Each morning I wake to a quiet apartment. The tableau made by my things looks exactly as I left it the night before: my clothing from the previous night lines the path that leads to the bathroom, my Queen-sized, eternally unmade bed remains cluttered by the small crop of paperbacks that take up residence there– spines split open to mark the last read page, and my phone and eyeglasses lie at-the-ready on my nightstand. My current bedroom is windowless and cavern-like, tucked into the front of my apartment away from the large windows that flood the rest of the loft with light and so each morning I awake to blurry darkness and silence.
I’ve lived alone for a dozen years now, but in this new place the silence is more than just the absence of noise. It’s more like a stillness that permeates time and space, residing within, as well as around me.
It was this stillness that I thought of on my 36th birthday when a woman, apropos of nothing, asked: Do you see yourself getting married or having children? I’d driven to Atlanta for the day to go salsa dancing at the Museum of Natural History and, in true extrovert fashion, had asked to join her at a table. We were making small talk, getting to know one another over drinks. She was 54 – though she looked at least 15 years younger – and had never been married or had children. I don’t know if it was regret or curiosity that prompted her interest, but my mind went back to the stillness of my mornings.
That stillness – that quietness—that I have is peace. It’s a heart that’s at rest and (finally) trusting in God’s sovereignty and timing. The silence in my life replaces the lacunae of loneliness and isolation that I tried oh-so-hard to fill with other – always unwilling (and spectacularly douchey)– people. It’s the opposite of dating indiscriminately and recklessly.
What I told her was:
I’m not opposed to children, but it’s not something that I’ve ever really wanted. And as far as marriage goes…” *shrugs* “also not something I think about very much anymore. Meh… if it happens; it happens.”
I’m not worried about marriage (or children) anymore. I’m not even breaking a sweat about dating (I’m actually on a hiatus). I’m spending exactly zero percent of my valuable time thinking or writing about or talking to or texting men who are not worth my energy or time. I’m basically like her gangsterness, Stephanie St. Clair who put this “stop calling me” ad in the paper.In short, I don’t have single girl problems anymore.
At 36 years old, I’m doing the things that I want to do—things that I love to do: recklessly pursuing my purpose, writing and learning daily, improving my Spanish, doing justice and loving mercy as best as I can. My wanderlust has a full tank and I am traveling again. My edges are prospering. My hair is full and moisturized, my skin is clear and my Faith is thriving. I’m healthy and fit and in a very good headspace. I am well-loved and my life overflows with amazing friends and family (you know you’re an adult when you actually enjoy seeing your siblings). And above all, I really like the girl who looks out at me from the mirror. I think that she and I can do some amazing things together.
On my 36th birthday, I woke up to the utter quiet of my apartment and I was — I am —content…and in no rush to change my relationship status.