I have always been a firm believer that where you are in life is exactly where you are meant to be, and it's up to you to choose your own happiness. I see single people envying those in a committed relationship and married people wishing to relive their single days. I want to grab hold of their shoulders, look them dead in the eye, and shake these people. "Be happy with your life. It's right where you need to be." I have friends who are single, crushing their jobs, and traveling the world. Their lives look pretty good. Likewise, I have friends who are married with children, dealing with the sweet chaos of parenthood. Their lives look pretty good too. I, also, have friends who are at a crossroads in their lives, struggling with adulthood and personal problems. Their lives look pretty good, for they are the verge of new beginnings and discoveries. Yet, I don't want any of their lives because I have mine.
Nonetheless, I forgot this for a few moments a few weeks ago. A group of girls and I traveled down to Charleston, SC to celebrate a good friend's bachelorette party. We did typical girly things: drank fruity concoctions, exercised in matching tank tops, brunched, played love games, got our hair done, ate cupcakes, browsed boutiques, took multiple pictures in front of pink balloons, got dressed up, dined out, and finally made our way to a bar to top off our evening.
Side note: The past six years of my life the late night scene has usually consisted of my husband and I going out with other couples and having a few beers while conversing or enjoying the music and the atmosphere. Somewhere in there we have danced a time or two, but shortly after college the desire to head bang to 1000 decibels of unce, unce, unce faded pretty quickly.
Anyway, we walked into the bar, looking cute I may add (especially the bride-to-be), and immediately a group of guys in a bachelor party come up to us. Here, we were, not a single one of us single, with a group of attractive guys. A tad bit of green started to creep up on me. Eventually, they politely moved on when it was revealed that all of us were taken. They easily found the next group of girls. The night carried on, and we were having fun being girls. But a weird thing started happening. With each drink more were more guys flirting with us? My tipsy brain, I think the bartender is flirting with me. Or maybe he just asked me for my order. But I think he smiled at me. Sooo..hmmm? Wait now this guy is looking at me. Do I have something on my face? I have to have something on my face. The bachelor guys are staring at us. They want to talk with us again. Never mind, they are talking to other girls, but are they casually stealing glances at us. They definitely are. Nope, one of them looks as if he might make out with this girl soon. Now, this guy just tripped and nearly fell on me. He's shaking my hand and telling me that I am pretty. Score! I'm telling James. This continued on, and I was enjoying it. I haven't been flirted with (was I even being flirted with? I couldn't even tell) since....who knows when?
Pretty soon the band quit playing, and one of my friends and I were left alone chatting with each other. The night seemed to be ending, and I was ready to get back to the place to go to sleep or gossip with the girls about our evening. Then, one of the female bartenders approached us and asked if we would like to go to the VIP area because they were in need of ladies. We shrugged and said yes. The bride-to-be would like being there. We were led to a roped off area with loud music where guys were ordering $500 bottle service! Typically, so not my scene, but I settled into one of the leather couches to take it all in. One of my friends winked and said, "There is no harm in flirting," as she went off to score us free drinks. I laughed. I began looking around and bopping my head to the music dismayed but how much people were spending when a guy came up to me and asked me to watch his coat. I didn't think anything of it until he came back again, but this time to tell me that he and I would dance later. I didn't say anything. He was cute. But I knew what he meant by the word "dance" and it certainly wouldn't just be us jamming out next to each other. Throughout the night, he came back multiple times, and each time I said no. He whispered in my ear, put his arm around me, nudged me closer to him, and that's when it happened.
The green envy came back in full force. I wish I was single, I thought. Ahhh here I was going against my own adage. The one phrase I so sadly sighed when other people said it was pushing its way into my brain. I kept scanning the crowd for him, hoping he would come back. And when the night ended and the lights turned on, I was reluctant to leave the atmosphere of flirtatious guys, free drinks, and wooing.
Too often we get caught up in what we don't have, and we make justifications in order to get what we think we want. It's just flirting. Oh, we are just dancing together. It's one kiss. It doesn't mean anything. Yeah we slept together, but it's not like I love him. And then we throw our lives away and sooner or later we are wishing we had what we had. If I were single, the night would have most likely played out like this: We would have danced. He would have tried to get me to come home with me. I would say no. He would maybe get my number. If he even texted, we might have gone out on a date where I would realize how little we had in common, and it would be back to being single.
Soon the weekend of festivities ended, and another funny thing happened. I returned home the next day. James was there. My bedroom was there. My work and students were there on Monday. The runners I coach were there after school at practice. And just like that, the music from that night became too loud. The men too sweaty and seedy. The drinks too expensive. The bar too crowded. This is my life, and it is exactly where I want to be.
Hebrews 13:5...be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”