My dad jokingly reminded me this week that I am no longer a YOUNG adult, but I am now just an adult. We laughed, but my heart sank at the reality and truth of his words. I was an adult, and being an adult was hard. Some friends tried comforting me that some age brackets for young adults go up to 35 so I didn’t have anything to worry about yet.
The truth is, since hitting 30 I have been living in a denial of sorts. Maybe it hasn’t been denial at all, but just struggling to find my place in the world.
I don’t feel like I exactly fit with the younger singles. There’s no longer this desire in me to go out all hours of the night doing spontaneous things like I did when I was in my early 20’s. I was reminiscing with my best friend how one night we gathered up some of our friends for an impromptu drive to Niagara Falls. We made these plans at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night. Niagara Falls was a 4-hour round-trip adventure that included car karaoke and some pretty amazing views. Ah, those summer nights left us with some great stories — but my mom still made me go to church the next morning even though I only got 2 hours of sleep.
I prefer an earlier bedtime now and my bank account has a lot more restrictions than it did back then. I can no longer spend an entire paycheck in GAP, and midnight Walmart runs are a lot less enticing than they once were.
My days as a young single are passed. But I also don’t feel like I fit in with the majority of people my age either. Many of them are married, have kids and pets and calendars to accommodate all of them. There’s a whole list of things married people have to think about that I don’t — like making sure everyone gets fed and washed on a regular basis. They’ve got science fair projects to build for … I mean with … their children. And let’s face it, they’ve got exponentially more laundry to do.
For me, some nights dinner consists of marshmallow cereal and sour cream and onion chips. I dictate my calendar and choose what I want or don’t want to do, which sometimes includes not having to shower on Saturdays.
The small percentage of people my age who are single usually break up into one of the three following categories: divorced, engaged or me. You think I’m kidding, but I’ve had friends advise me to move because they thought I’d have better chances of finding a mate in another zip code.
Hear me out. I love and admire people in all of the above mentioned demographics. Some of my closest friends are represented there. After all, my very best friend is happily married with three freakishly beautiful children and a dog that we are sure is part poodle and part devil.
I love having friends in a variety of stages of life. My younger friends keep me out late and my married friends keep me up on the latest Disney movies. The problem is, I don’t know where I fit in life. I’m not as carefree as I once was because now there are bills that come, rain or shine. I’m also not as tied down as I would be if I had a family of my own. I’m in this weird middle ground.
Am I living in the best of both worlds? Possibly.
It’s just lonely here sometimes. I keep praying and hoping it’s only a season. One that could certainly end any day now. I do my best to soak up the silence and enjoy the free time, knowing that one day I might be willing to “punch a puppy” to get either of those for just a few minutes. Although, if one more person tells me to be content — I might just punch them first!
I just want to live out this singleness as gracefully as possible, which includes loving my friends in whatever stage they might be in. And, just as important, give myself grace for the stage I’m in as well. It may just be that fitting in has much less to do with being the same as everyone else, but being accepted for all that you are. That is what I’m learning — that it’s not about the number of people I surround myself with, but that the people I surround myself with can be trusted with my heart.