Saturday, June 14, 2014

Don't be Scared to Walk alone. Don't be Scared to Like it.

22 years old young and scroll through the feed of any form of social media and what do you see? Engagements, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, honeymoons...need I go on?
It's a little surreal, isn't it? Wasn't it just yesterday we were entering our freshman year of college--our biggest worry being when and where our first class of the semester was located. Now, most people I know are either: a.) daydreaming about their wedding day, because they are already engaged or in a serious relationship OR b.) wondering if they will ever settle down and get married or even just be in a serious relationship.

You can take a wild guess at which category I fall under.

The other day I was visiting with my Romanian hair stylist, Helen. (I love wording it that way...sounds so chic, no?) There are a couple of things you should know about Helen. First, she is quite blunt and honest. It is one of the many characteristics that I love about her. Second, she lived half her life in a very different environment than we are used to, until she moved to the States. (She has been my mom's hairdresser for more than 20 years!!) Her background has given her more perspective than most people. Finally, she is probably one of the most intelligent people I know. She is an incredible cook and can tell you why recipes work the way they do in terms of the chemistry of the food. (I probably couldn't explain half of what she does and I have a degree in nutrition, for pete's sake!)

Anyway, we were on the subject of traveling. I was excited to tell Helen about my journey across Asia and mentioned that I would love to do more traveling in the future. Without hesitation, she exclaimed,
"Travel, Amanda! Do it while you are still young and able to."
We talked a bit more and then I said, "Ya know Helen, isn't this the time in my life where I am supposed to find a man, settle down, and get married? Because that seems to be what everyone around me is doing." In her heavy accent, "No, No Amanda!! You are only 22! You can get married and start a family in your 30s. There will be plenty of time for that. People seem to think that marriage is life...that's not life!"

After leaving her salon that day, I not only went on my way with freshly groomed brows, but I also let out a sigh of relief and started thinking about my life in a different way. In John Mayer's song, "The Age of Worry," he sings:

Why do we always feel so distraught about singleness? Is it because we fear being alone? Society sure seems to paint a dreary picture. However, when you look at it from a different perspective, what is really so horrendous?

People who know me well, probably know that I am an independent person. I like my alone time. In fact, I think I'd go a little loco if I didn't have some time to myself each day. Running is especially a time where I like to be able to be alone in my thoughts. And after my recent travels to Asia {You can read about that starting here}, I value my independence more than ever.

Gazing out at the depths of the Great Wall of China

There are a number of reasons I personally feel that both young women and men, alike, should embrace this special time to their selves. After all, you never know when Mr. Right will appear in your life, so you better enjoy the "me" time while you can.

1.) Get to know your Maker
I cannot emphasize this one enough. Too often I see people who have not taken enough time in their life to develop a relationship with God. If you are not comfortable with your faith, how do you expect to feel confident in a relationship? We will never have all of the answers to our faith journey, but I suggest you start digging deeper before you throw yourself into a relationship.

2.) Learn more about Yourself
When you are young, there is often the question of identity..."Who am I?" "What is my purpose on this Earth?" "What do I really want to do with my life?" on and so forth. Take the time to try new things and learn more about yourself. My interests have changed tremendously since entering college...they still are continuing to evolve. Find out what drives you. It is often easier to discover what you really want in life when you have this time alone.

3.) Travel
One of my favorite sayings regarding travel is as follows:
When I traveled to China and Taiwan this past May, it was one of the most remarkable experiences I have ever had. I not only learned so much about different cultures and gained different perspectives, but time away from my everyday setting allowed me to discover new things about myself as well. 

In addition, I highly recommend mission trips of any length. I have been on 5 week-long mission trips (1 with a high school group, and one each spring break in college.) While the stays were relatively short, I accomplished 1, 2, AND 3 on this list!
I spent an afternoon at an orphanage outside of Tijuana in March 2013
Little Sara and I had a ball...literally!
4.) Embrace Girls' Night (and day!) 
Who doesn't love a good girls' night. (I could go for one right now!) Make this a priority while you are single. Make it a priority when you're not single too! (It is just more difficult once you are hitched...)

5.) Don't force things. Let it be.
Finally, I think it is so important to remember that relationships are something that can neither be forced nor rushed (at least not the healthy ones). When it seems like every one around you is happily with a partner, it can be tempting to try and make things work with someone you aren't meant to be with. Compatibility is much more important than simply having someone to fill that void in your life.

Now I'm not saying every day will be a walk in the park...ahem, Valentine's Day, I'm talking to you! But I will say that I really enjoy having this part of my life to least for now. The freedom and independence to go out in this world and make new discoveries are treasures I'm not sure I am ready to trade anytime soon.

If you are struggling with this season of your life, then hey, let me know...I am, after all, dying to plan my next big travel adventure! {hint, hint}

I love meeting new people so connect with me here, at my email address {}, my Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram! In the great words of High School Musical: "We're all in this together!"

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