–Lindsey Marcus @ I Run in Heels
A year ago, my brother Seth and Ali, his girlfriend of 2 years, visited my parents in Oklahoma. While Ali appreciated the family-centric culture of our hometown, she commented on the emphasis on getting married young. Girls remarked she had the “patience of Job” at not receiving a ring by this point in the relationship. When she went to our high school’s homecoming festivities, the queen candidates expressed future goals of finding the men of their dreams and getting married. Though most of my brother’s friends are in their early twenties, most are either married or hope to be soon.
The positive side of this is that family is given such high value, but as someone who’s 30 and single, I have also seen the great benefits of having time to grow and develop on my own. I’m not writing this to knock people who marry young. I know plenty of couples that married right out of high school, during college, or soon after, that have had long-lasting, successful marriages. But I do want to encourage people who’ve chosen or found themselves on a different route.
I’ve had a myriad of experiences over the last several years that I probably wouldn’t have had if I’d been married. I studied art and Medieval spirituality in Italy, taught American group dances and English in Poland, auditioned for American Gladiators and met Hulk Hogan, competed in 6 triathlons, moved cross-country to attend grad school, danced on the stage of Dancing with the Stars, and I’m currently training for my first marathon.
All that to say I’m not sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for someone to come and “complete” me. It’s very empowering to find your first job or place to live, to set up a retirement account, to travel on your own, and to do these and many other things without the safety net of a spouse. So while you may have days of something-less-than-enthusiasm over your single state, I’m going to suggest you do something radical…embrace it.
Say “table for one” with confidence.
Go to that movie you’ve been dying to see…by yourself.
Buy something you’ve been eyeing and don’t worry about having to tell anyone about it!
Spend a day/week/month experiencing a new neighborhood/city/country on your own.
Enjoy your own company.
The poet Mary Oliver states it beautifully:
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When its over, I don’t want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
Here’s to amazement, taking the world in our arms, and doing more than simply visiting!