A meeting that I had with my boss and coworker this morning quickly escalated from pure business into an in-depth discussion on life, love, reminiscence, and all the what-if’s and choices that a person makes as they embark down the path of their life. My coworker–we’ll call her Emily– who’s also twenty-four, is a lot like me. Driven, independent, hard-working, energetic—Oh, and single. We’re both very content with our single lives. I’m assuming that she also is single by choice and, like me, doesn’t feel an urge or desire to have a significant other at this point in time. Nonetheless, it’s inevitable for small feelings of doubt to creep in, especially as we both take passive roles in watching people around us move into their future lives with a “soul mate.” This spring, I’ll be going to my third wedding of my high school girlfriends. Last week, Emily watched two of her friends get engaged. Emily and I agreed on the better-them-than-me aspect of our situations, but it’s still hard not to think about, “When will this be me?” “Will it ever be me?” “Am I missing out on opportunities because I’m not actively dating right now?”
My boss –let’s name her Erica– quickly set our unspoken concerns aside when she shared her own experience of being a twenty-something with us. She told us how fortunate she is that the man she married when she was only a few years older than Emily and me is the one; how hard it would be to run the Marking Services department at a 1 billion dollar company and manage a family at the same time if she had settled for the wrong person; and how it’s so much better to stay single, forever, if necessary, than to form your entire future with someone with whom you aren’t 100% compatible. To be honest, it feels a little out of my comfort zone to be writing about all this marriage stuff. I’ve never thought about having a wedding or whom I hope to end up with. But in terms of the here and now and the uncertainty that I do feel in terms of whether or not I should be actively looking for that “special someone,” I now feel content with my choice to live life in the moment and not think about the future.
Erica met her husband in a very When Harry Met Sally way. They grew up in the same town on the North Shore of Boston, but a few years apart and in different neighborhoods, never meeting each other. After college, Erica was in a serious relationship and assumed she would marry her boyfriend, although she felt like there was something missing. Following her heart, she ended the relationship and met her husband-to-be merely months later, at which point they made the connection that they should have met long ago. –Her boyfriend ended up fleeing to the west coast and working at a “small startup called Google,” so I’m assuming he forgave her for breaking his heart.–
As we spent the next fifteen minutes internet stalking Erica’s ex boyfriends from when she was in her late teens and early twenties and restating the cliché “That’s what your twenties are for,” Emily kept saying that this reassurance that it’s OK for us to be single was exactly what she needed to hear after watching two friends get engaged. For me, I’ve never given the thought much analysis beyond the point that if I’m going to be single at any time in my life, now is the time, rather than down the road. This conversation did, however, support everything I’ve ever told myself when I’ve doubted my relationship status –or lack of it:– it’s OK to be single. My friends and my job are my life right now and I’m happy. Things tend to work themselves out. Everything happens for a reason.
I’m assuming that at some point fairly soon my view on being single will change and I’ll be eager to move on with my future, but for now, life is pretty damn good.