Friday, February 1, 2013

Single, Fulfilled, and Approaching Forty (A Guest Post)

Today, I'm proud to be introducing my friend Tiffany.  Tiffany and I have known each other for about six years now; and, during that time, I have been blessed to have her as a Bible study leader, loyal book club attendee, designated social-coordinator, and good friend.  She is, truly, the friend you want to have.  An extrovert through and through, she knows everyone, is always planning events and outings, and brings FUN everywhere she goes.  Her heart for other women is HUGE and her heart for the Lord, even bigger.  Not to mention, she is BEAUTIFUL (and quite the fashionista).  


Tiffany is the epitome of a woman who is fulfilled and makes the most of her single life.  Whether she is running a marathon, traveling Europe, learning ballet, or mentoring a child, she is up for anything and has never met a stranger.  Recently, after a successful 15 year television journalism and public relations career in Virginia, Tiffany has moved to Miami, Florida to be close to her growing family of nieces and nephews and do more independent work.  She also maintains a great blog - Breakfast with Tiffany, where she chronicles her journey in work and play with a hilarious and witty voice.


I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner Show Us Your Singles today because, I really wanted to brag on Tiffany a little; but, the real reason is because I want to share her incredible message about living a fulfilling life as a single female in her mid-thirties.  So, if you are a man looking for a Mrs., read on to learn more about Tiffany (and then email me for her contact info).  BUT, more importantly, if you are a single gal yourself, I hope you will find community, encouragement, and wisdom in Tiffany's words...

The following is an excerpt from a post Tiffany published on her own blog:

When I was in my twenties, I didn’t mind if people asked me about my relationship status. Even now, at the sensitive age of 36, I hardly flinch when someone asks me whether I am married; thanks, in part, to the popularity of Facebook, which has made a person’s “relationship status” about as private as a conversation on a reality TV show. However, as I creep closer and closer to the big 4-0, the marriage question seems to come up in conversation more frequently.  It doesn’t help that all of my younger siblings have already tied the knot and are partaking in grown up activities like buying houses and raising children. Meanwhile, I am sort of like real estate that has been on the market for way too long, and now my dad is overly eager, borderline desperate, to make a sale or at this point, literally, give me away.
So, how does a woman in her mid-thirties with a decent head on her shoulders, out-going personality, and active lifestyle explain to people that she hasn’t gone on a date in years? In fact, it has been so long, that when people mention the word, date, I immediately pull out my calendar, oblivious to the fact that date can actually refer to a social outing with two people who are attracted to each other. Now, I’m not going to sit here and portray myself as an innocent victim; I have a sneaking suspicion that some of my quirky personality traits may have played a role in my date-free lifestyle...


My biggest problem is perhaps that I don’t market myself aggressively on the dating scene. For one thing, I’m one of those girls who will never ask a guy out first, let alone fight or compete to win his affection. I also don’t believe in making out with random guys in an effort to determine if one of them is my soul mate. Perhaps, R&B singer, Ciara, summed up my dating philosophy best:  “If you’re looking for the goodies, keep on looking because they stay in the jar.” No free samples from this girl; I’m waiting on Mr. Permanent.  I would be the girl on an episode of “The Bachelor” who would be more interested in befriending the other contestants and enjoying the scenery of the exotic locations rather than trying to win the affections of the one guy on the show.  I have actually lived my own real-life version of “The Bachelor” unintentionally by simply attending church. In the church version of “The Bachelor,” the same concept applies. Eligible men are available in a limited, short supply and are grossly outnumbered by a congregation full of single women who just might trample over the children’s choir to get a rose from a well-groomed, spiritual man. Needless to say, I still have not gotten a rose!
While it has taken both time and regular exercise, I am finally comfortable in my own skin and comfortable being-- wait for it-- SINGLE.  I’m one of those confident, fiercely independent single women whom some men refer to as “intimidating” when in actuality; I’m down to earth and friendly.  I don’t consider myself picky either; however, I will not compromise my expectations for a man to pursue me and treat me like a lady. 


I also refuse to subject myself to the infamous wedding bouquet toss, which dangerously resembles the Spanish “Running of the Bulls.”  The only difference is that during the bouquet toss, you’re trying to outrun desperate women with sharp finger nails instead of raging animals with bull horns.  The bouquet toss is the only non-sporting event I know that is fair game to endure the occasional elbow strike to the head or to be sidelined with a piercing foot injury, inflicted by a man-starved vixen, wearing potentially fatal 6- inch heels. Can someone please tell me what makes the bouquet toss so special? I’ve caught the bouquet at least two times, and while it didn’t result in a husband, I did walk away with an assortment of withering flowers to take home and an open invitation for wedding guests to ask me, “So, are you dating anyone?”  Now, I’ve learned how to have fun at weddings, even if I have to show up without a date: it’s an excuse to wear my most fabulous dress; I can pull out all the dance moves I practiced in the mirror at home during the reception, and, of course, it is about celebrating the union of two people I love. 



I’m also through with reading those self-help books that show you the five things you need to do to attract your future mate. If I hear another person tell me, “When you stop looking, that’s when you’ll find him” I might just show them what a single version of “bridezilla” would look like, and trust me, she won’t be pretty.  Believe it or not, I actually considered sending all of my married friends a Christmas card decorated with a front-cover picture of me and some random hot guy I would have picked up at a mall.  The creative Christmas card would also feature a family of  multi-racial children that I would have borrowed from the carousel ride; however, I changed my mind, not because it was too weird or anything, but because it would take too much effort. The truth is, I would prefer to be single and enjoying life rather than rushing into a bad marriage for the sake of having something in common with my married friends.   I decided a while ago that I’m over being defined by my relationship status; sorry Facebook.  Instead, here is a list of things I want to define me:
Family is everything:

I have two brothers who, even now in their thirties, still enjoy telling jokes at my expense and conveniently “throw me under the bus” while mom is around so that I get chewed out in front of them.  My dad closely resembles a pregnant teddy bear that looks soft, and cuddly on the outside, but - on a bad day - we have learned to steer clear of him before he gets on one of his angry tirades. My mother is the reigning queen of Mrs. Nag USA, but she had to raise four strong-willed, sometimes contrary children, so can you really blame her? My sister and I have long outgrown our childhood battles over sharing clothes, but we still manage to end up with the same shoes and maxi dresses in our closets, even though we live in different states.
I love my family despite their dysfunctions and idiosyncrasies; it’s what makes us unique and perhaps viable candidates for a mental institution.  My parents worked hard and sacrificed much in life so that their children could do more, be more, and achieve more than they ever did. They taught us invaluable life lessons about discipline, respect, community service, and faith in God, which have played a major role in shaping us as adults today. We may have argued as kids, but we never let anyone or anything come between our bond as brothers and sisters.  We still continue to have a close, tight-knit family relationship, and in my opinion, that is something to be proud of.  It is a true privilege to be near my family today and watch as my siblings raise wonderful children. I also love getting to be the "fun" auntie and spoil my nieces and nephews rotten.


Living Life to the Fullest:
Instead of celebrating getting older with cake and presents like most normal people, I sign up for extreme, physically intense, but strangely enough, self-gratifying events like a marathon or an obstacle themed mud run. I’ve also traveled extensively around the world and indulged myself in the creative expression of arts and culture. Then there are the little things in life that I absolutely cherish:  hot cocoa with whip cream, a sunny day under a shaded tree and a good joke with an old friend. The simple pleasures in life make me smile and feel like I’m the richest girl in the world.  

Giving Back:
During the course of my life, there have been so many encouragers along the way who have challenged me to go above and beyond and to always give my best performance regardless of the circumstances. I am eternally grateful to those who have shown kindness to me and helped make my journey less stressful by offering an uplifting compliment, a listening ear, and meaningful advice. Everyone, especially young people, needs someone in his or her corner. So, wherever my career takes me, I always make time for the young ones coming up behind me. Words can’t describe the sense of joy I feel when a child I have invested time in begins to see their own self-worth and develops a new confidence, which I call giving back even though I usually get so much more.


So, in conclusion, of course I would love to meet the man of my dreams and live happily ever after.  But for now, I can honestly say I am satisfied with my single life just as it is, and I’m proud of what I have accomplished without a ring on my finger. 


 Be sure to check out Tiffany's blog and email me (e@emyselfandi.com) if you'd like to get in touch with her.  

Have a great Friday, friends! (It's our third Friday-snow day in a row here.  No complaints.)

 

6 comments:

  1. I loved reading her story. It is exactly what my mind and soul needed. Thank you :)
    Kristy

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  2. I love this. While I am not single myself I have an older sister in her early 30s who is single and I love that she is doing it so gracefully. Sure she would rather be married and have children but she, like Tiffany is not willing to compromise or let it stop her from enjoying life.

    I'm so grateful that growing up I had women in my life to look up to that did this time of their life well. You are doing an important job Tiffany :)

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  3. Love Tiffany's story and attitude!! Thanks for introducing us to your friend!

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  4. this is the so good story, thanks for sharing.

    Public Relations

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Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!


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