I will be 34 next month. It’s not a traditional milestone for a birthday or anything. I mean…YAY, I’m still alive and healthy and all, but you get my point. It (this getting older thing) really does sneak up on you though. Interestingly enough, I don’t seem to be any closer to marriage at 34 than I was at 24. Well, I don’t think I’m any closer.
The thing about love is you never really know how close (or far away) you are at any moment. I could run into my husband tomorrow or next Fall, or perhaps I’ve already met him. Maybe I’m falling in love as we speak. Who knows? It’s just that the wait seems interminable. On moon-lit, starry nights, unbearable even.
The Wait (cause that’s where I am right now) is hard.
Most days I am frantically busy with the monotony of life, barely thinking of what I will eat for my next meal, let alone who I will spend the rest of my life with. But still, at the periphery of my thoughts, lies this Wait. It is unobtrusive and not heavy in the least, but if I turn my head just so – even in my busiest, happiest moments – I catch a glimpse of it and my heart begins to wander.
At this point in your reading, you married women will want to inject your advice: you know when I stopped looking, he found me. Or, worse yet, anything remotely involving watched pots and boiling or lady-in-waiting status. Don’t. Not because I don’t value your input, I just don’t get what that means. I’m no desperately seeking Susan. I’m not ogling every man who passes by. I’m not searching. I’m not even looking. It’s more of a longing actually – a type of breathless anticipation. A wondering, pondering heart that can’t figure out what could possibly be taking so long? Every single woman in her thirties lives this sentiment.
Of course, statistically speaking, I am likely to marry (and divorce for that matter). But again, what do numbers and figures have to do with the alchemy of another heart responding to mine? What can data tell me about finding love before I hit menopause? This whole process seems like it could be much easier. If on my 24th birthday, Cupid sat me down and had a frank conversation with me about all of this: hey, you’ll be 36 by the time Prince Charming makes his way to you, try to keep it together for the long haul, then perhaps the Wait would make sense. Having an end date to the waiting would surely make the Wait not only more bearable, but also more exciting. Only 2 more years to go!
But there is no end date in sight. And there comes a point where it feels a lot like arriving at a bus stop, not knowing if the last bus has left the station or if one is still enroute because you don’t have an actual schedule. So you stand there at the bus stop alone (trying not to look foolish), looking out, thinking (only to yourself): I hope I haven’t missed the last bus.
That’s the truth of it. At some point in your single girl life, you will wonder if you’ve missed the bus. You will look around and think that you’ve been left behind. A teeny, particle part of you — one you can’t even see without a microscope– might even think that there’s something wrong with you. But…
I love saying that: Take Heart.
A) There isn’t anything wrong with you (no matter what your siblings or ex-boyfriends say).
B) I realize that I am always repeating things not to do things like don’t wait -live the life that you want now, or don’t be old cheese, don’t settle. Don’t manufacture a relationship because you are bored or tired of the waiting. Those things are still true. Take all of that advice. But here’s something to do:
C) This is the 7th Inning Stretch! This happens in every major league baseball game. (I didn’t even know this until about 10 minutes ago, but I’ll discuss that in another post). The fans are tense from edge-of-the-seat, intense playing by their favorite team or butt-in-the-seat bored from watching an obvious blow-out. In the middle of the 7th inning, everyone takes a break. They stand up. They stretch. They sing. I don’t really know why they do it – no one else seems to either, but it’s a great metaphor.
I am (and you too!) in the 7th inning and tired – exhausted even – by the Wait. This game is taking forever. And you know what? Sometimes you just need to let go of the edge of your seat, stretch a bit, and sing (or salsa dance; complete your own analogy). Forget about the uncertainty of the game for awhile. But don’t give up. The game’s not over yet. A lot can happen in two innings. The whole trajectory of a game can change in that space of time.
I’ve never participated in a real-life 7th inning stretch, but I can’t imagine that anyone leaves that kind of a pause without a smile (whether their team is winning or not) and a fresher perspective.
So maybe that wasn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it wasn’t meant to be. The Wait requires a bit of stamina and whole lot of support and I’m just a Single Girl (still in my thirties) who wants you to know that you aren’t alone. So take heart (and a 7th inning stretch).