In the ups and downs of my life there are times when I've felt like my life truly had meaning and purpose. There have also been times where it has all felt completely meaningless.
Recently I've been leaning on the meaningless side of the fence. I have few close friends that are single and that I actually socialize with on a regular basis. Work has become dreary. I've stagnated in the business I've been trying to start on the side. Church has been dull. I haven't cared about my callings. My telephone conversations with my family on the weekends are fairly short and uninteresting. You name it, it's probably happening to me.
In a few short months I will turn 35. Halfway to the standard retirement age. And, unless I live to be 105, more than a third of the way to death. What have I done with my life that has been worthwhile? What have I done that hasn't? What things have brought me closer to the Lord? What things have carried me away? What blessings have I received? What blessings have I lost out on because of not following the commandments?
I think that my search for a meaningful life needs to move beyond the boundaries of same-sex attraction. To often that is all I focus on - as do most of you. But you know what? I think that most of us are fooling ourselves. Us Mohos are so fixated on the fact that we're different from the norm that we don't realize how normal we actually are.
I have a very close non-girlfriend girlfriend that I confide all of my innermost feelings to. She attends my singles ward. The other day we went out to dinner at Pei Wei (delicious) and were discussing our lives. She is my age, along with the 60 or so other mid-30s singles in the ward. We were talking about being older, single and with no real prospects for marriage. Guess what? Straight people hate being single just as much as Mohos do.
Being older singles has given us all the opportunity to date many, many people. There are reasons why all of us are still single. There are always compatibility issues. Some of our compatibility issues stem from personality traits, physical appearance, social abilities, homosexual attractions, etc. There are always some big issues that keep us older singles from getting married - in spite of the fact that there are dozens of other "available" singles around us. In the past we have actually sat down with the ward directory, gone through all of the single guys and easily pointed out (usually multiple reasons) why none of them are compatible with her.
Why don't all these people just go out and get married? Why do they accept suffering in a church that incessantly preaches about the virtues of marriage and family? Why do they go back week after week, only to see the married families that comprise the other half of our ward come in with their children and flaunt their happiness? Why don't they picket general conference and demand that special attention be paid to them as single members?
There's a few answers to that. The first answer is that we have a bishop that really cares about us as singles. Our previous bishop was awesome too. He was instrumental in enmeshing us in with the families of the ward when we all got sent there. We have a nice, supportive set of local leaders that are in tune with our needs as single members of the church.
The other answer is that most of these singles who are the most active, always have the best attitudes, and seem to be coping the best with being single so late in life, have focus in their lives. They do things to add meaning to their lives. They don't sit at home and wallow in self pity all the time. The get outside of themselves and serve others. They are actively involved in the spiritual and social aspects of church.
So, as I've been recently pondering how to better have a meaningful life, I've paid much closer attention to my peers. I've been trying to stop seeing myself as some three-legged, one-eyed, leprous black sheep, and just see myself as one of the herd of varied black sheep that I see in church every week. We are all struggling with life. None of us has had our life pan out the way we thought it would. All of us are lacking in terms of emotional and sexual fulfillment.
The less I see myself as a sideshow freak, and more like one of the rest of the carnies, the better I feel.