One of the reasons why I struggle with advice for single people is it is said often with a knowing nod of a head and served with a side of cliché. Those who are married, divorced or those who shell out one-liners like they are on sale at target for three dollars fifty can be found in every family, church or community group.
Have you ever found yourself saying “There are plenty of fish in the sea“, “Don’t worry the right person will come along“, “Stop thinking about it and suddenly they will show up“, “Don’t think they are going to come knocking on your door” and my all time favourite “Are you too picky?”
The list goes on and on. I find all of these three-point-sermons, particularly difficult because I was the receiver of much advice, that was so easily given away for free, often when I wasn’t talking at all about my relationship status. It was like being single was a disease that needed to be eradicated. I now realise that my decades of singleness, were actually some of my most amazing seasons of self-growth.
The funny thing is this…My next book is titled “Dear Single Self,” and it is aimed at women over 30 who are single but here is the quandary I have found in the writing and collating of all of these stories that everyone of us has “a single self” . This is the very starting point of the problem when shelling out the formula.
We think because we are in a relationship, that suddenly we are exempt from the loneliness that may plague a solo lifestyle. We set ourselves up on a pedastool assuming that living a life with one person every day, is somehow more satisfying. We forget that many of us are alone and feel just as lonely in our everyday lives, no matter our marital status. That is because we all have a single self.
I am off the back of three nights in my household of night shift and can I let you in on a little secret?
I HATE NIGHTS SHIFT.
There I said it out loud. Actually typed it in print, does that make it louder?
It’s not that I don’t like being alone, in fact, time by myself these days is an absolute gift, I hate the vulnerability I feel in my single self. The noises, the wake ups to the children. Every time my husband is on “night shift”, I am reminded of that place in my heart that struggles with loneliness. I remember and am reminded of the years when I sat uncomfortably in the place of my thoughts.
We all have a single self, that part of us that feels alone and unsure. One of my favourite letters from my latest book, speaks straight to all of us. To those places where we wonder, if we will be okay in the future. If our hearts and lives are enough. Whether we have the capacity to do all that our hearts dream of…
Continue to seek true and deeper friendships. You will travel to many places and meet many new friends. You do not need to know everyone. While you may choose to help many in need, remember to treasure those who invest in your well-being.
And travel the road least traveled! You will see and work at some incredible places in the world. Continue to travel and explore what the world has to offer; the many languages, cultures and ways of life. However be wise with your money. There will come a point where you will start to earn some big dollars. Save and invest the money well-earned; invest it in others and for the future.
Get to know more about what family life is all about. Believe it or not you will have a beautiful family of your own despite some early setbacks in life. In fact you will meet the love of your life in the most unexpected place and under very interesting circumstances. God, yes God, does have a sense of humour. Meet with parents with babies or toddlers or better yet invite them over for dinner. Offer to babysit and help them spend some quality time together without children. Meet with parents who have teenagers or adult children of their own. Knowing about their respective experiences will prepare you for when you have children of your own. It will feel less daunting; it will be something you will look forward to.
Married? Yes you will be married. The first year will be tough because you both are going to learn how to listen and respect each other. It will be a hard year but trust me you are going to laugh about it afterwards. Not only a wife, you will also be a mother. You will learn so much about what it takes to be a mother and a wife at the same time. In all things communicate! Yes there will be many people who will offer all sorts of advice, take each with a grain of salt and remember that you know your husband and child better than anyone else!
As I have said previously it is wise to seek counsel from others but it is also important to trust in your instincts.
In your day to day as you journey through life be sure to always smile, lend a helping when able, count your blessings and learn from your mistakes. Do not shame others or yourself or focus on the regrets. Be thankful and enjoy life.
Dance and be free!
Your children will thank you!
I have been thinking lately, that maybe this book isn’t just for those who are single and over thirty. Maybe it is for all of us, to reconcile with the parts of ourselves, that no-one else sees.
I wonder if all of our single selves became stronger and more vulnerable with our stories, whether we would become a much stronger people. Maybe we all would walk within ourselves a little more comfortably and find those places that we try to silence.
Maybe we would all be a little more free?
“Dear Single Self” is due out on the 1st of December.
You can pre-order your book here today.