I was recently surveying the guests at a college friend’s wedding when it became painfully obvious that I was the only young adult at the wedding that was single.
That’s becoming the norm of the weddings I attend at age 29. Unfortunately, my favorite part of weddings — dancing — has become a dreadful reminder of my singleness as I approach 30.
Now, I find myself grabbing multiple cups of water and frequently using the restroom just to pass the time and escape being the third wheel on the dance floor —or even worse, the object of pity as I sit awkwardly on the side.
Living the vocation of singlehood is a beautiful thing. But for most of us, it’s a temporary vocation — and because it is temporary, it can be a struggle to feel peaceful and settled in the single state of life. It’s times like these that I wish I had my “Big V” Vocation , by which I mean the permanent vocation I feel called to: in my case, marriage.
It’s times like this that the cross of being 29 and still single is one I have to pick up and carry. And it is a real cross.
But it’s also times like this that remind me that I am not living for this life, but a pilgrim journeying to the next. I remember that I am here to be a saint, and that sainthood is not dependent on a marital status, but rather, by living the universal call to holiness.
It’s easy to believe that having a husband would change my loneliness. Or that having little ones curl up on my lap and douse me in slobbery kisses would give me both identity and security. But I know and see the reality of marriage. I know one day, I will be married to a man whom I love deeply and who loves me in return — and I will still have an insatiable longing.
It’s easy to take singleness for granted, but knowing that Christ is the One who fills me gives me so much more to be thankful for.
Here are some fun reasons why I’m grateful I’m 29 and still single:
- Sleepovers with friends are still a standard, and you can crash at your friends’ houses anytime.
2. Someone is being fashioned for you, and you’re not the one who is fashioning him/her. When you marry someone later on in life, they’ve already grown up and matured quite a bit — and thankfully, you weren’t the one who had to do it.
3. You have freedom in your schedule. This leaves room for just about anything, be it service or fun!
4. You can spend all of your time with your family during the holidays. You don’t have to split your time house-hopping in an effort to visit multiple families.
5. You are able to go on random adventures and live a spontaneous life! Last summer I went on an eight-day silent retreat, and this summer I traveled to Calcutta, India for a month on mission!
6. You experience the joys of living with many roommates who each shape you in a different way. Dance party, anyone?
7. You can read a book uninterrupted.
8. You can pray uninterrupted.
9. You only take care of your laundry. You don’t go through three outfits a day because little ones are throwing up on you and pooping through theirs.
10. You can experiment with your cooking!
11. You can learn new hobbies that you didn’t even know you loved because you have the time to invest in yourself. Just this year, I discovered that I love to play basketball.
12. You can be a really good friend because you are available. And because you are available, people openly share their hearts with you.
13. You can invest in your family. You can go on trips with them, play tennis with your brother, be the favorite aunt /uncle. You have the opportunity to get to know your parents and siblings as an adult.
14. You can focus on becoming the person that will inspire your spouse to want to sacrifice for you. #growinvirtue
15. You can spend time with spiritual fathers. Priests take their job seriously because they know there is not another person to care for your soul, and they want to see you enter your Vocation.
16. You have the freedom to frequently meet new people, and every person is a gift that leaves you a little bit richer.
17. You learn from others’ wisdom on how to navigate dating, marriage, pregnancy, parenting, etc. I’m so grateful for my married friends and siblings!
18. You are still your daddy’s little girl. He hasn’t given you away yet.
19. You have the opportunity to save money that will multiply with time. You can attack paying off debt so that you’re more free to enter your Vocation when the time comes.
20. You can give of yourself wholeheartedly to the Church in a radical way (such as being a Catholic missionary!).
Don’t get me wrong: I can’t wait for the day when I say “I do.” And I treasure time with my married friends just as much as the friends whom I road trip with. And married persons and religious can do these things too; it just looks different.
The point is this: At the end of the day, I remind myself that this time is a gift. To be single is a gift. Why? Because I have the gift of time, and time is something I’ll never get back.
Singleness can be lived selfishly, or it can be lived as a radical self-gift to others. As a single woman, I have the opportunity to fully invest in myself and the people God has placed in my life, and in doing so, love myself and love others in a profound way.
So when I’m in those painful moments that make me wonder if God forgot about me, I remember the countless blessings that come with being single.
Then I get back on that floor and DANCE!