A few years ago, Bronwen, myself, and Marisa decided to go to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was the first time in my life I hadn’t spent Thanksgiving morning watching the parade in my parents’ home with my sisters, but there it was, live right in front of me.

Forget the fact I had food poisoning and let’s just focus on the fact we were in New York City on Thanksgiving Day.

It. Was. Awesome.

We got to our spot on 70th Avenue and Central Park West around 5 am, and within a few short hours, the parade began to pass us.




Marching bands.

All the things you see on television, we saw too, except the Broadway performances.

Santa Claus and the reindeer made their way through our intersection around 10 am and it was done.

The massive and tightly packed crowd started to disperse as soon as the policemen let us onto Central Park West. The girls and I couldn’t quit talking about the parade. The floats up-close are incredibly detailed and artistic. Some of our favorite television stars and musicians were right in front of our eyes. The balloons are bigger than you can even imagine.

We giggled and recapped as we walked all through Central Park, back to where we stayed, grabbed our luggage, and headed back south for the winter.

I will absolutely never forget it. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do.

It wasn’t a typical holiday. But being a single adult doesn’t always lend for typical holidays. The three of us saw a really fun opportunity and we decided to go for it.

When moments like that happen, when chances like that arise, don’t let them pass you by. 

If I’m getting real honest, there are memories like this, attending the Thanksgiving Day Parade, that I thought I’d share with my own little family, and maybe someday I will. But in the back of my mind, in some filing cabinet that is dusty because I rarely open it, is a file of experiences and memories that I have always thought I’d save for when I got married.

I don’t want to buy a house until I’m married.

I don’t want to travel to Europe until I’m married.

I don’t want to start my own business until I’m married.

I don’t want to get involved in that ministry until I’m married.

I don’t want to visit Napa, California, until I’m married.

It’s one thing to enjoy watching a parade pass you by; it’s quite another to watch life pass you by for the sake of “someday I’ll share this with my husband.”

Don’t wait.

Open your eyes to the opportunities that God has placed in front of you and say yes to them. Go on that mission trip. Visit that new city. Attend that dance class. See the parade in person.

Live your life.

I guess the holidays sometimes, to me, feel like a season where I bemoan all the memories I’m not making instead of looking around for the ones waiting to be made.

Don’t let those pass you by. 

And seriously. Go see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person. And if you can get us seats in the bandstands, I’ll meet you there!

by Annie Downs

  • Laura


    I so appreciated this post. I’ve learned to thank God for all of the experiences I’ve had and memories I’ve made while single and often tell others to take advantage of the chance to do things like traveling while they are single. One of my favorite Thanksgiving Day memories was when I was living in Europe. I was at a conference, and a few of us spent the afternoon driving to a city in another country just to get Starbucks. (We saw a bit of the city too, of course.)

  • Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    I’ve been on all sides of the fence…single, married, divorced and single, and recently engaged. I too have dreamt of things I would do when in a different state of life. I think it is our default mode. It takes courage and some purposeful choosing to seize life one day at a time…to go for it and not let life pass you by when you are dreaming of the “if onlys”. Some of my best memories were shared with my girlfriends. Thanks, as always, for your encouraging posts!
    ps. I’ll do Napa with you :)

  • Kathy

    Two thumbs up for this one!! I feel like I said that phrase over and over in college, first years of marriage and still today….whether its the “Family trip to Disney (which we finally did)”, buying something we don’t really need, signing up for an extra class at my Y ~ its all the same we think we shouldn’t because of time or money but, in reality WHY NOT? We may never have the time or money so (thanking Nike here….) Just Do It!

  • Heather

    Annie, you get it right every. single. time. Thanks for encouraging us to live life well regardless of relationship status.

  • Sareh

    So good! As a girl married for eight years, I need to remember this. We’re still trying to put things off even though we know how fleeting time is. And, if marriage is in your path, think of all the stories you’ll have to share with your husband!

  • Guest

    What a great post, Annie! It’s so easy to do this in a number of seasons of life. I feel like I didn’t struggle as much with this when I was single as I traveled a ton (go Europe!!), took classes and did a lot of stuff. After I got married, though, my husband traveled full time for years after we got married. I try not to have regrets but the one thing I kick myself about is I kept saying that I’d wait until he stopped traveling to take sailing lessons, go to more musicals, etc. He stopped traveling when we had our first child so then we couldn’t really take them anyway because of, well, life.

    Now as a mom of young children, this season of my life is really about my kids. That season will change. I hope I’m brave in all of the seasons and get out there and do new things.

  • Marian

    I love this. Some of my best memories are from before I got married–travelling Europe and Asia, doing relief work, running races, going to plays and concerts, taking road trips. While yes, I of course love doing things with my husband, it hasn’t been as easy as I thought it was going to be since we had kids quickly and his work schedule is intense. In the meantime, I look back on my pre-marriage days and enjoy them without resenting the season in life where we are now. I’m so grateful for those years of single life and all the memories I hold and so grateful for my single friends who now let me live vicariously through them as they continue to experience incredible things that I can’t thanks to two kids (that I love) and twins on the way.

  • Aisha

    Thank you, this post is awesome!! I’m reminded to dream of adventures again :)!

  • Nkiru

    Beautiful post as always….great reminder for me!

  • Abby

    Annie THANK YOU SO MUCH! I’m so happy to find a single, Christian lady who is serving the Lord where she is, but not being overly cheesy about it. I’m sorry, was that too much? I’m 29 and single and it’s just not easy to find someone that I relate with in that regard. I spent many years longing for a husband, “liking” my friends pictures of their new babies & new houses & statuses about their husbands bringing them breakfast in bed before I realized that I don’t need to put my life on hold.

    A couple of years ago I started paying off my debt & traveling and saving up to buy a home. There is so much freedom in LOVING WHERE YOU ARE. Living your life. Making a difference. There are things I am able to do now that I would never be able to do with my “five perfect children in sweater vests”. I am grateful for every day and I’m learning to enjoy the season I’m in.

    Thank you for your heart and your words!

  • Lisa

    Great message today for ANYONE single or married. Experiences are what make up the foundation of our lives…Don’t let them pass you by.

  • Amanda

    Do not wait until you are married to live your life! When you are married you will do things your husband is interested in, then when you have kids you will do things for your children’s enjoyment. Live the life God has given you. Thank Him for each day and accept it as a gift from God. Life does not start after you get married. Life is now. Enjoy the present, cherish the past and embrace the future.

    Thank you for reminding me of this. Blessings!

  • karyn

    My husband loves to do holidays a lot so he’s looking for another one at the moment.
    Didn’t know it was so awesome.

  • Cassie

    Annie, I love this! It’s a good message for marrieds & singles. And I’ll tell you this, because you are taking advantage of every fun opportunity in your life, you will be rich with experiences & wisdom when you meet your husband! So even though you aren’t sharing certain “firsts” with him, you will be sharing yourself – who happens to be full of fun stories, culture, & great friendships! Love you.

  • Leah

    Yep! I was having this conversation with a girl in college the other day. I always thought I’d wait to buy a house when I was married…then years passed and I got tired of paying rent. Bought myself a condo. Since then I decided to quit with that train of thought. Makes life much more fun and gets me away from the “I’m still not married” funk that tends to sneak up on us and smack us in the face from time to time. Granted…I have a dream to go to Hawaii…always thought that could be a honeymoon…but maybe one day I’ll get there…with or without a hubby! But the Lord has taken me to Morocco, China, London, NYC…and several other places…you never know what will open up when you quit putting things off “until…..” Good word, Annie! Oh and the Macys Parade…is on my bucket list! :)

  • Caryn Christensen

    Such a beautiful reminder Annie for all of us to live in the moment and take opportunities when they are presented to us. We all do this in one way or another…put off doing something because we want to experience it a different way. We put certain expectations on the way things “should” be and in doing so, miss out on what could have been.
    I NYC and went there a couple of years ago at Christmas. I’ll be sure and go at Thanksgiving if the opportunity arises!

  • Darlene Christiansen

    You are so right. I am a widow now at almost 64 yrs. and my husband passed away this past May 3. Now is the time! Don’t “futurize” those dreams. Some you will surely want to do with your future husband, but take advantage of the now, if you’re single. Now is all we have. I have spent many hours in the last 6 mos. thinking of what we didn’t get done or didn’t do. That’s wasteful also. I have today, I need to make it the best and do what I can do for my Lord and Creator TODAY1

  • Kimberly

    So many of us fall into this cycle of waiting for the next big thing, or the next big relationship, or the next shift in our life season to get out there and actually live our lives to the fullest. Thanks for the encouragement, Annie:) And travel the heck out of Europe while you still can without having to lug a stroller and a diaper bag along with you;)

  • Sarah Jo

    Oh my, yes! I got to have some many amazing experiences before I was married (including packing my little Arkansas self up to go live in New York City for 4 months and cover a full-timer’s maternity leave at a company that I adore). I’ve never passed up a chance to eat at a nice restaurant or go to a botanical garden or see play just because I was going alone.
    Now we have a 5 month old, and I’m looking forward to the different sort of adventures we’ll have and memories we’ll make – but I’m grateful for the experiences I was bold enough to seize while I was single.

  • Ann Graham

    Great message Annie, and an attitude that’s bound to help you make the most of being single. I spent years thinking I didn’t want to (couldn’t) buy a house until I was married. I was in my 30s before I realised what useless thinking that was. Now I have my own home and am so grateful for God’s blessing. My sister and I have both recently travelled to New Zealand together (both still single in our 40s) and had a fantastic time. It’s much easier to appreciate the life you have when you’re actually living it.

  • Elsie

    Ah. Sigh. It’s hard to hold your breath, waiting for so long (40+, never married). Like literally, you can’t breathe. It is scary also to take that first, second, third breath because when you exhale the thought comes you may be forever letting go of hope that it may really happen at all.

    My dear BFF knows I’ve always dreamed of going to The City of Lights and excitedly suggested that we plan for that for my Monumental Birthday. Inwardly I wince with grief and sadness. I guess I’ve never verbalized that I really dreamed of being there with my lover, my husband. So i sense myself withholding enthusiasm and remain in kind of in a “protect my heart” stance. Ah. Must get over it and be grateful.

    Thank you for identifying with the feeling and encouraging me that I need to just live where I’m at. I know God is good and he will meet me even in my disappointment!

  • Kristen Strong

    Gorgeous words here, Annie. May we all grab onto what He has for us today and be thankful in the process.

    I just adore you, girl. Much love!

    {And attending the Macy’s parade is on my dream sheet! So is being a Rockette, but I guess I’m gonna have to let go of that one. Heh.}

  • Cathy

    …and seriously, Napa is fabulous in the Fall and in the Spring!!!! You gotta do it!

  • Beth Williams


    Good for you for going for the fun stuff and living life. Holidays were never fun for me as everyone talked about the family getting together and such. As a single person I didn’t have family–oh I went to my parents and spent the day, but not the same.

    One thing I did do while single was go on a mission trip with others to the local state prison. Several times we would go up there for the weekend and cook for the prisoners and men on the team. It was a gratifying experience. Especially at the closing when the prisoners all express their gratitude for the food and their willingness to accept God and His forgiveness. Something I will never forget!

    Thanks for encouraging all the single ladies out there! God Bless!!

  • Sonnie Shay

    You’re a good one Annie Downs.

  • Erin

    Amen Annie!! If we focus on all of our “don’t haves” then we definitely miss out on our ” do haves!” Thanks girl!

  • Sarah Crane


    I just read this and I so appreciate it. Knowing all three of you wonderful women, (especially B and MVHP) I want y’all to know that you, Bronwen, and Marisa have set such a beautiful example for me of not letting life pass you by waiting for marriage, but to embrace the season He has you in. For a long time I said I wouldn’t move back to Uganda long-term unless I was married. Yet here I am for at least two years and open to what He’s got beyond that. I do long to be married, I hope to one day share many memories and experiences and life with a partner, friend, husband…but today, I am so very thankful for women who model for me life to the fullest, dreams and hearts after His, single or married. Thanks for being one of those women for me!