I'm probably still to young to write this, but I want to apologize for my complaining when I was younger about being single. I'm sure there were many women (and men) older than me who were single and would look upon my complaints of singleness at 21, 22, 23, etc. with disdain.
But the truth is, I'm going to be 27 this year and I'm single.
This year I have about 12 weddings to attend ... not including those that are happening out of province or that I'm not invited to.
Before I go any further, I am ecstatic for my friends and I really am thankful that they have found the love of their life. Really.
As a little girl, I remember playing house and dress-up (I was always the mom!), playing with my dollhouses, making nametags for my dozens of dolls and lining them up, pushing 'my babies' around in my baby stroller (and at one point trying to climb in it myself when I was about 6...), all dreaming about the day that I would have my own family. My mom ran a daycare out of our home and I dreamt of doing the same one day, still do.
As I got older and I shared the desire of my heart with my mom, to get married and have kids, she told me as a young girl that she wanted the same thing. So, naturally, I thought "my mami was married at 19, I should be too".
I went to Bible College, about 6 weeks shy of my 18th birthday. I had a big crush on someone who had been there and was sure that if he didn't fall in love with me, I just HAD to find someone at Bible school...after all, they don't call it "Bridal College" for nothing. And if my plan failed at CBC, well Briercrest was nearby... there were tons of options.
I'm sure there were, but I was REALLY immature.
I left CBC with an even bigger crush on someone completely different. For the next year and a bit that I lived in Switzerland, him and I would talk on the phone every Thursday night. Though nothing was ever said, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I'd move back to Canada, go back to CBC and we'd get married. His parents already liked me and I had even contemplated visiting them in PNG (they worked there as missionaries) on my way back to Canada.
I moved back to Maple Ridge in August of 2003, almost 2 years after I had left for Bible school, I was still single and living back at home. I was now almost 20 (which was already past the age my mom was when she got married...!). Side note: what brought me back to Canada earlier than I might've come back otherwise, was a wedding (my first as a bridesmaid).
Thankfully God put some incredible women in my life at our home church, including Cindy K. While away on a youth retreat as a leader, a group of us went for a hike and I lamented to Cindy that I was "STILL single... and nearly 20!" (the next weekend was my birthday). Cindy very wisely told me not to focus on finding a guy, but being a woman of God. After all she explained, if I wanted a Godly man, that kind of man would want a Godly woman for a wife. So instead of focusing on finding him, I needed to focus on being the kind of woman the kind of guy I was looking for, was looking for.
That worked for a bit. Even if I wasn't always able to put into practice, it's a thought that has remained with me for the last 6 1/2 years.
At first seeing my friends get married was exciting, they were all older than me and had been dating for a really "long" time (2 years...).
Over the years though, I've been watching more and more friends get engaged, married and pregnant. Bible school did not help with those stats... I was left single and most got married (including the guy I was crushing on when I left for Switzerland).
I remember when Kristine got engaged she quipped that "don't worry, it's not like Jenni's married yet either!" It was her way of comforting me, and I must admit I thought "that's right, Jenni's not married either... and there's NO way she'd get married first" (Guess what? Jenni is married and is waiting the birth of her first child sometime this week.)
I lived in Hope for a while, a bunch more people from camp fell in love and got married.
Finally I decided to go off on an adventure by myself, considering Mr. Right just wasn't about to pop up, I might as well go and something fun with my life instead of just waiting around (kinda sad it took me a few years to learn that I don't need to wait for him to do something with my own life). So I bought a train ticket to Toronto, with the intent of making my way to Montreal to board my freighter ship for my trip across the ocean.
God had other plans.
I came to Hamilton and fell in love. But not with a guy. I just felt like I finally made it home. It felt so right.
Very soon though, I fell back into my "I need a guy to be worth something trap" and started dating Kyle, 4 years ago. Then he broke my heart on April Fools Day (what a fool...).
The following January I met and started dating Charles and had myself convinced by a month in that I was going to marry him, even though I hadn't even said I loved him yet (I still wasn't over Kyle's flippant "I love you" 3 days in, I was trying to be cautious...but it only worked in part). I did really love him, it just wasn't right. Like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole (or however that phrase goes...). I wanted so badly to be married that I was compromising on things that mattered more to me than even a married life, the dream I've always had.
Sometime between October 17, 2005 (when I moved to Hamilton) and now, I met a lot of people. A lot of those people have fallen in love and gotten married. I was in Laura's wedding in 2008, Gen's in 2009 and now Allie & Lauren in 2010. All people I've met since moving here.
I am so incredibly thankful for these friendships. Really.
It's just that I can't help but wonder, "when is it my turn?"
And when someone who got married before 25 tells me "well, I had to wait too, I mean I was 23!" or "you'll find the right guy, you're only 26" or "it's no big deal, you have so much more to do with your life than I ever did, since I got married so young". To those people: please don't try to pacify me with your platitudes. They really don't help.
It's not at all that I'm not incredibly proud of the love that my friends display, or that I'm not thankful for what they have found or that I wish anything else for them. It's just that frankly, right now, it sucks.
January 23 was beautiful.
May 8, May 22, June 12, August 7, October 2, October 10, October 23, November 12 will also be beautiful.
I'm proud of these men and women who have learned what it means to love someone unconditionally. I'm incredibly honoured to stand beside Tyler and Allie on June 12 and beside Tom and Lauren on August 7.
But please, if I cry, don't think it's because I don't love you.
And to the women out there who are my dear, close friends and in the same boat as I am: I love you and I hope with all my heart that you are not offended by me being discouraged. I think that it's annoying when someone who is only 20 or 22 says "but I just can't wait to get married!!". If it's annoying when I say it, I'm sorry.