I remember talking to a friend about my history of romantic relationships (or lack thereof) and he said the tried and true cliché, “Don’t worry, there are plenty of fish in the sea.” I’m sure that would have been comforting, if I hadn’t been land-locked in my relationships.
At the time, none of my current friendships were on an imminent path to a relationship. So I was left with my arms full of singleness and nothing to do with it. Wait, scratch that. There was plenty for me to do—and if you’re single with no prospects, there’s plenty for you to do, too.
For starters, dedicate time to explore and find your place in ministry.
This is something everyone should do, the earlier the better. Perhaps it’s working childcare on Sunday morning or joining with a group that does weekly service projects. Being single affords a unique chance to do this. Only balancing one schedule and being able to branch out into a different church’s ministry makes this process much easier than when in a couple.
I was able to easily follow God into a church ministry internship, mostly because I didn’t have a relationship complicating a move to a different state.
You can invest time into your family, too.
I’m talking about an active investment. Sitting on the couch together watching a movie is great, but it will eventually be forgotten. If you have nieces or nephews, teach them things. Take them for a surprise ice cream. Hug and kiss them without reserve.
My oldest nephew has a habit of very lightly brushing my arm when sitting next to me, and it absolutely gave me the heebie jeebies. Touching was not a common way for me to express affection, but it was for him. I tried to suppress my instinct to stop him. As much as it weirded me out, it was important to show him that I was there for what he needs.
If it takes you out of your comfort zone, don’t withdraw. People remember when you took that extra step to include them. For adult family members, it’s surprisingly similar. Actively find ways to spend time focused on each other. Try to spend time in their world even if it takes you out of yours.
How about a hobby?
I’ve watched many people leave their hobbies behind for a relationship because, when schedules and budgets tighten up, hobbies are one of the first non-necessities to be cut. The time when you’re single is a great time to delve into it.
My hobby of choice was a time-consuming, extremely nerdy tabletop game. I found it a blast and relaxing to play. But if you’re seriously dating someone and it comes down to the game or a healthier relationship the game has to go. (If you date a girl who likes the same hobbies as you, you’ll know God’s hand is on that relationship!)
And what about your dream job?
Not everyone has that one job that they’ve dreamed of having. I had time to do some job searching and determine a career while I was single. All I knew was I wanted to write in some manner.
But for those who have had that dream, is it not easier to pursue it when you’re single? Not only do you have that oft-forgotten, wonderful freedom of movement that comes with being single, but the pressure of supporting an engagement/marriage/family isn’t present. The list of excuses not to pursue a job lengthens drastically once you get into a relationship.
What are some other ways to take advantage of this stage of life? If you know someone who needs to read this, will you email it to them to encourage them?