I didn't notice it while I was spending the summer abroad in London. Or even during tailgates, kickbacks, and hazy nights in New Orleans with my favorite girlfriends, but I was always searching.
We dressed up and went out to get "chose".
Fingers crossed as we walked across uneven parking lots in uncomfortable heels. Hopes focused on bumping into a Mr. Right who would ease the pain of the last failed relationship.
Thinking back on it, we were in our best days. We were vibrant 20-somethings who were going places fast. Yet we missed the full essence of our beautiful journey wishing for what we thought was better.
Tears. There were always tears. Maybe not from all of us at once, but at least from one of us.
At any given time, one of us was wondering when he would call or why he was inconsistent. One of us had caught him in another lie or pulled up on him doing something he shouldn't.
We were constantly putting ourselves through a cycle of frustration – mad that we couldn't force grown men to act right, sad when we gained enough dignity to leave, lonely when they were gone, and relapsing for the warmth of a body next to ours.
The cycle of longing was never-ending.
I suppose we were resilient. Putting ourselves back together again after every letdown. Always encouraging each other not to give up on love. But, nonetheless, there was this feeling that we were missing out – long gazes at happy couples as we wondered what that felt like.
We spent all this time fearful that we would never know. Afraid that we might one day turn into Mary Jane from the TV show. None of us would admit it at the time, but it was obsessive – this thought that life would be complete with a man.
Yet, all around us were opportunities to be complete within ourselves.
At age 27, I finally got the memo that there was more to life than wishing it away. I realized that I was pretty damn bomb without a man to validate me.
In one of my proudest moments, I sat down and wrote a letter to my future husband. I promised to live my best life until he manifested into my world. I vowed physical fitness, travel, spiritual growth, prosperity, and wholeness within myself. I released the stress of forcing relationships and got serious about falling in love with me.
As soon as I wholeheartedly placed my focus on being the best I could be for me, my husband came along.
It was the most ironic thing I've witnessed in my life. I couldn't ask for a better partner. He is strong, loving, and emotionally available. With him, I can be my true and authentic self. He motivates me to match his ambition and encourages me to be the best version of myself. It's everything I was hoping for way back then.
But if I'm honest, when I reflect over my single days, it's a little embarrassing. I spent most of them wishing to be married. Eventually, God granted me my heart's desire. And although I am thankful for my husband, I realize that wishing my life away was a great misuse of my time.
Instead, I should've capitalized on the opportunity to throw myself into my dreams with all my might while I had no responsibility or obligation to consider the needs and wants of someone else. I'm still growing and thriving, but I often think about how much more I could've accomplished with a different mindset.
Hindsight is 20/20, but if I could get a do-over of my single days, I'd enjoy sleepovers with my friends that didn't include hour-long convos about some guy, go to Italy without worrying that it is too romantic for a single person, and take risks on passionate ideas that sound crazy to the outside world. If you do it right, marriage is amazing, but that doesn't negate the hard work and sacrifice that comes along with it.
While you're single you should splurge, see the world, enjoy sporadic girls' trips, workout like crazy, read so much that your eyes hurt, date around without expectations, and do the things that scare you.
More than that, I challenge you to be free.
Cherish this season in your life. Stop losing yourself in the idea of love and find yourself through experiences that make you better.
Besides, when you do all these things, the right type of love will come.
Featured image by Getty Images