT just willing to be with whoever and compromise who you are/what you want just to have someone.

I'm glad you're happy, and you know how to make yourself happy. I forget which SATC episode says it, but the longest relationship you have is with yourself. It's great that you've figured out how to live a full life.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I have loved watching you blossom in your singledom (singlehood?), because as we've discussed, I was in a similar place when I was your age. I always figured I'd meet someone to marry; I wasn't sure, though, whether I'd marry young enough to have a family. So, I found happiness in knowing I lived a full life and could continue to do so, family or not. We all know the ending - but, I think the point is to find a peaceful place with where your life could lead (all the many places). That way, you can be happy whatever road your life takes.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

I think it's awesome that you have embraced singlehood. I was always so independent before (still am to many degrees), but yes felt like "maybe I'm never going to meet someone." But it sort of broke my heart to try and believe that so I'm glad that it didn't happen. I know I could find some level of happiness alone, but there is definitely something nice about being able to share things with someone else. Especially, for example, in Eugene I Have a lot of runner friends, but none of them are super close so I don't have many girlfriends I can call and just go get a drink with or go shopping. Sometimes that depresses me, but I know I have a lot of great friends, they just happen to be spread out across the country and world.

Stephany said...

I'm going to try to not be too mushy-gushy in this comment, but I seriously, seriously admire your approach to your singleness and dating life. I hope to be at that point someday and sometimes, I am. I know this is where I'm meant to be and how I'm meant to live. I strongly desire a husband & children, and I firmly believe God would not have placed that desire on my heart if he didn't have that planned for me.

But the waiting is hard. I haven't had very much luck with dating and it's frustrating. My last date was so bad, I am considering arranged marriage. Heh. ;) But seriously, it's tough out there and you begin to question a lot of things.

That said, I am also happy being alone. I am happy in my singleness (most days) and it has taught me so much about myself. Does having a husband make me more of a success? Maybe in the eyes of some people, but not in the eyes of me. Or the people I love.

So while I want to find someone someday, I'm learning to be okay with my singleness and take it one day at a time.

San said...

It's kinda funny - I feel like we're so similar in so many regards (I love a lot of alone time and enjoy solitary activities, incl. traveling alone!) and yet, I haven't been single since I was 16 (only two guys though - long-term relationships!).
Although I never sought out to be in a relationship, that's where I ended up to be. Sometimes I wish I had a time of singleness.... because I believe it shapes you in incredible ways and I just love how comfortable you are with your life and more importantly with yourself.

You just wait, your special someone will show up when you least expect it. I can't imagine that a catch like you would go unclaimed :) Ha!


Becky said...

Oh I love this post Lisa. I can definitely tell that you radiate happiness in your life - and how your mindset has changed over the past couple years of feeling like you find someone to knowing what you want and not settling for anything less.

So proud of you (and love you!) And I'm glad you're happy with who you are because to me you couldn't get any better!

Anonymous said...

I love this post. Seriously. I've been single most of my life, and although I'm often happy with getting my life together and learning to be ME sometimes I wonder why I still haven't met that person. I would love to be married one day too, and I don't think I'd be happy if that didn't happen for me. It's something I see in my future, and I think the uncertainty of knowing whether or not it will happen is very scary. I know I'm still relatively young, I just worry sometimes that all my friends are in relationships, and I'm not, and will I be alone forever? But your post reminded me that I AM happy right now. If someone comes along and compliments my personality, that would be a huge bonus in my life.

Marisa A. said...

Even now that I live with Drew I sometimes find myself missing my single days. Not necessarily being single but living alone. Doing whatever you want when you want...Everything has it's trade off I suppose. When your life is conducive to dating, let me know I'm an excellent wingman ;) (winggirl??)

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Great post :-)