Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I've discovered, in my old age, that there is nothing that can adequately prepare you for being single in your late 30s. Sure, I know people who went through this and are single in their 60s or 70s, and I'm sure nothing has prepared them for that. This whole thing is really hard some days. I got through my 20s single, and maybe I just stopped thinking about how hard it was, how weird it is to hear someone talking about their neice or friend who "got married later, you know, at 26". Just TRY not to smile a little when you hear that and you're well past 26! It's not as though you wake up every day and say to yourself, "man, it's going to be hard out there today because I'm single and almost 40!" You just kind of live your life, and in the course of living your life, you don't really think about how hard it is being single until something blindsides you.
For instance, I have friends from high school who are preparing their sons for missions earlier than they thought because of the recent age change that was announced. These women are my age, and their sons are going to be on missions in a year. Less than a year, some of them. I'm old enough to be helping a son prepare, but I don't have a son. Here's another one: some of these friends may have grandchildren the same age as my children, if I'm lucky enough to have kids in this life. Try imagining that when you are 15 years old and thinking about what your future will be like! One more: One of my friends was talking about how hard it was to send her youngest child to kindergarten. I said, "Oh, I might be peri-menopausal when I send my oldest to kindergarten--think about dealing with those hormones!" We got a good laugh out of that, but it's a definite probability.
The other day at the hardware store, I saw a man I was good friends with in high school and during my first stint in college. I didn't say hello because it completely unnerved me to see him with two small boys. I knew he was married and was pretty sure he had kids, but seeing him interact with those adorable boys was gut-wrenching for some reason, so I pretty much ran away, unable to talk to him. It unnerved me so much that I had to pray about WHY I was reacting so vehemently, and then I spent a couple of hours Facebook-stalking him and his wife to find out what their family life was like. I found out how many kids they have, that she's had some major health problems recently, and that, judging from their family pictures, he loves her more than anything. I'm sure that next time I see him, I will be able to greet him happily, get to know his kids' names, and tell his wife how much his friendship meant to me when I was younger.
After lots of thinking, I've decided the reason I was so freaked out at seeing him is that, at 17, I set him up as the ideal man. When he got back from his mission and we were in college choir together, he was even more the ideal--kind, generous, smart, talented, grounded, respectful, spiritual, and someone who loved and respected women. When I think of all the men I've known, only two come to mind as men who truly love and completely respect women. Aaron is one of them. After 20 years, he is still an ideal. Seeing him interact so gently with his boys, and seeing, in pictures, what a fun dad he is and the incredible love he has for his wife, I can't help being happy that they found each other and have such a lovely family. More than ever, I want to marry someone like him. I think that's what blindsided me so hard that day; I know what I want, but finding him is getting harder.