The smell of BBQ wisps through the air as the crackling of hoarse laughter from men follows. Small children are chasing each other as a drone floats across the sky above to get a picture of what’s happening below. The crisp sun warms my skin as I begin to sparkle. Carrying a plate packed high with way too many fried foods, I plop down at a table with people of all ages. I sit and almost automatically wait for it. And then it happens, that million-dollar question. That question that I’ve been asked countless amounts of times. “Are you married? Oh, why are you not married?” If I had a penny for every time I have been asked this, I would be a millionaire and I’m kind of upset I haven’t been asking for pennies all these years. “No… Rome wasn’t built in a day sir and neither was my husband.” Shocked looks usually trail and then they wait. Nothing. And then they look at me with semi-empty stares as if my life hasn’t started because how could it if I’m single? The advice follows, “You need to put yourself out there.” Thanks ma’am but my life is pretty ‘out there.’ And the truth is, I’m happy. My joy tank is pretty full, but if I’m honest, it took some time to get here.
The church I grew up in never really taught us that being single was a gift and in a way, a compliment that God could work through a party of one. Living in a world where who you are is a direct reflection of who you’re with only misconstrued that idea even more. If you want me to get real, then it’s almost as if singleness was the silver medal to marriage. I used to think that singleness was just a waiting zone for life; that things wouldn’t start truly happening until the push pause button was at play. I lived that lie as wasted time chased it, but that idea is madness. After all, I would rather be with the right God than with the wrong guy.
So, although the questions kept coming, I kept pressing on. I mean, if I sat around waiting for this man to show up, how would I really be living at all? Could I honestly say that I was being present in life? I wanted to be all in; my cards were on the table, even if that meant I would be sitting alone. So, I started making moves. I had a lot of dreams and there was no time to waste on waiting for someone else to be a part of my picture. Of course, I desired to be married, but I couldn’t put life on hold until it happened. I’ve been single for what seems to be a century and as I cling to my 20s I think of the restlessness I had to learn to control. How my mind has obtained such clarity because it wasn’t influenced by someone else’s opinions. How I had to learn to guard my heart. How the waiting has been hard, but most importantly, I have learned that as individuals we are whole. No other person can make us complete or make us feel full. Our culture might enable us to think otherwise, especially if you live in the South, but that idea is silliness. As humans, we have flaws, imperfections, and we are each fighting our own battles. At the end of the day, two wrongs don’t make a right, and two broken people can’t make a whole one.
Singleness can be normal. You are normal if you are single. I think our culture tries to get you to believe you are a total outcast unless you are receiving a bigger tax break. Many people believe that if they check certain boxes in a hurry, their life will be complete and it doesn’t help that my generation has a bad rap for constantly pursuing instant gratification. No wonder there’s so many of us who are single, right? Of course, not everyone struggles with these things but immediate satisfaction is something so many people in our culture, including the baby boomers, desire.
Why is traffic so terrible? Why is it taking so long for them to text me back? Why can’t I just have the job I want right now? When will he pop the question? People are constantly in a rush to get places, do things, and even make commitments. It’s funny because when you are in a rush, you almost never appreciate where you’re at, and you’re usually not ready once you end up where you’re going. So why do we rush something that is supposed to be based on covenant? Something that used to hold a lot of weight and depth and meaning. Why do we sprint out of our singleness like a grizzly bear is chasing us? Marriage is not our life purpose and while it might be one of our hearts’ desires, it will never fulfill our souls.
The freedom I’ve found in being a party of one has not always been easy. There have been times when I re-entered American culture, and it was hard because everyone around me had a significant other. The comparison game creeps in, and before you know it, you wonder where you went wrong. Why them and not me? What do I not have to offer? Am I worth it? Questions like these start trickling in, and you begin listing the reasons you’re still single. Instead of making a list of why we’re still single, we should be making lists of the beautiful things we have gotten to do because of it. The truth is, the doors that have opened for me wouldn’t have if I had been married at a young age. My perspective is so much greater because of the doors I have walked through as a single person, and I can honestly say, my life would be very different if I had a diamond on my finger any earlier. I am most grateful for the fact that I know exactly who I am. I have dreams, passions, and a purpose. I stand on my own two feet, and even when days are hard and my mascara is running because this lucky guy hasn’t shown up yet, I rest in the fact that I am still a whole person without him. I really enjoy life, I am present, and most of all, I am a single girl who is killin’ it, and you can be, too.
Aubray is the storyteller and treasure-hunter behind Caro Caro. I am a rebellious old soul, whatever that means and will try almost anything once. I love adventure and if you ask me to go on one, I most likely won’t refuse it. I eat too many avocados, have a slight obsession with rugs, and go cactus hunting for fun. I believe in living life outside of the box and one of my goals is to embrace color so that others realize that they can live in color, too. You can follow her on Instagram @aubrays.