Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Be happy with your single self...

When I first learned that this issue was all about weddings, I struggled with what I should write about.  As a sometimes cynical (ok, mostly cynical) still single woman in her mid-thirties, I didn’t want to take the Bridget Jones route and quote divorce rates.  I didn’t think all of the wedding planning advertisers would appreciate me advertising for divorce lawyers.  Then I thought about giving advice on how not to be a bridezilla on your wedding day (such as “Who cares that your future mother-in-law is wearing white?  No one will confuse her for you….the BRIDE!”).  I assumed that the readers preparing for the beginning of many years of wedded bliss would not appreciate my thoughts.  
                Instead I decided to write something for the singletons out there.  A magazine full of happily ever after may inspire some women to dream about their future, but other women won’t read it because nothing applies to them. I’m writing for those women.  And I am writing my story.
                My last long-term relationship ended just over a year ago.  The relationship wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t quite right either.  I couldn’t stand his family; my family couldn’t stand him.  It was a match not made in heaven.  I stuck with it because I figured he was good enough.  I thought this was my last chance at marriage and a family.  When we split I didn’t spend months mourning him, instead I mourned my dream of being a wife and mother.  I envied others who had found someone to marry.  Their lives seemed better than my own.   I wondered what I was doing wrong since I was still single. 
                I have been out on dates over the past year but I just wasn’t interested in anyone.  Instead of looking for another Mr. Almost Right, I did some soul searching.  A friend once told me that I shouldn’t judge my own life on traditional standards.  It took me a long time to realize she was right.  Just because I am not married with children yet does not make my life any less meaningful.  A husband does not equal happiness.  I’m not saying that people who are married aren’t happy (so save the hate mail for now) but that it is possible to be happy without marriage.  I can also do things a little out of order and I don’t have to wait on a husband in order to become a mom.
                I recently read an essay written by a woman about my age who had overcome cancer.  She said that before her illness she longed for becoming a wife and a mother.  She felt incomplete without those things in her life.  After she was diagnosed she realized that she was lucky to call herself a daughter, a sister, and a friend.  I am glad that it didn’t take a life threatening illness for me to understand the same things.  I too am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and the proud mom of Bailey and Phoebe (my two wild animals).  I am comfortable with who I am.  Marriage may be in my future but then again it may not be.  I have come to accept that.  It doesn’t mean that my future dreams have died; it just means they have changed. 
                Therefore my advice to you is to accept who you are and the path your life may take.  Consider your life whole before you decide to share it with someone.  Believe that who you are is enough.   Oh, and if you are planning your wedding, please don’t try to convince your bridesmaids that they can wear their dresses again.  They can’t.  Butt bows will never be fashionable.