As I type in the title of this article, a snippet of dialogue comes to mind from one of my favorite films growing up. About midway through 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf the Grey tells our beloved hobbit Frodo Baggins the utterly tragic story of Gollum, a creature whose life is both extended, and ultimately destroyed by the same titular ring that Frodo now must bear. Singleness is a time for singles to rest and to prepare for the rest of their lives.
Singleness Is An Opportunity To Rest And Prepare
The story deeply troubles our hero, moving him to say: “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Instead of offering fickle words of pity, however, the wise wizard responds with the whole truth: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
Singles, particularly those who have no intention of staying single, are liable to see their singleness through a filter of angst. Because we wish to find someone, we might see singleness as a kind of roadblock on the road trip of our lives; an unwelcome, restlessness-inducing inconvenience that offers nothing of value and must be gotten over with as quickly as possible. And that’s only if we can’t outright avoid it, mind you. It’s so easy to see singleness as nothing more than a ball and chain. To this day, I am about as guilty of this mindset as one can get, but I gradually came to realize after a while that such a one-sided way of thinking about singleness is… well, one-sided.
Keeping with the road trip metaphor, each and every road trip requires making pit stops along the way to one’s destination to do various tasks, be it to use the restroom, refuel the car, check the tire pressure, get a bite, get some sleep and recharge, or any combination of those. Each of these tasks is a necessity that serves to ensure arrival at one’s destination. Despite the fact that they take time and require a pause in the trip, pit stops still make up an essential part of the trip itself.
This is the case with singleness as well. It certainly won’t seem this way, especially right after you split up with someone, but singleness is in fact a great gift to those who wish for a partner. It is a unique period of time, wherein you have the opportunity to catch your breath, rest, learn, reevaluate, move forward, and grow at your own pace. The greatest luxury of singleness is having no obligations to anyone other than yourself and, therefore the freedom to set your priorities accordingly.
These great things are not a guarantee, mind you. Time is a precious, highly limited, completely nonrenewable resource, and we have the freedom to choose how to use it. So, will we make good use of this gift to prepare ourselves for the future, or will we abuse it by wasting it on dwelling on what happened before and on things we cannot change?
“All you have to do decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Choose wisely.