In Which I Share Words from a Writer whose Eventual Book I Eagerly Anticipate

I met Sarah in college.
Our friendship, though not instantaneous, grew deep and broad over many years of shared joys and heartaches at our small private school, and remains one of the most influential friendships I’ve ever had the privilege of sharing.

Her writing is so profound, so simply eloquent, that she was asked to teach writing as soon as she graduated with her undergraduate degree. She has since gone on to study creative writing on a graduate level while continuing to teach, and I look forward to the day that her work is available in published format.

These are her reflections on Valentine’s Day.
The tone is not my usual tongue-in-cheek banter, but I wanted to share this here because, whether in a relationship or not, it’s important to remember that you are not defined by a relationship label:

“Reason #1 why I’m glad I’m still single this Valentines Day. 

Because it’s allowed me to come to a point in my life that I never thought I’d reach. After years of stripping away the misconceptions that a relationship is a magical happiness gimmick, and by realizing that marriage is an option, not a necessity for purpose, I’ve finally come to the point where I’m living my life without fearing that something is missing.

Some people choose to wait out singleness, avidly preparing themselves for their mates. Others choose to flail their arms and emotions wildly hoping the closest eligible person will save them from drowning. Others spend their time in fear of marrying the wrong one. Some play roulette with their feelings. There are many ways to wait out singleness (and I’ve definitely spent my time doing some of these in the past). But, I’m not really waiting anymore.

This is life, right here and it’s pretty good. With students and family, my job and my art, my friends and a roommate—there’s hardly room to feel like something’s missing.
The number one reason of why I am glad I’m still single on Valentines Day is that I don’t view myself as ‘a’ single anymore; I’m a person who just isn’t married.

I am a person not defined by whether I have someone else’s last name or whether I have committed to someone else for life. Our culture (especially Christians) constructs this label of singleness and treats it like the Equate or the Sam’s Cola brand of existence. Really, life is only ‘off-brand’ when we think that our life could have more value if only we were married.

This Valentines Day, if you’re wearing labels, peel them off. You’re a brand name–whether you’ve got someone else’s last name or not.” 

-Sarah Eshleman