Dear Single Me,
You had it all figured out. You thought you knew how life would turn out, how it should turn out. You thought you knew why you weren’t married by 25 or what you were meant to do. But here’s the truth: you got a lot of it wrong. If I could go back, this is what I would tell you:
1. You weren’t married by 25 because you hadn’t met the right person. I know there were guys you thought were perfect for you, and it never made sense why things didn’t work out; you chalked it down to your inability to flirt or not being able to express how you felt. But when the right guy came around, you figured it out. Flirting wasn’t so hard anymore and everything came together. The truth is, you weren’t all that weird (welllll…), even it felt like it when people would ask, “Why aren’t you married yet?” as if saying, “You seem normal, but there must be something wrong with you, right?” Some of us just take longer and that’s okay.
2. Marriage is not a huge deal. Don’t get this wrong, I love being married. But you always thought it would be a total fantasy or else a huge disaster. You were so worried about making it happen and didn’t think you’d ever find someone you could completely be yourself around. I’ve learned that marriage is like life: you have great days, normal days, average days, bad days, and a lot of days you don’t really think about what kind of day it is. You don’t have to be perfect to be lovable; even when your husband discovers you’re a massive dork and not that pretty without makeup, he’ll still love you. I’m glad you finally figured out that you could be happy being married or being single because that is why you are still happy today. Marriage is great, but it won’t complete you—you have to be complete first.
3. Don’t waste time on people or things that don’t benefit your life. Being kind is important, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend time with people who don’t make you feel good. I remember talking to a man who explained that there are three types of people in your life: the critics, those who don’t really care, and those who truly love and care about you. Don’t waste your time with the first two.
And don’t waste your time working at a job that is paying you crap, or doing things just because people say you “should” or you “have to.” Quitting isn’t always a bad thing. Just ask yourself if what you’re doing is actually adding value to your life and if it will benefit you in the long run.
4. Follow your heart. It’s a real thing, no matter what anyone says. There are a few things I’m so glad I did, like going on a church mission, going away to college, and applying for that internship I didn’t think I was qualified for. Almost every risk is worth taking (within limits, obviously. You’re not stupid.). Try things, try not to be scared! Being a mom will be amazing, but it is a lot harder to follow your heart when you have to worry about your kiddo’s nap schedule or the number of tantrums they’ll throw while you’re out.
5. Be honest about your feelings. When that guy who has been eyeing you in chemistry class texts you five times in a row, don’t just ignore him. If you’re not feeling it, just say it. But don’t be afraid of the ones you like, either; you may get rejected, but trying will feel good.
6. Love yourself. You may not ever feel like you’re doing all you can, but you have to love yourself anyway. Nobody else is ever going to fill the void that you have to fill yourself. Love yourself at all times, no matter how many dates you went on this week or what grade you got on an essay. If I could go back to being you, I would have loved myself more because now I know that’s one of the best ways to prepare for your own family. I think about you and looking back, that’s the one thing I would change: that you would love yourself and exude confidence.
7. Everything will work out. God has a way of putting just what you need in your life. So chill out. You’ll get to the place you were meant to be in, with just the right people. You’ll find the perfect man for you and have the family that was created just for you, but even if you hadn’t, everything would have worked out anyway. Maybe you would have ended up in Seattle writing for an ad agency or in Denver sweeping the Mile High stadium. Either way, God has always been aware of you and everything has always come into place, and I believe it always will.