Typically that overused phrase ends in “having fun,” rather than “living life.” Despite my constant goal of trying to put a positive spin on everything, I also can’t be a total phony. One of my original goals with this blog, along with providing value to my readers in the form of recipes, fitness ideas and lifestyle tips, was to be raw and real. That means sharing the good, bad and the ugly, no matter how nervous it makes me to put out there. So in the spirit of vulnerability, I’d be lying if I said the past few years have been FUN. I have most definitely had some fun moments. And when I write in my weekly gratitude journal, I always focus on the happy times and positive experiences. But if I am being honest with myself and with you, there is a tiny cloud that follows me around and life sometimes feels like a struggle where I am just trying to get through the days as best I can. To be clear, not all days are bad. Some days I don’t even notice the cloud because I am so busy and productive at work and happy as a clam to go home to my quiet, one-bedroom apartment to unwind with one of my meal-prepped dinners and list of recorded TV shows.
Other days feel slightly more overwhelming to think that I am almost 34 and I am still single. Totally single. Some days, that’s ok. As mentioned above, I am independent and enjoy doing my own thing on my own time. But most days, that makes me sad. I never imagined this would be my life at 34. I would have bet that I was married to my best friend and living in my dream home with an all-white kitchen equipped with a farmhouse sink and gold fixtures. But no matter how many dating sites I join, no matter how many first dates I muddle through and no matter how many friends I ask to set me up, I’m still alone in my one-bedroom apartment without a partner in crime and without my gold fixture-adorned kitchen.
With my 34th birthday rapidly approaching, I am doing a lot of reflecting. This happens to me every single year, and while that can be a good thing, my perfectionist and overly-analytical brain darkens the cloud. It’s really hard to not get caught up in the “what-if’s” and the “why-not-me’s”. Especially with the constant social media ticker tape background that we all have on our phones and computers on a 24/7 basis. The highlight reels of others’ lives are plastered everywhere for us to see and for us to envy. Comparison is a very slippery slope and I talk more about that here. While it is definitely hard to avoid, it is possible to constantly remind ourselves that it’s not necessarily real. Most people only post the bright and shiny and not the mundane and negative. So it is difficult to sidestep the pang of envy. And I’m not just talking about well-lit pictures of avocado toast and “candid” perfectly-outfitted shot of a blond with mermaid waves and sculpted legs laughing away from the camera. I’m talking about the REAL stuff. Happy marriages, beautiful homes, absolutely adorable children. Engagement posts…don’t even get me started on those. It’s just all happening AROUND me. Not to me. And I know I sound like a total Bitter Betty right now. I truly am not. I truly do feel joy for my good friends and their happiness and success. But that joy does not counteract the sting I feel to not have any of that. I can’t help but wonder if maybe I will in fact be alone forever. I try to remain hopeful, but I also feel I might need to come to terms with that being the case.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom around here. Whether my cloud is white and fluffy or black and stormy, I am always striving to focus on moving forward and not looking back. One habit I have gotten pretty good at is waking up each day and looking at it as a fresh start. While I get a LOT of flack for my daily early morning workouts, I do not think I will every stray from that routine because it is the best way I know how to feel good. It gets me up early to do something good for my mind, body and spirit. And I always feel more accomplished and more ready to tackle the day after a good sweat. Endorphins are a real thing. #science
Despite my pesky cloud, I do enjoy the sunshine. I do focus on the good and I always start my day as positively as I can. I continue to work on living the saying that “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.” So dance I shall. For any of my fellow singles out there, I invite you to dance with me. And for all of my married and engaged friends, Congrats! I truly am happy for you and you all keep me believing that love exists and is possible. And to a few of you, thank you for letting me be your third wheel on so many occasions. Hopefully double dates are in our futures. Xo