If you're anything like me, your Facebook feed is full of good news: babies, engagements, marriages, vacations....
You're most likely either one of the people posting the exciting things, or someone wondering when you'll get your turn at excitement.
I am a single girl. I am the oldest child in my family. There's not going to be any babies soon unless I have them. I just graduated from college, and lots of people are getting married. One of my good friends has a kid that's almost a year old.
...and I'm just working in a small town wondering when my life is going to start.
I am one to talk because I'm still struggling with these things, but I have some things I want to tell single ladies like me, as well as soon-to-be married or newly married women as well.
To the single ladies:
When I say these things, remember I still need to work on this. I need people to shout these things at me and pound them into my head. I've never so much as been on a date for (St.) Pete(r)'s sake, yet I have married friends and friends who have kids. But here's some things I want you to know, and things I wish I could know myself:
1. You're not your mom, roommate, best friend, or the girl who sat next to you in biology. Just because they got married when they were your age does not mean you have to. My mom was married when she was my age, and on her way to having her first child (me). What was right for her is not always right for me! Own being unique, despite how much you'd like to be like everyone else.
2. Don't whine and complain on social media. Vent to a friend or in a journal. Most importantly, vent to God. He's the one in charge, remember?
3. Don't torture yourself by pinning wedding ideas and nursery decor or thinking of baby names. Nothing is worse than knowing you can't have something. That's why diets fail so much! Focus on what you do have. I'm a big fan of writing three good things/things to be thankful for every day in a journal, no matter what kind of day you had. Sometimes one of the items is "I'm thankful I did not get hit by a bus today." You know what? That is FINE! I'm really happy my spine is intact today!
4. Find someone you can talk to openly about your feelings, but someone who won't be condescending or let it turn into a big pity party. I have a friend who I can rant to and watch chick flicks with, which is great some of the time but not all, and I have a friend who lets me rant, doesn't judge, and then asks me questions to get to the root of the issue. Find these people! Find your chick flick buddy and your helper.
The bottom line: be thankful.
To the taken ladies:
1. Be sensitive to others' feelings when posting on social media. You have a right to be excited, but think of the different people who are reading your posts. Instead of posting over and over about what your wedding food and decor is, leave some room for surprises. Get your guests excited to celebrate your day, and be excited to celebrate it with you. Examples of excited, but considerate posts would be "I'm happy to announce that boy proposed! We're hoping for a fall wedding and we can't wait to celebrate this new chapter with our friends and family!" or "Working on designing the nursery. Having a rough time on the paint color. I'm just eager to put the beautiful and thoughtful gifts from my shower into the place baby will live!" Get the gist? Yes, you're excited, but always show that you're thinking of others and be thankful for the people in your life.
2. If some of your close friends/family are single/childless, make sure you spend time with them even after baby/marriage. Don't always bring husband/baby to coffee dates. At your wedding, make the bouquet toss the least humiliating as you can. Don't necessarily pair your single bridesmaid with the single groomsman; pick someone friendly. I was paired with a groomsman at a wedding who was married, which was way less awkward than if the bride had paired me with her single brother. My aunt has been particularly good at all of this. She's only 8 years older than me and I was heartbroken when her now husband proposed. I thought I was going to lose her. Even though she lives hours away, she always makes it a point to have one-on-one time with me as well as leaving time for me to have some quality time with her kids.
3. Wait before you break big news. One of my closest friends broke it to everyone that she was engaged on Facebook. We were close enough that I should have gotten at least a text. Make lists: who should get a phone call, who should get a text/email, and who can find out on Facebook. I did this when I got my first job (my biggest news of my life so far), and it worked great.
The bottom line: be hospitable.
Sarah is a 22-year-old convert working at a small town daily newspaper in Pennsylvania. You can find her at The Elizabeth Project.