I'm at an awkward stage. I don't mean that I have braces and glasses, or that I'm gangly, or that I'm struggling to pass 7th grade gym class. I mean that for the first time, my friends and I are in different places in our lives.
A few weeks ago, I got together with my old college roommates. We do this every few months, and have ever since we graduated four years ago. The odd part about this particular weekend was that this time around I felt like an odd duckling.
You see, my friends are all married now—and I'm single. They're looking into buying houses with their husbands; I'm just trying to pay my rent every month. They've made the leap to adopt dogs and cats; I'm still nervous about killing my new office plant, Alan (yes, that is his name). And soon, they'll start having babies, and I will be not one, not two, not three, but four steps away from the path their lives have taken them down.
I sat in silence as they discussed what they did for Valentine's Day with their husbands. I smiled and nodded through extensive discussions about how excited they are to begin decorating their new homes. And when asked, I tried my best to make my dating life sound much more exciting than it actually is. While they listened intently, seeing dating in your 20s as mysterious, dramatic, and just like the movies, I felt like the circus freak friend who still couldn't get her act together long enough to commit.
The change I felt in my friendships was odd and unexpected. Suddenly I didn't know how to relate to these girls whom I stayed up with until 3 a.m. all through college, running to Target in our pajamas to buy Ben&Jerry's. We have so many memories together. They shaped who I am today, and I'm grateful they're in my life. But being around them made me feel weird.
As a matter of fact, I spent much of the weekend feeling out of place and awkward.
As I drove home, thinking back over the weekend, I realized it wasn't only awkwardness I felt. If I had to admit it, I also felt grateful.
I'm happy for my friends. They have wonderful husbands and I'm proud of them for the commitments they've made. But I didn't drive home feeling envious of their lives; I drove home feeling content over how thankful I am for my current place in life. I like—nay—love, being single. And I know I'm not ready to be married.
It occurred to me that God doesn't allow us all to tread down the same path at the exact same time. He holds us back, he spins us around, and sometimes he pushes us forward into new places and forces us to cut down bushes and forge our own paths.