Reflecting on My 20’s Compared to My 30’s

In my 20’s:  When I was in college I went to a Christian college but got involved with InterVarsity (IV) at CSUF right away as a freshmen. I felt I fit in much better in the environment of IV because almost everyone was single, which was almost the complete opposite of people at my Christian college. And when you don’t date or have a bf all through your years at a Christian college you REALLY stick out and feel left out of place.

Ben was my small group leader in IV for awhile and I got to build our relationship and get to know who he really was and his character without the pressure of dating. I was 23 and a half when I started dating Ben at the end of my super senior year in college.

In college everyone was pretty much in the same life stage. We all had similar schedules and school breaks. There was this sense of collective community of figuring ourselves out together, being lost at times, stressed out about finals, and so on.

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In My 30’s: I really have had the ultimate life changes you can have after graduating. I got married at 25 (few months shy of 26), got pregnant about 6 months later, Ben was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer about 2 and half months after our 2nd wedding anniversary, and died 3 months after we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. I was 29 years old when he died. And a few days before he died the nurses were trying to transfer him into a nursing home. That was surreal looking at nursing homes with my parents to pick where my husband was going to die. After his death I had to plan the memorial service, pick out his urn, and I had to contact a sea of people to notify about his death and fill out tons of paperwork, and raise a young 2-year-old.

For me, feeling ready to date meant I not only had to deal and process all the craziness I mentioned above but I really had to face all the old insecurities I had in college and being single again with the Lord. The feelings I felt then I still felt after he died. And healing from the same hurts means going back to the source of where the hurt started.  And that? That was quite a process:

  1. I decided to go back to the feelings of insecurity I had or times I felt awkward or overlooked by guys and ask the Lord about it.

“Was I awkward or was that something I told myself?”

“Why did I feel awkward?”

“The time I felt alone and out of place at a table with couples at my Christian college how were you seeing me then? ”

“What lies of me telling myself I was awkward, not pretty, not attractive need to be replaced with how You felt about me and what was the actual truth?”

2. I also had to process the lies and new insecurities I felt in the present I have had to ask the Lord about:

“It was already hard enough to find someone when it was just me now I have a child. How many guys can handle or be mature enough for that?”

“I have such a deep connection and have experienced so many life experiences of life and death that even my parents haven’t even gone through yet. Who is going to appreciate or even value what I have gone through?”

“How can I acknowledge that I am complete in my life as a single person yet still continue to ask to You about finding someone and get married again?”

“Where are You working and what do else do You want me to learn in my single state again?”

The main things I find being difficult about dating in my 20’s compared to 30’s are:

  1. The difference of life stages: Since college I have been married and had a son and dealt with a death. So, I am not just single. I am not just married. And most people my age either haven’t gotten married, are married or married with kids, a few divorced, but none have experienced losing a spouse to cancer.
  2. The ability to find and meet new guys:In college it’s easy because we are all in the same place and I could watch and observe people in person. After college most of my guy friends have moved away or have gotten married. And there are not many places to meet quality guys when you have a child and work schedule.
  3. I have gone on a few dates but dating as a single mom is tricky: I have to plan ahead to have someone watch my son. Most of my daily energy goes toward taking care of him so it’s hard to find enough energy to plan and  meet a new person. Date night with my husband was easy. I already knew him and my day to day needs were, for the most part, being met. Being both mom and dad is takes quite a toll day to day.

With all that I have processed. I have found the dating world to be quite discouraging. I have tried Bumble, Match.com, Widow and Widowers (too many widows 45 and older), Christian Mingle, EHarmony, and many others until I settled on Coffee Meets Bagel.

I know that the probability to find someone on the same deep faith and deep connection I have with the Lord is one in a million. But so far the majority of guys online say they are Christian but when I actually talk to them they don’t have a very deep faith or even an interest of going deep. Or when there is a person that seems deep they never contact me back or shut down when I even mention I am a widow. Online makes it hard because you can only tell so much. I prefer meeting people in person but as I mentioned above it is tricky because dating means planning ahead and much more complicated than when I was younger and didn’t have a kid.

There is a fine line of not being too picky and giving people a chance. Even if I don’t like a profile or think a guy might be too shallow I talk to the Lord about each one and ask what He thinks. That has been very helpful and some people have actually surprised me when I start talking to them.

People say I am young and can marry again. This is true but finding a quality person is much harder than you would think. I have tons of guys liking me everyday on  online dating but most are shallow, they don’t know what they really want, not much life experience or maturity in valuing mine. I have a feeling I probably will not find a quality person that is mature enough to handle or value all that I have been through online but I continue to ask the Lord to bring this person if they are even out there or to guide me to opportunities to meet that person.

It is definitely a take each day at a time kind of season. A lot trusting. A lot of hoping. A lot of waiting. And a lot of resting in my  completeness in  the Lord as a single person again as well.

 

 

 

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