By Laura Li

Singleness Sucks, Sometimes

Drew Barrymore plays a twenty-five-year-old who’s never been kissed in one of my favorite movies from the 90s. Okay, actually, all of my favorite movies are from the 90s. I’m a product of my generation.

Well, here I am, days away from turning 30, and I can still relate to this movie. And it’s not just because I can still pass for a student. (Yay Asian genes!)

I’ve never had a boyfriend. Yes, I just revealed that on the Internet for everyone to read. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed; it is what it is. Perhaps when I was a twenty-year-old peering into my hazy future, I’d thought that by now I’d have been in a relationship at least once. Maybe even married. But right now, I’m content with my reality. I have great friends; I love my job; and the color scheme I’ve devised in my newly furnished apartment is awesome. (Gray, yellow, and orange, if you were curious). I’ve got a lot going for me.

But sometimes being a nearly 30 single girl totally sucks. It’s impossible not to think about your singleness when you have four bridesmaids dresses collecting dust in your closet and all your summer social events involve bouquet tosses. It’s hard not to cringe a little when half of your Facebook newsfeed shows engaged couples taking a romp through lens flare-infested fields of grass, weekly updates of enlarging pregnant bellies, and videos of adorable giggling babies. Not to mention, I’m looking at these things while eating dinner alone…at my desk…in my bedroom.

Sometimes, God Can Be Funny

Just in the past year, he tried to show his sense of humor by bringing to my life a good amount of what I like to call “Boy Drama.” Hey God, this is me. Not laughing. But as I’ve navigated the murky waters of meeting new people, going on and/or turning down dates, and trying to stop crushing on the guy I just learned is dating someone else, I’ve discovered a lot more about myself and what I want in life and in relationships.

For one, I’ve learned that the ability to be myself should not be undervalued. When I was younger and had a crush on a boy, in effort to stay away from flirting, which I thought was totally lame, I would instead completely withdraw and never talk to him. Thus, I gained the reputation of being the silent, intimidating girl. How is that at all helpful? But as I’ve interacted with different people, I realize that there are some guys who bring out in me a much more social, talkative (and witty, if I say so myself) person. Though not many people see this side of me, it’s actually a better reflection of who I am. I now know that I need to be aware of when I'm being myself and when I’m not. If I’m not, it probably means that this potential relationship doesn’t really have much potential after all.

Enough with the Nonsense, already!

Also, being straightforward can be a wise decision. None of this ambiguous “Are we...? Is this...? Does he...?” nonsense. I’ve heard countless stories from girl friends who’ve developed friendships with guys, with all clues indicating it was more. But no words had ever been exchanged on the subject. Unfortunately, most of these situations left them feeling disappointed, confused, and maybe even a little bit bitter. I’ve totally been there, and it really sucks. (As a side note to the guys reading this: Dude, step it up already!)

As scary as it was, when I was bothered by the ambiguity and wondering what was going on in a recent situation, I just straight up asked him. So many times we hesitate because we think it’s going to ruin a good friendship, that we’ll scare him off, or that we’ll be rejected. Those are valid risks. It hurts when you ask and the answer is some form of a “no” (which is what happened in my case). But in the long run, it saves so much heartache to be direct and bring up the subject if it’s lingering in your mind. So take courage girls! Seriously, if I, Miss Avoid-Conflict-At-All-Costs, can do it, so can you.

I’ve realized that inviting Jesus to be enough for me is a constant, daily task. Being single in a culture that makes you feel like that means you’re “less than” is hard. Even on days when I’m totally sure that I’m supposed to be single right now, I need to keep reminding myself that my wholeness comes from Jesus. That’s never going to change, whether or not I’m ever in a relationship. But I do need to continue to speak that truth to myself; otherwise, it is way too easy for lies to seep in through Facebook photos, awkward flying bouquets, or a night of crying over a boy.

“Never Been Kissed” might describe me, but it’s not who I am. I am his, and in him I will always belong.

Laura Li serves as a graphic designer with twentyonehundred productions. She just turned 30 in September and is loving every moment of it so far.

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Who says the younger generation can't relate to the "older" generation. Although I have been married and divorced; Even @ 50 making that commitment to Christ, if you're sincere, wanting in your life only those that HE (referring to Jesus)wants in your life, it can be a struggle ... and disappointing but I have learned so much about myself; what likes, dislikes; right down to the types of people that should or shouldn't be in my life. Of course, most importantly, my relationship with my Savior is strong and that I would not change

Thanks for sharing your story! I was just talking about this with one of my friends the other day. It's not always easy seeing everyone's photos and engagement updates all the time. I, too, have now been in 4 weddings. However, I think what I dislike even more is when my other friends assume I'm not happy because I'm not in a relationship. While that's something I definitely want one day and I trust in God's timing and plan (whatever that might look like), I'm incredibly happy being single. I have a great job, great friends and roommates. And I like to think that I'll probably never have this exact experience of being single at my age ever again, so why try to jump into a different stage? God has plans for me as a single woman, and eventually (hopefully) as a married woman. I want to experience all of it! Thanks again! And Never Been Kissed is an awesome movie :)

Laura, I saw your post through my friend Courtney's facebook page. She is a fellow InterVarsity staff member. I just want to say thank you for writing this post, for being so honest and vulnerable and for sharing what I conjecture so many of us singles nearing our 30's feel. As a guy, I can say that many of us experience the same things you have eloquently written about, and it is refreshing to see those words of understanding on a page. And what you said about stepping it up is oh-so-true, an area that God has challenged and encouraged me in over the past few months. Keep writing, trusting, and being God's. Thanks for putting this out there. David

Thanks for being so vulnerable Laura. And for dishing out some great wisdom. =)

Thank you for sharing your story. I was 33 before I got married and spent ALL of my 20s trying to find "the one". I think back to that time and realize I could have been spending my time and energy in a much more productive manner and wonder what I missed in looking for something that wouldn't happen for a few more years. Also, I remember reading the story of the Israelites and how they wanted a king and kept asking God for a king. God wanted to be their caretaker, protector, king, and father and knew He had a better plan and way than a human would but he ended up giving them a king. They would have been better off with God alone. I married a wonderful man who seeks God's will daily for himself and for us and I am glad I waited. It hasn't been easy (at all!) but we've been together 11 years now. FYI, the FB status updates, pregnant bellies, babies, kids, job changes, etc? that never changes. We were never able to have kids so struggled with all the pregnancy related things our friends posted. However we have opened our hearts and home to our friends' kids and offer them some respite when they need some time alone together. :-) Amy

Stranger Than Fiction Moment. I am picking up my jaw from the keyboard, as I write this, from the computer where I was looking at home decor for my apartment. Your story could very well be mine, it really is, except I could never write that well. Thank you SO much for posting this. I relate completely and it's very encouraging to know that it's ok, that I am where I'm supposed to be in my life. I'm in the learning stage just like you described in your last paragraph. It IS a daily task and its encouraging to know that I'm not the only one in this process. :)

Good risk, good job, well-written. Good challenge to guys, too! Reminds me of a relationship bible study that challenged guys to be honest about your feelings and forthright about your intentions.

While you wrote for singles, your message is just as important for marrieds to hear. It is a myth that marriage "solves" all your loneliness problems and makes a person happy. While I am deeply thankful for the transforming relationships I have with my husband of 34 years, my life is not automatically better than a single life - in fact it can be downright complicated and full of angst and drama. I can also fall into the trap of not being who I really am as a way to avoid intimacy and/or conflict. Thanks for the call to remember that it is not whether or not we are in a relationships that makes our lives meaningful, but its that we belong to Jesus. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Hi Laura!.. thanks for sharing. I'm also beyond the 30's line, still single, looking like a student and had my birthday last september. So I definitely relate with your post, i appreciate your honesty with the dating issues that usually we go through and the friendship not risk ambiguity that is messing with us almost all the time (Now i know that I'm not the only one) :P. Being single is hard, but is also the only state I got the chance to deal with, if I get worry about or even pessimistic about it, i'm only ruining my joy and healthy relationship with others, being single means to me , the practice of one of the most important teachings of God, like your mention in your post, our wholeness in Him and also my opportunity to learned to be content. Thanks again.. let's enjoy our singleness and kick out some of the myths about it!. <3

Awesome story Laura. I was 36 when I got married, but I too was the groomsman in 5 weddings [not counting my 2 siblings weddings] and definitely knew what you are feeling. Not only did I put up with the blind date match making by family and friends, but I went through the struggle of something must be wrong with me since I was the only one in our group of friends not married. But I learned to really let go, trust the Lord, and really seek Him before anything, and that He had a plan for me, married or not. There wasn't anything wrong with me, it was me being impatient and looking for myself and not waiting on Him. I was blessed being a Youth Pastor at the time who was single and had all the time in the world, and so I was able to be used by the Lord to invest and give to Him and His church, and His students. It was an awesome time I still cherish, and to see His fruit after that time still amazes me. Thank you for sharing Laura!

Holy cow! I am an Intervarsity graduate 2006 and I have to say that you have taken a snap shot of my current life and wrote it down! I am Asian and also turning 30 this year in November. I have also never had a relationship. I am also feeling everything that you feel as my friends have begun to post picture and videos of their children and married life on Facebook! I get tired of looking at them. Whenever I feel impatient, I try to remember what someone told me about the wait. "Don't just pray and wait for the right one, become the right one." He said something like that. Thus, I am trying to love God the best that I can right now. And you know how many people say that the way a man treats his mom is probably the way he will treat his wife? I am practicing being a good husband by being a good son. I have a long way to go... Thanks again for your post! Let Christ be the one that truly satisfied our deepest longings!

Society today glorifies being in a relationship as solving all of life's problems. Thanks society, for once again derailing the general public's thought train. Stand up to the emerging cultural beliefs. -afb

Thank you for sharing this. I really like the last para "It might describe me, but it’s not who I am." Society somehow thinks that being single is easier and for some reason single people should excel in their work. When my professional life/studies suffer, I wish I had the warmth of a boy friend's shoulder to cry on. It wont solve my problems, but at least someone is there to share. True, I might not have a crying baby or a demanding spouse/boy friend to keep me up all night; but does that make my problems any less painful?

singleness certainly sucks all the time for me hoping i will meet a good woman to share a life with which it is very hard for many of us serious men that are really looking, but always seem to meet the wrong one. i know other men that have the same problem, and it really does seem that all the good ones are taken today. being married at one time myself and now divorced is very hard since i really hate to be alone, and my wife was the one that cheated which i was a very caring and loving husband that was very much committed to her as well. if you have time, you should google the longest living married couple that are amazingly still together today.

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