I was reading an article today that a friend sent me about singleness. The author asked when women change from being ‘single’ to being ‘unmarried’? Women who are single can still be sexy and flirtatious. Women who are unmarried are assigned the name of ‘aunt’ and the likelihood of owning two or more cats. Men, the author asserted, are single forever. Women, however, become unmarried in their late 30s or 4os.
I suppose it’s appropriate that a month from my 27th birthday I’m once again pondering my singleness. I am still enjoying my singleness and the freedom and unique opportunities that I owe to it, but I also thought I would be married by now.
This past weekend I saw my twin sister’s new house. It is in a great neighborhood, it has a fabulous yard, and it’s beautiful. I’m very excited for her. But part of me felt sad when I saw it. Not because I’m jealous, but because I thought we would be going through these stages of life together. I thought we’d both get married and buy houses and have babies and be able to talk about it and visit each other along the way. Maybe I should have known, considering that when we played as children Kati always pretended to be a mom with kids and I always pretended to be a successful lawyer.
In the article aforementioned, the author talked about career women who stay single or unmarried. I realized how much I have been focused on my career- or doing things. I’ve always loved those characters in movies- the workaholics who are pretty and successful and are into their 30s and still happy and single- like Sandra Bullock’s character in The Proposal, Helen Hunt’s character in What Women Want, and Julia Roberts’ character in Mona Lisa Smile. But I promise I never thought to myself “yes, that’s what I’ll do, I’ll become a workaholic so I don’t need a man.”
But that’s what I did. I’m not sure when it happened. I went from a normal, boy ogling teenager, to an uptight, perfectionist, workaholic with no use for a man. I don’t know if it was my dad’s incessant reminders that hard work pays off. Or the pressure I put on myself to be perfect. Or a reaction against society’s pressure to conform to the stereotypical female, but when I’m brutally honest, being successful at whatever I’m doing has been my focus for years. I worked hard in college. I worked hard in grad school. I’m working hard now at my job. Anything that threatens my plans was promptly cut out of my life.
I’m not sure I regret it, though. I know grades don’t matter, and I know a job can’t keep me warm at night, but my parents taught me that integrity means giving everything my best. I think I did that. Maybe I did more. I’m not sure.
Maybe it was just that my focus was off.
The problem is that now I feel my focus is on. I’m still a workaholic, but I’m working on it. Now that I am pursuing where God might take me instead of where I want to be, I see that I may have missed opportunities. But, again, if I’m honest with myself I have to admit that part of me is scared of being in a relationship. I’m scared of losing my independence, and I’m afraid to depend on anyone, because then I might forget how to take care of myself.
It’s not quite like the movies where the workaholic suddenly falls in love with someone who just ‘fits’ and he rescues her from her own success. It takes work.
I don’t want to be a workaholic anymore. I don’t want to be single anymore. But productivity is comfortable, and loneliness is familiar. I’m not quite sure how to do anything else…