I've had this post in the back of my mind for a while but was too afraid to write it for fear that this vulnerability will forever be on the internet.
So what made me finally decide to write it?
For the thousandth time, I had the experience that single women hate: someone asks how you are doing and as you proceed to tell them you notice they are really not listening...after you finish your update, they ask the real question they wanted to ask, "So have you found someone yet or are you still single?"
Ahhh, there it is. The question you really wanted to know so that you can be comfortable with putting my life experiences in a certain perspective.
I've had this experience so much that I'd be a millionaire if I had $20 for every time it happened.
And for me specifically, this exchange seems to happen especially when I'm answering their "How are you?" question with some huge wins I've had in my life.
This happened at an event after I told someone I had just returned from being a guest at the White House.
This happened after I told someone I had finally found my calling in life.
This happened after I told someone I had got a promotion in the tough oil&gas industry that skipped me two income levels.
This happened after I was appointed to my first board.
This happened after I made a major life decision to own my own power.
I'm assuming you are getting my point.
More recently, what caused me to decide to finally write this post was an exchange where a fellow business man asked me how I was doing and I responded, "After more than three years, I finally have office space at a gorgeous building downtown. I was also excited about a new church I was attending." He nodded and then said, "Don't forget about getting a man. You're not getting any younger!"
Y'all, seriously, this has happened more times than I can tell you!
What programming have we accepted that a woman can't be whole, successful or happy unless there is a man involved???
So, this post is my attempt to set the record straight on a few personal experiences of what it's like to be a 41 year old single woman:
1. No apologies: I am not about to list all the reasons why I think I am/am not single. I am no longer at an age in my life where I feel inclined to explain every aspect that doesn't line up to some life checklist...I am single. Period.
2. I am not a lesbian and yes, I do desire to be married to the right man someday. When people are trying to get their head around how someone like me can be single, they sometimes ask (or insinuate) that I must be gay. No, I am not gay.
3. I no longer believe that refraining from only serious male relationships is the Christian way. Let me explain. I grew up in a Christian environment my whole life. Thus, I was taught that you should only date men who are likely the one (instead of having FUN), sex is only for your husband (I believe in lovers), etc. This is a major shift for me.
4. I am not a leper. People have no idea how easy it would be to be with someone just for a warm body to cure any loneliness. I get hit on by married men, old boyfriends who are bored from their suburban family life, men who married for wrong reasons, pastors, CEOs, etc. Just because I'm single doesn't mean I'm not desired! I have a conscious that prevents me from settling for anything other than what's the BEST for me. Period.
5. Married women this is your Public Service Announcement: I DO NOT want your husband! Sometimes I feel like I'm in one of those "Sex in the City" episodes where I show up for an event that's primarily couples. And guess what, all the married women are eyeing me to make sure I'm not getting too close to their husband...it's completely ridiculous!
6. I am happy. I honestly can't even begin to tell you how many times the person judging me for being single has been unhappy in their marriage, career, etc. Everyone, do a check of your own life, including YOUR marriage! I don't need your pity. If anything, I need your grace! Grace to invite me to dinner with your family...single people have the BEST life stories. Otherwise, I'm good.
7. I wake up with fear everyday. Knowing that I am responsible for every aspect of my financial life, decisions regarding my household, etc can be scary. That doesn't mean I don't have a support system or advisors. I do. But still, at the end of the day, being single you are aware that important decisions must be dealt with by you. So be kind to single people making the best decisions they can!
8. I don't have more hours in the day than you do! We all have 24 hours. Just because I don't have a spouse or children doesn't mean I sit at home with nothing to do. OR, if I say "No" to an invitation, don't automatically think, "What else do you have to do?" I choose my time and hope I desire to fill it just the same as you! Respect that the same as I respect your time.
9. I don't assume that because you're married you are more fulfilled than me sexually or intimately. As a Christian, I used to believe that male attention or lovers was wrong unless you're married. Not any more. I know some of my Christian friends will disagree. Ok. Let me share a couple stories that happened in this vein: 1. A fellow Christian friend says that 90% of the women who attend her "sex toy" parties are her married church friends. They are unfulfilled! 2. Some of the most judgmental, mean-spirited women I have EVER met were frigid Christian women who were 30 plus years old who aren't having sex or getting male attention. (I am not picking on my fellow Christians, this is just what has actually happened in my life) You can disagree with me if you want but I'm speaking REAL talk.
10. Last but not least...I'd prefer to meet a man through one of my family members or friends! I have had only one family member reach out to me in the last five years about connecting me with a great guy. If you're reading this, make it a goal in 2016 to connect a single person in your life with another single person. I promise you, they will appreciate it!
And to encourage the single people out there, go read my post about "Owning It"! Make this the last day of you trying to afix your life into a box.
Make up your mind to live your life the best way you know how...even if that means you are single.