Despite my declarations last week about learning to live in the balance of the goodness of singleness and difficulties of it, it’s not something I do very well most of the time. In the days surrounding those posts, I had moments of, “I’m so thankful I’m single” and “Oh how I want to be married.” Some days I had both of those thoughts, perhaps even within the same hour.
Because I absolutely believe that singleness is not something you “come to terms with” once and for all.
I believe there are times of complete contentment with it, and times of complete and utter despair over it.
In the span of a few minutes, it can feel like a beautiful blessing and an unshakeable curse.
I don’t think this is entirely uncommon among single people to feel this way, nor do I think it’s automatically a bad thing. Life has seasons, and I think singleness does too. Sometimes it’s a good season, of reveling in the freedom and spontaneity afforded by singleness, and it may last for days, weeks, or months at a time. Yet it can quickly become a season of sadness, of pining for something good that, for whatever reason, is not mine now and may not ever be. The time between the seasons may be long, or very, very short.
There may be some people, though I think them to probably be quite rare, that embrace their singleness wholeheartedly once and for all, and rarely think about it again. For most, though, singleness is not a wrap-it-up-in-a-bow and forget it deal. It is a wrestle, perhaps not constant, but frequent, of embracing the beauty of it and acknowledging that the desire to not be single is not inherently bad. It is a tension, a balance that so easily gets off-kilter when I see so many people around me with the thing I want but I don’t have it, not now, and maybe not ever.
The lessons to be learned in this struggle are many, but sometimes I get tired of looking for them. Sometimes it all just feels a bit exhausting, and though those in relationships are quick to remind me they are hard work, it seems a very different—and ultimately more enjoyable—type of work than the work of being single. I have glimpses of true contentment and they are good and lovely, but they never seem to last quite as long as I’d like them to.
I believe in finding the balance between these tensions, but actually living in it is a daily pursuit.
Til next time…
p.s. If you’re single but would prefer not to be, how do you live in the tension between your singleness and desire to not be? If you’re not single, will you tell me about it?