When I was 20, I had a conversation with my older sister that changed the way I looked at eternity.
My sister and I were at a family dinner while I was visiting from college. Bemoaning my single status on Facebook and complaining about the handful of dates I had had since turning 16, I asked my older, married sister what I could do to improve my single lot in life.
"Relax," she laughed. "This is the only time in your whole existence you will be able to experience singlehood; enjoy it."
The thought shut me up pretty quick.
This was the only time I would be truly single for all eternity. Either I would be married while on Earth, or I would find someone in the eternity to come.
While marriage is an important goal to strive for, I realized I didn't have to live in a singlehood of sackcloth and ashes. I could savor the moment that would never come again; I could learn and grow in a way I would never be able to in any other point in my life.
Looking back after almost two years of being happily married, I can say there are sweet experiences to be cherished when you are single.
1. Choosing Your Own Family
Spending time with my other single friends was some of the best experiences I've had. We laughed together, cried together, encouraged each other. We were more than just friends, we were a rag-tag, crazy family. Having the opportunity to go out in the world by yourself for the first time and find people you just click with is a special, amazing experience when you are single.
2. Finding Out Who You Are
It's a single cliché, but it's nonetheless true. When it's just you living on your own with no one to tell you to do or not to do, you find out who you really are. You find the character flaws you didn't know you had, and the secret strengths of character that get you through the tough days. You find out the kind of people you want to be around and the kind of person you want to be.
3. Learning to Deal with Challenges to Your Faith on Your Own
It seems like an odd experience to enjoy, but learning to deal with challenges to your faith while your single can bring peace into your life. There were times when I had to face down trials that shook my faith to its very core. But being able to handle that with God on my side strengthened my testimony and brought a peace and assurance into my life. Then I was able to handle the challenges of single life, and I felt more confident in the plan God had for me and His timing.
4. Living in Spontaneous Moments
Were it not for the late-night taco runs, the spur of the moment road trips, and the impromptu Netflix marathons with my friends, the pressures of life would have been crushing. This is not to say spontaneous moments or large loads of responsibility go away when you are married, just that when you are single, you learn to appreciate the pause button and you can be a bit more flexible. When you're out there trying to make it in the world, learning when to take a moment to slip out from under the deadlines and just go crazy for a few minutes helps.
5. Learning to Embrace the Unknown
It's hard. There were many nights I spent in tears asking God why my righteous desire to be married wasn't being fulfilled. I wanted a family of my own and I wanted to know when I could plan for it. This isn't how life works. I had to learn I can't plan for everything; I can't control everything. All I can do is my best, and the rest is up to God.
I had to learn to embrace the vast, formless unknown with a hope that everything would work out okay as long as I trusted in God and did my best. It was a hard thing to learn to enjoy, but I cherish this skill and I learned to use it in my everyday life.
Singlehood is full of unexpected blessings. It's not a time to be feared or shunned. There are sweet experiences to be enjoyed while single that you may never experience at any other state in your existence, so enjoy them.