Valentine’s Day seems like a great time to talk about being single. There seems to be a wide variety of feelings about V-Day. When I was a teenager having someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with was the pinnacle of relationship success. The following day at school, everyone shared what was given, shared and done the night before. This was before social media…back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Did he make reservations at Olive Garden? Or did he just take you to a movie? Did he pick you up in his car—honk the horn or come to the door? Each decision signified the level of relationship you actually had and whether or not “he was a keeper”.
When my twenties arrived, there were a few Valentine’s Days I was “lucky” enough to be in a relationship---so of course the expectation was spending the evening together, doing something fun or nice and feeling showered with extra attention and whatever love meant to me at the time. As college ended and single-adult life came on full-force, friends began marrying off and from what they described it seemed as if marriage was filled with endless V-Day like experiences.
Naivete is what got me through all the years that I experienced loneliness on account of my relationship status. I hadn’t realized it, but high-school beliefs underscored my views on being single---mainly that if I was single after all these years then something must be wrong with me. It wasn’t until after breaking off an engagement, walking through some of the darkest days of my life up to that point, and coming through the other side that I began to appreciate the gift of singleness!
I wish that my tone of voice could come through this post so that you know there isn’t even a hint of sarcasm. Its written with honest and unabashed joy! I have come to realize the remarkable benefits that come with being singled out. To my single friends, be encouraged that as single people we get to enjoy:
Time—our time gets to be centered around making ourselves better and experiencing joy. We aren’t bogged down by making sure that we prioritize spouses and children.
Flexibility—want to add something to your plate? For the most part, it’s pretty easy to arrange our schedules accordingly.
Availability—we get to be available for friends and family in an uninhibited manner. I’ve met with friends for late night milkshakes and French fries at 1am; I’ve driven to the hospital in the wee hours to be with a friend experiencing a crisis, I’ve showed up at important events of friends kids and my nieces and nephews, being one of their people in the crowd cheering them on.
Freedom—a married friend helped me understand how much freedom I have as a single person. When I’ve had a rough day and just want to be alone and soak in a bubble bath, I can do that. When I want to be spontaneous and hop in the truck to find a new adventure? I can do that. When I want to order pizza three nights in a row, I can do that. (Okay, if I ever marry, I hope I can still do that).
It’s important to understand the difference in being alone and lonely. Being lonely is the feeling of isolation and abandonment. Feeling as though God is against you and withholding important potential relationships (aka ‘happiness’). Fighting with yourself and the idea of others who have what you’ve always wanted. Loneliness is a state of mind. Alone-ness, however, is a state of being. It’s all of the things on the list above and more. It’s realizing that being singled-out is a gift that comes with great blessings and special abilities that are uniquely given to you at this time.
This Valentine’s Day, and actually every day, what would it look like for you to realize that you are complete, lacking nothing as a single person? What would it take to understand the difference between being lonely and being alone? What might change if you begin looking for the awesomeness of the single life rather than only the hard stuff?