me and brians wedding
now, if I WERE married to this wonderful gentleman, then I would be all over the spouse challenge…alas…

You may have seen these Facebook “challenges” circulating – people ‘daring’ each other to celebrate their spouses or their children, then tag other people. It’s a subtle way to validate what most people are already doing; posting really cute pictures and adorable stories, bragging a little about the awesome husband they have and the cherubic children they’re raising.

Don’t get me wrong – I think marriage is something we need to celebrate and encourage when it’s good. And support when things get rough. I also think kids are great. I’m a teacher, so I know they’re also annoying and tyrants and have a lot of unpredictable body fluids. And in today’s world that’s constantly challenging the line between adult and child, parent and friend, right and wrong, it’s even harder to raise them well. But kids are pretty dang special. And pretty great.

beyonce-single-ladiesYou know what else is great? Being single. So you know what? I want to celebrate it. Not to disrespect your marriage or parent posts. But simply to join the conversation.

I’ve been blogging for 10 years now. During that time, here, on my blog, and earlier on xanga and Myspace (egads, totally dating myself there), I’ve been in and out of relationships, explored and explained the intricacies and downfalls and hilarity of online dating, speed dating, blind dates, and break-ups.

As a 32 year old, my singleness is a defining factor in my life for a variety of reasons. Sometimes those reasons bum me out – people say something insensitive, I have to check a box on a government form, another ex gets married and I feel inadequate, a cat looks at me the wrong way, etc. Maybe as a friend, you see my singleness as a struggle and get worried about me. Sometimes you should be genuinely worried – sometimes I’m crying my brains out and eating anything that doesn’t move first and drinking everything Jesus turned into wine and I can’t be reasoned with and everything is the worst and I totally need an intervention in those moments.

But I’m learning how, and trying to, and challenging all my fellow singles to celebrate our time. It is worthy. We do good things. We are important. We keep learning and improving. We keep the world spinning in a variety of unnoticed ways and in this moment, I want to join the narrative of celebrating life moments. All too often I fall into or am dragged into the pit of self-pity but you know what? If you look for the good in things, you will find it.

So here we go – The Singles Challenge.

me snorkelingHere’s a shout out to all of us working hard, playing hard, traveling well, volunteering, learning something new, having the time to be awake and aware and participate.

Here’s to going extra miles on behalf of coworkers who have family obligations (or simply being assigned things without notice and against our will because “well, you don’t have a family to get home to,” and taking the implicit judgment that your life circumstances don’t matter because you are single like a champ).

Here’s to napping when we want, and often. Cheers to pampering ourselves, being available for spontaneous vacations, taking selfies because we have to because we are there alone. Or because we want to, because we’re hot. And the world should know.

Here’s to doing a n y t h i n g we want without asking anyone else about it. To saying ‘yes’ and to saying ‘no’ when we want. To staying in, to going out. Here’s to Sunday Fundays, buying silly costumes, staying up late, waking up early, peeing with the door open, washing sheets once a whenever, and handling the toothpaste tube and the toilet paper roll as you will.

me jill leana weddingI applaud all of us that dedicate so much money and time to make engagements and weddings a beautiful time for our friends and family, sometimes when it’s painful because that moment and that love is what we want for ourselves so badly. I applaud all of us attending a zillion engagement parties/bachelorette weekends/wedding showers/weddings/baby showers without expecting anything in return.

one of my boos
one of my boos

Shout out to those of us that are happily being aunties and uncles to all our surrounding babies, who babysit, who encourage parents to take a date night, who go over for family dinners, who meet up in the park to push swings.

good good.
good good.

Here’s to being really really good friends to all our friends who are partnered or parenting or divorcing or widowing. To always being available with open arms for that first weekend after a break-up, always taking the late night call, and saying “of course, I’ll pick you up.” To having an open couch, ears to listen, to pouring wine and ordering pizzas and passing the ice cream carton back and forth, to choosing the Netflix when y’all are beyond decisions and letting you know we are not passing judgment. To quietly accepting when y’all get back together or find someone new and we’re still just the single friend.

me elf buddy shirt christmasHere’s to hosting ‘orphan’ holiday parties for other like-minded singles who can’t or aren’t able to get to wherever home is, and providing a safe haven from the “so, are you seeing anyone?” questions that slowly destroy every family gathering.

Here’s to setting the temperature where WE want it. And a bed to ourselves. And the correct arrangement of pillows. And zero shame when we put in our mouth guard.

my little darling.
my little darling. Ke$ha.

Yo, my Singles – cheers to accidentally killing plants and beta fish due to long periods of travel, to calling ourselves “parents” of fur babies, to wondering if and when we will get to parent the real deal. Wondering if we should, since we’ve let cactii die. CACTII.

Here’s to surviving long family parties with random relatives extolling the virtues of marriage and raising children. And here’s to sitting through every church Sunday story about spouses and kids that you can’t relate to, watching a million tv shows and movies, reading a million books, and listening to a million songs that tell us the pinnacle of really living is being in love, legalizing that love, procreating that love.

me mericaHigh five to us, living whatever dream we’re in, and embracing the concept of being a whole person even if we don’t have a partner, even if we don’t have kids when most people are expecting that we should. Even if we’ve decided that lifestyle is not for us, or we’re careering first, or traveling first, or just want to sleep more.

Salud to the books we’ve read, the dating profiles we’ve filled out, the wide nets we’ve cast, the moments of vulnerability. To joining adult kickball leagues, volunteering, subtly soliciting your mom’s friends for blind dates, and looking up old high school classmates.

Hugs to all of us when it hurts to be single, and when it’s lonely, and Adele on the radio while browsing social media is the toxic cocktail that can bring you down.

Let’s keep walking, head held high, trusting the unknown even if you *do* really want marriage and 2.5 kids and a wildly successful instagram account of your rescue pugs/baby goats farm (I may be projecting a little bit here).

So here’s been some me single. Heres when its fun or silly. And here’s other fabulous single people. It looks good, doesn’t it? Yes, it does. Yes, it does. Because it is.

Selfie on, my singles. Single on, my singles. Live all the life, my singles. Do you.