On 24 Years of Singleness — Fearfully & Wonderfully Jo
If you’re tryna do quick maths, don’t. I’ll just save you the time. 😅 Yes, this means that I’ve never been in a relationship. Ever.
I’ve actively avoided this topic on my blog because it does make me slightly (correction: very) uncomfortable – it’s just so vulnerable. Anything pertaining to relationships typically is. I also hate the fact that it can come off as an invitation to pity, because that’s definitely not the intention.
So why am I posting about it now? Imma be honest, I don’t know. Maybe it’s an indicator that I’ve finally arrived at a point where I can say there are benefits to being single, while fully believing it. Or maybe this is just another effort to convince myself of it.
I don’t want to speak for anyone, but I think most people in my position would agree that being single your whole life really causes you to question how “desirable” you are. Ew I really hate that word because it equates us to objects, but for the purposes of this blog, I feel it’s the most impactful. For pretty much the entirety of my existence, I have grappled between feeling sad that no boys ever asked me out and then feeling guilty that I ever reduce my value to one that is solely within the context of a romantic relationship. I’m fiercely independent (to a fault at times), so it pains me to admit that I do crave the attention of a partner. Underneath the exclamations of “awwww that’s so sweet,” I gotta admit, I do feel a little sad + wistful when I see my friends doing cute things for/with their S.O. Even rom-coms with the happiest of endings, which I consume out of rabid curiosity, seem to amplify my singleness and the tinges of loneliness that accompany it.
That being said, I believe all those uncomfy feelings are valid – I wanted to make sure that I acknowledge the bitter, but very real, side of being single, before I attempt to explain the positives. It does suck sometimes, and I think it would be insensitive, and quite frankly, annoying of me to pretend that it doesn’t.
My “coming-of-age” has simultaneously brought on more Q’s related to my relationship status, so naturally, I’ve been given more of a reason to think through and dialogue with God about my singleness. And through it, it’s been revealed to me that there are things to love and appreciate about being sans partner, so I wanted to share them with you! So without further ado…
#1: WAITING IS A PRODUCTIVE + VALUABLE PROCESS
I hate waiting – there is a reason I live in NYC. My patience has a very short fuse and I prio efficiency above all. But recently, I’ve been challenged to wait in various areas of my life, and it’s proved arguably more productive than the actual anticipated result. In the waiting, I am forced to be still and sit in the uncertainty, which totally sounds unpleasant. But the uncertainty produces questions I need to work through, eventually leading me to a certainty I would not have been able to derive from anywhere else. As it pertains to relationships, the uncertainty has caused me to realize the truest desires and the needs of my heart, which perfectly segues to my next, and probably main, point!
#2: SINGLENESS LEADS YOU TO THE LOVE YOU DESERVE
24 years is a long time to wait and to grapple with uncertainty, and it’s not easy. No one would say it is. But because I’ve had so much time to observe, to think, to experience the emotional ups and downs, I’m pretty sure of what I want + need in a partner. During my most formative + impressionable years, I never had to think of my personality within the context of a romantic relationship that warrants compromises, and if unhealthy, especially at a young age, can lead to a deterioration of self-value. As such, I’d say my understanding of who I am and what I need is pretty comprehensive and accurate. One of my favorite parts about myself is that I’m self-aware, and I think it’s definitely not without reason.
I firmly believe that who you choose to be in a relationship with acts as a mirror that reflects how much love you have for yourself at that very moment. Now that I’m sure (or at least 85% sure 😅) of what my heart desires + needs, I’m less likely to settle for a partner who doesn’t respect my beliefs, my values, my interests, the very essence of who I am. But that was only possible after I had time to grow in the conviction of what I deserve, fully believing that the love I desire, and the love God desires for me, exists and is valid. People call it unrealistic expectations, I’d rather call it knowing what I deserve. And that’s the attitude I think everyone should approach a dating relationship with. Don’t let anyone tell you your expectations are too high.
#3: SINGLENESS AMPLIFIES THE LOVE THAT ALREADY EXISTS IN YOUR LIFE
Love is not one singular expression. It exists outside of a strictly romantic context, which is one of the most beautiful things about it. I think our society often portrays a very limited view of love through social media, through the tabloids, through books/movies/shows. This leads us to believe that our love quota can only be fulfilled by a romantic partner, but there could be nothing further from the truth.
Being single has revealed to me how much love I receive on the daily from friends, family, and even strangers that serendipity wishes me to cross paths with. I’ve been able to dedicate all the time that would’ve been given to a significant other to my friends and family, and those relationships have fulfilled me and have shaped, to a large degree, my understanding of what love is. I feel immensely blessed.
And of course, I would be remiss to not mention the greatest love of all. Singleness has given me more space and time to grow in understanding of what God’s love looks like for me. Unlike human love which can be very fickle, God’s love for me is constant and comes without strings attached. I don’t have to do or say anything to be loved, I just am. As I grow in my understanding of who I am and who I was created to be (point #2!), I simultaneously discover new facets of the one who created me and just how deep His love runs.
It’s no coincidence that I’m posting this on Valentine’s Day – a day that is by very nature, one big act of PDA. This “holiday,” while intended to be warm + romantic, can intensify feelings of loneliness and isolation for many people. I don’t wanna be all cliché and re-position it as “a day to love yourself woohoo!” Cuz if I’m being very real witchu, although it is well-intentioned, it annoys the heck outta me. Like yes, please keep reminding me I’m single LOL. Instead, think about the people in your life who you can love and express gratitude to on this day. I absolutely adore the reframing of this day as galentine’s/palentine’s day because once I think about all the people I love, I realize just how many people exist that love me. Bold claim, I know, but all relationships are a 2-way street.
So whether you’re recently single, or have been your entire life, I see you and I feel you. I encourage you to think of the people you love and do something nice for them! 🙂 It’s been scientifically proven that doing things for other people makes you feel good. And that checks out because God designed us to be relationship-oriented, and not just in a romantic sense. I promise it’ll be just as, if not more, fulfilling than a romantic partner’s love.
And to all of you – I love you guys a bunch!! I’m endlessly grateful for all the love, encouragement, and support I’ve been shown in my 24 years of existence, so thank you, thank you, a million times, thank you. ❤️