Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

I Have Never …

on September 18, 2015

Have you ever played that game? It’s a great icebreaker. You fill in the blank: I have never ________________________. To keep it simple, just go around the room, having each person share something they’ve never done. Or you can make an actual contest out of it. Everyone gets a predetermined number of tokens—like M&Ms. When someone says, for instance, “I have never been on an airplane,” you have to sacrifice a candy if you have, in fact, been on an airplane.

Lawnmower by foto76

Image courtesy of foto76/freedigitalphotos.net.

This week I was reminded that I have never mowed a lawn. I grew up with a dad and two brothers so I wasn’t needed for that task. The same can be said with every place I’ve lived since … and there’ve been dozens. Yet each time my house or apartment had a yard, there was someone else who was more than willing to take care of cutting the grass.

Anyway, this week one of my sisters moved her belongings into my garage while she house hunts. Including her lawnmower. Up till now, I’ve typically hired local kids to mow for me and didn’t own a machine myself. As we unloaded Kris’s stuff, my other sister, Susie, said, “I’ll mow your yard while I’m here.”

Well, I thought, here’s my chance. She’ll show me what to do and I’ll take care of my own lawn and it will no longer be on my “never” list. So, Susie gave me a quick tutorial, then I grabbed the handle and gave it a push. The machine went two inches—maybe—and coughed to a halt. It just died. No matter what we did, the thing refused to come back to life.

And so, I have still never mowed a lawn. We all had a good laugh over it, although Kris will certainly feel better once her lawnmower is working again.

Still, other things on my “I have never …” list aren’t so funny, and some are hard to admit, even to myself.

  • For instance, I have never been “in love.” Oh, I have liked and wanted and romanticized about a few good men and even thought I was in love with one of them. But he didn’t want me, so I’ve decided it must not have been true love. My romantic heart can’t bear the thought of unrequited love, which means it was merely a case of heavy duty “like.”
  • I have never had a child. This one is closely related to the last but, in several ways, more devastating. Falling in love will always be possible. Having a baby gets more and more unlikely each day. Doctors would say that, at my age, it’s not going to happen, but I stubbornly cling to what little dregs of hope I have left.
  • And, adding insult to injury, having children hasn’t been possible because I have never participated in the act required for pregnancy. Yes, I mean sex. Never. Never, ever, ever. Each passing year this becomes harder to admit because it’s like a neon sign flashing my undesirability.

We don’t plan to have these “nevers” in our lives. In fact, up until a few years ago, I saw these desires as “somedays.” The dream was possible. “I will … in God’s timing.” It’s like I was climbing the Mountain of Wish Fulfillment, expecting to, eventually, reach the top. But now I feel as if I missed it somehow on the way up and am standing here, looking back, saying, “I have never …”

It’s a negative way of looking at my life. And I don’t like it.

How would you complete the phrase “I have never ________________”? Are you disappointed by the things you feel are missing, especially as a single woman? If so, how do you handle it?

For more on the topic of dealing with the struggles of singleness, I hope you’ll check out my book Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40, which is available on Amazon.

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