Oh, poppets. Such running around. Later this week I am going back to Canada to see my family and my old friends and my Canadian publisher and my Canadian editors, and complicating all this is that I hate crossing the Atlantic. When I was Single, I loved it, but now that I'm married and Europe-based, the vastness of the ocean freaks me out.
Brr-rr-rr-rr. I'm not going to think about it.
There were a number of suggestions for a post, especially a new episode of the Vocations Discernment Partner saga, but I can't do that at the moment, for the wickedness of the villainess (like the vastness of the Atlantic) freaks me out a bit. I will have to get down to it when I am in a more tranquil state of mind.
So instead I will give out some suggestions about how to be more seraphic as a Single person. I think I have a list of them in my book, which--new readers, take note--I wrote when I was still Single. So if these following suggestions, don't sound very authoritative, coming as they do from a Married Lady, see the book.
1. Let go of the idea of being seraphic all the time. The Psalms run the gamut of human emotions, including "Why me? Huh, Lord? Why me?" They even say to the Lord, "Get up! Why are you sleeping, Lord?" which seems a bit rude, but it's right there in Psalm 43. To be a human being means to be sad and to weep as well as to laugh and be happy. There is nothing wrong with you if every once in a while Life all seems Too Much and you need a little weep or to pummel a punching bag.
If you feel terrible all or most of the time, of course, it is time to talk to a professional.
2. Don't moan endlessly to non-professionals. I read somewhere or other recently, that it is actually BAD for teenage girls to talk about their problems. Apparently teenage girls feel worse, not better, the more they talk about their woes. They need to be distracted by happy thoughts and, my Inner Child adds, trips to the mall.
But adult women certainly feel a sense of relief from a good gripe. The problem with this, though, is that nobody likes hearing tons and tons of gripe. Friends sort of owe each other: I gripe to my pal on THIS occasion, and she gets to gripe to me on THAT occasion. It's only fair, but there is a delicate balance. If you need to gripe and gripe and gripe, especially about old hurts, you should consider paying someone, i.e. a trustworthy and Christian-positive therapist, to listen to you. Depending on your background, you might get a vague thrill from dropping the words "My shrink says" into conversations with pals.
But there are three People to Whom you can gripe to for free and with impunity: the Blessed Trinity. The Old Testament, especially the aforementioned Psalms, include a lot of stories about griping to the Most High. Look at Job--one long, friend-scandalizing complaint, and instead of blasting him with more boils, the Lord says "My Servant Job has spoken well of me." Jacob wrestled with an angel--and some say that this angel was not just an angel but the Most High Himself. And then there are women, like Jacob's mother, who demand of the Lord, "If this is true, why do I live?"
Then in the New Testament, there is a lot of shouting at, and demanding of, the Lord going on. People want stuff from Him, and they're not afraid to ask. And He says we shouldn't be afraid to ask either.
3. Don't beat up on yourself. I'm often amazed at how people can beat up on themselves for stuff that really doesn't matter while seemingly oblivious to stuff that does. For example, saying something you later though was dumb to some new guy at a party doesn't matter. Yelling "I'm so stupid! I'm so stupid!" while banging your head into a wall really upsets the bystanders. Don't do that. Incidentally, women muttering, "Nice going, IDIOT" to themselves is one of my pet peeves. When you're feeling down, talk to yourself as if you were your best friend.
You (inwardly): "Am I just stupid?"
You (in reply): "Of course not. You're one of the most intelligent women I know."
Every time you catch yourself insulting yourself, you must say, "No, I might make mistakes, but essentially I'm fantastic." Recall incidents that give evidence for this. Save all the mea culpas for Mass and confession and apologies to other people.
4. Read inspirational stories, particularly inspirational stories about Single women. Happily for us Catholics, there are a LOT of famous, inspirational unmarried women in our communion. So, okay, a lot of them were nuns. But did you know that Edith Stein did not become a nun until she was in her 40s? And Simone Weil, who is in many ways a difficult heroine, didn't become a nun. Both Edith Stein and Simone Weil were intellectual powerhouses who would probably have been confused by and then dismissive of my dictum that "Men are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life."
Me: Men are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life!
Simone Weil: Could you run and fetch me an eraser?
Edith Stein: Say, I could use a coffee. Could you get me a coffee while you're out?
Edith Sitwell might have agreed with me, though. This fascinating, perpetually Single woman became incredibly popular with younger men who revered her as a Grande Dame. And of course there have also been great Single women of other Christian denominations, other religions and none, for whom the whole business of sex and marriage meant not a lot. I don't know anything about the love life of perpetually Single Lise Meitner, but I do know that she discovered nuclear fission.
5. Exercise. Really, I do not know how I would have got along if I had not burned off so much energy and frustration in my 20s at the gym and early 30s. As hobbies go, nutrition, running and weight-training are fantastic. They are harder to keep up when you are married, though, unless you marry a fellow gym rat. :-( Meanwhile, exercise--especially aerobic exercise--- creates a natural high. I used to skip rope for whole half hours at a time. Total aerobic bliss.
6. But also eat yummy things. Good yummy things, though, that you make yourself from a recipe out of a cookbook. Not store-bought packaged crap that might have been made a year ago.
7. If a man stops talking to you, and you have no idea why, and no way or no inclination to find out, assume that it is because he is overwhelmed with a wrongful passion for you. This is just as likely to be true as anything else, and more true than his possible abduction by aliens, so why not make that your official story to yourself? It has always worked for me. Poor him. How he must suffer. Tra la!