In the last year, I got to see five very beloved people in my life walk down the aisle and pledge themselves to their soulmate, albeit most via Zoom. Each ceremony was incredibly heartfelt and moving, and celebrated love in its most beautiful form. The vows made me tear up and I even agnostically prayed for their joy.
I watched my friends glow with this happiness and contentment, and I immediately had two thoughts.
1. I am so happy for them, and I can’t wait to dance with them. If by Zoom, I only wish I could be there in person to hug them.
2. I will never have that kind of love and will die alone. They are happy and will live their happy lives and forget me.
I really hate my subconscious.
I know it’s natural and wonderful to see your friends find love and fulfillment. You were there for them in their harder moments, and you assured them that their day will come, and now it has. So, why the lump in my throat?
A fact that many singles know is, marriage changes our friends. They will have less time for us, and we’re afraid we will drift apart and lose another meaningful connection. We aren’t their confidant and partner in crime anymore. We will have to step back and give the new couple space. And don’t get us wrong, we’re happy to know they are happy. We just wish we were happy too.
And in the empty moments that used to be filled, images start flooding the mind.
Last night, I had a nightmare that I was watching all of the couples having their joyful lives, and filling their homes with memories. I was rotting away alone, forgotten, and soon to die of loneliness and be eaten by my many cats.
As I said, I really hate my subconscious.
It’s hard being 34 and single. In the Jewish community I grew up in, I am not on the shelf. I am the compost heap. I have friends from high school who have kids in high school.
I already struggle with socializing and thanks to Covid-19, my social life has hit new lows. Yes, there’s online dating but I find it terrifyingly overwhelming and feel like only losers like me must be on there, because “the good ones are gay and taken.”
Would I ever find someone in this huge world who would make me so happy?
At least, some people in my life could have that joy. It comforted me to know only my world was bleak. My friends were happy and that was great.
A voice inside my head ticked at me. “How happy would your friends be if they knew you were beating up on yourself and making yourself miserable?”
Although I do hate my subconscious, a broken clock is right twice a day.
All five people are fierce and fiery people who inspire me, and have always encouraged me to be my best. They’d all be furious with me for wallowing in self-pity, and at least three of them would tell me if I have time for self-pity, I obviously am not working out enough.
In fact, I know one of them would say that if I really wanted to wallow in misery, why not at least do it in a plank? Then I could be productively miserable. I wish I was kidding.
I also knew what they would all tell me. They all also had to search to find their beloved, it wasn’t sent to them by Amazon delivery. They all faced the same wondering and fear I did. They just kept going and didn’t stop looking.
Why did I have to decide my future before it really happened?
Life surprises us in ways I could never imagine.
I remember one of the two worst birthdays I had. I was sixteen and sitting on the Q train after a disastrous dinner and sobbing my eyes out. I knew at that moment I would never have the birthday of my dreams. I was doomed to be a friendless loser, who was humiliated by those she trusted. I had no hope of it getting better.
This year, my birthday was perfect. Krav Maga class, lunch with friends, a special song, lots of well wishes and a perfect surprise party surrounded by friends.
It was a joy that a sixteen year old me could have never imagined.
Why can’t the same be true of my future?
I have no guarantees but good is just as possible as bad. Why choose before life chooses for me?
What if I think someday soon, I’ll have my dream come true?
I will walk down the aisle and see the faces of all my friends smiling at me, just as overwhelmed with emotion and proud of me.
I will smile back at them and know that while things will change, our friendship is secure and I will work to make the time for them, because I’m getting married, not becoming a Jedi. (Of course, I’m totally open to ditching Earth and becoming a Jedi, they’d understand)
I will join hands with someone wonderful, who brings out the best in me and wants to create a better whole from the sum of our collective hearts.
I will have that love and companionship with the right person for me.
I don’t know if it will. I may never settle down. I may not be in touch with some friends by then. Given the trajectory of events in 2020, the Death Star might destroy Earth.
But I will be hopeful and work to improve my life in whatever ways I can, with a positive eye towards the future.
This article was actually inspired by a number of. women in my life, who are still searching for the one. Although they feel that same despair, they remain generous and dignified and compassionate and delightful. They have been there for me during the last few months, giving me their compassionate care and I’m hoping every day that they soon have much less time for me.
Someday, I believe with all my heart, I’ll also be at all of their weddings and they will find their match that complements their awesomeness .
I’ll just make sure not to wear mascara because no matter what, I’ll be bawling my eyes out.
I can’t wait!