Surviving as a single senior
The feminine side
November 10, 2010
Remember the Senior Girls’ Tri-W Skit a few months ago?
“I was pretty sure we had more friends than this,” one of the girls said as “Senior Year” walked by in front of a now-nearly-empty stage, the rest of the girls having been snatched away, one by one, by boys.
Ironically, I thought that line was funny at the time.
I say “ironically” because I found myself asking that same uncertain question myself a few days later.
It wasn’t quite as funny then as it had been in the skit, because it was happening.
Welcome Week ended, I looked around, and all of a sudden it seemed like I was quickly becoming the last one standing, and that I might be standing for a good long while.
But, after the initial overwhelming sense of despair, and with “Another One Bites the Dust” echoing in my head, I realized that senior year was here, ready or not.
I realized, too, that if I was going to make it through senior year without spending my entire budget on chocolate therapy and all of my time reading, watching and bawling through tales of unrequited love, I needed to develop some survival mechanisms.
Here’s what I came up with – with a little help from my girlfriends:
Go functioning. I personally love swing functioning.
Every place I’ve gone to swing function, everybody’s there just to have a good time and you’re never left standing on the sides for long.
It’s also a super fun way to exercise and a good way to meet some crazy and some not-so-crazy people, too. And there’s just something about d – excuse me – functioning that’s confidence-boosting, even if you’re bad at it (I should know, at least about the “bad at it” part).
And while you’re out there on the function floor, work on perspective, too.
I remember some principle we talked about in my freshman psychology class that says if you notice something once, you’ll begin to see it everywhere, even though it’s not actually turning up any more frequently than usual.
Realize this when it feels like people only come in pairs anymore.
A sizeable number still come in singles. I have to remind myself, when I feel like the lone loner, that I live in an apartment of four girls, three of us are single, and 22 does not equal “old maid.”
I’m not even close to being a lone loner.
Embrace your inner crazy cat lady.
Wear cardigans or horn-rimmed glasses. Put your hair up in a bun.
You could even go completely crazy and do all three at once.
But really, get dressed up just because you can. The question of what “he” thinks doesn’t even have to cross your mind, so take the time now to teach yourself to look and feel the best you possibly can to please yourself and bless the world with the work of art you are – not to draw in a guy.
You are a work of art – celebrate that.
Learn, too, to love those moments alone.
If you’re not in the least bit introverted, learning that may be a challenge, but I challenge you to learn it anyway. Even if you find it more work than refreshment, it’s good for the soul to just be still.
And the cat part. Get one. So you can’t have pets on campus?
Adopt a campus cat, as long as you keep it outside of your apartment.
Or maybe just make it a semester goal to pet one of them.
They have learned to love their solitary independence, too, you know.
Become a feminist.
My second semester of Civ, my professor announced that if we were women and sitting in the classroom, we were feminists.
Having grown up in circles where the word “feminist” was equivalent to “atheistic-bra-burning-civilization-destroyer,” being told I already was one was… liberating. Still afraid of assuming that label?
Read your Bible to really dig into what things God says are absolutes about gender roles.
You might be surprised.
Dig into history and see how gender roles looked in the past.
What things do you think were better than today? What things were worse? Don’t chicken out on Betty Friedan, either.
Occasionally, even atheistic-bra-burning-civilization-destroyers can say something worth listening to (Is the 1950s image of gender roles really the way things have to be? Just asking).
Here’s one that I find tough – limit your romantic movie diet, or watch ones that end up with a happy, single woman – “My Best Friend’s Wedding” comes to mind.
And do you, like I often do, tend to think that life revolves around the question of marriage?
Try reading through the Bible and counting how many times God talks about marriage.
It’s not as many as you might think.
In fact, there are entire books that don’t discuss finding your soul mate at all. Weird, huh?
Heap coals of fire on their heads - the heads of your dating or engaged friends, that is.
This tactic is also known as “Doing nice things for people even when you don’t particularly like them.”
Maybe I’m alone on this one, but sometimes I get irritated with my friends and their boyfriends/girlfriends because I’m jealous.
Other times I get irritated with them because they really are being remarkably immature and selfish.
But while they may not be “enemies” per se, consciously giving and investing in those you even momentarily want to avoid tends to make you rejoice much more in their happiness.
Invite your friend and her boyfriend/his girlfriend for dinner.
Add their relationship to your prayer list (and don’t be praying for their break-up).
Is someone’s birthday soon?
Use the occasion as an excuse to give them a gift certificate for a coffee or dinner date, and do it anonymously (see Matthew 6). And don’t add a note explaining that your gift is for the purpose of a DTR.
Learn, too, the power of the sympathetic imagination.
This is also known as “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.” All those new couples? They’re happy right now. You should be happy now, too, even though you’re not one of them.
So keep your Eeyore persona in your apartment. In a closet. Locked so even you can’t get it out.
Although it’s okay sometimes to… Cry.
It’s hard watching friends left and right start serious relationships, get engaged, and plan their weddings when there’s no “special someone” on the horizon for you. Those friendships will change.
Goodbyes will happen.
For better or for worse that is a real part of life, and it is sad.
Remember, too, that maintaining any friendship at any stage requires work because friendships never, even with other single friends, maintain themselves – entropy, I’ve discovered, works on more than the physical level.
So rejoice with those who rejoice, cry when you need to, and have the faith to believe that when something good ends, something else good is just beginning.
That’s all I’ve got. Not terribly wise, not even terribly witty; just a pep talk to myself and anyone else who might care to listen.
But I think if I keep these things in mind, and maybe flaunt my singleness now and then when I feel like it, I’m not just going to survive this year as a single senior...
I’m going to enjoy it.