On Being Single – Follow Up Thoughts

May 9, 2019

Meghan Donovan I Atop the Empire State Building

When I sat down and wrote my post about being single in my 30s (in just one hour if you can believe it), I actually wasn’t sure whether I’d hit publish. But once I had made the post public, I had no idea what to expect. I expected no response, I expected maybe a few replies, I expected criticism, I expected perhaps to be embarrassed. I expected some things and I also expected nothing.

I did not expect to be moved to tears with the response I received. I spent the entire day I published the post going through reading and re-reading the beautiful comments and the heartfelt messages and emails that poured in. I cried through so many of them because of how many of you were willing to open up to me. So many of you were so very brave. I thank you for your bravery. (And if you haven’t yet read through the comments on the post, I can’t recommend it enough!) Never before, in my 12+ years of blogging, have I ever exhibited such vulnerability as I did with this post. And, to have my vulnerability resonate with so many people – friends, acquaintances and strangers, it was beyond my wildest dreams.

I wanted to share some of what I experienced the weeks following the post being published because of how I moved I’ve continued to be.

In the weeks that have followed the amazing response to the post, I can’t begin to explain the number of meaningful, deep and real conversations I’ve had with so many. The first wave of emotion was, as mentioned, reading through all of your comments, DMs and emails which were so moving and so thought provoking. But then came seeing people in real life who had read the post and took time to share their thoughts. And then came a few set up dates (nothing promising but lovely nevertheless!) and a few conversations with book editors even.

The conversations I’ve been having following the post being published have continued to allow me to absorb the amazing reaction to the post.

One thing that struck me so much was a prominence of untraditional love stories. People that shared that their life hasn’t gone the way they expected but yet they found love. People who have gotten divorced and then found the person they know is the one. People who loved and lost their loved one. People who got married early and almost wish they hadn’t. People who got married much later than they thought they would. People who were so glad they waited to marry so that their partner complimented, rather than completed them.

And then there was the sheer amount of people who also made me feel less alone in my sentiments. In all the reading I’ve been doing about manifesting what you want in your life, I thought it was so special that so many of us took time to type out the words of what.we.want! It was truly powerful to read. To everyone who told me I wrote exactly what they felt or that I was “in your brain” – thank you. Thank you for allowing my risk to have gained so much reward by saying my story resonated with you.

I also took away that we should all be having more real, transparent, honest conversations where possible. I think in today’s fast-moving, always plugged in culture, it can be easy to glaze over important topics or take things someone says at the surface level and not ask probing questions to dig deeper into how they are truly feeling. I also wish I had replied more honestly to people who said hurtful things to me like “well what are you doing to try and date?” or “maybe you should blog less?” I wish I would have said something along the lines of “you know, these things feel like you’re judging me and my efforts and I don’t feel supported in something that really matters to me.” Or, “when you say things like that it actually hurts and makes something that’s hard for me already, even harder.” Someone in the aftermath of the post said to me he realized how often we answer important questions like “how is [insert your significant other]?” with succinct answers like “good” or “fine” when really there is so much more that could be delved into – and frankly, may need to be if something is going on under the surface. YES, YES, YES I replied!

And, as with all things, I do think some people missed my point. I didn’t write the post to get “chin ups” or “don’t cry – things will get better” or “hang in there” replies. To clarify: I’m so happy with my life and I don’t feel my situation is a desperate one. I just wanted to acknowledge that living up to a variety of expectations set forth by society is difficult and that I do believe the things I want will come – at the time God intends them to. And another point I was trying to make was how to manage this delicate topic – and encourage all who read it – that I think we need to reframe how we look at love and success. We truly need to stop putting expectations on others. (Stop asking people when they’re going to have kids! If they’re dating “someone special”! When they’re going to get engaged! When they’re going to buy a house or move to the suburbs! FULL STOP. When they’re ready to talk about it – THEY WILL! These are exciting things that people will want to share with their loved ones as soon as they’re ready.)

I personally see great power in trusting the unknown. Despite this being so hard (given I love to plan things), I have resolved to continue trusting what is meant to be in my life. I’m choosing to focus on a great love being around the corner and what a great surprise it will be to explore that relationship. I’ve been doing a lot of work to be more positive, loving and open to joy and God’s plan and it’s been a great exercise in exploring the point at which I am in my life. I have come to realize how much I complained about being single despite being pretty OK with it. Saying things like “where are the single good guys in their 30s?” or “all the good ones are taken” or “maybe I’ll never find him”. Even if I said some of these things with sarcasm, it was still negative energy I was putting out onto a topic I care about. I’ve resolved to change my tune entirely to use hopeful and positive language whenever I speak about this topic.

I so hope the post got us all thinking about approaching what can be sensitive topics more carefully and more thoughtfully. I hope those of you who related to the post found solace that we’re not alone in our feelings and that it allowed you to think about the subject with more hope and more faith in the weeks that followed.

As a final follow up, I did want to inquire whether you guys would like me to do some connecting of fellow single girls in your city? Another takeaway I had was a clear need for seeking opportunities to connect with people who feel the same as we do. If this is something you guys express interest in, I’d create a Google Form you’d fill out and then populate an Excel grid per city and connect you with other single girls in your city. A few people inquired after this and I liked the idea as I do know how hard it can be to find a solid wing woman with whom to head fearlessly out in the world! If this is of interest to you, let me know in the Comments below and if it seems like a go, I’ll share updates about participating in a future Weekly Roundup / on Instagram stories.

Thank you again, all so much for allowing my words to be heard and for the outpouring of love, support and understanding on the post. I read and replied to every single one of the hundreds of emails, comments and Instagram DMs and you all truly left a stamp on my heart.

I want to leave you with a quote I read in finishing this book last week that I thought so beautifully put what I think so many of us felt in my post: “Imagine how free you would feel if you lived your life moment to moment rather than milestone to milestone.” 

with love,

Meghan

p.s. for when things aren’t going your way and thoughts on mindfulness.

[Image via this post]

28 comments on “On Being Single – Follow Up Thoughts”

  1. Meghan, again with the words. You are wise, comforting, real and raw. Letting go of expectations — those I have for myself or that society puts on us is my #1 priority. Thank you. Sending hugs from Chicago!! xxoo

  2. Obsessed with that final quote! Thank you, as always, for sharing all of these wonderful thoughts 🙂

  3. Love this follow up post as much as I loved the original. Honestly, seeming perfection if boring – authenticity is so much more appealing, and as you’ve clearly seen, vulnerability and empathy connect us to each other so much more than superficial things. I am so happy for you that so many good things have come out of that post!
    I loved this part: “I’m choosing to focus on a great love being around the corner and what a great surprise it will be to explore that relationship.” The surprises of life are definitely the best part (and I say that as someone who generally hates surprises, lol). I know I told part of my story in a comment to your other post, but this quote reminded me of a story. Back in 2007, I dated a guy who I fell fast and hard for, and it really seemed like we had this uncanny connection. I’ve been a runner since I was in college, but he introduced me to trail running (think mountain biking trails in the woods and mountains), and I immediately fell in love with it and have continued to trail run ever since. Not long after, he bailed on me and broke my heart. Or so I thought. He eventually came back, right around the time I get ready to compete in my first long distance trail race. At first I was overjoyed, but during the time he’d been gone, while I’d continued to pursue the sport he’d introduced me to, I’d made so many new friends. I realized he wasn’t anywhere near as great as I’d thought he was. I joke now that I thought he was the love of my life, but in fact he just introduced me to it. And then of course while training for yet another race, I started running for hours and hours on end with a friend who was also training. We talked about everything under the sun during those hours on the trail. A few months later, I asked him out, and that’s how I ended up with my husband. Our 8th anniversary is this month. 🙂

  4. yo u continue to blow me away with your reflections on this (and other deep, real) topic(s)! Thank you for this follow-up post, which I also find myself nodding along to and identifying a lot with. and, yes, i’d be interested in single gal meet-ups!

  5. I have never commented before, but your post really connected with me and I would be interested in a single girl meet up group!

  6. I can’t get over the quote you added at the end about living moment to moment instead of milestone to milestone. I love that so much. I feel like it needs to be on some sort of artwork at my home so I can be reminded of it every day!

    1. SO good, right!? I read it and it was like exclamation points firing on all cylinders in my head! It is just so spot on. Love the idea of printing it so you see it regularly!

  7. You have the most amazing way with words. I’d love to meet more single girl connections! Wishing you the best and so thankful for your openness!

  8. I love this SO much. I’m so proud of you, and thankful to be your friend! Isn’t it amazing how putting ourselves out there and being vulnerable can invite so much LIGHT into our lives? It’s amazing. You’re an incredible role model and I love the ways that you’re looking forward to bring single women together. It’s so true that if we had good women in our corners, we can do/face anything!! (And omg YES give this woman a book deal!!!) xoxooooo you’re amazing.

  9. Thanks for doing a follow-up post! And yes, would absolutely love to connect with other women who are in the same boat. I absolutely adore my married friends, but it does change the dynamic of the relationship so it’s always nice to make new friends!

  10. Thanks for this & the earlier post (just discovered you yesterday!). I can very much relate! I like what you said here about having more positive energy about the process (instead of complaining how much of a chore online dating is). So true! Also, I love that Gabby B quote! Spot on! I happened to see a quote in a store today that is similar: “Kiss your life, accept it just as it is. Today. Now. So that those moments of happiness that you are waiting for do not pass you by. Kiss your life today now just as it is.”

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