Sometimes I really envy the single life.
[let me, before continuing, remind my readers that I happen to believe I have one of the best marriages EVER, and that part of this fabulous relationship is the honesty between us, in which my husband is aware that I have occasional bouts of desiring my independence. I don't, in any way, regret the choices I have made, and, in fact, LOVE LOVE LOVE the married life. But there is good reason to love singleness, too.]
This thought flitted through my mind the other day as yet another single friend was sharing highlights of a recent vacation. Now, married people (and families) go on vacation, too. But it costs more, so it tends not to happen as often. You don't see or do all the things that you want because other people's wishes are involved. And, as I indulged my self-pity party over the fact that I have not had a real vacation in...well, I can't even REMEMBER, it's been that long, I realized that fun, expensive vacations are just the metaphor for the perks of being single.
The apostle Paul, probably the most famous single guy other than Jesus and George Clooney, wrote to one of the early churches, urging its people to remain unmarried. "It is good for a man not to marry...to the unmarried and widows I say: it is good for them to stay unmarried...Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife...those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this."
The "many troubles" of marriage are for many more posts. Suffice it to say, to be single is much easier on the self - because, when you're unmarried, who points out all your faults? Who tells you you're wrong? How many times do you give up what you want so that someone else can get what they want? It's your time, your money, your energy - and you can spend it however you want. You can enjoy one, long, fun vacation if you choose to.
And this is my point - it might be easier to only have to look out for yourself, it might be more fun to always do it your way, on your terms and in your time. But the easy way never built character into anyone. It never changed the world. George Clooney might have villas around the world, he might make an exorbitant amount of money and romance any woman he wants (and really, who wouldn't want to live like that?!?) - but in the end, will his life really matter? Will he have spent his time, his money, his resources only on himself - or will he give them in service to others?
It's a challenge for everyone, single or not, to make the most of our lives. But, in my opinion, it is especially important for the unmarried - because they have the freedom to do anything. ANYTHING. As Paul says, in his same discourse on the virtues of singlehood, "the time is short." So will you make it count?