Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who knew?

I wrote this for something else (and mostly for myself), but I thought I'd share it with you too.

I was living every good Mormon girl’s dream. I was finishing my B.A. at BYU (class of ’05!) and discussing marriage with the perfect man. Life couldn’t be better. Until, four days after my 21st birthday (because he didn’t want to ruin the actual day for me), he just wanted to be friends. I thought my poor little heart was broken forever. When my missionary came home that summer (yes, I was one of those girls) and, within a few weeks, told me the same thing, I knew I was a goner. Those were two of the worst days of my life. For the next year, I had convinced myself that no one would ever love me again and I might as well just sit like a lump on the couch.

And sit I did. How else does one watch all ten seasons of Friends in less than two months?

The Lord, however, had different plans and, in July of 2006, I found myself driving across the country to take a job just outside of Washington, D.C.

Turns out that those horrid days from which I thought I’d never recover are actually a blessing in disguise. Had I married either of those young men, I would probably now either still be in Provo or Madison, WI, doing whatever it is the wives of graduate students do. While I have nothing against more regular access to amazing hikes, Wisconsin cheddar, or being a stay at home mom, and heaven knows I would love to be married, I am extremely blessed that I get to live my own life for a while first.

The immediate blessing is the scads of free time I have to myself. There’s no weekly coordinating of schedules. Dinner is when and what I want. I am the only one I have to consult with when deciding what movie to see. Spur of the moment weekend road trip? Bring it on. Would it be more enjoyable to have company or to have someone be decisive when I can’t, at least once in a while? The time I drove to and from Nashville all by myself (24 hours of driving and a wedding in three days, yikes!) says yes. I’ve learned, though, that I don’t mind doing things on my own. Having someone to talk to after seeing a movie together is certainly nice, but since you can’t really talk during the show and the only people paying attention to who is around them in a theater are others who came alone, it’s perfectly okay to fly solo to a movie or anything else. (I have also learned, however, that if I want restaurant food for dinner, I call in an order for pick up.)

Even more important than having the opportunity to do what I want when I want is the time I have had to really learn about myself and who I am and how much I can accomplish on my own. I didn’t know, for instance, that I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. Luckily for me, the chance job that moved me to D.C. is a librarian position. Not only have I loved my job for three years now, I just completed my Masters of Library and Information Sciences. I was able to do an accelerated program because of my single status. Of course, now that I’m a librarian with her own apartment and even a pair of reading glasses, I’m only short the cat owner part of being the crazy cat lady.

I’ve been to Europe, twice. I’ve put over 18,000 miles on my car in the last 15 months alone. I read 54 books last year. I’m learning how to rock climb. I am making friends with dozens of really fantastic people, both men and women. I’ve gone on some amazing dates, and some not so amazing.

It’s possible, even probable, that I would have learned and experienced some of the same things with a husband in tow. I know women who have. But, the last three years have been incredible and someday in the future, when I am finally married with a multitude of kids, as long as I make the most of all this “me time”, I won’t look back and think “I wish I had _______ when I was single.”

Is it easy? No. Do I have this perfectly optimistic attitude all the time? Of course not. But with Heavenly Father’s help and my own faith, I know that all this wait will be worth it. In the meantime, life is for living, and I’ve got a lot of it to do.


Myrna said...

Amanda, this was a fabulous post! You ROCK!! Every single girl who is bemoaning her fate needs to read this!! I am SO proud of you, and SO glad I know you!

Jasmine said...

I may perhaps be secretly slightly jealous of you right now. Don't get me wrong--I love my husband and my daughter, and I love where I am and what I'm doing. But there's always that nostalgic 'what if' that tends to creep in once in a while.

Thanks you for sharing your thoughts. It has caused me to be a little more reflective on my situation and grateful for the experiences and memories I have.