A friend of mine posted in her status a few days ago that she saw someone promoting a seminar entitled, “Break Free from Singleness”. She then asked us two great questions, “Is singleness a prison that we have to get released from? Are we trapped in some way?” I thought these were such great questions, and a great response to what sounds like a ridiculously titled seminar. In fact I was inspired to blog about it. Quick disclaimer, I have been married for almost 1 year now, and marrying my husband was one of the best decision I’ve ever made. However, for a full decade before that I was single, dating and desiring marriage, sometimes for the wrong reasons.
Anyone who knows me well, can attest that I REALLY, REALLY wanted to get married. My reasons why changed over the years. When I was a teenager, I imagined by 26 I’d be married, by 28 I’d have my first child, the 2nd child at 30, the 3rd at 32 and a possible 4th at 34. Marriage and motherhood were just as much markers of success as was finishing college, grad school and getting a good job. I associated marriage with home ownership, and other markers of “adulthood”. At 25 however, I was still bouncing between my parents’ house and bed bug infested studios, working odd jobs, and barely paying my bills. I was also quite relationship challenged.
By age 28, just three years later, things were looking up. I had a solid job that paid well, included benefits, and realistic opportunity for advancement. I lived in a great neighborhood in an awesome apartment. I no longer needed marriage as a marker to make me feel more adult. Paying bills on time, hosting dinner parties and get togethers in my lovely home, affording overseas vacations, and having career stability with growth opportunities for income increases and future home ownership checked off most of my self-defined superficial boxes of what it meant to be an adult.
Yet still I really, really craved marriage. Only now the reasons were different. Despite the opportunities for advancement and the good pay, I still hated my job. I worked a 1pm – 10pm shift and in the dead of Chicago winters it would take me an hour to find a parking space, shovel it out, and then strategically parallel park in it. Most nights I entered my cold, dark lovely but lonely apartment around 11:30pm. Some nights as I put the key in the door, I would imagine the pitter patter of little feet running down the hardwood hallway. “Mommy’s home!” they’d yell. Don’t ask me why, my small imaginary children would be awake at 11:30 pm on week nights!
I also yearned for companionship. After an exhausting bad day, I’d usually come home, heat up leftovers and eat in my bed while watching Dexter on Netflix. I’d sleep with the TV on to avoid being creeped out by silence and old building noises. Once there was a mouse for 1 whole week. In the dead silence of the night I could hear him rummaging around. I almost died that week!
Cooking was my other issue. I never quite mastered cooking for 1, and I hated having leftovers for too long. If I had a second person I could share what I cooked. Perhaps a roommate should’ve been my obvious solution, but at 28 it wasn’t going to happen.
Four years later I’ve been married for almost 1 full year. On March 12th, 2017, Mr. Nur and I will have officially been married 1 full year!!! No kids yet, but we’ve had a great year. One thing I will say however, is that I didn’t expect that I would miss being single in so many ways. Before I got married, married people would tell me to enjoy single life. I always just figured either they were unhappily married, or that they didn’t know just how long I’d been wanting marriage. But now that I have it, and I am quite happily married, I understand what these people were saying. There are so many little and big things that I miss about being single! Here’s a list of 10 in no particular order.
- Having the house to myself – It’s crazy to me that I wanted another person to be in my apartment for that time period, because now I always have another person in my apartment. Even though that other person is my bestie and love of my life, sometimes I really just want the apartment to myself. I find myself really enjoying Monday night football and Sunday football when he goes out to watch the games.
- Being messy in my own way but still knowing exactly where everything is and how to find it. I am the worst at shoving pots and pans into the cabinets, throwing clothes around the bedroom, and leaving piles of mail around the house. Despite this, I am the best at knowing exactly where everything is, because I have my own systems. Unfortunately, my husband also is the worst at leaving clothes and mail laying around which means my system doesn’t work anymore because his stuff is all compiled with my stuff. i.e. I left my keys visibly on the ironing board but I spent 30 mins. looking for them because his work pants were draped over them.
- Knowing what food and how much is in the refrigerator at all times. Nothing sucks more than looking forward to something all day, and then getting home to find it’s been eaten.
- Sleeping in the bed by myself – As a single person, I used to think cuddling up with someone after a long day was the perfect way to fall asleep. Sometimes it is. But practically speaking not always! When “Winter is Coming” my husband is the best to be by! But come summer, he emits too much damn heat! The other issue is his snoring. If I fall asleep first then it’s no problem, but if I wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I can’t fall back asleep because of his snoring. At 3am, when you’re sleep deprived, love looks a lot different. With all the pillows we have in our bedroom, he’s lucky he survived this first year of marriage. J/K
- Watching TV by myself – When we were dating we were binge watching Game of Thrones. It was one of my favorite ways to relax with him. I imagined I’d never grow tired of watching TV with him. Now, I sometimes miss watching TV alone. He loves, Marvel and DC, WB comic shows and what I call “boom, boom, pow!” cartoons. He always wants me to watch with him, but ugh!
- Being accountable to no one – This is a huge one! When you are single and living alone, you can impromptu go to dinner with friends after work, impromptu go to the gym, and impromptu stay out all night on the weekend. But when you’re married, you have to call and check-in. It’s not that the other person will object or try to control your activity, but if you don’t at least call them, they might think you’re dead! It’s not a chore to check-in, but it takes some getting used to, and I do miss being able to be more impromptu and sporadic.
- Privacy – There is none. In marriage, there is literally, no privacy. I have nothing to hide, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes desire a little more privacy. A friend may call to discuss her new boyfriend, or something that 100% is girl talk. In our two-bedroom open wall apartment, I have to go in the bathroom or outside if I want have a really private conversation. Sometimes I ask my husband to turn up the TV so I can go talk privately.
- Managing Finances – This is probably my biggest pet peeve! When I was single, I was never great at being responsible with money, but I had my systems. If I was being irresponsible, I knew it and I would be frugal for a few weeks to cancel out whatever damage I’d done at Akira. But sharing finances in marriage is so much harder. First you have to combine your strategies and money views and figure out a compromise that works. Even if you do that, the strategy will be constantly evolving and you’ll have to monitor and re-evaluate. We both have MBA’s and still money management is a hair pulling three-legged potato sack race. How is it so complicated?!!!
- Privacy – Did I mention privacy? Last week I was shaving my legs in the shower and he came into the bathroom to look for his razor. He startled me and I gashed my leg. I was pissed! When I lived alone, no one ever interrupted my showers! Just sayin’!
- Freedom to dominate a space with my energy – When I was single, I would come home sometimes and play DMX if I was pissed at my boss and ready to punch walls, or Alanis Morsette if I wanted to be “in my feelings”, or some ‘yonce if I was having a girl power night. Whatever the case my energy was the energy of the whole space. Now that I share my home with another person I have to consider his mood, and what he wants in a moment. He might be racing to turn on football, or needing to finish up a work report. It’s not a huge deal that my ‘yonce has to be demoted to headphones or my DMX teenage angst needs to tone it down a bit, but I do sometimes miss that freedom.
Just as married people tell single people to enjoy the single life, parents tell non-parents to enjoy their time as non-parents. In parenthood, I imagine there will be even less sporadic, impromptu happenings, even more checking-in, even less privacy and etc etc. Yet most parents wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Perhaps in our ideal worlds we could be parents 3 days a week, married without kids 2 days a week and single 2 days a week. If only right?! But since that’s not possible, we should try to enjoy whatever stage of life we are in whether we are single, married or parents.
Whatever season of life we are in we should savor the moment! If you are single, spend less time imagining the pitter patter of imaginary children’s feet, or less time associating marriage with other markers of success, and more time enjoying the big and small awesome opportunities of life whether its traveling abroad with best friends or simply blasting your favorite music in your home.
What are your thoughts? If you’re happily married, what do you miss about being single? If you’re single what do you appreciate about it? And to everyone, what in your present situation will you savor?