To be completely honest, I thought this one was going to be next to impossible. But this was mostly because I had unrealistic expectations about what the word "embrace" means. In the Dictionary a la Beth, the word embrace means "be absolutely perfect about having the correct feelings 100% of the time." (In case you were wondering, my definition is wrong.) Dictionary.com, however, defines embrace as "to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly."
So, in the spirit of being honest, I have an announcement to make: I am 29. I am single. And I'm okay with it.
If I'm wearing my proverbial heart on my sleeve, I'd be lying if I didn't say that the last 13 months have been full of lessons, joys and hardships. 2012 brought along good things, like the purchase of my first home, and difficult experiences, like losing a spiritual mentor at the beginning of the year followed by my grandfather in June. And, if I'm being transparent, 2013 has not been what I would describe as "The Most Awesome Year Ever." In fact, in discussing my desire to redo 2013 with a friend today, she offered to punch 2013 in the nether-regions on my behalf. (That friend shall remain nameless and awesome).
But, while the last 13 months have not been lacking in the life-changing moments department, they have been full of experiences that have reassured me that being single isn't the worst thing that could happen. If it hadn't been for my relationship status, I might not have learned the following about myself:
- My empty ring finger does not mean I fail at life.
We live in a society that defines people by the people they surround themselves with--hipsters, Mean Girls, Brangelina. We gain value based, not only on what we bring to the table, but the value that has been assigned to our "group." In my experience, as we move through our 20s, we begin to be associated less with a group of friends and more with the person who has stolen our heart. And, soon after he's liked it and put a ring on it, two become three, which becomes four, and so on as families are built.
Am I any less of a person because my relationship status on Facebook (while hidden) is set at "single?" Nah. Frankly, I'm awesome. I have an amazing family, incredible friends, an awesome church, a successful career, a house I can call mine, and so much more. If that makes me a loser with a capital "L" on my forehead, then bring it on. But, to go all Christian, my value doesn't come from who I am tied to. It comes from the one who loves every crazy part of me, just like this blogger states here. Whether I'm Kelly Rippa or Mary Elizabeth Rogers, single and ready to mingle, I still matter.
- Anything he can do I can do...and maybe better.
Before I went out and bought a house on a whim, I figured I would either a) live in my apartment until I got married or b) live in my apartment until I turned 97 and had 40 cats. Why? Because no single lady in their right mind buys a house on their own. Who will fix things when they break? Who will mow the grass? Who will move the heavy stuff? Who will go in the basement after dark to switch out the laundry?
When I left my caution to the wind and it came down to it, I realized the answer to all of those questions was ME. Thank goodness I had parents who taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. Belinda "BRog" Rogers is famous for her saying, "Can't never could do nothing." Grammatically incorrect or not, it's true. If something breaks, I'll try and fix it. And, if I can't figure it out (even with the help of YouTube), I'll call a friend. When the grass needs to be mowed, I'll mow it, no matter how ridiculous I look doing it, especially since my front yard is the equivalent of a green ski slope in spring. If I need to move something, I'll move it. Home girl doesn't work out just to fill time. And, a basement is just a slightly darker room underground. No need to be scared.
- I am resilient.
Life isn't easy. No one said it would be. Imagine how boring it would be if it was.
But, despite what every college girl who hasn't gotten a ring by spring says, a husband isn't going to be a "get out of jail free" card. A bad day at work is still going to be a bad day whether I go home to a fella or a cat (insert catlady comment here). I'm still going to have issues with friends whether I'm on my own check for dinner or splitting the tab. When the furnace breaks and I'm sitting in my 50 degree house with several layers and two blankets to keep warm (which would be right now), I can call the home warranty company without a dude there to hold my hand along the way.
I was raised to be a strong, confident woman. My worth is not dependent on anyone else. I can make it through any situation, husband or not, because, as Stuart Smalley says: