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As I type in the title of this article, a snippet of dialogue comes to mind from one of my favorite films growing up. About midway through 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf the Grey tells our beloved hobbit Frodo Baggins the utterly tragic story of Gollum, a creature whose life is both extended, and ultimately destroyed by the same titular ring that Frodo now must bear. Singleness is a time for singles to rest and to prepare for the rest of their lives.

The story deeply troubles our hero, moving him to say: “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Instead of offering fickle words of pity, however, the wise wizard responds with the whole truth: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Singles, particularly those who have no intention of staying single, are liable to see their singleness through a filter of angst. Because we wish to find someone, we might see singleness as a kind of road block on the road trip of our lives; an unwelcome, restlessness-inducing inconvenience that offers nothing of value and must be gotten over with as quick as possible. And that’s only if we can’t outright avoid it, mind you. It’s so easy to see singleness as nothing more than a ball and chain. To this day, I am about as guilty of this mindset as one can get, but I gradually came to realize after a while that such a one-sided way of thinking about singleness is… well, one-sided.

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