Memes, mugs, and t-shirts often say “Adulting is hard,” referring to the laborious task of being a responsible grown-up. When I google “Singling is hard,” no memes or images come up. But they should. It seems we are more willing to admit that we don’t want to carry adult duties we have than to admit we don’t want to go it alone.
For me, singleness has felt like I missed the train. The doors slide open and all my friends hop on, but when the doors close, I am the only one left on the platform. The train rolls on, and my friends happily wave at me from their windows. They are excited for where they are going and for what is next. They have a designated someone by their side to adventure with as well as someone to struggle with to find their way. The noise of the train and the whistle hurt my ears, and my bags feel too heavy to carry by myself. I am left to figure out where to go on my own. At this point, I am already sad and already tired.
The long train continues to roll by faster and faster. I realize the train is traveling further and further away and I feel more and more left behind and like I will never catch up. Weddings, babies, and shiny events of celebration keep happening for others, but not for me. I am not on the train.
It’s sad and hard to be left. FOMO is real just as longings are real, and the fast track to the future carries along my desire, making it feel out of reach and unavailable to me, but available for what seems like everyone else. Others have moved on to other life stages and forgotten what the platform looks like. They have new things to focus on and new relationships to foster. This makes sense to me but it also intensifies the aloneness. I get tired of waiting and tired of hoping. I get tempted to believe the platform is my home. The station has become so familiar and at this point, I have seen so many train wrecks, so I also realize I am pretty terrified of the train. What would I do if it actually stopped and I could step on?
It’s tempting to believe that this train of my desire brings life or death. To think that life is found by getting married is not true. To think that I will die if I get married and have a wreck of sorts is also not true. So I need to remember truth and honor how I feel. As author Corrie Ten Boom’s dad says, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” He is Emanuel, God with us; whether on the platform or on the train, whether hurting or enjoying, whether alone or with a companion, He is there. Singling is hard, that is just true, but no matter what it feels like, He will never leave or forsake me.
Mollie Johnston is a Counselor for The Barnabas Center. She has her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tennessee where she majored in Spanish as well as her Master of Arts in Christian Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is especially passionate about helping individuals who are working through grief, doubts, trauma, relationships, anxiety, depression, self-esteem/identity issues, seasons of loneliness, family of origin issues, and divorce.