on being 26 and single…

When I was younger I never understood why people complained about being single. Being single was awesome. At 19 years old I wrote in my diary, “I’ve decided I don’t want to date until after college. I don’t want to feel tied down when I want to travel, hang out with friends or pursue my education.”

After turning 20 I wrote, “I want to live my life radically for God. I’m thinking of the children working in sweatshops across the world. And maybe foster care. Who cares about getting married…”

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To me, life was full of purpose and adventure and I didn’t want anything (or anyone) holding me back. Why couldn’t other people view the world this way? Why did they feel they lacked something by not having a mate? It didn’t make sense. I figured they were just discontent and needed to get over it.

Instead of going on dates and dreaming of my wedding I was busy having fun. Who wants to get married when you can skinny dip or have sleepovers with your girlfriends? Exactly.

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My affection for singleness remained strong after college. I went on road trips and moved to Nashville. I met people and heard their stories. I read books, I wrote letters.

At 23 I left for the World Race with my best friend. She came back with a boyfriend, I came back with a broken heart.

But still, I was happy to be single.

Being single meant I could pack up and go to Nicaragua for four months to lead an all-female team. A dream come true.

It was there I encountered my first genuine desire to get married. Two months before my 25th birthday I wrote,

I’m tired. I’m tired of sharing the stories that make up my life – I just want someone to know them already. I’m tired of starting over. I’m tired of being in this season alone – I want a partner in crime. For the first time I’m beginning to understand the beauty of marriage, of constant companionship. It feels weird to even write that. I’ve never felt a need for marriage until now.

And then, all of a sudden I wanted to get married. The desire startled me – it was as if my heart flipped inside out overnight. In an instant I was able to grasp what all those “other” single people were talking about when they said they wanted to get married.

I was one of them now.

During the months that followed I wrestled with this newfound desire – sometimes being completely consumed by longing, other times holding back tears when I thought about the loss of my singleness.

When my best friend married the man she met on the World Race, I stood beside her as she pledged her love to him. To my surprise I felt something I had never felt at a wedding before – jealousy.

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I was jealous because this was the first wedding I attended where I actually wanted to get married – I wanted someone who would stay by my side in sickness and health, til death do us part. I had friends who stayed by my side in sickness and health… until they got married or moved away.

In college and the few years that followed I was surrounded by people on the same journey as me, but when I hit my mid 20s everyone seemed to split off onto their own path. I was left alone. People still passed by as their journey intersected with mine. But no one stays for long, or so I’ve learned.

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This is why the older you get, the harder being single gets.

This is why churches have single groups. This is why people get cats. This is why I’ve stopped judging people who want a spouse and pray for them instead.

And this is why, despite my [former] dismay, I have become one of those people who just wants someone to put a ring on it. Someone to go to Elton John concerts with me, someone to buy groceries with, someone to fall asleep next to every night (…until death do us part.)

In October my friend wrote in an email, “It’s so weird for me to hear you talk about wanting to be married. Because it’s so foreign for you to talk like that.”

It’s weird to me too. I honestly can’t believe I’m the person who, when asked how I am, will somehow end up talking about how I want a husband. I can’t believe I’m the person who Googles “destination weddings” late at night, or who looked at engagement rings that one time (…meaning a week ago cough cough.)

When I was younger I believed being single was the best way to live an adventure. And maybe it was.

But now I’ve come to believe the adventure doesn’t necessarily come to a crashing halt when a man enters the picture…

instead it continues.

So here I am, 26 and single and longing for someone to come adventure with me.

Together, we will fly.

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About Hope Naomi

Lover of all things tea and travel.
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49 Responses to on being 26 and single…

  1. kristenhary says:

    Your heart is so beautiful and to this day I admire your honesty most. The man God will give You is going to be BOLD! He’s going to serve you and treasure your quirks, he is going to notice your chipped nail polish and play with your long curly hair. He is going to pray over you and push you to be more like Christ daily. I can’t wait to see you standing on an altar with a man of God because I know after that Papa will take you on a completely different, atmosphere changing, adventure.

    • Hope Naomi says:

      …so maybe my eyes watered a little bit when I read your comment. As always, thanks for your encouraging and prophetic words 🙂

      P.S. I’m still texting you when I tell him my secrets…and when my contacts are so dry I almost can’t open my eyes WINK WINK

  2. shaynacraze says:

    ” I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason.”

    And yes yes yes to Kristen’s comment.

  3. Lindsey Eaton says:

    I feel ya girl. Love your honesty and the way you earnestly seek God’s heart for who He is and for the beautiful things he provides his children. Jesus…hook us up!!

  4. Kacie Lynn says:

    “This is why people get cats.” Please, God, No! 🙂 I love it, Hope. Love it. Thanks for sharing your words and your beautiful thoughts.

  5. i have no cats…but I sure do have a lot of imaginary friends….

  6. Helen says:

    I’m thinking you should move back to Nashville!!

  7. Ohhh Hope! Your heart is so beautiful and open! I love it! This post receives a hearty amen. An amen to the seasons and atmospheric shift. An amen to your boldness. An amen to the fact that life doesn’t end when you meet your husband but it weaves all new life and adventure. An amen to the prayers going out and declarations spoken. So lovely. Miss you darling!

  8. Randy Garmon says:

    The one who gets to journey with you is very fortunate indeed. Every man should be so lucky. Always love your words.

  9. hollandocox says:

    dang randy garmon makin me cry, so sweet.
    as usual you knocked it out of the park. so honest, so good.
    love you hopey!

  10. chels says:

    siiiigh. i love you and miss you so much. praying for you all the time! there’s a lot more i could say, but not in a public comment! let’s talk soon.

  11. Grace says:

    love you sister. Great post.

  12. Stacy P. says:

    Yep…ditto! Love this post, Hope! Can’t wait to see you next week.

  13. suzyhachey says:

    i agree with papa Randy. “every man SHOULD be so lucky”. mmhmmm….

    i love your honesty. i love how crappy all of this sometimes feels, because what’s coming is going to blow your mind. i love that we weren’t made to do this life alone, and that companionship makes it all the better. shoot, God was smart. i love that who you’re going to be when you meet him is maybe the best version of yourself mixed together with the worst version of yourself and he’s going to choose you anyway.

    just some thoughts…you know how i do.
    huggin’ ya. {the single-lady, all encompassing way.}

    also, cats. yes.
    {regardless of marriage.}

  14. buntingtr1 says:

    i am so excited for when your guy shows up and we can finally double date instead of joe always being the third wheel. Love you!:)

  15. Lindsay says:

    oh hope, you’re the coolest. what a beautiful person you are– can’t wait to see who your husband ends up being. what a lucky guy!!!! (remember in high school, when i would tell you who i thought you would eventually marry???) 🙂

  16. Dad says:

    Shall I become an Indian father and arrange your marriage? I think I could do a good job!

    Love,
    Dad

  17. This exactly describes the feeling of waiting. I believe in God’s perfect timing, meaning that HE will fulfill the desires of your heart when it is the right time, not when we first start to long. However, He fills our heart in amazing ways right now.

  18. Jo Linda Sala says:

    I love how you write your heart, and I love you and your heart.

  19. LOVE IT! I’m there with you. You know, when I was younger, I always heard the old folks say things like, “you just have to ask God which is the right one” and my initial thought was “Yeah right, there’s not even anyone to choose from!” Now-a-days, I think of wise statements like that and marvel at my surroundings (the beautiful godly women in my near surroundings) and the solid truth in the reality of that statement – I now MUST seek His counsel and ask because otherwise, I’m lost in a pool of misery wondering what to do and who to ‘chase’. In wisdom, pure discernment, and the adventure of getting to know people for fun, I believe I’m moving forward to hearing that one name that I long to call for years to come…

  20. Bono says:

    That was a really poignant blog post. Just as a heads up, you misspelled “jealousy”. Though, I suppose you could have felt “jealously”…#deep

    I find singleness to be a dichotomy in that it seems to get simultaneously easier and harder as I get older.

    My main pitch, since my physical attractiveness shall never reach the level which is commensurate with my swagger unless I get plastic surgery, is to let a girl know that I want her to love God more than she loves me, and that I’ll try to blow her mind every day, and have her laughing until she cries at least once every 6 days.

    At least that’s what the deal I offer in my pre-made prenuptial agreements. It’s best to carry one around with you in your wallet or handbag. You never know when you’ll need one.

  21. ryanS says:

    thanks for sharing all this Hope 🙂
    you’re transparency and honesty goes a long way… and actually brings hope!

  22. marissa says:

    Ohhh. Yes. Even two months ago I was like, “meh, I could be single for a few more years.” Then all of a sudden in the last coupla weeks, I’m like “huuuuuusbannnnndddd!!! yesssss.”

    can’t wait to see you and talk about life’s possibilities face to face.

  23. Tasa says:

    Of of my friends posted link to this blog on FB/ I was on my lunch, reading this blog and tears ran down my cheeks. Every single word in this post is about me. I recently turned 27, i am very outgoing, involved in church activities and advantageous. I sky dived, i scuba dived- you name it – i did it.. i traveled about 30 counties .. I been to Paris alone over 7 times.. Today i find myself miserable…I grew up always knowing one day i will meet that one person- and make a family… When i was teenager i was deeply in love but that person broke my heart. Ever since then- i never met a person with whom the attraction was indeed mutual.. I tried to date few people here and there– give someone a chance ( as i am always told to do)- NOTHING worked
    Sometimes i wonder whats wrong with me. In April, my best (and last single) friend is getting married. I am thinking alot about future- what if i will never meet that person? What then? Should i pursue carrier that i never really wanted? Get myself in projected i never had desire to do?
    I have no answer.. The only thing that keeps me going is my faith in God

    • Hope Naomi says:

      Wow Tasa, it sounds like you’ve lived an incredible life so far (I’m jealous you’ve been to Paris!)

      And your faith in God sounds beautiful – that at the end of the day you cling to him and him alone.

      I don’t know you, but I believe so strongly there is NOTHING wrong with you – that you have been set apart for something different during this time of your life. And a man will come…he will be so so so in love with who you are.

      Until then, keep doing your thing. (Paris an 8th time?)

      • Tasa says:

        Thank you for Encouragement – You not the only person that mentions that i am set apart for something else at a moment (must be true then)- God bless you and i’m in love with your journal 🙂

  24. Singleness does have a way of gnawing at a person. Similar to you, I’ve desired a spouse more with age (hitting 30 in April). At the same time, I’m far more content with life at 30 than I was at 20. Even feel a specialness God has allowed me a few trials in my 20s (including loneliness) as they have drawn me closer to Him. Personally, I don’t want a life of ease but a life of growth. Old Testament Joseph went through loneliness big time (rejected from family, dragged to a foreign land, thrown into prison unjustly, etc.). Yet how cool would it be to have a life story as inspiring as his? Trials are a blessing in disguise, I think. Trials mean God has greater plans for us, like he did for Joseph: plans to portray a glimmer of his glory through the prism of our lives. And by the way, in the end Joseph did get married. An arranged one at the age of 30.

    Always enjoy your writing, guess because it’s so honest, for better or worse.

    • Hope Naomi says:

      Nick! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with me – and thanks for the encouragement about my writing!

      And who knows – maybe like Joseph, 30 will be our year 🙂

  25. lexiedache says:

    Hi Hope! Just stumbled across your blog from a comment trail on Stephanie May’s… and so glad I found my way to this post. Reading this was like putting words to the thoughts that have whispered at me in the midst of a future filled with hope and plans… I’m 22, standing on the edge of college, ready for new adventures and traveling and exploring and celebrating, but somedays there’s that little voice that tries to speak fear into those dreams…
    Thanks for having the courage to post this – to be real and vulnerable. I just “met” you (almost) but can already tell you are inspiring people with the way you open yourself up to let God tell your story. I’m praying for you this afternoon to find freedom and confidence in God’s timing 🙂

    • Hope Naomi says:

      Hey Lexi! Thanks for your encouraging comment – it makes me smile, it gives me hope.

      And 22 with the world at your reach? Go grab it, girlfriend, and squeeze all the juice you can get. It’s worth the ride.

      P.S. …and then blog all about it for the rest of us to read 🙂

  26. Lydia David says:

    I felt it was strange being single @ my age after several breakups, but your story is a great inspiration to me, God bless us all n give us great partners at the right time.

  27. Emily Tuttle says:

    Oh man, sometimes I read your blog and I think we might be a little bit the same person. And also that we should probably hang out more:) Great post!

  28. elena says:

    I’m 26 and I’m experiencing the same thing that you are describing. I think the problem is that the mid-to-late twenties are a transition period when some of the most important decisions in life are made. I think this period in life is particularly difficult because everyone transitions in a different way and in a different direction. Some of your friends get married and do that thing, others start working like crazy, isolating themselves, and some just linger around… there is another shift in the social structure of the generation, like the ones you get in high school after middle school and in university after high school… and to me it seems like the social circles are shrinking because many people are closing up in their little limited universes of just work or just marriage-baby or just me…

    And everyone is searching for something and setting the base for the future, focusing on themselves, and that’s why we have this impression as if our lives intersect with people for a while and then they’re gone, as you put it. This feeling is particularly intense if you’re travelling a lot, in my experience…

    But I think as we move on the thirties, things will crystalize again, and then we’ll find our final “peers”. People from work, or couple-couple friends or things like that, and then being single is a completely different and not so lonely experience as it is in the mid-twenties.

    I think everyone focuses so much on the “desperate” single 35-40… year olds, but actually it seems to me that being single is the most difficult in the 25-30 time of our lives cause of all the uncertainty.

    • Hope Naomi says:

      Hey hey Elena,
      Valid points you make here! When I was talking to my counselor earlier this year about wanting to get married she told me the desire for “nesting” is natural, especially in the mid-to-late 20s… it made me feel a little less crazy, haha. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! xo.

  29. soorya says:

    have u got married now ? Im also a woman at 26 wanting a marriage after all heartbreaks

    • Hope Naomi says:

      Hey hey Soorya! Two years later and I’m still single… though I have learned a lot about dating and relatonships since I wrote this post, and for that I am grateful.

      I’ve had my moments of ups and downs as I’ve watched yet another friend get married (or have their second baby), but at the end of the day… at least these days… I still have hope.

      I hope you find that hope somewhere inside of you as well…

      <3.

  30. Pingback: on being 28 and single… | Far from what I once was…

  31. Talhya says:

    Hi Hope,

    I can relate to your blog. I always felt out of place with my friends and family members getting married and having children while I remain single. I used to think that there was something wrong with me. Most of my relatives find it strange that I’m still single especially at my age. It is comforting to know that there are other people out there in similar situations and that I am not alone.

    • Hope Naomi says:

      Talhya, you are definitely not alone…. though I know exactly what you mean when you say it *feels* like we are singled out as the single people (…ha.) i hope your relatives are able to accept you EXACTLY as you are… brilliant, beautiful, and single. If not, I hope you are able to face each day knowing how much you are worth. I don’t know you, but I can guess that you are one ridiculously awesome human being. Keep it up…

      • Allie says:

        Hi Naomi. I found this on a random Google search of “is it OK to be 26 and single”. I have never related to a blog post more. I, like you, spent my teen years and college years not giving a darn about relationships. I thought I had time to find a guy. But as soon as 25 hit and friends started racing to the alter, I began to feel a sense of loneliness I couldn’t explain. Friends pair off and I’m left with scraps of their time when it our lives intersect. That’s it. It’s weird. Anyway sorry for the ramble. I typically don’t comment on blogs.

      • Hope Naomi says:

        No worries for the ramble! Sometimes we just need to get some stuff off our chest, ya know? And yup, I’m right there with you. I guess there’s something about 25 (aka mid-20s) that changes us. Our desires change, and when they aren’t fulfilled it can be painful.

        Here’s to hoping love finds both of us soon…

  32. Pingback: on being 29 and single… | Far from what I once was…

  33. I love this. It definitely spoke to me, i went on the race too 🙂

  34. Pingback: on being 30 and falling in love for the first time: | Far from what I once was…

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