I'm starting this post with a professional brag because I'm concerned that it's going to go downhill from there. I am always hesitant to blog about being single, and especially wary of posting about the pitfalls of LDS female singleness because it can so quickly sound either bitter or pathetic, neither of which are appealing to me. But I feel like there is some significance to my sister-in-law giving birth to the first grandchild in our family on the very day I had a fairly big career event so I'm going for it.
So Tuesday was the Press Opening of our store in SoHo. Our store on Spring Street in New York City right across from the Chanel store in one of the trendiest shopping neighborhoods in one of the most important cities in the world. Yep, kind of a big deal. And we had a party with all sorts of fancy people from the fashion world. I flew to the party in a private plane with my boss, the President of the North American Headquarters, and the Chief Product Officer of our parent company, all of whom raved on their way home about the store and the party and the brand in general. We took this flea market a few spots down from the store
and we did this.
It was awesome and my boss was genuinely thrilled. A month ago I was convinced that this job was way out of my league but Tuesday night I started thinking maybe I really am in the right place.
A few funny things happened that day though. My coworker and I were getting out of a cab and walking up to the party site when a woman on the street called my name. It turns out it was an old friend from back in my RYKA days. She helped us put together our sponsorship of the Avon Walks for Breast Cancer and is a total tiger. She was a sports agent for a long time and represented some major athletes, then she got into sponsorship negotiations for a big company I always thought I wanted to work for and eventually started her own consulting company which is when I met her. I was a little scared of her at first but as we got to be friends I loved picking her brain about just about everything. She is almost 10 years older then me and one day we were sitting at the Avon Walk in San Francisco, talking about her upcoming wedding. She looked at me and said, "if there is one thing I say that I want you to listen to it's this-don't get so caught up in all this career stuff that you wake up one day and realize that you forgot all about kids and a husband. I'm 37 years old and it almost happened to me." I had almost learned to tune out such talk at church because when people there say it they mean, "careers are for girls who can't get married and don't you really want to be a mom anyway?" But it sort of shook me when Katie said it. She had a really great life at the time and it was nice but also a little scary to hear someone without the same kind of religious and cultural pressure as I have sound so insistent that I not "miss out." We talked and caught up for a few minutes and she pulled her iPhone out and showed me adorable pictures of Brooke and Bass, her two kiddies who were pretty much the adorable little upper east side darlings I would expect her to have. She's still a break-neck paced New Yorker but standing there holding hands with her tall, good-looking ex-football player of a husband, she looked about as happy and balanced as I have ever seen her. I'm thrilled she found someone who could see that inside the fierceness that makes her fantastic at her job, there is a really good mommy too. Later that night came the phone call that little Morgan had at last arrived and I couldn't help thinking that the universe has an interesting way of reminding me of things I ALREADY KNOW.
So onto a comment that a dear and well-meaning but momentarily insensitive friend made the other day about why he and I could never date, "I just can't see you settling down because you are fine on your own." My eloquent answer was to burst into tears and ask him if he could possibly be serious. What exactly is the alternative? Be a sad mess until a man comes along to rescue you? Sit in your house and knit baby clothes in the hopes that one day you'll have someone to put them in? Do men want women who NEED them or women who are leading fulfilling lives alone but really WANT a man in it? It was so disappointing to me that here in 2008, a boy would really think that because I am successful and independent and financially secure, that somehow I've chosen that over getting married.
Here's what I've chosen to do with my life. To do my best at everything-school, church, job, being a friend/sister/daughter/citizen-and to use God's help and my own sense to try to make good decisions. That's it. And this place that I'm in? This single and childless career place? I firmly believe it's exactly where I am supposed to be. It's not a plan B. It's not a fall back position. That doesn't mean it's always easy or that it always makes sense to me. It doesn't mean that I wasn't a little jealous when my brother fourth in line got to have the first kid. Some days I drive myself almost insane with worry that I will be alone forever, and while I have friends who have made peace with that, right now I sort of refuse to. Being single is a bit of a tight rope. You absolutely do not want to be ungrateful for the fabulous life you have but you still have to be honest with and take care of the part of you that does hope you get to have a family someday. Standing on that curb in New York listening to my sister give me the stats on Morgan that was clearer then ever. The Tretorn store will not be spending Christmas with me in the nursing home now will it? At the same time, learning to find joy and fulfillment in your life on your own is a valuable skill as well. I have watched too many people be disappointed by marriages/kids/jobs/etc to think that you reach a point where you are totally safe from ever being lonely again.
This is turning out to be less of a post and more of a self-directed pep talk but I think I'll post it anyway. I don't have solutions or answers, I'm not sure anyone does. The single game is a funny one though isn't it?