Originally published on Rebelle Society.
While you were out getting married and starting a family, of course I wondered what the hell was wrong with me as I compared myself to you and to others. Why had I not found the right guy? I suffered from loneliness and depression. I repeated the vicious cycle of meeting Mr. Wrong, dating Mr. Wrong, and breaking up with Mr. Wrong. I even started therapy to work on my “issues.” But eventually began to realize that I was just fine; we’ve all got issues! After some intentional self-inquiry, I would soon conclude that the right guy had not found me yet.
While you were out getting married and starting a family, I came to know myself more intimately. I changed and evolved and deepened as a person. Life took on more meaning, and my personal development became more important than finding a husband. As my priorities shifted, to be married with a family by a certain age became moot. I hoped that you would understand, no longer suggesting that I “try online dating” while respecting my lack of urgency. I knew you were just trying to be supportive, and I appreciated your encouragement. But I was beginning to discover a new path toward happily ever after – one that was suitable for me. I did not want you to worry or think that I was in any way less fulfilled because I had not yet “settled down” – a cliché that is becoming more relative these days.
In fact, while you were out getting married and starting a family, I started my own business! My babies came in the form of creative projects and written works that were just as important to me as your physical children. This was what sustained me spiritually, mentally, and financially, giving me a sense of purpose. I did not have a husband or a family of my own to love and to nurture. Instead, I was blessed with opportunities to love and nurture my craft, and ultimately, myself.
Meanwhile, just so you know, while you were out getting married and starting a family, I prayed for you and your husband’s happiness. They say that by the time you reach your 30s, at least one of your friends will have gone through a divorce. I did not want this for you; you married a good man, someone who gave me hope. As Khalil Gibran wrote on marriage in The Prophet, “For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.” I prayed that you would move through your obstacles, and create an interdependent space for individual growth and mutual love.
While you were out getting married and starting a family, I learned so much from you – everything from the various types of wedding gowns that existed, to how the body changed during pregnancy, to understanding that while marriage often called for sacrifice, compromise and communication were of the utmost importance. These insights helped me to begin appreciating my time as a single woman, and I felt more prepared for the day when I would meet Mr. Right. I was grateful for your patience and counsel as I struggled to figure it out.
And wouldn’t you know that while you were out getting married and starting a family, I did meet Mr. Right? Boy, did he come as a surprise! As much as I hated being told, “it happens when you least expect it,” you were right. He was not like anything I had imagined. He was different, and did not fit with my expectations. He was better than anyone I could have ever envisioned. I found myself having to learn how to be truly loved and accepted for all that I am, receiving affection, praise, and words of affirmation for all of my wonderful attributes. It was surreal at first, and I was terrified. But I could not help but to love this person wholeheartedly. I became better for it in return.
My dear friend, while you were out getting married and starting a family, my sense of self-worth grew exponentially. I spent so much time investing in myself that it became second nature to believe that I was deserving of a fully encompassing love. Once found, I was sure to embrace it, all the while recalling your example and wisdom. For that, I thank you for being such a good friend.