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I can’t believe September is just a couple days away. Who pressed fast forward on summer? Not that I’m complaining — fall is my favorite season. I can’t wait to get back into my boots and scarves and big sweaters and other methods to completely cover my body without literally wearing a burqa.

No dates for me this entire summer. Wow, I didn’t actually realize that until I typed it. I’ve been buried in work these past few months. Big projects, long hours. Which means that every one of the seemingly few free minutes was methodically planned to spend with family and friends, leaving little-to-no time for meeting new people. It’s lame, when you think about it. But it’s the reality I find myself in.

A lot of people have felt the need to tell me recently that they know I’m going to get married one day.

Hmmm. I have to ponder on that one for a moment.

How do they know?

When is “one day?”

Where the heck is this fella?

When I hear these statements, I know these people mean well. But I also wonder why they feel the need to say it. They feel bad for me. They see a woman in her mid-thirties who’s unmarried and — gasp! — she must be depressed and lonely and sad. She must need a reassuring word to not give up. She must need a hug.

Just to clear up any confusion, I’ll take the hug. Last weekend, my Auntie Anna gave me the best hug I’ve had in three years.

When I’m being honest with myself, I must admit that there are times when my singleness does lead me to feel depressed and lonely and sad. But it comes in waves, few and far between, usually sparked by yet another viewing of Hope Floats or Sweet Home Alabama. (What can I say? I’m an emotional woman.)

I wonder if we singles are too focused on the negative — on losing that chance, on missing out on meeting “the one,” on not accomplishing certain goals of marriage and children on our specific timeline. And all this causes the positive to slip right through our hands.

Have you seen this incredible dance? It’s been shared with me a few times, most recently by blog reader Drie by Drie. It truly is mesmerizing.

I imagine most singles watch this and interpret it as letting “the one” slip through your hands. They see themselves in these beautiful dancers, missing out on love, on happiness, on the perfect family with the white picket fence. They see their perfect mate leaving them to catch the train.

But I challenge you to see this differently.

When we focus on what we’re missing out on by society’s standards, we miss out on so much more. By living life simply waiting for a perfect ideal, we don’t see the amazing possibilities that are right in front of us. My favorite part of the video is the part that matches up with these lyrics:

Where’s the light I used to know?

I’ve been learning to not let my light flicker out simply because one part of my life isn’t going as 12-year-old or 18-year-old or 25-year-old Ruthie had planned it. There are so many other things in life to look forward to. I have so many other dreams. I have so much more to accomplish.

And while I still hope to find a man to love who will love me in return, I refuse to let the rest of life slip through my hands in the waiting.