on being 29 and single…

The other day I caught up with an old friend, Allie, over the phone. We met in college and I was in her wedding a few years ago.

We chatted for a while about our different jobs and what it takes to be a go-getter in the workplace (especially as a woman), and then she asked me how it was being 29 and single. “Are you stressed, frustrated, pissed, content?”

I laughed.

“I want to be married and I’m not,” I told her. “But I still have hope. Possibly more than ever.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately. Every January I write a blog on what it’s like to be whatever age I am and single. 26 and single, 27 and single, 28 and single… and now, 29 and single.

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I have many thoughts.

Firstly, no one will ever know what it’s like to be 29 and single unless they too have been 29 and single. I think it’s easy for people to believe if they have EVER been single they understand.

I politely disagree.

Similar to marriage, singleness takes on different shapes and forms the longer you are in it. There are new discoveries along the way.

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One discovery has been in my relationship with God.

My family lives in Ohio and my community in Georgia is flux; people come, people go. There’s always another “save the date” or baby being born. My job is often evolving and a few months ago I moved from one house to another. The world around me is spinning. God is my only constant.

Married people have each other to fall asleep next to; I have God. This morning I woke up, rolled over, and asked him how he was. (He was saddened over some things happening in the world, but also hopeful, in case you were wondering.)

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When I was talking to my friend Allie, I briefly hesitated when it came to sharing this idea. “I don’t want this to come off the wrong way,” I said. “But because I don’t have a husband, I have greater dependency on God, and therefore greater intimacy with Him. Like, I get what Paul means when he says a single person is devoted to the Lord in body and spirit, but a married person’s devotion is divided.”

I wasn’t sure how Allie was going to respond. I don’t typically share this with married people because I don’t want them to get offended.

“Hope,” she said. “You’re totally right.”

We went on to talk about the pros and cons of marriage and singleness.

Con: I had one of the hardest years of my life last year, and I faced it alone.
Pro: I am closer to God than ever before, because no one else was there to save me.

I don’t take this for granted. I am grateful for it.

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Another discovery I’ve made is I trust God more than ever when it comes to marriage.

You would think the opposite to be true, especially since I have been utterly convinced I would get married every year since 2013 (and I’m still going strong! 2016 is going to be IT!)

Despite all my disappointments, I don’t doubt I will get married, and I believe I will know in my spirit when God brings us together.

Do I believe in soulmates?

Yes.

And no.

I simultaneously believe in soulmates and the idea there is more than one person for me. I am okay with contradictions.

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I don’t believe in soulmates because of fairy tales, I believe in them because of reality.

I was in a wedding less than two months ago – the bride and groom met in line at the airport after their flight was canceled. I was there when two of my coworkers saw each other for the first time – she couldn’t stop staring, he couldn’t stop sweating. Last fall I stayed with a couple in Texas – they met when he accidentally called the wrong number and she picked up (back in the day before cell phones.) I have friends who were in the same kindergarten class in Florida, didn’t see each other for 20+ years, traveled the world separately, and both ended up in Gainesville, Georgia. They are now married.

This is real life. And I know it can happen for me too.

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There is risk in waiting. There is heartache. There is confusion and feeling crazy. But at the end of each day, I know that if God cares enough about the stupid things I pray about (and he does) then he cares about this serious thing I long for. He won’t leave me in the dark or out to dry. I know I am empowered to make my own decisions, but I also know God honors sacrifice. And I have made some sacrifices.

I rambled about these things and more to my friend Allie. When our conversation ended and I hung up the phone, the lady on the treadmill next to me looked at me and said, “I wasn’t eavesdropping.”

We both laughed, because clearly she had overheard my conversation.

“I got married 3 days before my 30th birthday,” she told me. “And what you say is right:  you will know.

She affirmed my idea that as a single person I have fewer distractions between me and God, and she went on to applaud pretty much everything else I said. He will come. The wait is worth it. You can’t mess it up. You will know. 

I’m convinced she was an angel.

(But really.)

We chatted for a few minutes, and when I left the gym I had an extra spring in my step.

Lately I’ve been telling people I would love to get married when I’m 30. I like the idea of starting a new decade with a hubby by my side. My 20s were for single adventures, my 30s are for married ones…

Until then (or whatever age I may be when I get married), I will continue to adventure with me, myself, and God.  I will not let my singleness define me, just as I won’t let my marriage define me.

I am so much more than that.

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About Hope Naomi

Lover of all things tea and travel.
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34 Responses to on being 29 and single…

  1. Stacy P says:

    Hopey. This is so good and so spot on. I cried a bit. I so am grateful to have you in my life in similar seasons! Love you ❤️

  2. Ayanda Nxusani says:

    I have been reading your blog posts for while. LOVE THEM. Literally 2 minutes before I checked my email to see that you just released a new post I was speaking to one of my guy friends about being single. There is a growing impatience but also an unwavering hope and expectation which is such a weird feeling. I’m only 22 but I sometimes think ‘hey God, I hope you haven’t forgotten ‘ but God hasn’t.

    Anyway, just wanted to say I really enjoyed this post . Thank you 🙂

  3. Katie Swan says:

    This is SO very good Hope. May many others read it and be deeply encouraged by your perspective. Love you friend!

  4. Vanessa O. says:

  5. Seth Barnes says:

    Great blog, Hope. You are so much more than that!

  6. Talia says:

    That last line is so on point. I won’t let my singleness define me just like I won’t let my marriage define me. We are so much more than that. Xo

  7. Kelly says:

    Love this, love you. And I extra love the lady on the treadmill.

  8. Anna Notario says:

    So much love. so much goodness. love you long time.

  9. Tara Truitt says:

    “I will not let my singleness define me, just as I won’t let my marriage define me.”— Yes, yes! The truth of this is beyond what I have words for at the moment. Praying this over so many people right now! Thank you for the words.

  10. Heather says:

    I will 29 on Friday and am single. This is very well written and exactly where I feel I am. I definitely cried through it because it is so personal for me too.

  11. Matt says:

    Not too shabby!

  12. alysseay says:

    I love how you have kept your heart alive through Jesus and crying. I think your journey is remarkable.

  13. Bill Swan says:

    It’s been a privilege and honor to walk somewhat next to you in the midst of this struggle, and to see your unwillingness to compromise or settle, but rather to get the most out of every moment of your life, single or married. And I know you’ll do the same in 2016.

  14. Lauren says:

    “But at the end of each day, I know that if God cares enough about the stupid things I pray about (and he does) then he cares about this serious thing I long for” — oh how deeply He cares about the ‘tiny’ ‘silly’ things. I’ve learned this so persistently over the last few years but had yet to translate that the increasing weight of His attention towards the little things also increases the weight of His intense care of the deep, ‘big’ things of my heart. Blown away at the revelation birthed from your vulnerability. Thanks for your words and your sacrifices Hopey. Cheers to 29 being the best friggin year yet!

  15. jmminor says:

    As always, I absolutely love how you express your thoughts and feelings in your blogs. Being 33 and single has had me thinking about many of the things you mentioned and I agree with you and love how beautiful this is written.
    Love you Hope!

  16. Aaron Jackson says:

    Wouldn’t someone who posts about being single every year mean it does define you in some way? It obviously comes with some hurts. It’s not stopping you from living life but it is keeping you attentive as to what you don’t have.
    You say marriage won’t define you but won’t it have some kind of place in your life where it does define you because of how long you’ve been waiting for it? (Future blog posts will only tell)
    Maybe we stop looking at what we don’t have and start looking at what we do have.
    Maybe we look at the importance of how being a daughter / son is enough. Everything else is just… perhaps…Icing on top.

    Just some thoughts.

    • Hope Naomi says:

      Hi Aaron! Thanks for the comment. I agree with you that singleness is a *part* of what defines me, but I don’t believe it is the entirety of who I am by any means. Same goes with marriage. Getting married will definitely change me, but it won’t be the thing that defines me as a whole.

      I will be honest and say I’m surprised the takeaway you have from my post is that I’m hurt and am focusing on what I don’t have. On the contrary, my post is about the relationship I have cultivated with God as a single person and the gift that has been.

      I agree with you – being a son or daughter is enough. THAT is what defines me as a whole. Not singleness, not marriage, not my occupation or anything else.

      Good chat!

  17. Andrea Lance says:

    I love you. You’re wonderful. This blog is SO good, thanks for sharing your heart and walking faithfully in vulnerability! You inspire me hope!

  18. Court Knoff says:

    Brilliant, my lady! Grateful for you and your wisdom!!

  19. sara choe says:

    i am 32 going on 33 and single. while i’m technically single, i find myself in a weird limbo-like state when it comes to a certain friend; that said, i think i can remember being 29 and single and i can relate. i agree with your point that having been single once a upon a time does not necessarily mean one will relate with being single. i’ve often wondered whether coupling with someone, including dating, triggers singleness amnesia.

    ever since law school, i’ve felt more or less content with my singleness — maybe resignation, as in, for this this season of my life, law school is my significant other (“the law is a jealous mistress” or something). or law school is a convenient distraction… or excuse, even, to revel in the independence that singleness affords.

    you are not your relationship status, or whatever life season you’re in.

    you’ve always struck me as a woman whose heart is in the right place and whose head sits well on her shoulders. you’re awesome: paired off or flying solo. get it, woman.

    • Hope Naomi says:

      Sara, I always love your thoughts. You are so poetic and real and funny (all at the same time.) Here’s to hoping that limbo-friend turns into something more (as long as Law School doesn’t get too jealous, haha.) <3.

  20. Ruth says:

    Can you imagine being 39 and single (me)? or 49? Or 59? 69?
    Let’s pray that God helps us to trust that His plan is best, for us and His glory. Whether we marry this side of heaven or not, I have all I need in Christ (despite what my discontented heart often says). My wedding day might not be until heaven – but it’ll be worth the wait!

  21. Man oh man, I read this out loud (which somehow made it even better) to my also single best friend serving in East Asia, and we both sat quietly in awe as I finished the last words. I’ve now read all of your (insert age) and single posts, and they just keep on preaching. I love it. These words spoke straight to my heart. God knew I needed them. Thanks, Hope.

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

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