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I launched a reader survey last week (by the way, if you haven’t taken it yet, I’d love to hear from you!) The number one thing you guys asked for in the survey? More personal posts. I even had requests to talk about my relationships. Gulp.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that I was the most single of Sallys back when I was living in D.C. I would joke about my disastrous Tinder dates and flops on Bumble. I tried matchmakers, joined a Kickball team in hopes of meeting more people, and put myself out there. And guess what? Despite a countless number of first dates and a handful of second dates, I never found Mr. Right and lived a single life. Of course, as soon as I was gearing up to leave D.C. is when I met my current boyfriend.
At the time, I was frustrated that no matter what I did, I couldn’t land myself a boyfriend. After all, I was a serial dater in college: I think I only spent 3/4 of a year in undergrad single (oh — and I had to do five years of college too because I transferred schools and switched my major!) However, even though I lived a single life for 4 years, I think that was the best thing that could have happened to me while I was living in D.C. Here’s why.
The College vs. Post Grad Transition
I had a boyfriend up until February of my senior year of college. He lived in Philadelphia, and I desperately tried to find a post-grad job there, but I wasn’t lucking out on anything. I ended up having to move back home to the D.C. ‘burbs as quite a few college grads do, and I worked a 5th and final unpaid internship for a month before landing my first big girl job. If I had a boyfriend straight out of college, I would have felt pressured to move wherever they were moving — even if there were no job opportunities that would be a fit.
I Had to Put Myself Out There
Even though I grew up in the D.C. area, I essentially had to start over in the friend department when I moved back after graduation. I joined a kickball team. As soon as I met someone I liked, I’d try to make plans to hang out (didn’t work all the time, but it was worth a shot). I cannot tell you how nervous I was to go to my first blog meetup when I moved to D.C., but that first meetup I went to changed my life and introduced me to some key blogger friends and brands in my new(ish) city.
I Became a Better Friend
The hardest thing about living in D.C. was how transient it is. Most people aren’t “from” D.C. — they move there for a job for a few years and eventually move on to either another big city or go back to their hometowns. I can’t tell you how many going away parties I went to the 3.5 years I lived in the District! However, I valued my friendships as a single lady, and when my good friends moved away, I would make it a point to visit them whenever I could, FaceTime, and stay in touch. It’s tough to lose a good friend, but this was the first time in my life I was able to make “long-distance friendships” work.
I Figured Out Who I Was
Post-grad single life is weird, y’all. I was funemployed, then underemployed, then laid off, had awful roommates, had my bank account overdraft several times, and was buried in student loans. I was happy. I was sad. I would be depressed and insecure at times. It was the most fun and most stressful time in my life. I had to do a lot of soul-searching in those four years because I wasn’t happy with myself for a long time. Eventually, I learned to love myself, make my own career path, and evolve into a confident young woman.
My Blog Wouldn’t Be As Successful
I 100% believe that if I had a serious boyfriend while I lived in D.C., I would not be a full-time blogger right now. Heck, I might not even own a blog at all anymore. The last year I was in D.C., I spent my days at my full-time job out in Tysons, drove an hour into the city for blog events at night, then came home and worked on the next day’s blog post until the wee hours of the morning. I woke up at 7 am on Saturday mornings for photoshoots. I spent Sunday evenings getting my content ready for the week. Any other spare time I had, I spent it with my friends and family. I honestly didn’t have the time for a relationship because I was working on my own empire. And it paid off in the end.
I’m happy that my current boyfriend, and I think we’re a good fit for each other. However, I’m glad I had a few years on my own to become an independent woman, make quality friendships and find my own career.
What are your thoughts on living a single life for an extended period of time?
Photos by Tom McGovern