7 Things I Learned While Everyone Else Was Getting Married

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Love, Self

I’ll keep living my best life until I find a man living his.

Let me introduce myself: I’m the single friend. All my friends are married. Well, most of my friends are married. The ones who aren’t married are engaged. (Wait, sorry, I have one friend in a serious relationship, and to be perfectly honest, they’re just not engaged yet.) And here I stand, the single one, not even a good crush in sight.

This isn’t going to be one of those bitter “why not me” joints; I'm genuinely happy for my friends. I love them! Of course I want their happiness: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

But in the course of attending their many nuptials, I have had the opportunity to realize some things.

1. Weddings sound awful to orchestrate.

No guys, seriously. They sound horrendous. I’m so thankful for each of the invites I’ve received over the years to join people I love while they celebrate their love but as I’ve watched more and more friends plan weddings I’ve seen the dark side of this, and I’m just...in awe.

Are my shoes the same shade of ivory as my dress? Will this person behave if sat at a table near this person? How hungry will people be after two hours of drinking and dancing? Should we bring out another round of food? Can I accurately control the weather to my exact specifications? What songs will absolutely guarantee a packed dance floor? How many people will RSVP yes and then not show? Plus, the 50,000 other thoughts that I was never made privy to.

I just showed up in a nice dress ready to toast you and dance. Thank you, truly, for going through that to throw your loved ones a party.

2. I don't have a particularly strong desire to get married.


Tenor

I’ve spent most of my life single-by-choice, as I’m going to need to meet a helluva dude to make me give up the absolute freedom I currently have. Dating for the sake of dating is unfathomable to me. But I’m 30 and I'm literally the only single friend across multiple friend groups.

Pop culture would have you think I’m crying into my chardonnay every night while asking my cats what’s wrong with me but I’ll have you know I prefer a nice bourbon and I’m far too busy being my bad self to worry about the fact that I’ve never walked down the aisle.

I’ll keep living my best life until I find a man living his, and then we’ll figure out how to combine them. And if I never meet that man? Meh. I’m good.

3. My friends’ lives are not a bar against which to measure my own.

I don’t have a house, a car, a spouse, or even a dog. Most of my friends have at least two of those things.

Sometimes when I’m waiting for the train to go back to my apartment by myself, I feel like I’ve really messed up somewhere. That I went left when everyone else went right and something has gone horribly wrong. But nah, girl.

I moved to a city with public transport so I wouldn’t need a car. I want to be able to pick up and go where the wind takes me and if that wind takes me on a week-long trip to Iceland, I can’t worry about leaving my poor doggie all alone. If the wind takes me to a new town that has less dramatic winters, what would I do with a house I own?

My friends have made their lives the way they want them. I’ve done the same, it’s just my choices are a bit more...freewheeling.

4. Secretly, I’m a bit lonely.


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My friend had a birthday party recently and we took a photo of our group. I was the 11th wheel in this photo. Yes, I was the odd lady out in a photo of five couples in a friend group that has been together for more than ten years. I swear most days it doesn’t bother me, most days by a wide margin.

We took that photo and I laughed. But sometimes? If I can be honest? I’m lonely. Not always! I like alone time and my life is full of people that I love. But none of those people are mine. I share all of them with someone else.

Sometimes I just want someone to have and to hold all for myself. My friends have each found the exact correct partner for them. They just found their match quicker than I did.

5. I’ve had a lot of time for self-reflection.

Like I said, I’ve stayed single on purpose. I’ve never known exactly what I wanted in a man, only that I haven't found it yet. But that doesn’t mean I’ve never wondered what my friends are doing that I’m not or in my weaker moments, what my friends have that I don’t, and at in most desperate moments, what I’m doing wrong.

But then I pull myself up by the sandal straps and take a look at myself and I like what I see. I’ve identified the parts of me that I love and I’ve also identified the partsI need to work on to make myself my very greatest self. I’m stubborn, and these parts are going to take work. But doesn’t everyone have something to work on?

I’ll meet someone who will help me fix my worst parts while strengthening my best ones, and I’m excited to do the same for him.

6. I’ve become more open to falling in love.


Tenor

I used to think that love created a dependency between two people that seemed...well, repulsive. I like my independence, I like not needing anyone, and looking back at past relationships, I recognize the exact moment I pushed someone away because I thought I was giving in too much.

But watching my friends, who are strong and smart and independent, build relationships has completely changed my perspective. Yes, they are dependent on their other half — but it's more because they want to be. I don’t think any rational adult actually believes they literally cannot live without their partner; a breakup would be devastating but they know they wouldn’t lay down and die because of it.

But my friends don’t want to live a life without this one person. That change in my understanding — of love being a want rather than a need — has made a world of difference to me. How nice that must be to find someone and realize you just want to be with them, period.

7. I’ve had time to plan my perfect wedding.

I’ve taken notes on every single wedding I’ve been to, and that adds up to quuuuite a few. I know what I want and what I won’t bother with, I know how I want the ceremony to go, I have an idea of how my dress should look, I’ve got my bridal party planned and my half of the guest list honed.

I can only assume I’ll still fall into the bridal spiral I’ve watched almost every one of my friends go into but at this point, I have an enormous support network to help with color swatches and catering recommendations and whatever else goes into those gigantic binders brides carry around. All that’s left is to pick the perfect wedding hashtag.

 

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