So a few hours ago on Christmas day, here I was sitting at my desk, wanting to type out a festive post. But my mind was simply not in the right (write!) place. So naturally it is now, at quarter to 5 am on Boxing Day Morning that my creative juices will choose to start flowing! And somehow this feels like the kind of post that I need to capture right away, rather than leaving till after I wake up on Boxing Day. However, all of this is quite relevant to the title of the post, and it is a demonstration of just the kind of instability I write about in this post.
So then – can instability ever be considered a gift? Because if so, my life has been blessed with it in spades!
Frankly speaking, instability has been the great bane of my life. Going to university has still probably been the single most momentous occurrence of my life thus far. So I (still) tend to divide my life into pre-university and post-graduation. Well in either of those divisions, instability was/has been a huge, huge factor in my life.
Man the number of times I have prayed! In fact, it is only recently that I have been able to articulate instability as the problem, so for many years I’ve just been pouring out my heart before God, frustrated at the way my life appeared to be going – or not going – without being able to identify the root of the issue, and articulate it – instability. And yet you know what dragged me out of bed just now and compelled me to sit here writing this post? This realisation that sometimes what we are praying hardest against in our lives turns out to a huge blessing in disguise.
This is true of singleness. One of my next posts is planned to be titled “How Singleness is my Superpower”. Here’s the thing: I believe I have already written a post with that same title, years ago, (although I can’t find it just now – perhaps currently unpublished?) If I truly never did write that original article, I definitely thought it through, extensively, and there is surely a years-old draft lying forgotten somewhere in my various blogs’ “Posts to write” lists. After all these years, I have still not devised an effective way of keeping track of these lists, which means that a fair few number of post ideas manage to fall through the cracks!
I have surely yearned for a husband and marriage, and continue to do so. That after all is the reason why this entire blog exists, why I have been writing faithfully and pouring out my heart for almost 10 years. And yet, of late, I have recognised yet again that while I have genuinely wanted to be married, singleness has definitely been my superpower thus far, and has afforded me a great amount of freedom regarding personal choices.
In a similar way, I have realised to my amazement that instability, what I have been praying/crying against for so long, has actually worked to my benefit. Please do not get me wrong. It has not been fun at all to have had to drag myself and all my belongings from living space to living space. I literally hate amending my CV, as my work experiences have been so disparate, and I actually find it psychologically painful to try to mould all those disparate experiences into a coherent whole. Each time I have to amend my CV, I pray/vow to myself that by God’s grace this will be the last time ever – that is said in the hope that in the meantime one of my businesses will finally take off and I can henceforward look forward to being my own boss, and never having to apply for a job again! And yet thus far none of my businesses has taken off sufficiently, which means I have had to figuratively dust off/amend my CV far more times than I would care to remember!
And yet, from where I’m sitting now, I’m starting to realise that unbelievably, improbably, all of that could actually have worked to my advantage. And yes it is linked to being single. Not the actual endless moving around or having to learn work cultures for various new jobs, but rather what it prevented me from doing.
First and foremost, all this…fun, especially in the work sense, has prevented me from getting married. Now I constantly look back at my life, and ask myself: “Has there been anyone I could feasibly have married?” Invariably I will always answer that question with a “No.” Either Mr “He-Was-So-Attractive-And-I-Could-Not-Help-Noticing” did not share my faith or Mr “Supposedly-Deep-And-Holy” also did not share my faith! However part of me is ?pragmatic ?realistic enough to realise that if I had actually been in a sufficiently stable position to settle down, I may well have been a little more flexible or accommodating regarding church guys, a little more determined to “make it work” with one of them. So one of the reasons I’ve been able to be so fussy is because realistically speaking, it has never really been feasible anyway!
You know, my life is unique in this regard. Relative to my friends, especially those who are from a similarly educated background, I literally feel as if I am the only one who is (still) single. (She reflects a little – actually no, that is definitely not true. It just feels that way until you reflect on it!)
All this long period of singleness means that I have had ample time to learn, forget and relearn many lessons about relationships, for which I am extremely grateful; for instance to learn, forget, and then relearn that singleness is my superpower. Candidly speaking, even though I definitely still want to find and marry Mr Huggie-Wuggie, from where I am sitting now, I am so happy that I have never been married, because I am grateful for the marital lessons I have been learning up to now; it feels it has taken me up to now to learn enough to get to a place where I could be confident of making a great choice. Yes I know that I have said that before, but since that time and now I have learned even more which makes me all the more grateful that Huggie-Wuggie has not yet turned up. For instance, I am so grateful for the simple principle of “Two-Yearing” someone, which has already saved me from a few potential disasters. The truth is that we could potentially keep on learning more and more, who knows, in the next 5 years if still single I might learn yet more which would make me even more grateful that Huggie-Wuggie was yet to turn up. I guess though that we have to balance increasing wisdom against youthful energy; we could potentially stave off marriage indefinitely in the hope of acquiring more and more knowledge and wisdom but ultimately at some point we have to just bite the bullet and jump into it. However, while Huggie-Wuggie is clearly nowhere to be seen, I may as well make the most of that by garnering all the knowledge and wisdom that I can!
And of all the things I have learned, of all the things I can recommend to people, “two-yearing” a potential partner might yet seem to be the most extreme, but it is also the single most effective. I read So. Many. Stories. of what happens in other people’s relationships. Endlessly. Every day. Today (Christmas Day) I read an account from a psychologist telling you how to know your relationship is toxic (which is perhaps only the 50th such article I have ever read!) And each time I read about what spouses or partners have done; from manipulation to financial abuse to you name it, I will think to myself: “Yep, that’s character!” If we would only give ourselves ample time to observe people’s character before embarking upon relationships with them, I’m sure that 90% of relationship issues would be avoided altogether.
“But Tosin, it is impossible to know someone fully, even after you have two-yeared them!”
So what, because it is impossible to know everything about someone fully, that is why you would happily jump into a relationship knowing essentially nothing about them whatsoever?! Even if you cannot know absolutely everything about them, does it not make sense to get to know everything you reasonably can, if this person might end up being your future? In another relationship article I read this time a few days ago, this woman said that over the course of the lockdown she got to know her husband’s middle name. And I almost fainted. Seriously, how can you marry someone without knowing their middle name?! And don’t they read out both spouse’s full names at the wedding ceremony?! Perhaps she had been too excited to pay much attention! Even before thinking up the concept of two-yearing, I have always been naturally interested/inquisitive about people, and doubly so with someone I might spend my life with. So I am quite sure I would have known every factual detail there was to know about my husband: where he went to school, how many siblings (their names… their own middle names!) his favourite coulour, his favourite food, past relationship history, previous places he’s worked, stuff like that. Middle names to me seems like first date territory, for people who do dating!
So anyway, I have veered off point a little bit, but my point was that instability to some extent has kept me single. And from my current vantage point now, that seems like a very good thing.
A second big but counterintuitive way that stability now seems like an advantage is that it has stopped me from buying a house. Really. I’m sure it is not “really” a surprise that instability would keep someone from buying a house, the surprise is that that would be an advantage. You know what, looking back over the years, unlike with getting married, I actually could have bought a house if I had been absolutely determined to do so. However that would likely have been in far parts of the country, in locations more affordable than London, but then that would have been very far from my family and I preferred to have the option of being in close proximity to my family. Even in London as crazily expensive as it has been there have been a few opportunities that I could have absolutely pushed through if I was absolutely determined – but I found that I just was not that determined. Once again having to drag myself from home to home has been so painful that it has almost caused me to cry but even with that it just has not seemed worth it to push through a house purchase. So now then, this is how all this has surprisingly turned out to be a good thing.
Once you have responsibilities, like you get married, or you buy a house, then that ties you down. If I had a mortgage, I would not have the luxury of experimenting endlessly with my businesses as I have done. I would have had to keep getting “stable” jobs, prioritising those for the sake of paying the mortgage. Because I have not had that constraint, I have been able to look to my businesses. As with relationships, I have had the luxury of learning, forgetting, and relearning various business lessons countless times.
Of all my similarly educated friends from similar backgrounds to mine, I literally know no-one else like me, no-one on a remotely similar career path. As first it seemed as if I was crazy, or immensely irresponsible, precisely because my life lacked those markers of maturity or responsibility (like spouses, families and mortgages) that people affix to their lives to show that they are “serious adults”. It is only of late that people have started granting my life choices a measure of respect because they are starting to bear visible fruit.
There are possibly more things I could say, but these are the basic points; it is now 06.17 on Boxing Day Morning, I am so tired, I am going to go to bed!!! 🙂