Current Status: Single and Present

The beginnings of a more public exploration into searching for and understanding connectivity

I’m not sure I’ve had any preconceived notions about what life would be like in my 30s. Well, that’s not entirely true. A long long time ago (back in my 20s), I would have told you that I would probably be married, probably have a kid or two bearing my last name and hopefully some of my better genetic and personality traits, and have a job I enjoy. If you’re keeping score, I got 1 out of 3. A .333 batting average in baseball is pretty good actually so by those standards I’m doing pretty well. For those interested, my bubble gum trading cards will be available for purchase online soon with collector’s editions available in the fall.

I am thankful that I have friends and family who don’t nag me about certain things like relationship status, to which I leave that categorized as “single and complicated.” I attribute the nag-free zone I’m in to distracting them with checking off a number of items on the “Life Stages to Hit to be Considered a Fully Grown Adult” list and with pretty photos in large canvas print format. I became a master of deflection and distraction from myself, even if some friends are finally catching on to and at identifying my schemes. These milestones, or Life Events as Facebook would have us label them, haven’t been done in any significant or specific order. But that’s OK as long as they’re done at some point, right? I got some good ones done:

  • College degree? Check.
  • Good job? Check.
  • Bought a house? Check.
  • Personal blog read by tens of people? Check!

In spite of these accomplished milestones, I will admit I still struggle with the “Where am I/where should I be?” and “am I doing what I should be?” questions. The answers to those being “a little to the left from where you are” and “something a little different and a little better than how you’re doing it now.” It’s easy to say often the answer to both questions is “unsure.” And sometimes the answer to “how are you feeling in the midst of all this?” is a little lonely.

In spite of plentiful social media connections and real life friends & family, there’s an air of mystery around single people. Others, especially married people, assume that singles always have it easy. There’s always fun plans to be jealous of or something cool going on. Speaking on behalf of this barely popular and introverted single guy, this simply is not true. While my intentionally curated (this term is overused) photos on Instagram and posts on Facebook sometimes give off the impression I’m always traveling or doing stuff that is envy inducing, there’s plenty of the boring, seemingly inconsequential, solitary, and endless in-between. Doing all this on your own can be a lot tougher than you think.

This post is not a cry for help to get people to get me to go out more. Low key and no plans are OK with me. That introvert in me thrives in having plenty of space to think, recharge, and ponder life over a hot cup of tea or a nicely aged Scotch. The last thing I want is a full schedule.

What I realized recently is that my recent frustrations lie more in time/availability + similar interests. Pairing what I enjoy with what other enjoy and sharing those experiences with others when they are available is increasingly difficult within my social circles. The overlaps of my interests with people in the Venn diagram of life are not aligning often. There’s the sliver of one here and there over a Scotch or hot bowl of ramen, but again… time and availability do not frequently align.

Current status? Single and present, figuring out how to make better connections. I’m open to where that may take me, including stepping outside of my house and current comfort zones.

  • What a great post! Enjoyed reading it.

    Also, the ad at the bottom of your post was “5 Senior Dating Sites,” so….

    • Google clearly knows something my future that I haven’t admitted to myself yet 🙂

  • Ben A

    Thanks for sharing Greg. I appreciate you delving into this, and I admit to being a bit ignorant of singleness. Just knowing how hard it is to coordinate social events with my current friends, it makes sense that singleness does not equal party all the time. Thanks again. -Ben A

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. I am just as ignorant of the challenges facing married people!

  • Stacy Ashworth

    I love your honest reflections here. I found this sentence really interesting: “Others, especially married people, assume that singles always have it easy.” I actually think I tend to error on the side of assuming the opposite. I tend to think that most single people would rather be married (although I definitely don’t know if that’s true and certainly know it’s not always true!) and I tend to think of married life as easier than single life. We can clearly point to pro’s and con’s of both, but Eve was created to be a helper for Adam, so it seems like life should be easier with a built-in, live-in helper….at least in a healthy marriage. 🙂 So, while I enjoy talking about marriage and singleness because I enjoy discussing relationships and the human experience, I find I almost always hesitate to bring up singleness with single people at the risk of sending the message, “I’m married, which is better, and you’re single…how sad.” I truly don’t believe singleness is sad, or less good, but because I’m married, I fear coming across with an air of, “Don’t you want to be married….like me?”

    I like your term “nag-free zone” and I’m glad you don’t feel nagged! I also wanted to add, though, that the reason I have never personally asked you about dating/singleness/desire to get married and have kids….is not because I’m distracted by your other accomplishments and happenings, as you suggest. It’s more out of fear that you are being nagged by others and that I’ll just be another nagger, and out of assumption (uh oh) that you don’t want to talk about it. I think you have another great post about not assuming. I guess I should go back and read it! 🙂

    I like that you point out the “boring, seemingly inconsequential, solitary, and endless in-between” moments of singleness that don’t get captured on social media. I would also offer that marriage carries with it realities that we try to make unreal by not including in the public face we put out there for everyone to see. Sadly, some are lonely in their relationships, and most mature people will hold themselves back from airing out their spouse’s dirty laundry on Facebook. 😉 Maybe we’re all trying to look like we’re doing a little better than we really are–single or married, with kids or without. 🙂

    • I’m very much enjoying the response and conversation generated thus far here and in private chats. The larger conversation and theme starting here really does lie in the core of all human relationships and not just a single vs married perspective. Though that “relationship status” colors our views as you’ve noted and what we assume of the other side can be wrong or misinformed. I can only imagine and speculate what marriage is like, how it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be and the “boring, endless in-between” moments that can cause frustration or loneliness too.

      As you can imagine with me, some points are made with some jest like distracting others with shiny life achievements 🙂 I look forward to continuing this conversation as I work on the next blog in this series on relationships and the human experience, at least focusing primarily on my own limited experiences and observations. Glad to keep chatting offline or via email!

      • Stacy Ashworth

        Don’t get my wrong, I like your shininess. 😉 I think one of the best gifts we can give each other is our honest perspective on what life is like through our own eyes. So, thank you for writing, Greg! And keep doing it! Glad to hear there’s more on the way.

  • Stephanie Voland

    Thanks for this thoughtful post, Greg. As a fellow INFP, I love your honesty and deep reflections here. I think conversations about singleness vs. married life often reveal a “grass is greener” perspective from both sides. Paul definitely favored single and celibate living, but saw it as part of one’s vocation and giftedness. Singleness, just like married life, is a calling — and perhaps a higher calling. As Stacy mentioned, life with a partner can be difficult and even lonely at times. But it is still life with a helper and a source of wonderful companionship and joy. Jesus said we will neither be married or given in marriage in heaven. I am always blown away by this passage in Matthew and Mark! Particularly, when I realize the challenges, joys and intimacy of marriage are really only reflections of our eternal relationship with God. In heaven, we won’t need marriage anymore to teach us how God loves his bride because we will be united in everlasting marriage with the lover of our souls. Wedding banquet and all! The troubles of this earth, for singles and marrieds, (though they seem so large now), will soon fade away when our Bridegroom returns to bring us home.

    • Stacy Ashworth

      Great point, Stephanie! 😀

      • Stephanie Voland

        Thanks Stacy. You too! Hugs <3