It’s not always easy to reflect upon the journey that’s gotten you to where you are.
Especially when your life is nothing like you thought it would be.
This past weekend marked exactly 10 years since I graduated college, and that made me feel really old. It was one thing when I had my high school reunion four years ago, but this took on an entirely new level of adulthood. I started thinking about the career path my life has taken since I entered the big kid world in 2007—from sports reporter to teacher to senior writer at a financial services firm—and then I couldn’t help but also think about the nonexistent dating path my life has taken.
And, of course, all of these thoughts piled up right as I was about to attend a wedding by myself.
There’s something about a wedding that can be tough on the single folk. Sure, it’s a beautiful day of celebrating the love of two people beginning a lifetime journey together, and you’re absolutely happy for them, but it’s also a reminder that you don’t have that and might never have that one person who picks you out of everybody else in this entire world.
And that can often feel like a dagger to an already hurting heart.
This particular wedding was a little harder than others. The last wedding I went to was my sister’s in the fall, and it truly was such a wonderful day. It made my heart soar to see my sister so in love and so happy to be marrying the man we’d always hoped she’d find. I was surrounded by my family—the people I love most in this world—and my heart felt so full. For the most part, I even managed to brush aside the thoughts that the guy who was supposed to go with me to that wedding had changed his mind and told me (in a text, of course) that he didn’t think it was a good idea.
But I didn’t have my family with me at this one to help remind me of what love really is and what it really does.
When the usher took my arm to seat me, he asked me how many people were here with me. I said I was the only one, and he managed to find me a lone seat right on the end of a row. I chatted a bit with the people near me and looked around to discover that I didn’t see many people I know. After the ceremony, I escaped to the restroom before heading to the reception, and I even considered bolting right then so as to avoid being surrounded by so many couples. But then I remembered that this night wasn’t about me, and I needed to be there for my friend and her new husband.
I ran into a family I know, and I asked if I could tag along with them. There actually wasn’t enough room for me at the table where they were sitting, so I went to another to ask if there were any open seats. Big shocker: There weren’t. A sweet new friend sitting at the family’s table called my name and said we could pull up a seat, and she snagged a chair for me.
This is why we need people, people—to help remind us that we’re not alone.
A little bit into the ceremony, I again considered leaving. Then I remembered that I love to dance, and I should never let my solo status keep me from dancing. Ever.
When Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” started playing, it hit me: This is why it’s been so tough lately. I really do want somebody who loves me to dance with me. I want somebody who picks me out of everyone else in the world. I want somebody who cares when I’m hurt and tries to make me laugh when I’m upset. I want somebody who appreciates my quirks. I want somebody to want to love me and want to be loved by me. And, just like my homegirl, I want somebody who’ll take a chance on a love that burns hot enough to last.
I don’t know if that will actually happen, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting that it’s something I hope for in my life.
Maybe you’ve already found your person. Maybe you’re still waiting or searching. Maybe you’re not and are content. Regardless, I think it’s important never to miss out on the opportunities you have before you simply because you might have to do them on your own. Life really does go by so quickly, and there are only so many chances to seize moments right in the midst of them and live a life of passion without caring what other people think of you.
So if you want to dance, for the love, get out there and dance.
This was a good reminder for me to be sensitive to asking single friends if they are dating or how their dating life is. Sometimes I want them to find someone so bad, but making it more difficult than it might already be for them is something I should be more aware of. Thanks for being so transparent….I love how you are still enjoying life and experiences independently.
Thank you, Madeline! I think a lot of my friends feel the same way you do. 🙂
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