My first date was in 1992. I was 16. For the next 21 years, I’d continue to date, constantly searching for my Mr. Right. I literally dated for more than half my life, and some of those dates were truly awful. Some may have ended up in some of my novels, but of course I never used their real names!
It was always kind of funny, being a romance writer and not having found my own true love. In fact, I wrote 10 marriage proposals in my novels before I received my own perfect proposal. I have to say though, it was worth the wait!
If I could go back in time and give my single self some advice, this is what it would be:
- Enjoy it. Seriously. This time is all yours. Someday, you’ll juggle careers and families and crazy schedules. For now, relish in sleeping in on Saturdays or shopping and not being (too) worried about spending too much money on yourself.
- Trust God. He has a plan for your life. It may not look like what you expected, but sometimes you just have to have a little faith.
- Don’t worry so much. I used to worry that there was something wrong with me. My best friends got married and had families and I was the token single girl. I worried about the future a lot. I wish now I’d done less worrying and more trusting that things were as they should be. Once I met my now-husband, I could see how each bump in the road led me right to him—and at exactly the right time.
- Live your life. I spent years in my twenties believing life wouldn’t really start until I was married. One day it finally clicked—this was my life! I needed to live it fully, regardless of my relationship status. From that point on, I focused on living each day and moment to the fullest—whether that meant buying dishes (and not waiting for “someday” when I’d register for those things) or taking a trip to the Grand Canyon alone. Stop letting the fact that you check the “single” box prevent you from fully living.
- Don’t be afraid of set ups. Once you get to a certain point, it can be hard to meet new people. For a long time, I said “no” to set ups by friends and family. I’d had one too many bad dates that ended up feeling more like job interviews (one guy actually brought his family to meet me. . . on our first date!) My husband’s sister is also my mom’s neighbor, and the two of them talked (on Facebook) about setting the two of us up to have dinner. My first inclination was to say “no way” but I ended up saying yes—and now I’m so glad I did!
Overall, the time spent checking the “single” box can be frustrating. It can also be lots of fun and such an amazing learning experience. I learned the art of relying on myself—traveling alone, making big decisions alone, etc., and I’m so glad I did. I think those years of singlehood helped shape the person I am today.
Annalisa Daughety is a published author of contemporary fictions, romances set in historic locations. Her book, Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio, will soon be a TV movie! For more of her works, visit her Amazon page.