The Single Perspective: Favorite Things About Singleness
Welcome to the second week of The Single Perspective! This month, Single Minded Mondays is exploring varying perspectives on questions related to singleness, defined here as the state of being unmarried. If you missed week one, you can catch it here.
Question: What are some of your favorite things about being single?
I have truly enjoyed this journey of becoming and self-awareness that I wasn’t conscious even mattered up until a few years ago. I love being able to work on being a whole person (spiritually, physically and emotionally). I truly believe that I need to be the best possible “me” that I can be for my relationships, career, service to others, etc. I’ve learned some things about myself that I like and some things that I need to work on and be aware of. My singleness has allowed me the space to grow in those things, and to fall in love with those areas. My singleness has allowed me to embrace those parts of myself.
Khristi Adams is an Author, Pastor, Youth Advocate & Filmmaker. She is the author of the book The Misinterpreted Gospel of Singleness: a cultural critique of myths surrounding singleness in the Christian community. She is single, dating, happy, and having a great time living in Washington, D.C.
I love that my life and my body are mine. I don't have to adjust my clothes, hairstyle, or schedule to someone else's preferences. I don't have to work constantly at keeping a guy interested. I'm used to living independently and having my own back. I can dream my own dreams and make changes or sacrifices where needed without affecting anyone else. And when I get sick, no one else is going to catch it or later give it back to me.
Brenda Wilkerson lives and writes in Memphis, Tennessee. She loves Jesus, Friends, basketball, sunshine, and her cat, Peach. She has been divorced and dateless for four years. You can connect with her on her blog, Don't Stop Believing, and on Twitter.
Sometimes I really like being single. And sometimes I don't. Sometimes, I like it and I don't at the same time. The times I feel good about it are these: when I can read for hours or watch 3 movies in a row or play video games or go for a solo hike or just geek out about something that I love without the responsibility of someone else's needs. This may sound very selfish. It is. I love it. It takes a lot of pressure off when all you have to do is listen to yourself and what you need. I am starting to think that that is the only way we can truly be good at loving and listening to other people.
Another thing I like about being single is that I can be entirely myself, and find out exactly who that is. Yes, of course I like to impress girls and make awesome impressions, but as I grow up I think I am getting more and more honest about who I am, and I credit some of that to being single. When I am in relationships, I tend to try and be what they want. I don't look in the mirror contentedly. To be fair, I don't really ever look in the mirror contentedly, and don't really think I should, but I've realized theres a big difference between trying to be someone else and trying to be who you are.
One more thing I like about being single is my attitude. When I'm not in a relationship and I want to go the movies or ask a girl out or go swing dancing or go to the beach, I have to decide what to do in the face of nervousness and possible failure. It is a very scary and uncomfortable place to be and I have found much true life and growth in that place. I have found confidence and self respect in, sometimes, very dismal, dark places in my soul, where I didn't think I had what it took. More often than not, it turns out I did.
Kevin Strickland is an Editor for a show on Public Television. He lives in California and enjoys trying to figure out his life. (He is also Cara’s brother).
I’ve lived in five different cities since graduating from college in 2006. In every single one of those places, I dreamed of finding something (or someone) to make me stay, but I also found it to be wondrously exciting that I didn’t have to. I’m approximately 50 percent free spirit, and that half of me has had the best time living in unexpected places, making unexpected friends, having unexpected adventures. The other half of me still longs for a sense of permanence, but it doesn’t make me any less thankful for the experiences I’ve collected as a single girl with the ability to pick up and go if the Spirit leads me.
In college, our campus pastor’s wife was a keynote speaker at the annual Women’s Conference one year. Her talk has stuck with me since I heard her words in the chapel auditorium. It was about singleness. Her singleness. She spoke about not waiting until she was married to live her life. To have adventures. To serve God. She spoke about searching for God’s purpose behind her singleness and becoming thankful for those years.
I’ve done my best to adopt her philosophy, even though it’s extremely challenging for me. One of my favorite things about being single is that I have the freedom to dedicate so much of my time and energy to a ministry I’m passionate about. I’m able to spend time with high school girls throughout the week and go with them to camp every summer and go get spur-of-the-moment milkshakes without having to answer to anyone. Can married people do this, too? Sure. But for me, it’s my way of living into that call I received years ago as a junior in college to do life now, serve God now, be myself now.
One of the things I've heard single people really appreciate about their singleness is that great cliché: you're not "tied down " to any particular location, able to travel or move to an entirely different place without great guilt or sorrow. St. Paul echoes something similar in one of his most famous epistles shortly before his treatise on Love, insisting against the grain of social norms that it is actually "better to stay unmarried." In so doing, Paul speaks to the truth that a person who wields their sexuality in a celibate way (singleness) is often able to do a rare kind of work that would otherwise be impeded by the everyday business of family life. It's this special, sanctifying and kingdom-building work that we are called to as Christians during our singleness, either for a season or a lifetime.
I have appreciated how being unmarried has allowed me to move through such spaces and undertake unique opportunities, building relationships and investing in work I would not necessarily be able to do if I had a family at this time. I think this has to be one of my favorite things about being at this young stage of my life, and it's not something I expect to look back on with regret. I hope to continue to influence and impact others positively where I am at, creating memories and risking myself in ways I won't be able to do in the future. I want to be able to enjoy the fruits of this labor way down the line, with my family, when and if I get married.
Ryan Kenji Kuramitsu is a Nikkei Christian writer and activist who works with groups including the Gay Christian Network and the Japanese American Citizens League to empower marginalized communities. He hopes to one day marry and have a family surrounded in love by the family of God.
I love this question, especially as my view of being single has many things attached to it. My singleness is defined by being divorced, by having four children, by being 40-ish, among other things. It’s been good to really think about the gifts that being a single woman (again) has brought me.
Being single has allowed, and really compelled, me to be more fully myself; to discover who I am and to explore life in all its depth. That exploration hasn’t come in big adventures or great experiences, but rather in learning to be present to each moment. I went from being a married stay-at-home mom to being a single working mom of four, which was a huge jump. I absolutely love the work I do – work I wouldn’t be doing if I would still be married. I am pursuing a career I never would have dreamed of just one year ago. Being single has forced me to walk through hard, hard situations, but in doing so, I have discovered a beauty in life that I couldn’t see before.
It took me a bit to get used to the different rhythm in life singleness brought me, with my kids going to their dad’s every other weekend. The wall of silence that hit me as I kissed them goodbye and shut the door was at times deafening. But I have come to greatly appreciate the time and space that being single gives me. This time and space gives opportunity to grow friendships and connect with others. Whether grabbing a cup of coffee or late night texting, I deeply enjoy the variety of people I’m able to share life with in those moments. That time and space also allows me to nurture my creative side with a notebook full of doodles, an instagram with too many Michigan sky pictures, and hours spent at the piano bringing fun and rest to balance the crazy part of my life.
Kate is mom to four wonderfully unique kids and friend to some of the best people you'll ever meet. After getting divorced in August of 2014, she began two exciting new jobs - one as a legal administrative assistant and the other as a piano teacher. In her free time, she enjoys exploring faith, mystery and beautiful words, listening to Tiger's baseball games, and engaging in autism and lgbtq advocacy. You can find her on Twitter and on her blog.
I love the freedom it allows. The flexibility. My choices are my own...to a certain extent.
Alisha is a 32 year old Texan who transplanted to Spokane, WA in 2013. Growing up in church in the South, she was expected to marry & make babies, but God had another plan involving singleness and a career in international education bringing her to Gonzaga University. While marriage and family would be a great adventure to embark on, the roller coaster ride of singleness has brought her many joys, tears, and treasures including: travel, the love of red wine, running, food, and Taylor Swift....Did I mention she's still available?
What I love about being single is "me time" and "me space." Despite how others have described me I call myself an introvert. I need certain places and times to just do what I want and be completely myself. My room is that way. If you were to go in there right now you'd see an absolute mess. I doubt I'd get away with that if I was dating someone. But that's my place. I like to spend several hours before bed reading. That's me time that, I imagine, would be harder to get if I was married. But it's my time. I can use it as I like.
Of course dating and married people have those same needs, but I think as a single person I can meet them a little more easily.
John Lussier is an M.Div. student at Multnomah University studying theology and ethics. His love languages are beer, burritos, and books. He's a good guy and loves the Lord. John sometimes goes on extended rants over on Twitter.
When I was, oh, maybe eight, I began to really “get” that I enjoyed being alone. Having no sisters, I wasn’t particularly skilled at developing friendships with girls in my class. (Now, others might say that because they had no sisters, they were drawn to forming friendships with girls in their class. But I am an introvert, so there you have it.)
Back when I was about eight, after dinner my mother would wash the dishes, and my role was to dry them. “But first I need to go to the bathroom,” I’d say. So down the hall I’d go, do what I may or may not have needed to do, and then somehow found myself quietly walking past the kitchen door and into the living room, where I would sit. Just sit, on the sofa, perfectly contented to be alone with my thoughts and with God.
When the dishes were done it would finally dawn on my mother that I had never returned from the bathroom. I don’t recall how long I was able to pull off that routine.
So, for many, a huge gift of living alone as a celibate is the solitude itself. Holy solitude, which enables me to be renewed in loving relationship with the Lord.
I cannot imagine not living in holy solitude—say, in community. And I cannot imagine any source of interior renewal apart from this most privileged relationship. I live for this life of prayer which impels me to spend myself in service to the Gospel. My work is the fruit of my being in relationship.
Mary Sharon Moore is a Catholic author, teacher, speaker, and spiritual director, whose practice spans the United States. She works with individuals in all states of life (single, married, divorced, widowed, the “waiting and wondering”) who may be discerning a call to celibate life. For more on her work, visit marysharonmoore.com.
Please return next Monday for the next Single Perspective.