I moved to this town 5 years ago today. Over the past 5 years I have learned more than the previous 22 years of my life combined. I have done a seminary program, I have started my life as an adult, I bought a car (with the help of dad), I have learned tons of educational acronyms (why so many?!?!). I have also learned how possible is to create rich community. I truly believe that this would not have happened without being single.
Here are 25 takeways from the past 5 years of my single adult life:
1. Singles need married friends. I think my married friends need single friends. if I only hung out with people in my life stage I would have 2 friends in town. We can learn so incredibly much from each other.
2. If you don’t clean your apartment, no one else will. Same goes with laundry and getting the oil changed in Margo. Stay on top of it.
3. Be committed, even when it is hard. To a church. To a job. To your friends. They will fight for you when you need it most.
4. You can learn anything on Google and Youtube. I figured out how to fix my car, learned how to knit, and make a chocolate souffle.
5. Be intentional about investing in the lives of kids. My nephews live 4 hours away. Some of my dearest friends who have kids are 10-20 minutes away. I pour myself into those kids, I treat them like my family.
6. Volunteer your time, not too much and not too little. Set boundaries (an area of constant reevaluating for me).
7. Invest in nice things (slowly and as budget allows). Don’t wait until you get married to register. Buy the Le Creuset, the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, or the Kitchen Aid.
8. Have a budget and stick to it. You may have to say no to eating out and movies every once and a while but it’s fine, I promise.
9. Find a friend who like to go on adventures, plan them, then actually do them.
10. Know your love language. Know your friend’s love language and use that to bless them. I know most of my friend’s specific coffee order by heart. I know what they need to feel loved. Sometimes its bringing coffee to them on a Monday, sometimes it is doing their dishes, sometimes it is sitting on the couch while interacting with their kids so they can get other things done.
11. Bad dates make great stories. I have my fair share of great stories.
12. The only thing you are defined by is who you are in Christ. Seasons change but the Lord doesn’t.
13. Speak up. Get involved. Savor the season.
14. Rest, don’t be lazy but take time for rest. I housesit for a family in town. It seems like every time they go out of town is a time I need refreshment. I use my time at their house to be still. I don’t plan anything when I am there. I take time for myself and enjoy the sound of the chickens and the unscheduled day.
15. Make decisions based on your goals (or begin with the end in mind for those Leader in Me people). About a week ago I moved into a basement apartment. There were multiple things that went in to this choice but I hope the next move I make is because I am buying some land for my mini farm and a little house.
16. TRAVEL. I cannot stress this enough. My bank account is sufficient for me. I could have more but I chose to invest my money on experiences. In the last 5 years I have been to Spain, Israel, Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Bahamas. And that is just my out of the country trips.
17. Seek wise counsel and be vulnerable. In your job. In your personal life. This area does not come naturally for me. I was called out on it a few weeks ago and I am so thankful I was. Without vulnerability, relationships cannot be formed.
18. Be a back up singer for the marriages around you. Fight for those marriages, support them, remind them of truth in the struggle. Find people who can sing backup for you. It isn’t just people who are married that need people to sing backup for them.
19. Have dreams, have plans, never give up hope. But hold them with an open hand. I want my dreams but I want the Lord more.
20. Take challenges that the church gives couples and families but alter them to fit you and your season of life. I would have missed out on a lot of learning if I sat in the my seat (row BB, seat 1) each Sunday ignoring each challenge because it wasn’t for my demographic. I am embracing my family church (more on that in a later post).
21. Cooking for one is the worst. Use the leftovers to serve people. I cook up a huge, save myself some and text a few friends asking if they want lunch the next day. Little acts of service can go a long way.
22. If people ask how they can help you, tell them. I am THE WORST at this. I am constantly learning that as much as I want to prove to myself I can do life on my own, I can’t.
23. Laugh. Find the humor in the day. Laugh at the confusion. Laugh at the struggle. Laugh with people.
24. Try new things, don’t let fear get in the way. I would not have move to this town if I let fear control my life.
25. Create a personal mission statement for yourself. Every decision I make is based on a 6 words phrase I wrote for myself when I moved here: Know God. Serve Others. Make God known.
Are you single? What have you learned during this season? Are you married? What do you cherish about your time of being single? I would love to hear from you!