Dater X: Surviving The Wedding And Baby Phase Of Life When You’re Single
This morning on my way into work, I hopped on Facebook to see what was happening in the world— and instantly, I regretted it.
The first thing I saw on my newsfeed was an album from a college friend’s bachelorette party. That’s nice, I thought, as I looked at the pictures of her all drunk and smiley. And then I remembered how she cheated (a couple of times) on her soon-to-be husband when we were seniors. She covered her tracks and her boyfriend never found out. Having been played by Patrick Bateman, my own feelings of anger began to surface as I scrolled through photo after photo of her in her pink veil. She was finally getting her happy ending, but in my eyes, her relationship was a sham. I continued to scroll down the page, in search of something that didn’t annoy me.
Surprise! An engagement. A high school girlfriend of mine was proposed to over the weekend in a pumpkin patch. How fall of her fiancé. Letters forming the question “Will you marry me?” were carved into lit-up pumpkins. I have to admit, it was very cute. She inset a photo of her engagement ring over a snapshot of the pumpkins to announce the news. I always found her to be a bit high-strung, but hey. She found someone who loves her enough to carve 15 jack o’ lanterns, so this means there’s still hope for me. I kept moving through my newsfeed.
Another engagement. This time, the post simply showed a photo of my pal’s new sparkly bling alongside a note that read, “I said YES!”
What in the hairy hell is happening? When did Facebook become a never-ending ticker of wedding alerts?
Not only is my refrigerator covered in Save The Date magnets, but now, all-things-wedding are consuming my Facebook wall, too? Fabulous. I continued scrolling, hoping to find just ONE other soul who, like me, was bitching about the long line at Dunkin’ Donuts or sharing photos of their new fall boots, as is customary for a single gal.
All I found was a sonogram photo. MY FRIENDS ARE HAVING BABIES!? Before now, I only had one friend with a child. She was the first one; the wild card. Now, it’s apparently becoming a thing. Photos of large diamonds and big, round bellies have taken over my Facebook feed and my life, while I remain hopelessly single.
I’m 26 years old, and I suppose it’s time for me to face the music: I’ve hit the wedding and babies phase of life, with no wedding or baby in sight. Do I want those things? Absolutely. Does it frustrate me that so many people in my life are reaching those milestones before me, a woman who has painstakingly dated guy after guy in search of “the one” for the last four years? Yes. But I don’t resent them. I envy them. Hearing about all these proposals and baby announcements, as cliche as it sounds, makes me wonder what I’ve done (or maybe what I haven’t done) to find myself on the other side of the glass—the single side—looking in.
My closest pals remind me that the timing has to be right, and that finding love will happen when it’s meant to be. I’ve done my best try and accept that. But it’s challenging to say the least, especially when my Facebook newsfeed is Life Milestones You Haven’t Achieved central. Just last week on the phone, one of my best girlfriends, who recently got married, gave me an obligatory pep talk.
“Don’t feel like you’re behind! At 26, you have more experience in love than most people I know who are ten years older than you. You have so much to offer and have to remind yourself that the guys who pass you by are the ones missing out—not you. You know what you want and you’re not settling. And trust me when I tell you you’ll be happy you didn’t settle for the guy who was an 8.5 when you meet the guy who’s a 10,” she said, as if she were reading from a script of things you’re supposed to say to your one lame, single friend.
I appreciated her effort… but still.
As much as I would like to resist, I realize that my friend is right. In order to survive the wedding and babies phase of life as a single woman, I’ll have to stop comparing myself to all those people on my Facebook wall and instead, figure out how I can change my own outlook on the whole thing. I’ll have to come to terms with the idea that love might actually be out of my hands, despite my years of tireless searching and God-awful dates. I’ll have to surrender to the only thing I haven’t tried: letting love come naturally.
That means I’ll have to take a break from online dating and to quit fretting about whether or not Don and I are meant to be. That means spending my time doing things that make me feel good. From here on out, I resolve to focus my energy on other things — things that won’t leave me questioning myself and why I’m still flying solo.
With all my free time, I can pour my energy into starting that novel I’ve wanted to write. I’ll have time to read the 10, untouched books I downloaded on my Kindle. I can teach myself Photoshop, take a painting class, volunteer at a children’s hospital or sign up for trivia nights. The possibilities are endless!
Because if love really is out of my hands, the best thing I can do is make sure those hands are occupied if and when someone comes along to hold them.
[Photo from Shutterstock]