An inside look at a single, twenty-something, photographer’s attempt at being an adult.
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Whoa. Yeah, you read that title correctly. This isn’t something that gets talked about often where I grew up. The word “singleness” almost sounds taboo or like a disease. Guys, it’s NOT, and I’m so sick of people walking on egg shells around this topic or even just flat out ignoring it. I’ve thought about addressing this whole singleness thing for a long time, and I think the opportunity has come. But before I go any further, I just need to get some things off my chest:
Why am I qualified to talk about this? Honestly, like I said in #1, I’m not really qualified. However, I feel a responsibility to address this for all the ladies, young and old, that feel like there is something wrong with them. It’s taken me leaving Northwest Iowa and maturing in myself and through Jesus to be able to talk about this as freely as I’m about to. These thoughts come from own experiences, lovely heart-to-hearts with single friends, and resources (podcasts, devotionals, books) that have helped me navigate this season in life.
Before I go any further, let me give you some background into my relationship history. It’s pretty simple: there isn’t any. I’ve never been in a relationship. Truthfully, that’s really hard to type and admit, but it’s the truth. I didn’t date in high school or college. And you know what? It wasn’t because I said “no” to the guys lined up outside my door wanting to take me out. There were no guys. I really didn’t feel like I was missing out at the time. Would it have been awesome to been asked to prom? Or maybe hold hands with my boyfriend as I walked across campus? You bet.
However, I can look back and say that God was 100% protecting my heart in those years. In my relationships (only with family and friends so far) I am ALL IN. You have everything. I will drop whatever I am doing to be there for you, to run an errand for you, or to be there to listen to your joys or problems (any enneagram people out there? is it obvious that’ I’m a 9?). I know that if I had been in a romantic relationship in high school or college and it had ended, it would have wrecked me because I would have been all in. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but it’s comforting to look back and see how God really did work for my good.
So, jump forward to post-grad life. I’m living on my own (well, with an awesome roommate), in a new place where I didn’t know many people. I thought to myself, “new place, new opportunities” (mostly referring to the pool of young, eligible men 😂). You’d think tons of guys would jump at the opportunity to date me, right?!
No, my reality was that this new community is still pretty small. And where was I actually going to meet a guy? At school where the teachers were all females? Or maybe at church (a more likely place but still incredibly awkward and how does that actually work? if you figure that out let me know)? On a more serious note, I did go on a few dates my first year of teaching in this new town. They were good dates and with really great Christian, young men. Unfortunately, neither was the man for me.
So this is my big point here people. It was and still is the hardest thing I’m trying to work through: EXPECTATIONS.
As I grew up, the girls I looked up to who were in high school and college were dating someone and got married if not IN college, then right out of college. That’s the norm in the community where I grew up. So, I thought, “that will be me, too.” I’m not sure why I thought college would end in a married Lauren when I didn’t date ANYONE in high school OR college. (I’m currently rolling my eyes at myself 🙄.)
Most of my friends were married in college or the summer after we graduated from college. I want to make it very clear that I was SO happy for them. In fact, I got to film a lot of those weddings and my heart was so happy. However, my heart was also deflated. I was losing hope that I would ever be so lucky to have a day where all of my my favorite people were in one place celebrating my love and commitment for someone else.
Since I was young, I thought my life would go in a certain direction: college, married, job, kids. Guys, I FOR SURE thought that I would have at least one child by 25. Well, God’s plan was just NOT 18-year-old Lauren’s plan. So while my friends are getting married, buying houses, and now EVERYONE and their dog is pregnant, it’s been so hard to not feel as though I am falling behind. My life looks very different than most of my friends right now.
I’ve decided that this topic needs more than just one blog post, so look for PART 2 coming next week. But before I go, I want to leave this on a high note, because as I’m typing this, I am not sad, and I want to tell you why.
TWO WORDS : GOD’S TIMING.
Through these past 3+ years of post-grad life, this is what has rang true: if it’s not in God’s timing I DO NOT WANT IT. This doesn’t just refer to a romantic relationship. This rings true in everything I’ve been struggling with lately: major job decisions and where to call home. I’m so thankful that I know what I deserve, I know what I want, and if it’s in God’s plan for me, it will happen.
I’m hoping in PART 2 I can share with you more of how I got to this point. Again, I’m no expert. But I have come SO far in the last year alone with feeling confident in who I am and knowing what I deserve in a future relationship (God willing if that’s in the plan for me).
I hope this helps someone. Maybe you are a young girl growing up in a community where it’s the norm to leave college with a significant other. Maybe you’re out of college and you are experiencing the same feelings of life going in a completely different direction than you thought it would. Maybe you are older than me and you’re still single but you’re still praying for a spouse. I guess what I want to say to ALL of you is that I am here. On some sort of level, I get it. Let’s talk. Whether that’s a coffee date, phone call, text conversation, or FaceTime date, I want to hear from YOU. Honestly, the conversations that I’ve had with my single friends the past few months have been some of my FAVORITE conversations I’ve ever had. And if you grew up in a similar community that I grew up in, you probably don’t have a lot of friends that are in your similar situation. So I’m here for you. Just know that. 💕