Category: single life

No Fear of Being Alone

Recently I was talking to a single friend of mine about my Thanksgiving plans and telling him I was going to be solo this year. He seemed horrified by this notion.  Technically I will eat Thanksgiving meal at my aunts house (but wasn’t planning on that at the time of this conversation).

I told him that it was fine with me and I am okay being alone.  I told him ‘I am comfortable in my own skin’ and he said ‘I wouldn’t be.  It would kill me’.

I guess it’s a normal reaction to being alone on Thanksgiving and some years it would make me sad, but this year I’m ok. I was actually a little bit more sad to be facing Halloween alone (ended up having a great time with 2 couples my friends Danielle and Cory, and Rachel and Grant). The reason I was sad about missing Halloween is that it used to be a highlight of the year with my friends.  We would throw a big party, dress up and just have a blast.

I guess the reason I get a little nostalgic for Halloween and New Years is that I know it’s a time that is gone from my life.  My friends are almost all married.  Like seriously I have 4 or 5 single friends on my phone and they are usually so busy.  Even book club has become impossible of late.  I get it.  I understand people have to be with their little one’s on Halloween and New Years but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss all the good times with friends.

With Thanksgiving I know next year I will likely be with my family and the year after that and onward.  There isn’t a feeling of devastation because it’s just a day and like I said I do have friends and family to share the day with.

If you are alone on Thanksgiving and want to still cook a turkey dinner make sure to check out my Thanksgiving for one article I posted last year on my friend Samantha’s awesome food blog.

http://littleferrarokitchen.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-1-guest-post-smilinglds-girl/

This year I am going to order a Thanksgiving meal from Harmons (a local grocery) that make delicious food so that I have some thanksgiving food besides the meal at my aunts.  (My knee isn’t quite up to preparing feasts yet)

Anyway, this conversation about being alone at Thanksgiving and my friend being so horrified at the idea made me think about my life.  I am alone a lot.  Even though I have a roommate and tenants we don’t really get to sit down and spend time together that often.  It’s so much effort to get together with friends but I am a very social person and I do make that effort, but still I am often alone.

Many people have a fear or social anxiety about eating alone or going to the movies alone . Eating I get a little bit because you don’t have anyone to talk to but I do not understand why people care about going to the movies alone? You can’t talk in the movies so unless you are there with your honey and can snuggle I don’t see the value in having another person accompany you to the movies?  Please someone explain why that is such a social faux pas?

In fact, I realized today that all the movies I have been to this year have been alone.  I have seen in the theater- Boyhood, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Ghostbusters, Meet the Mormons, Edge of Tomorrow, Guardians of the Galaxy, Book of Life and The Boxtrolls and Big Hero 6. None of those experiences were hurt by being alone? I don’t get it?

But anyway, I feel like there is this anxiety many feel about being alone.  My Mother gets very nervous being alone .In fact, she has probably spent under 5 nights in her whole life alone without family of some kind with her.  That blows my mind.  She’s very fortunate that life has worked out that way for her.

I would love to have my own family and fall in love but that’s not the cards God has dealt me.  My job is to be as happy as I can be with the life I have. And never forget I am surrounded by amazing people.  Whether it is reaching out to someone on phone, Facebook, twitter, this or my disney blog, my channel, or someone in my ward there is no shortage of people who care and love me.  That’s the great part about being single in this day and age.It is so easy to not feel lonely even if you are alone.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days.  I do.  I have days where I feel sad and bemoan the fact I may never have my own children or a great love story.  It may happen but it may not.  I’m a human being just like anyone else and I express the full range of human emotions at different times of my life.

But I can confidently say being alone is not a fear for mine. It is the reality of my life and I always know that with God I am never truly alone.

So if you are alone this holiday season know that you have a friend here at this blog and on social media who knows how you are feeling- both on your good days and bad.  I get it.  I love you and we can support each other.

Take care my friends and god bless!

Btw thanks to Emily and Megan today for calling me out of the blue and cheering me up! I’ve got such great friends and family to support me.

Urban Tribes, Big Brother and Survivor

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Spoiler alert- if you don’t know the winner of big brother do not read this blog!!!

So if you guys didn’t know I really love strategic game shows like Survivor (well especially Survivor and watched Big Brother for the first time this year).  I find it fascinating to see how people work together and what rationale they use for different moves.  It’s a gimmicky social experiment but still a social experiment and I find it very entertaining and occasionally enlightening.

Well Big Brother just ended last night and Derrick had been dominant the entire game.  He had aligned himself closely with Victoria who was sweet but had done little strategically, and with Cody who had been more cutthroat throughout the game.

derrick and cody
Derrick and Cody

In the final HOH Cody had the choice whether to take Victoria who had almost no chance to win or Derrick who hadn’t been nominated once out of 55 times for the block and had been allied with almost everyone.  And he chose Derrick?

Why?  Cody could have won the 500k almost certainly but he chose his ally, his best friend in the game over a sure win.  Many in my RHAP patron group couldn’t believe it.  What a stupid move we all said!

The interesting thing is earlier this year in the fantastic Survivor Cagayan season we had almost the same situation unfold.  Kass had been an angry version of Victoria.  She had burned bridges with everyone and just been very unpleasant all season (I would go nuts with someone like her!). Then there was Woo who was a taikwondo instructor and his ally Tony who had played like a maniac all season building spy shacks, cutting alliance members and speaking in llama (probably my personal favorite survivor player ever).

Just like with Big Brother Woo, the calm, team player, won the final immunity challenge and had the chance to take Kass to the end and win a million dollars, and he chose Tony out of loyalty and respect.

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Tony and Woo

Both Cody and Woo said they felt their partners had ‘earned his spot in the finale’ and they’d rather lose to their friend than win to a nothing person. Seeing these two scenarios play out so close together had me thinking.

Is this just random or is there some kind of cultural reason that we value loyalty and friendship so much, even over money.  Or we value them when we are young and unmarried even over money.  Is there a connection?I could be overthinking it but here’s a thought.  I love the book Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters.  urban tribesWatters wrote an article for the New York Times that he then turned into a book about an experience he had at Burning Man.  He was there with his closest friends and as he headed towards the fireside he saw his friends and realized they were his whole life:

“It looked like home, that little encampment in the dust-home because these particular people were there waiting for me. And then I could see the scene in a different way- as an anthropologist might who was studying a group of great apes . It was almost dark now and I stopped 20 years away…

Certainly each of these people had a relationship with me, but they all had distinct relationships with each others.  There was a web of love affairs, friendships, rivalries, work partnerships, and shared homes.  Connect any 2 of these 25 people and you would find a history of hundreds of hours of conversation, secrets, gossip and all manner of insights into the world”

He goes on:”Maybe I had not been delaying growing up, my real life, but had been living it fully- sailing through my 20s and early 30s as a member of a functional urban tribe”

Now you might be thinking how can an urban tribe exist in a game show where people are voting people off the tribe?  Isn’t that counter-intuitive?  Yes, and no.

First of all, not everyone playing the game is used to living in an urban tribe environment but the young single (especially men) are, so they are perhaps most vulnerable to this type of attachment.  But aside from the votes,  which some like Woo and Cody are basically kept safe from, the dynamics of alliances and a tribe/house are near-perfect urban tribes.  They satisfy family roles, traditions, gossip, work (challenges), insight etc.

So if you are a young person who is used to living in an urban tribe environment like frat boy Cody or martial arts instructor Woo perhaps their choices at final 3 aren’t that surprising?  Both Tony and Derrick were very confident they would be picked so it didn’t seem to be a tough decision. It was that much a part of who they are to make the choice easy.

I am less an urban tribe dweller now I am 33 but there was a time when I fit the description and I ate up Watters book.  I felt like someone was finally telling me my life wasn’t a total waste of time because I was unmarried.  You should see my copy it is underlined and highlighted.  So, there is a time when I would have absolutely made the same choices as Cody and Woo.  In fact, I’m still a very loyal and friend-oriented single person so I might still do it today.

And people say ‘it’s only 39 days or 3 months’?  How can you get that kind of urban tribe bond in such a short period of time.  I actually find that completely believable.  On my mission I was isolated from my family and friends and there were people I would have cut off my arm for if they had asked me.  I would have done anything for them.  And most of the time I had only known them for a few weeks. My companions I had for 6-12 weeks and I was incredibly loyal to them (some I wanted to rip their head off but most I liked!).

In fact, when you are in that kind of intense experience the bonds form even faster, and I know if I was on an island somewhere you can bet I would form an urban tribe real quick that would be tough to severe for money.

I realize it is a game but I just think the culture of urban tribes has created a loyalty-over-all-else culture and I’m actually glad to see it.  It’s kind of refreshing in a way. Especially as a single girl, it is nice to know there are guys out there who put loyalty and friendship over money and success.  As a married woman I might want it differently but I don’t know?

Watters quotes a woman named Leah and she pretty much describes my life “I’ve grown a lot through my tribe.  I’ve found out more about myself, developed in areas I would not have if I weren’t involved with these people.  I now know what I want out of life or at least what I don’t want.  I know I will not settle for the wrong man or the wrong job. I have a strong source of support…I guess you could say I have found myself”

Now that I am in my 30s, some friends are gone and this type of close-knit bond is harder to find for daily support.  But fortunately I have my roommate and great friends who are there when I need them.  They are honestly more important to me than family as far as this type of support goes.

I could be completely wrong and an urban tribe mentality may have nothing to do with Cody or Woo’s choices but it seems probable.  I can at least imagine it influencing them.

What do you think of urban tribes?  Do you watch Survivor or Big Brother?  Did you watch these seasons?  What do you think?

In the end, friendship is everything to some of us (and seriously Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters is a great book!).

A Gift of Service

Most of us that are active in social media have a few friends that aren’t really friends.  They are people we have met on forums or fan pages and we chat about our mutual interests, enjoy each other’s company and think nothing more of it.  I have these from several angles and I love them.

Well, today I had a very touching experience.  I am writing this from my bed at my home.  To get here I had quite the day.

First of all I had a busy morning and I said goodbye to my family, some of which I won’t see for a long time as they are moving across the country and to Japan. 😦

Then I hobbled to the airport and got a wheelchair from Delta who were amazing through all this.  They coordinated the wheelchair, cancelled my ticket at no fee and I got first class for only $59.

Btw, I really liked first class.  If it is $59 again I am totally doing it.  It was a rough flight too.  I came so close to losing my first class snacks when we hit a long stretch of turbulence.  Then we got my bags and I was picked up by my new friend Amber.

She is one of those people that was a facebook friend but I hadn’t met.  I had posted I needed a ride to the airport a few weeks ago and she responded.  I said ‘are you sure?’.  I couldn’t believe that someone was willing to take a complete stranger to the airport.  It was so nice.

I told her I have never met anyone via airport pick up but it went great and she agreed to get me on the way home as well.  Then when I hurt my knee and had to change flights around she was more than amenable.

I called her to talk about the injury and she suggested getting a cane from walmart so that it was ready for my arrival and I would pay her back.  It was brilliant and she took the time to purchase it.

She even got me one with some pizazz.  It was perfect.

cane

Then she drove me home and helped me in with my bag and all the mail I had.

Next was tackling the scary stairs and she helped encourage me as I took it one step at a time.  It was hard but I made it through.

stairs

Once I was settled she took a grocery list and helped me stock the mini-fridge and microwave with food and drinks so that I wouldn’t have to go downstairs for a few days.

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It was beyond nice.

I’m really quite touched by it. I mean how many times have you devoted days to someone that is basically a stranger? Most of us, including myself, have never done that outside of charity projects or writing this blog.

It would have been so easy to let someone else take care of it but she didnt and I find that remarkable.

Now to some rest and quick recovery.
Thanks again. I’m usually the one giving service and making things work so it humbling to be on the other side for a bit.

🙂

 

European Style Grocery Shopping

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I’ve spoken a number of times on this blog about food, cooking and the challenges of shopping for one.  Lately I’ve been trying a new strategy that has been working out very well.

This article explains the shopping philosophy and how it saves money, gives the best food http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style

Basically the idea is instead of buying in bulk or cooking large quantities, you go to the grocery store every day and buy what you need for that day or perhaps for 2-3 days.

This is smart for the following reasons

1. You get the freshest ingredients

2.  It avoids waste saving money and time

3. Fresh, seasonal ingredients typically are the least expensive

4. For a single woman who eats out a lot it makes it easy to eat out without spoiling food or meal plans waiting to be made.  You can just plan on eating out instead of shopping.

5. With a grocery store in walking distance of my house it isn’t really any  more work to shop everyday.

6. Less groceries and less mess.  Today I dirtied a few pieces of silverware and 1 plate instead of tons of pots and pans.  Of course, I can plan an everyday meal that uses a lot of pots and pans but at least I know that’s what I am doing and can plan accordingly instead of just having ingredients and trying to make something good out of it.

7.  It allows you to order what you are in the mood for on a particular day.  Not stuck eating leftovers or ingredients that sounded good a month ago.

Today for example I went to the grocery store purchased a rotiserie chicken, a kale salad and twiced baked potato they make at Harmons and stuff to make easy crepes for dessert

The other day it was a tub of chili, another it is chicken and sauce.  A lot of items are hard for me to purchase because I just can’t eat them fast enough.  A loaf of bread for instance is hard for 1 person to polish off before it is either stale in the fridge or moldy outside.

With European grocery store I can  buy just what I need for that meal and be done with it.

It may seem like this type of shopping would be more expensive and while I haven’t done the math I don’t think I’ve spent much more if any.

I know that such shopping might be impossible if you have a family but if you don’t, give it a try.  I bet you will love it!

Plus, you get to sound all suave and debonaire with your European shopping trip… 🙂

How do you shop for evening meals?  What strategies work for you?

Friends with Kids

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I’ve never been afraid of a sensitive topic on this blog and this will probably be one of those so be prepared.

I just want to share another side of the story.

Recently seemingly everyone I know with kids have posted this video.

This is a charming video and I get why especially stay at home Mom’s respond to it but as one of those friends without kids let me try to explain the other side of the picture.

First some societal trends that come into play.  Americans, even Utahns are getting married at older ages, usually in the post college years.  This gives sometimes a decade or more for single American’s to form friendships and create meaningful bonds/memories.

These groups of friends are often more important than family to the modern young American as they have shared experiences and group empathy that is not the same in a typical family.  There is no real hierarchy to an urban tribe; where even the most high functioning family has an order and chain of command leading to the main decision makers, the parents. A group of friends provides a space without judgement or the expectations of a family.

This is perhaps less common in the Mormon world as family is universally praised over friendship. Family bonds are eternal and you are after all not sealed to your friends…

Nevertheless, urban tribes do happen and even if not a group of friends the same reliance as with groups can exist in individual friendships between singles. I’ve never fallen in love so most of what I know about love is shared through friends.  I always felt very different from my family but felt at home with my friends.

Last year when I swam GSL the reporter asked me who I was going to call first and I said I wanted to see my friend Etsuko because we had shared that experience together.

But we grow up and people fall in love, marry (or sometimes not marry), and start having their beautiful babies.  We are happy because our friends are happy but we are also a little heart broken…

Is it a selfish response?  Of course it is, but it is also a very human one.  In the 50’s the average age for a girl to marry was 22.  This meant she would be lucky to graduate from college before getting married and having a family.

Now it is 26 (28 for men). Like I said, that means for almost a decade men and women have lived their lives relying on friends and then seemingly overnight their support system and world has completely changed.  Suddenly there are new priorities and they can be pushed to the side. I cannot overstate how devastating that abandonment can feel.  It may be childish to feel that way but I’ve felt it and I bet most singles have too.

Of course, the change in lifestyle the video depicts is necessary but just because something is necessary does not make it any less painful.  In fact, some essential things are the most painful. Giving birth for example.  Do we tell a young mother that her pain is less valid because it is necessary to bring her baby into the world?  Of course not!

I can’t tell you how many times I have been a bridesmaid at a friends wedding, or thrown a baby shower, or something important like that and then I never hear from them again.  I will call and call and then eventually give up.  I will see photos of their kids on facebook and smile.  On my bitter days it can feel like everyone else is moving on with their lives but me.  My support system is gone and I don’t even get a baby out of the deal…

On my peaceful days I smile and hope my day will come and that I can do a better job at keeping in touch with my single friends.  I’m sure like the video shows it will be hard, but I hope I can at least be cognizant of their pain.

She does say in the video that she loves her friends but she is also very judgy.  Assuming her friend has all this free time and can hop off to Vegas whenever she wants.  The truth is said friend probably has worked a 10 hour day with a boss breathing down her neck and this 20 minutes with your kids is the only real human interaction she gets.  Your single friend and you may be catching Shark Tank when you are exhausted in exactly the same way just different exhaustion causes.

Both single women and homemakers with kids sacrifice most of their days for other people and leave completely frustrated and worn out.  A single girl may not understand the cheese or the door slammed in her face by a toddler but she does understand feeling frazzled and pushed around by other people and most likely what’s pushing her around does not love her the way your baby loves you.

I’m not trying to minimize being a young Mom.  It is super difficult but I’m just saying assuming one person has it so much easier than another is a shame.  You miss out on support you could be receiving and ostracizing yourself to only bonding with one type of person, other young Moms.

Of course, singles can do the same type of ostracizing and be too inflexible in adapting to the new situation. But can’t we all be grown ups and just say ‘my daughter threw cheese on the ground.  Isn’t she a rascal?  Could you help me with this? I bet you got into all kinds of messes when you were little…’ A conversation starts and an awkward moment becomes one of friendship instead of distance.

At the very least I would urge you to treat your single friends a little more gently than the video describes.  They may not be calling just to hang out.  Merely assuming that every time a single friend calls you it is for something superficial isn’t worthy of the friendship that was seemingly so important to you before you got that ring on your finger.

I understand there just isn’t time for everything and that some friends will be dropped but perhaps we give up too quickly?  Perhaps we assume because we can’t keep up our original relationship it is all over?  Maybe we could create a new relationship? Maybe it doesn’t have to be completely abandoned simply because it isn’t the same?

I have friends I only see once or twice a year but I know they are there for me.  I know they love me.  There is that gentleness and kindness which tells me ‘yes I have these kids and yes, its tough but I love you and you are important to me’.  At the very least I don’t feel abandoned and that I was a tool for a wedding photo.

A few years ago I went traveled and spent time with many friends with kids.  All of them unnecessarily apologized for their kids behavior.  Maybe I was giving a bad vibe or something but it wasn’t how I felt.  I can’t imagine just sitting there talking while friends are entertaining kids like the video suggests.  I get in and play or talk to the kids, talking to my friend at the same time. Occasionally I may have a day when I am not as kid-friendly but I don’t think it’s the rule of thumb as the video shows.

Most of the time my friends with kids want to meet me outside of the kids, not because of me, but they see it as an escape for them, but I am more than willing to meet at Chucky Cheese or a playground and talk to you, get to know your kids.  The video seems to show it is either going out, getting a sitter or a frustrated experience, and I think with a little creativity it doesn’t have to be that way.

I would also never tell a mother that I am going to be strict with my kids.  I can’t think of a single adult that would say such a thing to their friends with kids when they are with said friend.  That would be super judgy and rude.  They may say it behind their backs which I guess is bad but the woman on this video has strange friends if they say that as part of light discussion during a visit.

In the end, I guess if I made a video it would say ‘be kind’, ‘be gentle’ and spend a minute to let someone know you love them and I bet that will make your time with those little one’s a little easier too.  Maybe it will help you to not feel so alone when you know you have a friend who is rooting for you?  It would for me.

Friends are not simply role-players in our lives- someone we use to get through the day.  They are real people and relationships with real people matter.  So, if worse comes to worse, maybe pray that Heavenly Father will help you find a way to express love to your friends. Just maybe He will inspire you with an idea for a get-together or a cute text.

And if a friend does need to be dropped just try to be gentle about it.  Try to understand how they are feeling and as Jesus taught ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.  That goes for all of us married, single, divorced or widowed.

Friendship is too great a gift to let it pass without much thought.  I promise it’s worth the effort.

The truth is it is harder for single women over 30 to get together.  It is just harder when you are older, so maybe that is part of the change.  You can set up plans for weeks, get everything organized and then someone gets sick or there’s a blizzard, or a late assignment at work.  It is just harder post 30 but again worth the effort.

(I have no problems with my friends btw.  Only posted this because I saw the video so much and wanted to share how the person on the other side of the phone may be feeling).

Feel free to share your opinions of what I have written.  How have you made friendship work as an adult? My Dad is a great example of maintaining friendships.  It is a natural part of his expression and I’m kind of the same way.  I need friend, so thank you dear friends.  Love you and your kids!

A Self Reliant LDS Single Woman

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This is one of my religious Mormon-centric posts so feel free to skip if not interested in that topic.

I’ve been mulling over in my brain a gospel topic the last few days .  Mothers Day (or what I call Female Guilt Day) always makes me feel a little sad.  People can give me all kinds of reasons why that shouldn’t be but all that does is make me keep my sadness to myself.  It doesn’t make it go away.

I know all the easy answers, the promises of a family for the righteous.  I get all of that but it doesn’t mean a day celebrating the big part of being a woman I don’t have doesn’t sting a little bit.

I was particularly thinking about my new job and how grateful I am for the chance to do something I really love.  There are no words for how much that means to me. A smile worthy of smilingldsgirl covers my face whenever I think about it.  I am so excited!

It also occurred to me this week that taking such a position would probably be difficult if I had a family or was married.  The position pays less than I was making and is at least for now part-time. However, it is an opening to start a new life, a new career! That’s the exciting part!

Plus, I still get to work from home and my finances are such that I can afford to take a pay cut.  I also might not get insurance through my employer.  We are still researching that. I feel so fortunate that I am at a spot in my life to take such a job.  🙂

Here’s the thing I could use some guidance on-

I try to be positive and not be a negative Nelly when it comes to my single status in a family church.  It comes and goes but in general I think I am happier than most other singles I know.  Nevertheless, for some reason it feels more justified in talking about the downsides of being single rather than the upsides.  I can’t completely put it into words but I feel like I am not supposed to be ‘so’ happy in the single life, only moderately happy.

Let me try to explain-

It’s quotes like these that confuse me.

“And I would also caution you single sisters not to become so independent and self-reliant that you decide marriage isn’t worth it and you can do just as well on your own…”

President Benson

So, we are supposed to be independent and self-reliant but not ‘so’ independent and self reliant.  We have to live a good life but not to the point where we feel we can ‘do just as well on your own’.  What does that mean?  Should I feel continually like I am not quite doing ‘just as well’ on my own? Just as well as who? Married people?  Just as well at what? Living?

He goes on:

“Certainly we want our single sisters to maximize their individual potential, to be well educated, and to do well at their present employment. You have much to contribute to society, to your community, and to your neighborhood.”

“But…”

“We earnestly pray that our single sisters will desire honorable marriage in the temple to a worthy man and rear a righteous family, even though this may mean the sacrificing of degrees and careers. Our priorities are right when we realize there is no higher calling than to be an honorable wife and mother”

So if I read him right we can do many great things and that is encouraged, but at the same time we must  be always hoping and waiting to give all those things up for marriage and family. It seems to me that somebody isn’t going to ‘maximize their full potential’ if they are constantly keeping an escape hatch available for their ‘true and higher calling’?

I know so many single Mormon women who feel unfulfilled because of that escape hatch.   It’s like you end up doing a lot of mediocre things because the big thing you really want or feel a need to do you can’t.  The thing that will make you the happiest you can’t do so you settle for medium-level happiness.

That doesn’t seem right.  God wants us to be happy no strings attached. It doesn’t say ‘the plan of happiness except for single people who are merely content’

What is so wrong with devoting yourself completely to the role that God has given you to play at the moment you are playing it?  In my experience it is only in such obedient moments that  I am open to the promptings to change and grow, maybe even meet someone.  Is that too independent, or too self reliant?  I don’t think so.

It seems to me I am always happiest in life when I dive right into an experience with no back up plan or escape hatch.  In fact, enjoying my single lifestyle can feel unfeminine and the opposite of the ooey goey woman I hear about on Mothers Day.

It can also seem like I am saying the single life is better than being married but I’m not.  It’s just different. (And I do not think the single life is inherently selfish either.  I hate when people say things like that)

I know such feelings are ridiculous.  I should be happy when happy things happen but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at times conflicted with how happy I should feel.

What worries me is I don’t want to live a life in second place.  The silver medalist, to my married friends who get the gold, and that’s kind of what the quote says.  After all, we as singles can contribute to our employment, community, society and neighborhoods but… the higher calling is motherhood. That’s what we believe. And I think that is why Mother’s Day can be a little sad for me. It’s the day of the year where that Gold medal is thrown in our faces and we realize we have the silver.

But, I just can’t live my life that way.  I believe that God has a plan for all of us and while we may not be fated to be with a particular person, I believe He does know when that event will happen.  He needs me right now to work in his single vineyard and that is not a second place position.

Does that mean I am not open to a different vineyard?  Of course not.  Nothing would thrill me more than to find that Great Love but I am not going to settle for sloppy seconds waiting for it.

So, instead I will be happy for the good things in my life and not worry whether I am ‘too independent’ or ‘too self-reliant’ any more.  God knows my heart and He has told me many times before when I need to straighten up and refocus my priorities.

I was a good missionary because I gave it all to that calling.  I was able to get on that plane and have no regrets, and I don’t see why this phase of my life with my new job is any different?  I’m going to give it my all and have a blast along the way.  I am so excited!

I’m going to allow myself to feel 100% happiness while doing it.   The truth is I am self-reliant and independent but I am also obedient and have a missionary heart.  The Lord knows me, and He is guiding my path. He certainly helped me get this job so I might as well have a ball while doing it.

Anyway, forgive these ramblings.  It was just something I needed to work out and I think I did as I typed.  Hopefully my musings are helpful to someone out there.

Happy Mothers Day to all you amazing moms and to my own Mother.

Never Fall in Love?

Yesterday my book club met and we talked about Sherlock Holmes.  It was a bit of a scattered book club but it worked and we had a lovely conversation.  We talked about the cases, Sherlock and Watson’s relationship, and many other aspects of the first 12 cases from 221 Baker Street

One of the points of discussion was about Sherlock’s supposed oblivion or lack of need for human affection, relationships, love and marriage.  He is basically an asexual being that focuses on reason not passion.  He chooses not to fall in love.

But, what if it isn’t a choice?  What if it just doesn’t happen?

Now before I start this line of thought- please, don’t placate me with assurances of my finding the right person and promises in heaven and not loosing hope.  I know such things and I agree but just for a second I want to put a question I’ve asked myself many times out there for all of you-

What if a human being never falls in love?  Can you live a full life and never fall in love?

An analysis of literature, film, art, music, history and even human psychology would say NO.  An article I saw recently said that 92% of pop music was about love.  I am certain any other genre would be similar in results.  It is hard to think of anything in modern or ancient culture that doesn’t at least tangentially involve love, sensuality, marriage or companionship with perhaps death and God being close behind.

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This quote always makes me cry.

But what do I mean by love?

Well, let’s go with the Greek definition.  They said there are 4 types of love:

agape- selfless love.  Kind of like the what the bible calls charity. It’s a hope for the goodness in the world.  An unselfishness and service to those around you without wanting anything in return.  it’s the kind of love we talk about at Christmas and that makes Scrouge a better person when he develops it.

eros- sensual love.  Passion, is the root for the word erotica and eroticism. As far as I can tell this love usually requires human contact more than words, or feelings.

storge- familial love.  Like the kind of attachment a mother feels for a child, brother to brother etc.

philia- friendship love.  for Aristotle the greatest kind of love.  Friendship, loyalty, human understanding and commitment.  Like minds and devotion.  Root word for philanthropy.  I guess my lack of eros makes philia mean so much to me.  I know many who seem fine without friends but to me loyalty, commitment and friendship are everything.

So just as a mental exercise bear with me- what if you miss out on 1 of the 4?  What if you never seem to make any real friends?  What if you have broken relationships with family and can never make that work?  What if you never have any passion with another person?

What does that mean for your life?

I don’t know.  I really don’t.

I’m 33 years old. I’ve never been in love.  I’ve never been kissed.  I’ve never had a break up or a heartache.  I’ve never had anything more than a crush from time to time and I honestly do not know why.  I really don’t.

Some may say it has to do with my weight but then I see girls much heavier than I that meet, date and marry successfully. I know a woman who has been married 4 times.  That boggles my mind.  How can she find 4 men who want to be with her and I can’t even get a kiss? Sigh…

Again, I’m not saying this for pity or reassurances.  I really want to ask the question- can you live a full life and not fall in love?  I think most people would try to answer yes to make me feel better but if they really thought about their own lives and if they had never had that experience it would feel pretty empty.

1834a1c1299109805356f973fd6e1d03So what do we who have never fallen in love do?  That’s the frustrating part.  Nothing.  As far as I have been able to figure out you just wait. Yes, you can workout and go to activities, date whenever you can, but none of that is any guarantee of falling in love.  Believe me I know.  You certainly can and must always be hopeful and happy with what you can control but it will probably always be this big part of being human that you don’t completely understand.

I think you will always have a little ache in the back of your heart that everyone else got to experience something so primal and basic and you were left out.  I read an article today saying that the average human being falls in love 4 times in their life.

Unfortunately in any study there are always outliers and if you are one of them, I get it.  I know what you are feeling.

I guess the only thing I can say to my fellow love-lorn is that everyone has an ache of some kind.  Nobody has all 4 of the loves perfectly in their life.  Everyone has regrets and wishes for something they never quite experienced and never enjoyed.  That’s what the atonement is for.

After all, as far as we know, Jesus never fell in love either, so we are in pretty good company on that one.  He loves us and that has always carried me through.

Hang in there! I know I’m not the only person out there who has wondered about this.  Please share your stories.

Anyway, I just wanted to put that question out to the world.  What if it never happens?

the hope
the hope

 

Ending with this thought….

Myths About Being Single

This is still one of my favorite posts I’ve written. The myths totally ring true to me, so take notes my friends!

Smilingldsgirl's Weblog

So this might seem a little random but over the last few months I’ve wanted to write a post on the greatest myths many married people have about being single.

1. Myth #1- “You’re single so you get to hang out with your girlfriends whenever you want”.  Sometimes I think there is this illusion that the singles life is Sex and the City without the sex (well without the sex for the Mormon singles!).  Me and my 3 galpals hanging out and gallivanting around town at our hearts content.  The truth is about 80% of my friends are married with kids and most of the time I’m so exhausted from work and other responsibilities that watching TV or heating up a microwave meal is all I can do.  I would say I get 1-2 (maybe more in the summer) nights with friends in a month, which may be more than…

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Being Single on Valentines Day

Just wanted to share this video I made with you my awesome readers.  I made it to try and conquer the challenge that is being single on valentines day.  Please share it with those that find themselves in a similar spot and could use it.  Happy Valentines Day!

Falling Trees and Christmas Cards

I’ve had quite the crazy last few days! As I mentioned in my last post I had put up my tree after a long battle to get it delivered by Five Star Christmas Trees.  The installer did a terrible job and it felt wobbly but I was feeling optimistic so I went ahead and decorated (stupidly!).

This was Saturday but it kept getting worse and worse until finally I felt under the tree and it was floating in the stand.  There are 3 screws on the bottom of the stand which the tree should be hammered into so it is secure and then 3 flat surfaces to keep it straight.  All that was holding it up was the three flat bolts and yesterday it came crashing down.

To make it worse the tree was cut at such a slant that it had no chance of being on a solid footing.  Look at the stem.

stub

The whole reason I had decided to get a natural tree was because of the install and delivery option.  A tree is too heavy and too much for one person to deal with, which I found out when I was pinned down by the tree after it fell a second time.

tree down

Thankfully none of my ornaments got broken.  As I’ve mentioned before I have collected them over years, some of them being irreplaceable.  But after the second fall I was feeling pretty discouraged and covered with tree sap and needles everywhere.  The tree was too heavy for me to lift on my own and I didn’t have a saw to fix the stem.  I called a bunch of people but naturally everyone was out on a Sunday  night in December.  It was proof positive that I can’t do everything on my own! 🙂

So I tried my bishop more of out desperation than anything else because I know how busy he is and I don’t want to be another burden.  I must admit that I cried when I talked to his wife and asked if they could do me a favor and help me out.  They came over and we sawed the tree and got it back up as securely as it could be.  Hurray!

back up

I’m grateful that I found people that were willing to serve me during this Christmas season.  It really meant a lot to me.  It’s nice to know you can lean on your safety net every now and then.  Thanks!

So remember that serving others at Christmas can be as simple as answering a phone and helping a neighbor with their tree.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming.  Just be available and willing when the opportunity presents itself and if you are praying for it will be presented!

Merry Christmas and I wanted to share with all of you my Christmas card for 2013.  I have done custom valentines and Christmas cards with my friend Joan for 3 years now and this one doesn’t have a photo.  I developed the concept from a Christmas card I had seen of Santa Claus lighting lanterns.  I thought it would be fun to showcase the year I’ve had with balloons as an homage to my Up birthday/open house from earlier this year. Rachel2013and here are my 2012 and 2011 cards

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What do you guys thinks?  Pretty fun right! I love designing something unique and fun each year.  I have also done valentines.  See them at https://smilingldsgirl.com/2013/02/14/happy-valentines-2013/

To design your own go to http://www.bitsycreations.com/

There is still time to order your Christmas cards!

Merry Christmas and thank you all for reading!