Posted by: Miss Jones | October 26, 2011

The Future is as Bright as our Faith

Hey readers, I’m back.  Again.  I don’t have any good excuses.  I can’t seem to keep up with my own personal blog, let alone an extra one and I guess I just got busy and completely neglected this one.  But today I looked at the stats for this blog…and they show me that a lot of people still stop by and read, even though I’ve been MIA for over 10 months!  Also, many people have written comments and have sent me messages…asking me where I’ve been (and no, unfortunately, I didn’t get married but fortunately I wasn’t eaten by wild dogs) and if I’m coming back.  So here I am…I’m back.  I’d love to promise that I’m going to be regular and faithful with writing, but I’ve failed enough times at that attempt to dare promise anything again.  But, for the time being, I’m here, and I thank you for your comments.  Your comments are what feed me…what keep me going…and what help me know that the time I spend writing is worth it and is, at least for the most part, appreciated.  So thank you to those who comment.

Since I last wrote I’ve been traveling a lot…to Ecuador, Brazil, and India to be exact.  I had a fantastic time in all three countries.  I love traveling.  It gives me new perspective on life.  It helps me develop gratitude for all the many blessings I have.  It helps me learn and makes me feel more well-rounded.  I love meeting new people…both people with very different beliefs and backgrounds from mine, as well as other LDS people.  I especially love meeting other LDS singles.  I love that I can talk to someone with a very different culture and background (and often language) than myself, and yet we can have so much in common and have an instant bond because of our religion and marital status.  I think that’s one of the reasons I like writing on this blog…and reading your comments.  I love feeling like I’m not alone in this struggle.  I love knowing that people I don’t even know are going through some of the same things I’m going through and are feeling some of the same things I’m feeling.

Also, since last writing, I turned 32.  So scary.  A little over three years ago my parents moved out of the country.  I knew they’d be living abroad for three years.  I was 28, almost 29 when they moved…and I knew I’d be 31, almost 32 when they returned.  I remember thinking when they left how I’d be soooooo old when they got back.  And how I thought I should for sure be married by the time they got back…and if I wasn’t, I’d surely sink into a pit of despair because any hope for my future life as a wife and mother would be lost.  I guess that was a pretty dramatic thought.  Because I turned 32 a couple months ago and I’m not in the depths of despair about it.  Sure, every passing year I’m less likely to ever have children…I’m a little less hopeful that I’ll ever be married…that I’ll ever fit in…that I’ll ever feel, or be “normal.”  In fact, I realized the other day that now that I’ve gotten soooooo old and am still not married that I’ll never really fit in anyway…because even if I got married this second and started making babies immediately, I’d still not fit in.  I’d still be that person in the ward who “got married a little later in life.”  I’d be having my first baby in my early thirties when most the other women having first babies would be in their early twenties.  So I think, at least in the Mormon world, I’ll never be “normal.”  But maybe that’s okay…maybe “normal” is overrated anyway.  I like to think it is.

So I didn’t end up in a state of irreversible despair upon turning 32.  Instead I find myself pushing along…one step at a time…even though the path I’m on is still a foggy mess. And, every year that passes I learn…I learn more about patience, and faith, and endurance…and more about myself.  And every year that passes I have to pat myself on the back…for still being faithful, for being active in The Church, and for not giving up…even when I don’t feel like I always fit in at church…even when I sometimes feel lost and alone and confused about life.  Each year that passes gets me one year closer to successfully enduring to the end.  And I’m not saying that I’ve given up any hope for a family in this life and am just hunkered down in a state of endurance…that’s not how it is for me.   I’m pushing forward and trying to not let my challenges become obstacles that stop me on my path or get me lost and way off course, but sometimes it is nice to look back and see that you’ve made it as far as you have.

I feel like the past couple of years, when it comes to the prospect of marriage and kids, I spend most of my time bouncing back and forth between hope and apathy…with the occasional moment of despair mixed in.  Sometimes I remain in a state of hope for only a moment and other times I last for a few days, weeks, or even (occasionally) months.  I think hope and apathy are what keep me from wallowing too long in a state of despair.  Of course a hopeful outlook is the best outlook, but I feel that sometimes apathy is a healthy response too…it’s a survival response.  Because sometimes it’s easier and safer to just not care than it is to fall into complete despair when I just don’t have the endurance to stay in a perpetual state of hope. This bouncing back and forth between apathy and hope is not a conscious thing…it just happens.  I might hear a really uplifting talk, or have someone tell me they want to set me up with some awesome guy who is “just perfect for you,” or make a positive change in my life that makes me happier and more confident, and all of a sudden I am hopeful that I’ll marry, not someday, but soon.  Then, sadly, my date with Mr. Perfect  turns out to not be with my Mr. Perfect, or people bother me about not being married, and I become apathetic again…because it’s easier just not to care than to get hurt over and over again.  But then something good comes up and hope is right back there…like a light that just can’t and won’t be completely extinguished, even if I sometimes wish it could be.  This bouncing back and forth between apathy and hope is, I think, what keeps me somewhat sane and happy.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the pioneers.  I guess the 24th of July or recent Martin’s Cove trek craze or something has had me thinking about the people who made the real trek.  The thought came to me that there were many people who attempted to cross the plains who never made it to the promised land.  But in the eyes of God they are no different than those who made it all the way.  Because every person who took that first step of faith across the frozen Mississippi and who kept taking those footsteps of faith as long as they could, were faithful pioneers…because they were moving forward…they were doing what they had been asked to do…they had their eyes on the promised land.  And those who died along the way were as faithful and will be as rewarded as those who actually stepped foot into the Salt Lake Valley.  It was as if they made it all the way there because they made the decision to go…to head towards that promised land…and they didn’t give up…even when things were more difficult than they had planned for, or thought things would be.  They kept moving forward as far as they could.  And that was all that mattered.  The path was the same for everyone, but the outcomes of the journey were different.  Some made it all the way without any major loss or problems…others lost loved ones, health, or even their own lives.  But each person with their eye on the goal and their hearts set on reaching the promised land will be equally blessed in the end.

And that’s all that matters with us too…that we keep moving forward.  Even though we don’t know how far away our “promised land” will be…even if we don’t know what to expect when we get there or if we will ever, in this life, reach that destination.  I’m not sure why some journeys are longer or more difficult or more confusing than others.  I don’t know why some people find their “soul-mate” in high school and others have to wait years to, or never do.  I don’t know why some have the desires of their hearts filled immediately and others of us have to wait.  Of course I want to reach the modern Mormon “promised land” of marriage and family…of course none of us want to be the ones to not make it, or the ones who get delayed on the path and are late arriving.  But we aren’t in control of everything…or maybe anything…anything but our attitude and the actions that move us forward.

Sometimes I feel really alone.  My experience in life is very different from most of the people around me.  And sometimes it’s easy to feel like there isn’t another person on earth who gets what I’m going through.  But I can’t give up.  I can’t give in. I cannot get discouraged and become faithless.  I need to just keep moving forward, one step at a time, towards the promised land, and so do you.  And if we don’t make it to that modern Mormon “promised land” in this life…well then so be it.  The point is to just keep moving forward…because “the future is as bright as [our] faith.”

So hang in there…and so will I.  In fact, don’t just hang in there, enjoy yourselves.  Travel, learn new skills, serve, do something that challenges you, work on making yourself a better person, and don’t worry about the rest…don’t worry about what you can’t change, but do worry about (and do something about) what you can.  And be happy now…don’t wait for some event to make you happy…happiness is not some goal to be reached or destination…it’s a way of life!

Miss Jones

Posted by: Miss Jones | December 9, 2010

On Being Mormon…

Recently I was contacted by a researcher, named Zoe, who is working on a series for the History Channel (set to air in 2011), which will include a segment about Mormons.

In her research for the series, Zoe came across The Single Mormon Girl’s Guide to Life.

She became interested in some of the topics covered on the blog and contacted me to ask me questions about all things pertaining to Mormon dating…both those covered on the blog as well as things she had heard about elsewhere.  We talked about the pressure to marry early, group dates, Mormon spinsters, DTR’s, Singles Wards, NCMO, etc.

Zoe and I also talked about modern day prophets, food storage, missions, the Word of Wisdom, the church welfare program, family, BYU, and even about fry sauce and funeral potatoes.  It was a pretty comprehensive interview.

And then at the end of the interview she asked me what being a Mormon meant to me…what the essence of Mormonism is…and how Mormons feel that they are different from non-LDS people.

Anyway, those questions left me thinking about what it really does mean to be Mormon.

Since talking with Zoe, I’ve thought of several different ways that I might have answered her, instead of the way I did.

And then I wondered how the readers of this blog would have answered those questions.

So, what does being a Mormon, specifically a single Mormon, mean to you?  What would you say the essence of Mormonism is?  How do you feel different from the rest of the world…or do you?

Do share.  I’m curious to know what you have to say.  And, I’m curious to see if anyone would have answered the question in the same way I answered it.

Also, Zoe said she’d check back on this blog to see what the readers’ responses are to these questions.  So who knows, maybe your answer will influence Zoe’s research and therefore the History Channel program on Mormons…and then you’ll be famous…or will feel famous at least.

 

Posted by: Miss Jones | October 14, 2010

“I like turtles!”

So apparently my brothers read my blog.  I wasn’t aware of this until this past Sunday when my brothers and I were eating a lovely Sunday dinner of reheated J-Dawgs (and no, my mom wasn’t there or the J-Dawg for Sunday dinner idea would have probably been rejected) and somehow this blog came up.  And there I thought I was so anonymous.

Anyway, one of my brothers read my last post and thought that we could add the method used in the clip below to evade answering questions we don’t want to answer.

I think it’s a great idea.  Its the “nonsensical answer” answer.  It will probably just leave the perpetrator of your interrogation on singleness confused and they’ll walk away.

Anyway, give it a try sometime and let me know how it goes.  I have a good feeling about this method of answering those unwanted questions.

I can’t wait to try it out.

Bring it on…

Posted by: Miss Jones | September 23, 2010

Oh, didn’t I tell you…?

Hello.  Miss Jones here.

I have been asked a lot of questions over the past couple of years since I inherited this blog.  I have a goal to be a better blogger and get those questions answered, even if they are questions from a year or two ago.  I figure that even if the person who originally asked the question is long gone from the single scene, that their question, and the answer to it, will hopefully help others who are still singletons and still readers of The Single Mormon Girl’s Guide to Life.

So, here’s to getting caught up on questions and being better about staying caught up in the future!

Dear Miss Jones…

I have a question… how do you politely tell someone who asks about you about being single, not going to the “SA Ward” etc., that it’s none of their business or simply that you’re not interested in answering their nosy questions?

Sarah

Dear Sarah…

There are stupid questions and as singles we seem to get asked a lot of them.  Learning how to respond to these questions is important for survival as a singleton.

But, I might not be the best person to ask.

Especially since you specifically said that you wanted to know how to politely answer these unwanted questions.  And quite honestly, I am kind of a smart A and get really bugged when people ask me stupid questions.  And my first reaction is to give them a smart A answer back.

So, I’ll just give you a few ideas.  I can’t promise that all of them are totally polite, but I’ll try to at least come up with one polite idea for you.  And, I’m hoping that blog readers will have additional ideas and can leave comments with those ideas on this post.

Just for the record, I really do believe that when people ask us nosy or rude or dumb or annoying questions that 99.9% of the time they aren’t trying to be mean or to bother us.  My mom always says that we should believe that people have the best intentions when they say or do something and that they want the best for us.  Now, that might not always be true, but it helps me to go through life believing that people are genuinely good and kind and want the best for each other.

So, a person in your ward, or a family member, or “friend” or whoever is asking these annoying questions probably doesn’t know that they are being nosy or sometimes even rude.

I have found that some people are really limited by their life experiences (or lack thereof)…that they can’t seem to understand things that they haven’t experienced themselves.  And, that some of these people can’t seem to use common sense in knowing what to say or how to treat people who aren’t living the typical Mormon plan of: date-mission-date-marry-make babies-live happily ever after.

I tend to think that the best way out of an awkward situation is to joke about it.  But you have to be careful.  Joking back to people’s stupid questions in a sarcastic way without coming across as rude or bitter or whatever is kind of a fine line…I accidentally cross that line sometimes, but I do my best not to.  I like to joke back and usually I can get away with it without offending, like I did with Ruth last year.  Besides, turning their stupid question into a joke often helps people realize how ridiculous their question may be and may make them think in the future before asking other singletons the same question.

I think whether or not you can jokingly respond depends on you and your personality as well as the personality and age of the person you are responding to.  Obviously you don’t want to be a rude smart A to the cute 90 year-old in your ward who is just trying to be nice to you but couldn’t come up with a decent question to ask you.  And you don’t want to answer in a sarcastic way to the super serious lady in your ward who always wears pioneer dresses and thinks that sarcasm is “of the devil.”  So you definitely have to know your audience before turning their question into a joke, but here are some ideas.

When people ask my brother questions he doesn’t want to answer (like: when are you getting married, are you dating anyone, how much did your house cost, how much money do you make, etc) he answers,

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?…” (with a bewildered look on his face)

Then the person says, “No.”

And then he says, “Well, that’s because it’s none of your business!”

But really he usually says “d@%# business,” but that’s usually just to his close friends.

Okay, that response, although funny, is not polite.

Here, let me try again.

One of our blog readers Sara (Sara without an h…not the one who asked this question) gave this idea for a creative way to answer people’s probing questions about your dating life.  She said,

In my last ward which I had been in for ages, when ever one of the kind sisters asked me how my dating life was going I’d say, “fine thanks, how is your marriage?” totally freaked them out!  Actually depending on who it was and what I could get away with I’d even say, “great, how’s your sex life?”

Haaaaaaaa I love it!  So funny.  And yet still maybe not in the “polite” category.

I think basically, when people ask rude questions, ESPECIALLY if they are people who should know better…people with children who married later in life, people who married later in life or are single still themselves, or people who are close to you and know what a sensitive subject marriage, dating, singles’ wards, etc. can be for you…I think that in these cases it’s okay to turn the question right around and ask it in a different form to those asking you the question.  It should act as a little wake up call for them.

For example, a few years ago I saw my great uncle at a funeral.  He has a daughter who is probably in her late 40’s and hasn’t yet been married…so, you think he’d know to leave single people alone.  I was 25 at the time.  He approached me at the funeral and said, “How’s the old maid?”…to which I instantly replied, “Fine, how’s the old fart?”  Well, that got him laughing, as well as everyone else who overheard our conversation and I think it made him realize how rude that question was.  And seriously, I was 25…I hate that in our culture I was already an “old maid.”  Ahhhhhhhh!

Okay, I’m still really having trouble coming up with a really polite way to get the message across, but I think this next idea is actually a good one and is actually polite and yet to the point.

One way that I heard to basically tell people that you don’t want to answer their questions and not come across too rude (as long as your presentation is good) is just to smile and say, “you know, I don’t really want to talk about my _______(dating life, singles ward, last relationship, marital status,etc.) but let me tell you about _______ (this class I’m taking, a book I’m reading, a new hobby I’ve started, a place I just traveled to, etc.).”  And then chatter on about something you do want to talk about.  Just take control of the conversation and turn it into something you do want to talk about.  Help the person asking these annoying questions see that there’s more to you then just your marital status…help them get to know more about you so the next time they talk to you they can maybe come up with a more intelligent question to ask you.

Okay, readers, please help me out here…I really can only think of this one way to respond that would really be considered polite.  Do you have other polite ways to answer?  Leave us a comment and let us know how you respond to the probing questions that people seem to love to ask us singletons.  Also, feel free to throw in some funny ways too…even if they aren’t so polite.  We won’t judge you…we’ve all been there!

Thanks everybody for your input!

Good luck out there!

Miss Jones

Posted by: Miss Jones | August 6, 2010

Unfamiliar Waters

One of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to...in Mozambique.

I’m back.  It’s been a very long absence.  I’m sorry.

I don’t know why I haven’t been in the mood to write for a long time.  I guess sometimes I just feel like no matter how much we talk or read or write about being single it doesn’t change anything and doesn’t help…that nothing changes…that we’re all still in the same situation and that talking about singleness doesn’t fix anything or make us feel any better.

But, maybe it does.

Recently I went to the beach.  I’m kind of a Chicken of the Sea when it comes to getting in the ocean and other large bodies of water.  It just takes me awhile to get comfortable with the idea.  I love swimming, bodyboarding, snorkeling, and have even been SCUBA diving, but I’m not naturally one of those people who is just completely at ease with the ocean.  I guess it’s my fear of drowning, my fear of getting sucked away by a rip current, my fear of sharks, my fear of seeing a bloated dead body, and my fear of other unlikely things, etc.  So I have to force myself to get in.  And I usually enjoy myself  in the end, but sometimes it is hard for me to just jump right in.  I have to constantly work at overcoming my fear.

In the last couple of weeks I was able to spend three days at the beach.  For two of the days the beach was really crowded.  There were tons of people out in the water.  People were surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, bodyboarding, and just swimming.  And those two days when there were plenty of people in the water I just got right in, without hesitation and I went out pretty far, because there were other people farther out than me and so I gleaned a little confidence from them.

But the last day I went to the beach it was a Monday and the place was pretty empty.  And there weren’t many people in the ocean and those that were in weren’t out very far.  But I knew that if I wanted to enjoy the ocean I needed to get in at least deep enough to bodyboard.

I’m SUCH a chicken though.  I took me forever to get out there that third day.  I did eventually get in and I had a great time.  But I know that the only reason I made it out very far is that my mom was with me.  And, although she’s also a pretty big wimp when it comes to the ocean, the fact that we were both going out gave us the courage to get in deep enough to bodyboard.

And here’s where I tie swimming in the ocean to being a single Mormon woman past the “normal” age for marrying.

When we’re all out there together and we know that there are others out there who are in our same situation it is easier to be brave.  It’s an ocean teeming with people…if you aren’t the only one out deep it’s way less intimidating/scary to be there.  And, at least if the beach isn’t full of swimmers having one or a few people with you to go out into the deeper water makes it more doable, even if you’re all a little scared or apprehensive or not confident.  Just knowing that you aren’t  alone in the big world of singleness is a nice thing, and helps us dare to be out there in those unfamiliar waters, because we don’t really have a choice but to be there…for now anyway.

And it doesn’t really matter if we all are a little confused, frustrated, or lacking in confidence.  We can draw strength from each other just by sticking together and just from knowing that we aren’t the only ones in our situation.

So, I’m going to try to blog a bit more.  I’m in unfamiliar waters, as are many of you.  And maybe I have something to say that might help you.  Or maybe we can get conversations started that make us feel less alone out in those unfamiliar waters.  I need your strength and confidence and maybe you need some of mine too.

I’ve had a lot of really good questions submitted lately so I think I’ll start there and will try to answer them (or at least some of them).  And, since I, of course, don’t know all there is to know on every topic or even on one topic I welcome your comments.

Let’s stick together out there!

Miss Jones

Posted by: Miss Jones | November 11, 2009

A Bit of a Crush Actually…

Okay, I’ll admit, I might have a bit of a crush.

On two elderly German men. 

This guy…

Elder Busche

and this one…

Elder Uchtdorf

Okay, not really.  I’m not that weird.  I think I just love their cute little accents and most of all their messages. 

So, I thought I’d share their messages with all of you. 

The first one is a little video clip that somebody made using part of a talk given by Enzio Busche at a BYU devotional all the way back in 1996.  I just think he has so many good little words of wisdom.  You can find it here.  It is only about seven minutes long and is worth watching. 

The second one is Elder Uchtdorf’s talk from the CES fireside just this month.  I realize that (hopefully) most of you have already seen his talk but I just thought it was super excellent and wanted to post the link here

And, just in case you don’t have time right now to watch the whole fireside (I promise though, it is worth it!) let me share with you all one of my favorite quotes from the talk.  Elder Uchtdorf said…

“There those among you fine young members of the church who might never marry (pause here for a moment of sadness).  Although they are worthy in every way, they may never find someone to whom they will be sealed in the temple of the Lord in this life.  There’s no way for those who have not experienced this despair to truly understand the loneliness and pain you might feel…First, let me tell you that your prayers are heard.  Your Father in Heaven knows the desires of your heart.  I cannot tell you why one individual’s prayers are answered one way while someone else’s are answered differently.  But this I can tell you, the righteous desires of your hearts will be fulfilled.  Sometimes it can be difficult to see anything beyond the path immediately before you.  We are inpatient and do not want to wait for a future fulfillment of our greatest desires.  Nevertheless, the brief span of this life is nothing in comparison with eternity.  And, if only we can hope and exercise faith and joyfully endure to the end, and I say joyfully endure to the end.  There, in that great heavenly future we will have the fulfillment of the righteous desires of our hearts and so very much more than we can scarcely comprehend now.  In the meantime, do not wait for someone else to make your life complete.  Stop second guessing yourself and wondering if you are defective.  Instead, seek to reach out to your potential as a child of God.  Seek learning, become engaged in a meaningful career and seek fulfillment in service to others.  Use your time, your talents, your resources, to improve yourself and bless those around you.  All of this is part of your preparation for having a family…The great purpose of this mortal existence is to learn to fully love our Heavenly Father and our neighbor as ourselves.  If we do this with all our might, mind, and strength our eternal destiny will be glorious and grand beyond our capacity to imagine.  Be faithful, and things will work out for you.  That is His eternal promise to all who love and honor him.”

Anyway, let me be completely honest when I say that sometimes talks on singlehood, or about people never marrying in this life drive me nuts.  I guess it just sort of depends what mood I’m in.  I will even admit that several years ago, when I was going through a particularly hard time in my single life (I think I had just been dumped or something), I actually walked out during a Relief Society meeting in my family ward.  (Don’t worry, I didn’t make a big scene or anything…I just walked out.)  It was Christmastime and the lady giving the lesson was reading a book about a made-up story of a single, barren, spinster woman who lived at the time of Christ and was all sad because she couldn’t have kids, yadda, yadda, yadda, and then she got to see the Christ child and all the sadness in her life was gone and the cavities of grief in her heart were filled. 

I think that first of all I didn’t like it because I don’t really go for cheesy Mormon made-up stuff.  Sometimes it freaks me out.  Like that painting of smiling Jesus or the one of Christ’s marked hands saying “I love you,” in sign language.  Those scare me.  I guess I just don’t feel like we need to Mormon culturatize everything.  To me the gospel is wonderful just as it is…plain and simple (and normal). 

And the second reason I think that I walked out of that meeting is because I just felt like, “Hey, every woman in this RS room is married with children BUT me.  Please don’t downplay my personal grief at not being a wife and mother.  Please don’t try to tell me that if Christ was a part of my life I wouldn’t feel sad about being a barren spinster.  Because he is a part of my life, and being a spinster is still hard.” 

And the third reason I probably walked out is just that I was in a bad mood and sick of being single that day.  I know that the lady teaching the lesson didn’t mean to offend.  She probably didn’t know there was a super overly sensitive spinster in the room that day. 

Anyway, at times when I hear people in firesides, church, conference, etc. say something to the effect of, “don’t worry if you don’t marry in this life because if you stay faithful, God will give you all the blessings of marriage and family in the eternities…all will be well”, it just makes me cringe.  And the majority of the time it is married people giving these “comforting” talks.  And I just want to say to them, “okay, if not being married in this life is no biggie because at some point in the eternities God is going to bless us with the deepest desires of our hearts, then why don’t you and I just trade places and I’ll be married and have babies in this life and you can hang out and wonder what to do with yourself while you try to remain faithful and deserving to later receive what everybody else is receiving now, OKAY?”  (And yes, I would say it in a big run-on sentence just like that and would probably be out of breath by the end.)

So, yeah, that just gives a little background of how I sometimes feel about these “stay faithful and happy now and get married later” talks.  It isn’t how I always feel, but sometimes during more difficult times in my life I’m much more sensitive as to what is said over the pulpit regarding singlehood.  Maybe some of you, at times, feel the same way.  It isn’t to say that I’m bitter or that I don’t appreciate people trying to address the issue of being Mormon and single, but sometimes married people talking about singleness just bugs. 

It would be like me sitting and eating a big piece of delicious chocolate cake in front of a hungry child and saying, “I know I’m eating this delicious cake now, that we have been commanded to eat, but you can’t have any just yet.  Just wait for about 80 years, and if you stay wanting this cake, in the next great state of being (that you cannot even comprehend or imagine) you will get to eat cake too.  Okay, so just stay happy and faithful.”  And then I would give the child a sympathetic smile as I licked my fork. 

BUT, regardless of how I sometimes feel about talks on being single, I just have to say that I LOVED Elder Uchtdorf’s talk and wasn’t rubbed wrong by it at all.  Maybe it is just the state of life I’m in right now.  Maybe it is because he is an apostle and I’m just glad to hear someone with a greater understanding of this life (and the next life) than I have, talk about singlehood.  And maybe it was just the cute way he delivered the message or the way you can tell that he actually cares and feels for those of us who don’t yet have a mate in this life.  Or maybe it is because he started the talk right off by saying that, “there’s no way for those who have not experienced this despair to truly understand the loneliness and pain you might feel.”  But it probably just didn’t bother me because the talk was given with love, understanding, and with the spirit.  So, do yourself a favor and find a time this week to watch the whole thing.  You won’t be disappointed. 

I’m going to “joyfully endure to the end” while secretly in my heart holding out in hope that I won’t have to.  I hope the same for all of you.  That you can faithfully and joyfully enjoy your time as a singleton but that we will all, through some miracle, find someone right for us and won’t have to be alone.  BUT, if I do have to wait, fine.  Maybe I need to learn patience.  Maybe I, for some reason, need to wait for that “glorious and grand” eternal destiny.  I’ll trust and hope that what is best for me will happen. 

Good luck out there everyone!

Posted by: Miss Jones | October 1, 2009

Yes Ruth, I’m STILL SINGLE.

Well hello neglected blog. 

Miss Jones here.  I know I sort of disappeared for the summer.  Sorry. 

I had a busy and fun summer.  I got SCUBA certified.  I went to Africa for five weeks.  I spent three weeks in South America.  And… I turned 30.  Yikes!

Even though I had a busy summer I cannot say that I neglected this blog because I didn’t have time to write. 

I neglected this blog because I didn’t have anything positive to write. 

Sometimes I just go through little stages where, for a time, I cannot see even one good thing about being single.  Do any of you have those times in your life?  I hope I’m not the only one. 

Anyway, I didn’t want to fill this blog with a bunch of negative, sappy, “poor me I’m single” stuff.  But at the same time I don’t want to completely ignore the fact that being an “older” single Mormon is difficult. 

This summer I guess I was just sick of being single.  Even though sometimes being single is awesome like when you want to take off to Africa for five weeks, etc.  I mean, you don’t have to tell me that being single is great.  I take advantage of my time being single and am living life to the fullest.  You could even saythat I’m “Finding Joy in Spinsterhood.” 

However, even though there are lots of great things about being single, sometimes I’m just tired of being single.

Are any of you tired of being single?  Tired of being different from the “norm?”  Tired of buying wedding gifts and baby shower gifts and going to weddings, bridal showers, and baby showers and throwing bridal showers and baby showers?  Tired of people giving your number to guys that never call to set up a date?  Tired of hearing things like, “Well now that your younger brother and his wife are going to be having a baby maybe you’ll decide it is time for you to get married and have kids too.”?  Tired of trying to make new single friends every time one of them gets married or moves away?  Tired of going to ward activities and institute or feeling guilty for not going?  Tired of people (even those with good intentions) giving suggestions about where you should live or what you need to do to attract a mate?  Tired of hoping?  Tired of trying to have faith for what seems impossible?  Tired of trying to be positive and enthusiastic about being single?  Tired of the singles ward scene?  Tired of feeling like you are always on display…that you always have to be your best, that you have to be perfect or nobody will want you?  Tired of cooking for one?  Tired of being lonely and I’m tired of being alone? 

Wow, just writing all that made me tired!

Is anybody else tired of being single sometimes?   

Maybe I’m the only one.  I doubt it though.  I doubt that I’m the only one who ever feels this way.  I think it is just hard to admit sometimes how hard it actually is to be a spinster.  And I think that sometimes we are afraid to admit that we are tired of spinsterhood.  Because we don’t want to be labeled as “negative” or “bitter” or “sad” or “depressed.”  We want to go out there and put on our happy faces so that people won’t think less of us for not loving our lives.  And so that people will wonder why we aren’t married instead of thinking that they know why we aren’t married and saying things like, “Oh, she’s just so negative about guys.  If she would be more positive about dating and men she’d probably be married,” etc. 

And sometimes I feel like I’m wearing a “Hello, my name is SINGLE” name tag. singlesticker2

And that the only thing people think of when they see me is ‘SINGLE.’  And that running through their minds is just ‘single, single, single, single, single, single, single’…so much so that they can’t even focus on a normal conversation with me and can’t seem to talk to me about anything other than my marital status. 

Here’s a situation from this summer to illustrate my point. 

Let me set the scene…. cousin’s wedding reception. Young cousin. Maybe 20 years old. Marrying nice guy in the temple at the “normal” age for marrying. Perfect.

Enter me. Nearly 30. Severely single. At said wedding reception. Trying not to feel awkward. Holding my darling little baby cousin because I like babies and also as a distraction and conversation starter for people who don’t know what to say to a SINGLE PERSON (Awkward). At least they can say, “Oh isn’t he darling,” or “Whose baby is this,” etc.

Enter *Ruth.  Ruth is a very nice distant relative that I see at weddings and funerals. Ruth is friendly and fun and NICE. Normally. I like Ruth because she is kind and goes out of her way to talk to me and to everybody else. 

Me. Sitting at a table with non distant relatives. Chat chat chat. Ruth sits down next to me. More chat chat chat. Friendly friendly friendly. THEN, ALL OF A SUDDEN out of NOWHERE Ruth hits me with a zinger.

 “SO, ARE YOU STILL SINGLE? she asks.”

 SILENCE around the whole table as all eyes look my way. ‘What will the crazy single girl say?,’ people wonder…

Me: “Yup.”

Me again mostly to break the awkward SILENCE: “So Ruth, are you STILL SINGLE???” By the way, Ruth is like a 70+ year old widow (and her husband has been dead for 20+ years).

Ruth laughs and says, “Yes.”

Me: “Well I’ll keep my eyes open for a nice man for you to marry.”

Conversation over. Two points Ruth. Ten points Miss Jones.

SERIOUSLY, “are you still single?” What kind of question is that? First of all I just saw and talked to Ruth at yet another cousin’s wedding in April. I was single then. And because I’m not some Ricks College (aka:BYU IDAHO) student, I think it is safe to say that a few months later I would NOT BE MARRIED.

And, if by chance a miracle had occurred in those few months and I wasn’t single anymore then wouldn’t I have some awesome guy sitting next to me??? Or, wouldn’t I have some major bling bling on my ring finger??? Or, if nothing else, wouldn’t I just blurt it out to you because I would be so freaking ecstatic to NOT have to spend the next 60 years BY MYSELF only to be found dead and alone, half eaten by wild dogs at the age of 90??? Yes, yes, yes.

 

Dear Ruth,

If I am ever NOT STILL SINGLE, I will send you an invitation to my wedding reception. That is how you’ll know. Until then, let’s not repeat the conversation we had today.

Thank you, Miss Jones

*name changed out of the kindness of my heart

 

Anyway, despite my being a 30 year-old spinster with relatives who don’t know what to talk to me about, I am doing well and am back to loving life…even single life.  And, I’m back to blogging.  So, send me your questions/post ideas and I’ll try to get to as many topics as possible.

Good luck out there singletons!

All the best,

Miss Jones

Posted by: Miss Jones | May 29, 2009

The Online World of Dating

online dating

Dear Miss Jones,

Here’s an idea for a post: Where should I be… online? I’m a single
LDS guy that is uncomfortable enough in large groups to make it
impossible to successfully meet people in the generally accepted LDS
ways (FHE groups, Linger Longers, YSA Conferences, etc.) And so I’ve
started to wonder if I might have more luck online. But I’ve never
gotten past the sign up page on a dating site because they all seem
like big sleazy scams (even the supposedly LDS ones). I know there are
lots of good LDS girls out there, are any of them online? And if so,
where?

Thanks,

eremite

 

Okay Mr. Eremite, I’ve got to be honest, I’m probably not the best one to answer this question because I don’t have any personal experience with online dating.  But I’m going to answer it anyway because I’m Miss Jones and I can.

Online Dating has such a stigma attached to it, which really is sad because I know TONS of happy couples who met online.  I think that this stigma is sort of fading but it still is hard to actually jump into the online world of dating. 

Okay, so the bad thing about online dating is that people can really be whatever they want to be online.  You can photoshop the heck out of your photos and all of a sudden instead of a Mr. Bean type you are suddenly Brad Pitt’s long lost twin.  And you can say whatever you want to say about your level of church activity, hobbies, beliefs, previous marital status, etc.  So it may be hard to really know if what you are seeing online about a person is the truth.  That’s one of the reasons I have yet to go to online dating. 

And you are right…even some of the LDS dating sites seem a little cheesy/sleezy to me. 

HOWEVER, one good thing about online dating is that most people that are online really are wanting to DATE.  With the exception of the major PLAYERS that I’m sure are online, I think that most online daters are there because they are really ready to meet the right person.  They, like you, have either tried everything else or don’t do well with the typical LDS scenarios for meeting people.  That is one really nice thing about dating online.  I think that when people get to the point that they actually put that profile up, they are serious and ready for dating/relationships. 

So I would say to you, go online.  Ask people that you know have done online dating which sites they would recommend.  And in your online profile just be yourself and represent yourself honestly and I think that you’ll find that there probably are a lot of girls out there that are honest, good LDS girls who just haven’t had the best of luck with typical dating scenarios either.  And lucky for you you’re a guy and so you probably aren’t going to get jumped in a dark alley by someone you meet online. 

Oh, and just as another suggestion, if you aren’t one that does well with big groups, create situations for yourself where you can get to know people a few at a time.  You don’t only have to rely upon big church/YSA functions.  For example, have a couple of guys friends and maybe a few girls that you are interested in getting to know a little better over for a game night or desert night.  Plan small group activities with people you have fun with/girls you are interested in.  And better yet, ask a girl out on a date…one on one is a pretty nice sized group to get to know someone in.  Just a thought…

Let us know how it goes and what you find.  And if any of you blog readers have suggestions regarding online dating or know of specific sites that you would recommend, please leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts. 

Miss Jones

Posted by: Miss Jones | May 29, 2009

The Shy Guy

shy guys

Dear Miss Jones,

So I need some advice. There is a guy that I have worked with for about 2 years now who has also been in some of my classes that I like. Yet I’m not sure if he likes me. He always says “hi” and he kinda seems to cheer up when we see each other in class or at work but I don’t know if he is just being nice or what. Also, I have recently found out from some of the guys that we work with (no I didn’t ask, they mention things when I’m around) that even though they give him a girls phone number and tell them he’ll call he never does and I know he doesn’t have a girlfriend. So I have been waiting to see if he’ll ask me out or something but nothing has happened.  So should I get up the guts and ask him out myself? And what do I do if he doesn’t like me? I haven’t asked him out yet because I have been worried about that and since we also work together. So what should I do? and how can you tell if a shy guy likes you?

Yours Truly
Confused….

 

Dear Confused…

This is a hard one.  I often find myself interested in shy guys too.  Especially the older I get because sometimes the shy guys seem like the only “normal” guys left.  As far as I’m concerned shy guys are sort of the hidden treasure of dating because they really don’t have a lot of other problems/issues.  They really can still just be single because it takes a lot of courage for them to pursue a girl.  Ahhhhhhh, but it is the figuring out if they like you and getting them to ask you out that is the hard part. 

Here are a few suggestions from what I’ve learned from dealing with the shy guy. 

Shy guys are still guys and they still have hormones.  So even if a guy is really shy if he is interested in a girl he will eventually make a move.  HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that as the girl we can’t help them out. 

Now, I’m not into asking guys out directly.  I guess I’m old fashioned but I think that our whole dating system is messed up right now because first of all guys don’t ask out girls enough so when a guy does ask you out you take it really seriously and you freak out start hearing wedding bells and then that makes guys not want to ask out girls until they are REALLY SERIOUS about dating so then people don’t date enough and don’t get to know each other on a casual basis and we’re all getting old and even more single.  Really, our whole dating system is a little constipated if you ask me.  And all those problems are just complicated when we throw in the whole “well maybe I don’t have to ask her out because maybe SHE will ask ME out” thing.  But that’s a topic for another whole post. 

Let’s just say that I think we should still give the guys the privilege to be the pursuers.  It’s more fun that way anyway.  Now I know that some people won’t agree with me on my whole girls shouldn’t ask guys out opinion, but it is just my opinion based upon past experience.  I do think you can invite guys to do group activities, go to parties, etc. but don’t make it too easy for him to settle right into “hanging out mode.” 

So, anyway, while I’m one for asking guys out on dates I do think, especially in the case of the shy guy, that it is okay to create situations where it would be easier for him to ask you out.  So basically, ASK HIM TO ASK YOU OUT. 

For example, say he’s talking about how he loves going water skiing and this is something you would love to try you could say, “Oh, I’d love to go water skiing with you sometime.  I’ve always wanted to try it and it would be nice to go with someone who really knows what they’re doing.  We should go this summer…” 

Then that gives him the opportunity to say, “well, actually I’m going this weekend, do you want to come?” or maybe “sure, that would be fun” and then maybe he’ll call you and maybe he won’t but at least you’ve 1)shown interest in something he enjoys but more importantly 2) you’ve shown interest in doing that activity WITH HIM. 

Then you leave it up to him.  Especially in your situation where you work together.  You don’t want things to get awkward.  But, do your part to flirt, make sure he knows that you like him without being too forward or pushy, and give him easy opportunities to ask you out.  And you can create opportunities to hang out with you and him and other co-workers outside of work so that he’ll maybe start to see you as more of a friend and less of a co-worker. 

Oh, and I think you tell if a shy guy likes you by paying attention to body language, eye contact, and his actions.  Make it SUPER easy for him to date you if he wants to and then really a shy guy isn’t much different than a non shy guy.  You just have to make things a little easier for shy guys. 

Anyway, I OBVIOUSLY don’t have all the answers as I am still a Spinster and besides it is hard to say without really knowing you and him and the whole situation.  But just be yourself, flirt flirt flirt, and give him easy opportunities to ask him out.  Make sure through your words and actions that he knows that if he asks you out he will NOT BE REJECTED.  Then he’ll get up the courage to pursue you. 

Blog readers, what do you think Confused should do?  Do you agree/disagree with me?  Share your ideas with us in a comment. 

Good luck out there everyone! 

Miss Jones

Posted by: Miss Jones | April 4, 2009

Dear Miss Jones…Where should I be?

world

Meredith wrote:

So I am 26 and single–and proud of it! I just finished my Masters degree and I am looking to relocate (I currently live in Utah and can’t stand it anymore). I have been looking at all of these different places to move to this summer and every time I mention somewhere else other than Utah people look at me like I am never going to find someone if I put myself in Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, etc. So, I guess my question is…are there places where LDS professional singles can move to and not (and I quote) “rot?”


Dear Meredith…

The answer to your question Are there places where LDS professional singles can move to and not “rot?” is…

YES, ANYWHERE. 

Anywhere in the whole world…except maybe not Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, or Zimbabwe.  I can’t in good conscience recommend those places right now. But seriously, you can move anywhere in this world and not “rot.” 

The key to choosing where to be is choosing somewhere where YOU WILL BE HAPPY, where YOU CAN FEEL LIKE YOU’RE PROGRESSING, and somewhere where you WANT TO BE and feel like you SHOULD BE. 

 

 That’s it…that’s all you need to worry about…not how many LDS people there are in a certain place or what your odds are of getting married in particular location, whether or not you’re going to “rot,”  what other people will think or say or even what seems like the most logical move to make.

As spinsters we can be ANYWHERE we want to be.  We aren’t tied down by the job or schooling of a spouse, by children, or just by being married and “settled down.”

So we can be anywhere, which is sometimes overwhelming.  I think the decision of where to live is one of the hardest we have to make as single people because we want to put ourselves in a position where we can meet the right person but at the same time we don’t want to necessarily be somewhere where we don’t want to be just because it is the most logical or is perceived to be the most logical due to the fact that there are more LDS single people in that location.

I think sometimes as LDS Spinsters we try too hard.  We try too hard to be at the right place at the right time, to be wearing the right oufit, to go to all the right activities, and to say and do all the right things.  And it’s not that we shouldn’t be trying to put ourself in situations where we can be blessed to meet the right person, but we should be careful not to try too hard. 

I think all of you know what I mean by trying too hard.  It is acting in desperation.  It is being someone we are not.  It is being somewhere we don’t want to be.  It is going against the grain of our lives.  It is living in fear instead of in faith.  Trying too hard makes us seem desperate.  It just makes unhappy because when we try too hard we get caught up in some exact outcome that we expect and when those things that we want don’t always happen we are unhappy and hurt. 

Instead we need to live where we want to live, wear the outfit that makes us feel like a million bucks, go to the activities that actually interest us, and say and do only the things that reflect who we actually are at our best.

So when it comes to where to live, live somewhere that interests you, somewhere where you may have new or better career or educational opportunities, somewhere where you already have family and friends or somewhere where you hope to make lots of new friends. 

If you have always wanted to live in New York City, go live there.  If you want to live abroad go try it out.  If you want to move back to that little podunk town you grew up in, go live there.  And if you want to live in one of the single Mormon meccas where finding other LDS people to be friends with and/or date will be easy, then go live in one of those places.  Because overall it doesn’t matter where you are as long as you are HAPPY and PROGRESSING. 

I have a childhood friend who, after college, moved back to where we grew up…a little tiny podunk town.  She moved there because that’s where she WANTED to be and that’s where she FELT she should be.  At first I thought she was crazy…I thought “good luck having a social life!”  But within a year she was married to literally her next door neighbor…a guy who was a total punk in high school but who had changed and grown up and who was now a match for her.  She didn’t go there knowing that he was still around and single.  She just went there because she wanted to be there and what she wanted most, she got. 

My friend Lula who started this blog moved to London because she had a great educational opportunity there, because she loved Europe and wanted an experience living there, and because it was where she WANTED to be and FELT like she should be.  It wasn’t the most logical place to be for a single girl from the U.S. to be as far as marriage prospects go.  But within a few months of being there she met a lad from Wales and fell in love and was married. 

And we always seem to list marriage as the happy ending to our stories but what if you moved to the place you wanted to be and didn’t get married for a few years or even five or ten or ever?  But what if you were truly HAPPY, truly PROGRESSING, and truly BEING YOUR BEST SELF in that place?  Wouldn’t even that be worth it? 

If you are content in life and in where you are and what you’re doing, you will attract people no matter where you are…because true happiness is an incredibly attractive trait.

So, in conclusion Meredith, move anywhere you want to…and tell all those people in your life that are discouraging you that you will not “rot” or spiral down into a permanent state of Spinsterhood if you move out of Utah.  Tell them that they are WRONG and that Miss Jones said so. 

There are several reasons why I would never encourage anyone to stay in Utah that didn’t WANT to be there, such as League Inflation and Bigger and Better Syndrome but those are topics for another day. 

And Meredith…let us know how things go and if you find some fantastic place to live as a single person.  Good luck!

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