26 October 2009

Being single in an LDS world...

Apparently isn’t so unusual these days. This past weekend I participated in a Single Adult Conference in Kirtland, Ohio (I was actually part of the planning committee a little bit, too) hosted by the five northern Ohio stakes of the LDS church. Overall, it was a great weekend, spiritually speaking. We were very blessed with wonderful speakers, amazing workshops and uplifted and entertained by our keynote speaker, Catherine Stokes. The panel discussion and closing remarks after lunch on Sunday (the panel included the Columbus Ohio Temple President and Matron, Karl Anderson aka Mr. Kirtland, Catherine Stokes, Kirtland Stake President, and a couple others with much knowledge and experience with single life).

Socially, it was a little difficult at times for me – being that I was on the younger end of the spectrum. I was able to have fun and further develop a friendship with another young woman from my area, and so it was in fact good times. I definitely feel that there is a need for a mid-singles type group in my area, though.

Some interesting statistics I learned in this weekend’s festivities included the fact that the most recent studies indicate that 1/3 of the members of the LDS church are single. It seems to me to be kind of an astounding number. Even more astounding was the fact that of the single members of the Church, by the age of 30, 40% of the women are still active whereas only 8% of the men are. By age 40, the men stay stagnant at 8%, but the women drop significantly to 17%. I’m curious as to why this is.

The feeling that I got during the conference was that there are too many single members of the church just fixated on their single status. We all know that the ratio of men to women = NOT SO GOOD. So, don’t go to a conference with the expectation that you will meet somebody, and you will have a good time. What we all need to do as children of God is to focus on developing our relationship with our Father in Heaven and with our Saviour, Jesus Christ. From that we develop faith. With faith we can endure the mortal disappointment(s) we may face, but as we keep on keeping on, we are happy now, strong and able to endure now and therefore preparing for a fullness of joy in the life to come. If we are fixated on something that we can’t truly control (as it is dependent upon the agency of another person as well as our own), we lose sight of the fact that “men are that they might have joy.”

Another important point I think that I learned was that as single members of a family-focused/oriented church, we are the ones that need to reach out. We need to include ourselves and reach out to our local leaders so that they are aware of what our needs are, as they are often quite different than the needs of others. This way our local leaders will be able to help us in our individual quest to come closer to our Saviour.

Personally, I have felt very blessed and included in my ward/congregation here. There is a small group of ladies (varying in age and situation in life) and I that regularly get together for girls’ nights out. Almost every other lady that participates in these GNOs is married. But I’ve been able to cultivate good friendships with them and so when there are ward activities, I don’t feel that the rest of the ward is paired off – I’m there with my friends and their families. It further strengthens my conviction that there is nothing in this life, not situation, disappointment, nor individual that has the power to take away the testimony that I have of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and quite literally, I’d be damned if I allowed them to rob me of my faith. Nothing is worth losing that.

21 October 2009

Hope and Happiness?

I had an interesting discussion with one of my non-Mo friends recently. She, too, is single. And I must say she’s beautiful, intelligent, funny and down-to-earth. Again with the I don’t understand why she isn’t WITH someone already. The ones that she has liked and dated have chosen not to be with her, and frankly it just proves that these guys were seriously lacking in the sense department. Granted, that’s not always the case and there has to be chemistry and relationships need to click… But man ALIVE. Anyway, back to our discussion.

We were talking about how even though at times it seems futile that we’ll ever find someone with whom we may share our lives, and intellectually we’re ready to just give up and chalk ourselves up to a solitary mortality… There’s this undying HOPE within us that someday… Someday he’ll come along. Someday there WILL be a right one at the right time.

My friend’s wondering thought was: Would I just be happier to accept that it’s never going to happen and just accept that being single is it for me?

I won’t lie when I say that I, too, have wondered this. And that for some reason there is this hope deep down that won’t go away, won’t die. Intellectually, I’m so done with it because in the past 3 years I’ve only even met one person that would be worth getting to know in the romantic arena. But is that doubt, that fear – hopelessness – BETTER than having an unwavering secret hope that it will eventually all work out with someone?

I guess simply even looking at the adjectives themselves… Hopelessness, fear, and doubt are not synonymous with HAPPY. But unwavering hope is synonymous with light, goodness and yes, I daresay happiness.

One of the great blessings in the knowledge of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the knowledge that God is aware of us because we are His children and He loves us. He wants what is best for us and as we strive toward following the path that He would have us tread, we can be assured that there is no blessing that He will withhold from us if we live as closely to that path as we possibly can – and even when we stray, the atonement of Jesus Christ is there to make up for those strayed moments. When we realize that this mortality is just a blink of time in our existence, does it REALLY matter whether we find our eternal companion now? Or later? Sure, in my mortal mind and heart, it might kind of suck. But there is a fullness of joy that I would rather be working toward, which in the eternities can and will include a companion.

So I guess that hope that is unwavering isn’t really futile. Because as long as I am true to myself and what I know to be true, there will be a “someday.” And that someday will be so worth the wait.

13 October 2009

Generic vs the Real Deal

People are interesting creatures. Perspectives and reality can be so totally different. I think we all have cheated ourselves of reality thanks to the proverbial rose-colored glasses. It seems to me that there are times when we want something so badly, we convince ourselves that a generic version of what we really want will suffice.

Don’t get me wrong… sometimes the generic version turns out to be just as good as the real thing. There’s nothing wrong with a generic brand as long as the quality of the product is top notch. Although, all too often, we convince ourselves that while it’s not quite as good, it’s good enough… And if we continue to partake of the generic item, we become acclimated to its lesser quality. Sometimes it’s been so long since we had the real thing, we forget how good it is, and settle for the cheaper version.

I recently went shopping for cereal. I had decided on honey bunches of oats. I mean hi – clusters, almonds, golden goodness. What’s not to like? At the last minute I opted for the “great value” brand instead of the real deal. I suffered through that box. The clusters weren’t so clustery. And I don’t know what it was, but it was more like little pebbles than soft yet crunchy golden goodness in a box. What did I learn from this experience? Sometimes, it’s worth the extra effort/time/money to get the real deal.

I look around and I see so many people who have settled on the generic form of love. They’ve settled to be with someone that was good enough, or the one that finally asked, or the one that they’d been with so long, it was just comfortable. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the storybook kind of love is out there, that it exists. There are countless songs, stories, poems, etc. that tell of love - the stuff that dreams are made of. The kind of love that is unconditional, selfless and filled with passion. I have to believe that it really exists. I have seen it exist with a few people I know and know of. What is it that makes people settle for the generic version? I’m not sure. But I am grateful that I am not one of them. I am happy to adopt the bridge of “21 Things I Want in a Lover” as a mantra: I’m in no hurry, I could wait forever, I’m in no rush cause I like being solo, there are no worries and certainly no pressure, in the meantime I’ll live like there’s no tomorrow.

At the end of the day, our Father in Heaven has a plan for each of us – it is up to each individual to realize the perfect plan that He has provided for us, by the choices we make each day. As we live each day to the fullest, striving to become a better version of the person we were the day before, striving to follow the straight and narrow path laid before us, we will be led to our very own promised land. It doesn't matter if the path isn't exactly what we anticipated, and we might not notice all of the perils from which we were diverted. But there will be a day when we will be able to look back with perfect clarity and see the wisdom that led us to that promised land.

09 October 2009

Dear Narcissus Boy,

People are interesting creatures. I think that we are naturally more n*sync with some people and not so much with others. I think I tend to be drawn to people that are more easy going, honest, have a good sense of humor and are reciprocal in their relationships. Those that are strangers to reciprocity are likely those from which I will detach.

Sometimes when we detach from these strangers of reciprocity, they freak out. These types seem to tend to end up being defensive and incapable of copping responsibility for their actions. And they also seem to think your world must revolve around them. When in fact, it does not and there is literally no possible way for you to care less, because frankly you just don’t care.

Sometimes we may be the ones that have caused the problem. We may be on the receiving end of being “Kipped” out (that is my own kind of FRIENDS reference). Instead of throwing an immature temper tantrum, going on the defense, etc. It may behoove us to look within and try to determine what we may have done or said to cause offense/ill feelings, regardless of whether or not that was our intent. A mature, rational adult would try to be objective, would they not? If you’ve spent most of a friendship expecting things and not really giving much in return (aka a stranger to reciprocity)… then you might have a fundamental problem with interpersonal relationships. Just saying.

And sometimes we just have to tell ourselves, c’est la vie. If you’ve claimed to have moved on with your life… stop dwelling on the person from the past that only spares a thought (or blog) for you when you’ve stirred the pot. In fact, you not only stir the pot, but you pull it out of the dusty cupboard, put it on the stove and wait for it to heat up so you can stir your brew. Because after the novelty of the stirriness has passed, you will again be forgotten in the abyss of a past that served its purpose, but in retrospect was just a waste.

05 October 2009

A Paris!

Sacre Coeur
La Tour Eiffel

un beau parc de paris :)

I'm not sure of the name of this bridge over the Seine...

La Tour Eiffel a nuit.

I've always wanted to see these places! Now I need to go back and seriously visit them rather than running through Paris trying to simply SEE it all! I've got more pics... see facebook or i can also send a link to the upload. Just hollar at your girl. I took over 700 pics, so beware :)

London swings like a pendulum do...

The London Eye!
Kensington Palace

Changing of the Guard was pretty rad.

Buckingham Palace!

Look, kids! Big Ben!

Jane Austen is my homegirl!

The Royal Crescent - if you've seen Persuasion, this should be quite familiar to you!
I thought this was picturesque... taken in Sydney Gardens. Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra often walked through these gardens!

Melissa and Me at the Roman Baths
Visiting Chawton! I heart Jane!

Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen's last home

At the Baroque Dance concert!

Melissa and I were all Regencied up for the promenade and got to be a part of breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people gathered in one place in Regency costume! The total was 409 people!

These are just a few pics from Bath... More to come...