UP CLOSE: Living Single– Happy Singledom

As a full-time graduate student at Westminster College and communications professional, I try to make the most of my time. I currently do communications work at a medical education agency in the Salt Lake valley, as well as pro-bono development and communications for Blue Sky Music Camps. When I am not writing papers, organizing social events, going to concerts, or working, I continue to dabble in photography, creative design and saving the world. I am a native of Henderson, NV, and hold a bachelors degree from Utah State University in public relations and business. I love pink, blogging, my laptop (a.k.a. Stella), working out, spending time with family, shopping at Costco, camping, and dark chocolate.

Hi. My name is Ashley. I love to laugh, smile and sing; to eat granola with my yogurt and dried cranberries on my 30-minutes commute; to speak my mind during any one of my many graduate school classes; and to gym-stalk the crazy morning gym crowd a few times each week. My mother is graciously jealous of my life as a 27-year-old single woman residing in a big city, and the only people who ask me if I’m married are the she-doctor and health insurance coordinator.

Why, then, after nine full and exciting years after high school do I suddenly feel a gaping void in my life?

The past three weeks I have enjoyed time off during my summer and fall terms, living life to its fullest. Camping, mini road trips, eating out too much, fewer workouts and more late nights… I have not cracked a textbook for three weeks and I have spent more money on gas driving around the city for fun than the entire months of June and July combined. But none of this changes the fact that I am completely and utterly single.

Until this week I’ve put up with the boys who are the friends and only want to remain friends. I’ve put up with the boys who’ve led me along like a newly purchased pet-store puppy, then dropped me off at the nearest shelter without a word. I’ve put up with the boys who’ve told me I’m intelligent, fun to be around, and yet who tell me I’m intimidating and “mature for my age.” Until this week I have been faithful in heeding the prophets’ and leaders’ voices when they continually say to women how important it is to get an education, to live a chaste life, and to wisely choose friends. Until this week, I was elated to attend the sealings of all three younger brothers, to watch my 19-year-old sister snuggle with her young RM-boyfriend, and to attend the baby showers of my dear sisters-in-law.

Until this week, I was proud to say as the eldest of six children, as a lifelong devoted LDS member and as a nine-year resident of Utah that I was “happy” not being married.

Then my entire psyche came crashing down during a good ole online chat session with a dear friend. The day prior I had been told by yet another prospective man that while I was “awesome” that he “was heading down another road.” I let that sink in that night. I wondered what her name was… I let it fester and burrow its claws into my love-loving soul and infiltrate my heart strings until I was finally able to verbalize the long-suppressed feeling: I do not like that I am still single.

They say that admission is the first sign to recovery. I hope I am on the correct path to the real Happy Singledom. Some things that are bringing me singledom peace are simple: I listen to the music in my car as loud as I want, and on repeat for as long as I choose; I have dear friends whom I love and see often; I am able to attend the temple as often as I like to learn and partake of the beautiful blessings and covenants God has for me as His daughter; and I can practice my cooking skills on myself before I may have imposed torture sessions on my gracious family.

Outside of all these, I know that we are here to gain experience about life, its ups and downs, and its possible corkscrews and switchbacks. In the end, it doesn’t matter if we get to the pearly gates with husband in hand, or a bushel full of souls we saved by our selflessness and love. What matters is that we were willing to submit our will to Heavenly Father’s plan and live life to its fullest.

He will take care of everything else.

7 thoughts on “UP CLOSE: Living Single– Happy Singledom

  1. Ashley – loved the “corkscrews and switchbacks” line.

    It reminded me of a quote from Marjorie Hinckley – “I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
    I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
    I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
    I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.
    I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
    I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”

    I hope you enjoy the journey to it’s fullest, cranking every little bit of juice from your engine =)

  2. Ashley, thanks for your honesty. I had to smile at the “bushel full of souls” line. I think you captured perfectly our problematic cultural expectation for LDS women. Thank goodness for reminders that there’s more than one way to live a worthwhile life (a valuable concept for those without a bushel full, and for those who have one that they might be screwing up more than saving!)

  3. I love that you focus on the good things about being single–I need to remember to do that with my life.

  4. Corkscrews and switchbacks, indeed. It never ceases to amaze me how many of these exist in life.

    I was 27 when my guy dropped into my life out of the blue. I remember the struggles of wanting to be happy where I was (I had a blast while I was single, and many opportunities came that I never would have imagined as part of my plan, but I can see they had their place, for which I am grateful) and yet never being able to fully remove that desire to be married — which I think is a righteous desire, whether or not its fulfilled in this life.

    I like the notion of accepting that part of your heart as part of being able to really give your heart to God and to living a full life…which is at least what I heard in what you said.

    I love seeing women give their lives their all, whatever their path may look like — corkscrews and switchbacks and all.

  5. Thank you for your words.

    As much as we all try to “look on the bright side” and “just be happy with your life the way it is now” and “enjoy this phase while it lasts” and “get comfortable with being alone so someone can magically fall into your life”, the truth of the matter is being single and, ahem, at an advanced age is quite unpleasant.

    I think it’s a-ok to never be fully happy about still being single. We’re SUPPOSED to want to be married and hope our lives progress in that way. So realizing you aren’t, in fact, ok with being single is just fine. And everyone who tries to tell you otherwise is just missing the point.

  6. I think it’s a-ok to never be fully happy about still being single. We’re SUPPOSED to want to be married and hope our lives progress in that way.

    Well said. That’s what I was trying to get at, but you said it better.

  7. Thank you for this post Ashley. I was married at 31 after waiting more than a decade to find the right guy.

    At 30 I realized that it could never happen so I needed to come to terms with being single. I moved to a different state, started a whole new life and knelt in prayer with my Heavenly Father and had a lovely discussion regarding the burden of being single. I decided it was time to give that burden to my Savior. As soon as that prayer was finished, I got up and felt more light and happy than I ever had in the last 10 years.

    I went to the singles ward and participated in a myriad of singles activities. I was happier than I ever had been and it showed. I started dating A LOT and found the love of my life about 3 months after my discussion with my Heavenly Father.

    I’ll never say that it will happen to everyone that way, but when we let the Savior do what he was meant to do – that is taking our burdens upon him – our life will be full of meaning and light and our lives will make more sense.

    I don’t regret anything about being single for so long. I say to all my single sisters out there: Live it up girlfriends! Your time will come. Just have faith in the Lord’s timing.

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