Let me start by saying I had no interest in the royal wedding. However, when you come home to a living room of people watching the royal union (loudly) for hours, it’s hard not to get sucked in. Trust me, I tried avoiding it. From upstairs, I heard one thing that captured my attention, "Meghan Markle is currently 36." That gave me hope.
Much of my life has been guided and fueled by outdated traditions and expectations. Getting married in my 30’s was inconceivable. My parents were married in their twenties, and my mom had me at 28. That became my measuring stick and plan. Twenty-eight has come and gone, and I’m nowhere near hitting “the goal.” This has been a dark cloud hovering over my deepest thoughts. In the four years leading up to 30, it’s been an area of struggle. I’m not pressed to get married, but I do long for the companionship and would love to get the process started.
Honestly, it wasn't until a friend recently shared the youtube series “Relationship Goals” that I started accepting my single season. Plus, the more I inadvertently learned about Markle’s background, the more I realized, she left us a template that aligns with the relationship goals series.
“Singleness is a time that allows for growth and self-discovery apart from inhibition.”
In the series, Pastor Michael Todd argues that singleness is the most important part of any relationship. He acknowledged that most of us spend our singleness chasing after relationships and warns that relationships, specifically marriage, will only reveal the issues of our singleness. For example, some of us, while single, are so hardworking and successful that we often find problems with everyone and everything around us. If we don’t fix this perception while we’re single, when we get in a relationship, we will only be able to see the “imperfections” of our partner or our union. Conclusion, it is essential that we use our single season to grow ourselves in our current relationships.
In my shameless stalking of Markle, after my forced watching of her union made me obsessed with her story, I found that she too had to change her perception. In fact, in her “Birthday Suit” blog entry which celebrated her 33rd birthday, she wrote:
“I am happy.… It takes time. To be happy. To figure out how to be kind to yourself. To not just choose that happiness, but to feel it. My 20s were brutal – a constant battle with myself, judging my weight, my style, my desire to be as 'whatever' as everyone else.”
The comparisons and insecurities that surface while single, won’t disappear upon finding a mate. We have to use this time to work through those internal areas. Working on ourselves doesn’t have to be all brutal though! Markle, who went through an empowering divorce five years ago, spent the majority of her thirties creating the life she wanted for herself.
She found her purpose before finding her prince. Outside of acting, she started her own lifestyle blog and joined the international fight for women’s issues through work with the United Nations and other organizations. This exploration of self and purpose is crucial according to the relationship goals series. It’s necessary to know who we are and what we are meant to do before we attach ourselves to someone else. If not, we can get lost and shaped into someone else's purpose, leaving us unfulfilled.
It’s comforting to know that times have changed. The years we're spending working and growing are not in vain. We aren’t “off track.” We are exactly where we need to be. Embrace it.