I think people often forget what it is like to be single. They parade their chubby cute kids in front of us like they just won the baby lotto complete with baby showers, baby laughter and new friends that just so happen to have babies.
“Look at our baby! Isn’t he/she adorable! Watch out for the spit up!” They blurt out these phrases in high-pitched voices complete with gitchy goos and ga gas all the while oblivious to the suffering of us singles.
It’s cute at first. One of your friends gets married, then another, then another. You keep your hopes up, you date, you have some good relationships but they all fizzle out. You congratulate your friends with sincerity, truly happy for their new wedded bliss, but part of you has to wonder, “What about me?”
You push those thoughts out of your head and keep moving on as if you are in some sort of race and if you just keep your eyes focused on the prize then maybe you won’t notice the kids playing in the park next to you or the couple holding hands, or the new mom pushing the pink and blue bedazzled stroller.
At first you are surrounded by lots of other single friends and so the hunt is still sort of fun. You don’t feel so alone because you have singles parties and game nights. You have your freedom and there is always that rush of meeting someone new. But then those circles thin out and the friendships recede like your hairline or begin to sag like your breasts.
You try to stay optimistic only to continue to watch your friends pop babies out left and right. They’re beautiful babies, possibly the most adorable babies that you have ever seen in your life and you love them so much that it’s a little frightening. They aren’t yours and so you can’t get too close because at any moment they could move away, off to some remote place like Tennessee, or worse, Japan and then you are left there with a gaping hole where a warm snuggly toddler should be.
It’s been so long now since your first friends got married that many of them have gotten divorced and already found someone new to marry. You shake your fist to the heavens and scream “Why God, Why?!!!”
Why is it that they can find 2 people to fall in love with when I’m still searching for the first one?
You start to lower your standards and expectations and soon the bar is so low that people don’t even notice it, or you, anymore. You feel like you are fading into the background becoming nothing more than an ephemeral ghost floating through life shrieking silent screams that no one hears but you.
Positivity is one of your strengths and so you join a gym and start working out, you lose some weight, buy some new clothes, start dating again and still nothing. Then finally you meet that someone special that takes your breath away, the one that you know is “The One” and you ask them out or you pray that they ask you out, but they won’t go out with you despite your many attempts to entice them into just a simple dinner. “Can’t we just be friends?” They say and your heart breaks into a million little pieces and falls to the ground and for the next 6 months you grope around on your knees trying to put it back together.
You’ve tried and failed repeatedly so you go and hang up your hat. You put away your “date” clothes. Shut the door to your closet and that part of your life and you just go on smiling and pressing down the deep ache of desire that pangs you every single time you see a happy couple or hear the laughter of a baby.
The hardest part becomes not merely facing the reality of your plight, but every day filling the gap between the time that you wake up until the time you go to bed. The hours seem longer. The loneliness becomes tangible and it becomes harder and harder to press on and say, “Today is a new day, a new opportunity, perhaps today will be the day I see a change or meet someone new.”
And maybe that day will come… tomorrow?