6.23.2010

I am 28-years-old ...

and single.

Now, to many in the world they might be thinking, "And?" as if there is no grand point to that.

But in the culture I live in ... there is no "and?" That sentence brings with it a heavy weight ... while many may not fully understand that weight, they are fully aware of. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if some of you winced a little out of pity for me or a mini-wave of sadness entered your heart in my behalf as you read that. And if neither happened ... you jerk! ;) Why don't you feel bad for me!? :)

I am writing this post today because my friend Andrea had mentioned this article on her blog, 19 Things You Should Never Say to a Single Person. It's quite comical ... mainly because basically all of those things have been said to me ... on a semi-regular basis {my favorite is number 11}. I am also writing this because my friend Sharylann wrote something similar about living in this culture but being married and not being able to have children.

So ... what am I writing? I am not sure. Let's just see where this goes. :)

I think being "old" and single in said culture is one of the most difficult things someone can endure. Now, I am not saying I have or anyone in my circumstance has it worse than anyone else. My point is not to one up anyone in who has it worse or belittle what they are going through. My point is to give you an insight.

I think this is one of the more difficult things to go through because it is something you go through, alone. It's really not something you can talk to with almost anyone. It is one of the few things you face silently within the quiet chambers of your own soul. I have seen a-countless of blogs where people talk about heart aching things they are going through ... deaths of loved ones, seriousness and frightening illnesses, infertility, and the list goes on and on. I would venture to guess many of you have too. But how many times is a single person able to outlet in that same way?

I wish there was a handy-dandy list of how to treat single people sensitively ... but I am not sure that is even possible because I know that there are individual ways to approach us all. But I am willing to open myself up to openly share with you my thoughts and feelings on the matter. Again, I don't think that this covers the spectrum of all single people in my culture, but maybe some would be true for others. I also should let you know that I have tried to be very sensitive in the way I approach some of these ideas, as I realize they could come across offensive to others. That is not my intention. Please read it with that in mind ...

I not bitter towards men or dating. I know there are some older people who come across that way ... but I am not one of them. And if I feel this way, I have to assume others do too.

I don't think marriage will solve all my problems. However, currently my only problem is I am not married. :)

I have been told that I am too independent and that I intimidate guys. I am independent because I have no other choice. I needed insurance in case my arm fell off. :) I long for the day that I can be dependent on someone else ... namely, hubby.

I do not dread the question, "Are you dating anyone?" It's okay to ask. :) Although, from my understanding, it potentially bothers other singles. :)

I would prefer not to be told, "Well, at least you get to travel ..." or fill in the blank of any other positive perk anyone can come up with since I am not married. Yes, I probably am able to use my money more freely, however: would you give up your hubby {or kids} for a vacation to Hawaii or to be able to buy a new pair of shoes whenever you wanted? I didn't think so. :) Seriously, though ... this is the one I probably get most. Someone at work once commented, "I wish I could just go out and buy a new shirt whenever I wanted." And I told her I'd give up the shirt so I could go home to hubby every night. :)

I know I have accomplished a lot in my single days. I have loved every experience I have had. Every one. And I am grateful for every experience I have had {EFY, Seminary teaching, traveling, etc.} However, they aren't going to mean that much if they are to take place of a being a wife and a mother.

As mentioned in the article, it sometimes can be frustrating to hear married people complain about the small and minor things. I am sorry your hubby is out of town and that you miss him so much. I wish your hubby could be in town all the time so you didn't have to miss him. But at least you have him to miss. I am sorry you weren't able to celebrate your anniversary because your next-door neighbor's hamster's leg fell off. But at least there is an anniversary that could have been celebrated.

I personally don't appreciate it when people tell me they know what I am going through ... Unless you are/were 28-years-old/older and single ... There is no way you could know what I am going through. None. No matter what other experiences you have had in your life, if they do not involve being 28 or older and single, your mind cannot comprehend this life.

The fact that we are not married is not the only thing that is difficult. It brings with it many other hardships. For example, I attend Church with primarily 18-year-olds. While I always belong to the Church and the the Lord ... being this old leaves you feeling as though you don't belong in many places. I don't belong with 18-year-olds. But I don't belong in a family ward either. Most of the many friends I have made throughout the years are married ... and have children. It's not like I can just call them up at any given time to go do things. Even the younger friends I made are married with kids. We are often times left with the feeling of not belonging anywhere because we are so outside of the culture norm.

We all have hard days and have difficult things to face regardless if we are single, married, divorced, or whatever. A word of advice from the single gal: if you ever feel exhausted with laundry, dishes, or cleaning up after your hubby or kids, or whatever, remember: at least you have a husband and kids. I long for the day that these tasks will become monotonous for me to do. And if I ever get to experience it ... I hope I will always be grateful for those moments, because I know what it is like to not have them. And to wonder if I ever will.

Again, no matter what stage of life we are in, we will all face battles. But please remember the older single people in your life are potentially beginning the mourning process of living the life they thought they would live. While that isn't to say hope is all but lost ... it is to say that at some point we have to look the possibility of it being true. There is a part in every one of us single people that have to start preparing for a lifetime of this. It's a very lonely process to go through.

And ... I think that is the end of this so-called insight into the life of an older single person in our culture. :) So, I am going to awkwardly end this ... now. Like this. ;)

24 comments:

Shan said...

I love this! I wish I had written something like this when I was 28 and single. People just didn't get it. Thanks for making those two comparisons. Either stage you are in people just don't get it. :)

Andrea said...

oh miss mindy. thanks for writing this.

Kat said...

Mindy, thank you SO much for writing this post! I have many friends who are "older" (for our culture) and single, and I had NO idea what they were going through. I always felt I could offer some advice, but it was always officious because I haven't been there, and never will. I've always said things like, "don't worry, the right guy will come along.." and I didn't realize that although my intent was pure, the words were NOT something I should have said, because it implies that I know better. I do complain about many of the things you said married girls go through. I am so guilty of that. But I want you to know that this post truly has given me better insight, and I will be more sensitive to what my friends are going through, and try to understand where they are coming from. Thanks Mindy. You are wonderful.

Brandon and Erica said...

I am going to start calling you Dr. Laura :) I mean, Dr. Mindy. My sister is 31 and single...thank you for posting this, I got choked up a couple of times...

Favorite quote:

"However, they aren't going to mean that much if they are to take place of a being a wife and a mother."

Nailed it.

xoxo

Erica said...

great post Mindy. Very enlightening. I'm not a huge fan of the article though. It kinda makes you want to avoid single people altogether so you don't get in trouble. But I like your post, and I totally agree that it is one of the hardest things because it is a righteous desire of your heart that you may have absolutely no control over (I think some girls have more control than others, if you were one of those girls that needed to fix themselves I wouldn't enjoy this post as much). The other thing that I think is tough is the uncertainty. I have had 3 deaths in 2 years. That's tough. But I know what is happening. I know I have to live my life entirely without my dad and sisters. I can grieve and move on. You don't know what is going to happen and when. That's pretty tough.

I'm sorry you have to go through this. Um, I mean, your time will come. Um, shoot. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MESSY MY HUSBAND IS!!!!!

Love you.

Mike said...

I liked number 13 the best. And I have to say that one of my biggest pet peeves is the constant reference to "hubby" or "the hubs" or other variations thereof on Facebook. I would like to include in a wedding vow "do you promise to never refer to your husband as 'hubby' or 'the hubs' on Facebook?" I don't know why it bugs me so much, but it does.

Toni said...

Yep, ditto babe. Love this. And just so you know, the "culture"is imbedded into every fiber of your being. It doesn't get any better if you don't live in Provo. :) Love you!

Allison and Josh said...

Mindy, I love you! I am so glad you wrote this post. You pointed out so many great points. I saw that same article on msn yesterday and I wish EVERY church member could read it. I think 99% of the time when people say something like, "I can't believe you're still single" or "I thought you'd be married by now," their intentions are good and that they honestly think they are giving some sort of compliment. But in all reality, it hurts! I think for the most part, people mean well when they try to give advice. It just gets old fast. Anyway, my aunt got married around 28-29ish and she once said something that really stuck with me. She said that there is nothing wrong with getting married when you're a little older. Being a little older just means you have experienced more things that will make you a better wife and mom. You will be more established than the average woman and will have more to offer in a marriage... Anyway, I sure love you and I will keep you in my prayers!

DeeAura said...

#13: BAM. I couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, that might have been a direct quote from me to my very own mother about a month ago. I know. My mother. Really.


"I have been told that I am too independent and that I intimidate guys. I am independent because I have no other choice. I needed insurance in case my arm fell off. :) I long for the day that I can be dependent on someone else ... namely, hubby."

Holy moly, don't get me started. We learn to deal with what we are given, and not just deal, but be really good at...conquer...whatever. Everybody does what they have to do. Or should. Or..blegh.

Mindy, thanks for writing this. I really mean that. Everybody might have different thoughts on some of these things, but I have to say...I agree with you on every word. And really...I'm only two months behind you...so does that still count?

Out.

Lissa Clair said...

Like you've already pointed out, I can't really relate to what you're going through, but I just wanted to say that I've always thought (as in, when I met you four years ago), that the man you marry is going to be a lucky one... and you proved it with this post once again. :)

Scott, Andi and Jack said...

I love you Mindy!
Thanks for the post.
Happy Birthday perhaps?

Cali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cali said...

Ps... Every time I see DeeAura with a new outfit on, or a new jacket (my favorite) I whine. And she always says, "I get jackets, you get babies". And we both laugh.

Marc and Megan said...

so glad you shared this, mindy. i remember breaking down on my 23rd bday, afraid i would never get married... i know those feelings were nothing compared to yours now. i hope so much that this blessing comes to you... you will no doubt appreciate it much more than most of the rest of us.

Michelle said...

Mindy, thank you for sharing this. I have have a 32 yr old single sister and I know I have no idea how hard it must be for her, or you. Thank you for reminding me that laundry and dishes are a blessing. :) At a church meeting a few weeks ago there was a story about a woman her had gone through much in her life (including the death of a child) and was now old and on her deathbed. When asked what was the hardest point in her life she said it was when she was unable to have children. I'm sure waiting (if that's the right word?) for a husband is even worse, as you said, you do it "alone". You're a remarkable YOUNG lady, don't let our culture make you think otherwise! ;)

Meg said...

I didn't make it to 28 and single, but I was close: 27. It is a hard spot to be in. I know the feeling of looking around and all the single people you associate with were in elementary when you graduated high school (some still in elementary when you graduated college). I do know what the insensitive comments feel like. I've heard most of them, too.

I never understood how a person could be "too independent", as I was also regularly told that. Like you said, I had to take care of myself, I didn't have any other choice. Would it have been better if I moved home to my parents' house?

I will admit that there are days when I long for the freedom of being single, but it's really just the extra hard days. Most of the time I wouldn't even consider trading back.

I have a very close friend who has struggled with this very problem, for many years. She will turn 40 this year, still single. She has told me many of the same things you have written here. She has traveled most of the world and always says she would much rather have a husband and kids. She really has been struggling with the idea that at her age children are most likely out of the picture, even if she gets married. While I can't understand how she feels from my own experience, I can listen when she needs to talk. That's really about all I've found I can do for someone who is still single and wanting to be married.

Avree said...

Great insights Mindy, you always know how to put things so well!

Debbie said...

I DO know what you're going through. I'm 38, almost 39 and you know I'm still single. I did the student wards until I turned 30, and then did the 'older' singles ward for a couple of years. I'm sure there are many fine people in that ward, but it wasn't my favorite place. I absolutely love my family ward.

I am the type of person who, the more someone likes me the more I like them. This can be heart-wrenching at times. The absolute worst experience I've had as a single is starting to like someone, thinking that maybe they are interested in me, starting to dream about "what-if" and then being introduced to their new fiance. This has happened more than once.

(I'm still blocking out of my conscious memory the disaster last fall, and you already know about that, so I'm not going to say anything more about it.)

One thing I think I can pass on is this: Be Picky! Don't settle for anything less just to have a husband. Those marriages don't last very long. Don't fool yourself into thinking that a relationship is the be all and end all of your mortal existence. Mortality is such a miniscule piece of our existence, and if we don't find our eternal companion while we're here on earth, we don't. (Even if you think you have but he's oblivious and goes for something else.)

I've come to realize that the Lord blessed me with all of the talents I have needed to live a single life. Of course I would rather be married, but not just for the sake of being married. The marriage has to be with the right guy. I don't like it very much, but I must admit I'm doing ok.

Krystal said...

Wow... after the rough week I've had, it's like you knew everything going on in my head as well, and put it so beautifully into writing.... (and since we're the same age and have the same problem, I can honestly say that I *do* understand).... it is very hard to do everything alone... I think that buying my house (as happy of a time as it was), was also very sad, because I was signing everything in my name only, and taking on the responsibility alone. I became the "head" of the household... one friend told me that I was "accepting defeat" and maybe she was right... but I couldn't just sit around forever waiting for a husband to come along and buy a house for me.

AND... sometimes I just want to punch girls when they whine about not being able to have children... like, hello?! Neither can I at the moment, but hey, at least you have a husband... why can't you be grateful for that?? What I wouldn't give just to have someone to come home to at the end of the day.

The article was very interesting too, I've heard a few of those sayings in my day as well... I truly feel that by the time I do (hopefully) get married, I will appreciate it SO much more. I won't mind the cooking and cleaning, laundry and dishes, because I've waited and longed for it so much...

Thanks for the post... I just might have to save this one!

Jen said...

Hey Mindy, your post makes me sad. Though I really can't identify at all with what you're going though (aside from the fact that I am 28 and single too, but it's a whole different game to me) I think it's great that you are so independent and travel and are successful. A lot of people would probably sit home and mope and you don't.

Maybe you are looking for the wrong kind of guy -- instead of the one who wants you to cook for and clean up after him, go for a guy who could be your travel buddy, see you as an equal partner and wouldn't mind if you brought home a new shirt or three every now and then. That's what I want in a relationship and I would never settle for anything else, and you shouldn't have to either.

Also! Think of the people you dated in your early 20's... And be glad that you didn't marry them because it would have been a mistake (lol, I made no good decisions between the ages of 20-24). 20 is much too young to know what you want for the rest of your life, and you will make a better decision now and in the next few years than you could have then and it will lead to better relationships. :)

Robby Spratt said...

I really liked this post. I am rapidly approaching my 28th birthday, so I think I have a pretty good idea how you feel. I really identified with everything in this article. I've mainly struggled with a feeling of being unaccomplished as friends much younger than I am are married, have kids, have a house, have graduated, are in their chosen profession, have cars, etc, etc; while I still get nervous when I call up a girl to ask her out. I feel so behind sometimes. Frustrations aside, there is the constant loneliness. It's weird when you are surrounded by friends, but you still feel lonely. I feel like I am only half a person a lot of the time.
Anyway, I could go on, but I really just wanted to say that I liked your post. :)

Kristin said...

I hope you don't mind if I post this on FB cuz I LOVE it! This topic does not get discussed enough. I was 27 and single, so I totally get it and can relate in so many ways. I have a billion things to say on this topic.

Sunny said...

I was single until 27 and as someone already said, I feel like getting married later helped both my husband and I. We both had really great experiences that we wouldn't otherwise have had and we didn't have the 'hard 1st year' that so many other couples talk about. I think our maturity level plays a big part in how well our marriage works. Thanks for writing this.

Daren said...

While I don't know the problems of being 28 and single in the church (especially as a girl, since I think it tends to be a little harder on the sisters), I do have a brother who turned 34 today and another turning 26 later this month (who has gone on several times more dates than anyone I know) and neither are married.

Also, while I appreciate the sentiment that we should be grateful for the blessings we have, being married and not being able to have kids is quite difficult sometimes; not only as a couple, but in the social networks as well. So being able to jump the first hurdle of finding a good spouse doesn't mean not being able to jump the second hurdle of having children hurts any less. Obviously it's nice to have someone to lean on in your spouse, but it's not always as simple and easy as that.

Anyway, you have a perspective that I respect and I think sheds some light on some of what I know two of my brothers are feeling. I just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in on the not-being-able-to-have-a-child issue as someone currently experiencing it and familiar with a few others having similar difficulties since I didn't think it was entirely fairly represented (at least in the comments).

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