Tag: single life

Modern Friendshipping

So April has almost come and gone and it has been a jammed packed month. The Hallmarkies podcast has been doing great and we currently have a whole bunch of interviews and podcasts stored up ready to be played over the next month or so (or if one of us gets sick). Doing all this prep work, while still producing 2 shows a week (regular episode and tv recap) has been a bit overwhelming but very satisfying. I have also been keeping up my personal channel and had some great interviews/discussions and reviews on there.

As I was looking over the month it occurred to me amongst all the busyness very little of it was with in-person human contact. There are things I did alone like go see Hamilton so at least I was out of the house but with actual people it is pretty sparse:

I saw Ready Player One with Amber and then again with my book club friends (I missed book club this month because I didn’t have time to read it).

I saw Isle of Dogs with my friend Phaedra and that was a delight (both movie and time with friend).

I had Easter with my parents, grandma and brother.

I went to see Camelot with my parents and two of my friends were in it.

I attended study group for church (and church)

And that’s it! The rest including my job were all online. But oddly I do not feel malnourished or socially bereft. In fact, quite the reverse. In just the last week I will have done 5 podcasts including an interview with friends from Israel and Australia. I think it is pretty cool! I also posted to my movie blog and to rotoscopers.com and contributed to other social media posts.

I don’t know. What do you think? What is the right balance of in-person interactions with online? I know mine will never be close to equal but I at least try and make an effort to get outside and see friends in-person. It’s tough but I do the best I can.

My Favorite Post

This my friends is post 999 of this blog, which obviously means my next post will be my 1000th silly thought to all of you.  That’s 7 years of writing my life.  1000 posts! Can you believe it?

I thought long and hard on what to do to commemorate such an achievement and here’s what I’ve decided  This post I am going to share with you my favorite post.  Then for the 1000th I am going to revisit the very first post I ever did called The Freedom of Joblessness.

So out of 1000 posts which one is my favorite? It’s tough.  They are all kind of my babies and I worked very hard on them. But there is one post that was very difficult for me to write.  A post where I took a real risk and probably opened myself up more than any other post (which is saying a lot!).

I didn’t know how people would respond but was overwhelmed by people who told me, mostly privately, that my story was also theirs.

It was a post called Never Fall in Love

In the post I admitted to the world that I have never fallen in love like it is some kind of disease or confession:

“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.”

And there it was out there for the world to see.  For a while I felt a little embarrassed but why? It’s not like I had done something foolish or wrong.  I just hadn’t fallen in love yet.

Worried I would get people trying to make me feel better I implored them to let me work this problem out to its completion.

“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?”

That last question is one I am still pondering. We after all believe in eternal families as fundamental to Heavenly Father’s plan. So I don’t know if it is possible to live a full life and never fall in love.  I really don’t.

So what do you do?

“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”

But here’s the key that I learned from writing the post.

“I guess the only thing I can say to my fellow love-lorn is that everyone has an ache of some kind…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”

And then I shared a talk from Dennis E Simmons where he talks about faith and the ‘but if not’ moments of life.  Having hope yet not finding love surely qualifies as such a moment.

At the end of the post I spoke out to those who are struggling and I think it encapsulates well why this blog is powerful at least to me.

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

Through this blog I have been able to see I am not the only person out there.  Whether it is something silly as finding another soul who loves You’ve Got Mail or The Book Thief as much as I do or someone with a history of bullying or someone who loves to swim like I do, it is all so valuable to me.

It makes me feel like my life actually matters to someone and no post shows that more than Never Fall in Love.

What is your favorite post? Have any impacted you or your life?

Thoughts on Quiet

On such a night, or such a night,
Would anybody care
If such a little figure
Slipped quiet from its chair —
So quiet — Oh how quiet,
That nobody might know
But that the little figure
Rocked softer — to and fro —
On such a dawn, or such a dawn —
Would anybody sigh
That such a little figure
Too sound asleep did lieEmily Dickinson

I haven’t shared with you all any poetry in a long time but I found myself thinking of this verse today. You see, my house was empty and I was trying to recover from this darn cold and I couldn’t think of anything to watch so I found myself sitting and thinking.  In the words of Gaston ‘a dangerous pastime…’ It’s just so quiet sometimes when you are alone.

And I know you Moms are probably thinking ‘I would love nothing more than a quiet house all to myself for the day’ and there is some truth to that.  But I bet you wouldn’t find the quiet so refreshing if you knew those little voices weren’t ever coming back…

This is not an ‘oh feel sorry for me’ post.  It really isn’t.  It’s just a ‘today  I was alone and I noticed’.  What’s wrong with admitting that?  We all have our lonely moments, sometimes when we are surrounded by people.  It’s part of being human.  After all, if we never felt alone why would we need to turn to God?

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish for a companion to share these kind of experiences with.  Yeah, yeah I can hear you all saying ‘marriage is hard’ and ‘grass is always greener’.  Well, it is also ‘not meant for man to be alone’. Humans need companionship and sometimes I wish I had it. But I know God has His plan for me and I am doing my best to humbly follow His timeline for my life.  That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a little sad on those days when the house feels extra quiet. Again I’m only human…

I saw The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel this week and it is not a great movie but I liked it.  One of the things that I stood out to me is Maggie Smith’s character is a single woman who has never married.  However, she has found this place to live where she has an urban tribe of other seniors and a ‘child’ to help nurture in the Dev Patel character.  I had more of that in my 20s when sociability and friendshipping was so much easier but I hope I can get it again.  If I never meet Mr Sunshine I hope I can find an urban tribe like she does and maybe even a young person to help mentor.

In my 20’s I also had much younger siblings who looked to me for advice and guidance and family that lived nearby.  Now they are all grown up and my nieces are far away.  It makes me a little sad sometimes.

But again I am not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me.  I am greatly blessed. Mostly I have the miracle of all of you who are there to share in my silly life. Goodness knows why you have all read all these years but I am sure grateful.  I have a job I love, a social media presence that I think helps people, hobbies I love, great friends, a beautiful home and most importantly a faith in Jesus Christ that ensures I am never really alone.  That is never forgotten.

Thanks for letting me share and I love you all.  Can any of you relate to the quiet times when maybe it feels a little lonely in life? I’m sure I am not alone.  God bless.

Busy Valentines Day

ValentineHappy Valentines Day!  I hope you all had a happy time either with people you love or thinking about the many blessings God has given you.  We are all richly blessed and if nothing else I love every person reading these words (it’s really true!).

I had an interesting experience today.  Valentines can be a little bit hard for us single folk who are without a valentine in their life.  Yes, yes, I know lots of couples don’t celebrate Valentines including my own parents.  However, at least you know if you were going to celebrate it you have someone to do it with.  As far as my life companion I haven’t found him yet.  He’s still hiding (come out! come out! Where ever you are!).

Mothers Day is actually the hardest holiday for me because I feel like I am not fulfilling my spiritual calling and purpose for being a woman not having a family.  It is all laid on so thick on Mothers Day that typically I do not go to church.  The Mothers deserve having their day but it is just too painful for me.

Valentines Day I have a tradition of designing my own valentine and this year was no exception.  This helps me have fun with the holiday and focus on my many blessings.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But an interesting thing happened today. I haven’t been feeling well and been sleeping even worse lately. This has made it hard to get everything done including keeping up both blogs and my youtube channel. I ended up going 10 days without a video. Yikes! I had filmed 2 but the sound didn’t work so they had to be discarded. Then today I decided to make up for lost time and filmed 6 different videos and because of audio and other problems I had to film them each 3 times!!! I ended up working on videos for 11 hours!

Here’s how they all turned out.

This is a really fun one with my Top 10 Romantic Comedies (just in time for Valentines Day!).

This one gave me my first youtube crying moment! It’s a very special movie Song of the Sea. Read my review on the blog as well. http://wp.me/p4VRGy-13p

And then some unboxings

They aren’t perfect videos but I’m proud of them especially the movie posts.  I’ve certainly come a long way in the last year and will continue to improve.

But the interesting thing about making the videos is it took all day.  All of the sudden it was 10 pm and I finished my videos and sat back exhausted and happy.  It is probably the happiest I have been on Valentines Day in a long time.  It made me realize while we are often overbusy in this world there are moments where that comes in handy!  Where the best thing you can do is put your head down and get lost in creating something.  Forget about your problems, fears, anxieties and loneliness and just work hard on something you love.

In that sense making silly videos that probably not many people will see is quite powerful.  It made me happy and if I’m lucky it might make a few other people happy who get to see them.  I got a tweet from Song of the Sea director and creator Tomm Moore today thanking me for my review.  That made me feel like a million bucks!

tweetThat’s the Valentine I needed. It reminds me of President Hinckley’s Dad saying “forget yourself and go to work”.  Isn’t it the truth!

I hope you all had a great day too.  Sure love ya!

A Single but Full Christmas

singelbells-250x166

Keeping up 2 blogs is sometimes a challenge.  It feels like I just wrote in this one and then I look and it’s been 6 days!  Sorry about that.  Make sure to check out the other blog for Scrooge month.  I think you will all really enjoy it and I would love your feedback and comments.

I don’t know if I mentioned it on this blog but this year will be my second Christmas I have spent away from my family. The first time was Christmas 2012 while I was waiting for my house to finish. That was an incredibly stressful time and honestly my family was better off with me far away from them because I was a worried mess!

Plus, it was so stressful living out of boxes and never knowing if I was moving in a week, a month, whatever (ended up closing on the house January 31st when they had originally told me 12/31.  It was made even more stressful because my roommate and tenants were also waiting to move in and the weather was awful.

This year is much different.  I have had a very full Christmas season.  Name it I’ve done it. From watching every holiday film I can put my hands on (and blogging about many of them), decorating 2 trees, outside decor, cookie swap and baking, shopping, singing with choir and for RS party, and more.  I LOVE my trees this year and have gotten so much pleasure out of looking at them and all the memory ornaments and smiling.

q0585I have also watched my share of cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies and eaten delicious food.  I have plans for Christmas Day breakfast at my home teachers and then will go see Into the Woods (can’t wait).

Things are exciting at work with lots going on and it’s been fun having my first Christmas with my new job.  They are just the best!

I do sometimes feel a little sad being alone for Christmas.  I’m human just like anyone else.  I particularly miss having children to share the holidays with (although my presents for my nieces is awesome!).  I’ve long said most of us are chasing the holidays we had as youth and it can never quite live up to that magic as an adult. That’s ok. So is life.

So, yes I am human and do feel sad and lonely on occasion but I also feel incredibly blessed.  Now I am just crossing my fingers that the sore throat I’ve been having doesn’t morph into a full blown sickness like I had last year.  Please no!  My favorite mission companion is coming for New Years and I am soooo excited!  The last thing I want is to be sick for her visit!

It’s also nice my roommate is staying here for Christmas and my tenants are also very festive (we technically have 3 trees in my house! Happy day!).

fa ra ra ra

So it is a single Christmas but it is also a very full and blessed Christmas.  As a single person I lose out on some of the magic of the season but I also have an ability to focus on what really matters that is tough when you have little one’s to shop for and entertain.  I am grateful for that focus in my life.

What is your Christmas looking like?  If you are single how do you manage the holidays?  How do you deal with sadness or loneliness? What are your favorite traditions to celebrate for just you (a lot of traditions we do for other people so what’s the most important for you and why?).

I would love to hear your stories and wish you all a Merry Christmas!

(Some of the graphics on this post are just trying to have a little sense of humor about my situation. Don’t take them to seriously!)

single christmas

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.

European Style Grocery Shopping

veggies

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

Friendship-Quotes-5

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

1975215_10152157772992239_1521231251_n

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.

87ec8adf98e481c75323c77088d4d1b1
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….