10 Life Lessons I Learned When I Was Single

10 Life Lessons I learned - Wendy Braun

To inspire you, I wanted to share the timeline of how my husband + I met (10 years before our first date!) and the 10 valuable life lessons I learned when I was single (amidst lots of tears + frustrations).

I hope this helps you to know that even when things look like they might not be going your way, greater forces are at work in your life. (yes, even in your acting career!)

I also hope my story will help you ask yourself these 3 questions today:

What if my timing is divine?
What if everything is unfolding exactly as it’s meant to?
What if I started keeping the faith?


10 Life Lessons I Learned When I Was Single

1995 – Josh + I met on a UCLA student film. He was helping a friend + I had submitted through Backstage (back when it was a newspaper) to get experience on-camera (I had just done theater) and build my reel.

Josh was very handsome + kinda quiet throughout our shoot, so I figured he was super-cocky.

1. Sometimes we add meaning to an event or to a person that might not be true.

1999 – Four years later, I booked the lead in an independent film.  When I walked into the table read, there was Josh, who got cast as the other lead.  In my head, I thought, “Oh, there’s that super-cocky guy from the short film I did a few years ago. Great.”

Turns out, he was just laid back.
Turns out, he started dating the other lead girl in the film.
Turns out, we became friends.
Turns out, becoming friends was a really good thing, because had we dated back then, we probably wouldn’t be married now.

2. Sometimes when the handsome, nice guy dates another girl and you become just friends, it might be a beautiful stroke of luck.

2000 – Our film goes to the Cannes Film Festival Market + Josh books a Series Regular role on Strong Medicine (Lifetime).

A commercial I did turns into giant spokeswoman contract including a 26 spot campaign + live personal appearances, but I still cry in my hotel room because I don’t have a boyfriend + I hadn’t booked a pilot.

3. Sometimes you’re in the middle of something really great + you miss it by focusing on what you don’t have.

2001 – One month after 9/11, I meet a guy on a park bench, while watching the sunset in Santa Monica on my way to a yoga class. I figure it’s fate + we end up dating. I now have “said” boyfriend.

2003 – Boyfriend + I date for a year and a half and I’m convinced he’s the guy I’ll marry, since I had a timeline of how my life was going to go, and this was the year I would have been married. I’m blinded to some red flags because of my attachment to “this is how my life is going to go” timeline.

4. Sometimes your timeline needs to be chucked so the Universe can give you something even better.

2003 – The boyfriend + I break up. I’m devastated. I cry. I dance alone in my apartment. I go to a voice-over workshop the next day. I meet 2 of my now best friends.

5. Sometimes life will knock you down. Notice who is there to pick you up.

Twenty years later, these two beautiful souls, are still two of my dearest friends.  We’ve been there for each other in good times and bad.  And through it all, we’ve supported each through successes and setbacks.

6. Sometimes you will cry + dance alone in your apartment. This will be part of your story one day. Own it + dance full out.

2004 – In his 4th season of Josh’s show, I book a guest star role on Strong Medicine. Josh + I have no scenes together, but he asks me to sit with him at lunch and we reconnect.

After the devastating breakup I had been through, I was about 6 months into enjoying “a year to myself” where I wasn’t gonna date just to date, and instead focused on things like competing in a Triathlon + rediscovering who I am and what I really want.

Josh had just gotten out of a not-so-great relationship + I happily shared how much fun it was having “a year to myself” and suggested he try it. I said good luck + that was that.

7. Sometimes, in the midst of training for triathlon (or doing anything that scares you), you will discover you are stronger than you think.

2004 – I eventually go out with a few guys who are kind of intimidated that I did a triathlon. I don’t downplay my achievement to make them feel better. (This is a breakthrough for me.)

8. Sometimes, your light is going to be too bright for others. Keep shining bright anyway.

2005 – One year later, I was shooting a pilot + Josh’s hair stylist from Strong Medicine took a week off to work on the pilot I was shooting.

The hair stylist (the fabulous Shawn Finch) was doing my hair + mentioned he had worked on Strong Medicine. After sitting in his chair all week and chatting with me, he asks how come I had never dated Josh in all these years. And I said, “well, he never asked me out.” (And I wasn’t into asking out guys).

Shawn went back to Strong Medicine + mentioned to Josh that he had worked with me and 5 days later Josh called me.

2005 – 10 years after we met on that short film, we went out on our first date.

9. Sometimes who you’re meant to be with might already be in your life, but you both need to grow before you recognize each other.

2005 – I told him I did a triathlon + he said, “How awesome, maybe I’ll train with you if you do it again.”

I knew I had found my match. I knew I could be all that I wanted to be + that he would only make me better. I still feel that way over a decade later.

We trained together + did the Malibu Triathlon together later that year.

10. Sometimes, the right person at the right time will just get you in the right way. The person, the time and the way will, most likely, not be up to you.

2007 – After dating for a year and a half, we got married on 7/14/07 and my late mother walked me down the aisle.

2023 – This past week we celebrated 16 years of marriage, two children and a life filled with love.
And yes, we help each other self-tape all the time.
See a fun behind-the-scenes peek of what self-taping with your spouse really looks like here.

When I look back on this timeline, I think of all the times I never thought it would work out for me, and all the ways in which it was working out for me perfectly.

I will tell you though, that somewhere in that “year to myself,” I learned to let go, to keep the faith, to get back to what brought me joy and to face what scared me most.

Funny how that is exactly when Josh re-entered my life.

So, no matter where you are on your life’s journey right now, and no matter what it is that feels like a struggle to you…

Here are 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Today:

What if my timing is divine?
What if everything is unfolding exactly as it’s meant to?
What if I started keeping the faith?

Ask yourself these questions + watch what blossoms.

When you begin to trust in the future you cannot see, while taking bold actions along the way that stretch you, your life rises up to meet you there.

Here’s to knowing that life is giving you the exact lessons you need.

I love hearing from you! Leave a comment below + let me know which life lesson resonates with you the most right now.

Love + Gratitude,

– Wendy

P.S.  Need some help trusting in the future you cannot see?  Download your free “Warrior Manifesto.”

Leave a Reply

41 thoughts on “10 Life Lessons I Learned When I Was Single”

  1. Hi Wendy,

    Your generosity and fulfillment are increased when you pay it forward! Thank you for sharing and inspiring.

  2. Gretchen Frazier

    This was just what I needed today. I just got out of a 4 year relationship 2 weeks ago and have been down in the dumps… but this gave me the inspiration I need during this time on figuring out my new norm being single again.. all in Divine timing!!!

    1. I know how hard that can be, so be gentle with yourself. That relationship gave you so much clarity of what you do and don’t want. Use that, allow yourself to feel and heal and go easy on yourself during this transition phase. So glad my story inspired you.

  3. I’m two months away from marrying a man I met when we were kids at camp, whom I have loved since I was 17 but didn’t really know it, and whom I found again at 25. Now, 9 years after that re-meet, we’re getting married. We say all the time that if we had dated as teenagers, we probably wouldn’t be getting married now. It all worked out as and when it was meant to, and that timing has always felt right to me, has never made me feel regret or frustration that we weren’t together sooner.

    I had cancer when I was 28 (my partner was there for me every step of the way), and I say all the time that I wouldn’t take it back because it made me into who I am. It helped me understand that the Universe has a plan that is likely different than our own but that we just have to trust that it’s going to work out the way it’s meant to and for our highest good.

    I’ve been feeling frustration and sadness lately that my acting career is unfolding slowly, that I’m not further along, that I’m not where I want to be. But I haven’t been applying the same perspective from the timing of my relationship and my “not to plan” cancer diagnosis to the timing of my acting career and the “not to plan” point I’m at. Brilliant. Thank you for helping me realize that I can let go and that I can have faith in the process, in the timing of the Universe, and in the fact that things are unfolding exactly as they are meant to.

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing your story. Here’s to letting go and having faith in the process, while holding the vision of your truest desires.

  4. Such a wonderful story. I believe in perfect timing too and I hope everything happens for a reason. Thank you for inspiration.

    1. This was such an inspiring message. I stopped everything and read as though I was watching my favorite movie. I really identified with crying over not having that man I want most and not landing a major pilot television series. That man has a woman and wanted to have us both. I figured the pain was too much for me, so I left. As you stated, I have to trust God’s timing. I must have faith that God will bring my dreams to pass despite my old age. You gave me hope in reading this.. Besides there’s little faith without hope. THANK YOU for giving me hope from reading this. I pray one day my prayers will be answered. Keep me in your prayers whilecI try to prepare for my future 🙏 Again, thank you for sharing your journey my Sister.

      1. Thanks for sharing + I’m so glad this spoke to you. Take the clarity you gain from the chaos and know that things are lining up in ways you cannot see. Here’s to trusting in the future you cannot yet see.

  5. Thanks for this Wendy. I had just finished my morning pages and realized how much good I was missing by focusing on where I thought I should already be. Then I read this. Talk about divine timing.

  6. I trust in the divine timing of it all!

    Speaking of divine timing… been going through a big break up myself! Seeing the world differently and returning back to myself has been the gift of a lifetime. Hard as hell at first. But I proved to myself that I can do hard things. I am resilient! Loved reading this. I feel very affirmed by your words! Thanks.

  7. Thank you so much for these simple yet wise words. Wonderful things are happening for me in my actor life now in my 60’s, I’m so glad I didn’t give up completely. Focusing on the opportunities right in front of me while imagining the future possibilities is a beautiful elixir of groundedness and enchantment. Your words give me both those vibrations. Thank you!

  8. Hi Wendy,
    I met my now partner while I was filming ‘Heartbeat’ (a UK TV show) in Australia in 2008. I had been single for 4 years after coming out of a hard break up and losing 3 family members all in 13 months. I knew I needed to take time to myself but my friends put me on an internet dating site. I said I don’t want to date anyone in North London as it’s too far from where I lived in South London. Cut to getting out of the car at WB studios on the Gold Coast and meeting the now love of my life, who was the 2nd AD. We worked together for 2 weeks. I admitted to my makeup artist that I had a crush on him only to be told he had a girlfriend. I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t felt such a strong connection in the whole 4 years I was single. Anyway the job ended I went back to London. He married the “said” girlfriend and a year later had a baby. Cut to 5 years later I was sat in Paris airport waiting to fly to Guadeloupe to film ‘Death In Paradise’ and I get a text from him asking if I’m single. He calls me when I land in Guadeloupe and tells me sadly his marriage didn’t work out and he saw me on the TV and thought maybe he’d give me a call. We talked on WhatsApp for 9 weeks (no video calls) and agreed to meet in Thailand so he could take me out to dinner. We are coming up to our 8 yr anniversary and I moved to Australia in 2015 to be with him. A very scary endeavour as I’m starting my acting career from scratch over here but so far so good and with the help of your audio meditation I bought I have no doubt my career will blossom. Thank you!

    1. Love this! We have to let go of what we think or have been conditioned to believe and trust that the Universe has our back and will deliver far greater than we imagined. Thank you for this Wendy!

  9. Such a great story Wendy! I woke up today with worry, fear and old tapes playing in my head. I’m so ready for a change. This timing is perfect! Thank you!

  10. Hello, and a big thank you for your lovely email, and story! This has come at the perfect time. All my wishes for your continued success as well!

  11. What a beautiful story! I loved it. So well written and so moving. Congratulations on your anniversary and your beautiful family. Much love to you!!

  12. Gurl……..Yes. I feel the same way. I gave up on acting. Now my boys are teenagers , and I’m back at it. I have not had a man since the Dawn of Humanity, LOL.

  13. B J Wieland-Doucet

    I’m in that “15 year to myself” phase. Im definitely not sweating it though. I love my solitary living situation. I have friends & a fulfilling career in the arts.
    I love your spirituality/career blend. It so much like my own.

  14. Today I decided to create a new plan full of choices that will empower me daily and then I see your blog post in my email. I remember a time when I would write and speak to women all over the world about self love, faith and courage. You reminded me today that since leaving that purpose behind, I also left a gap that acting cannot fill, but it’s a perfect compliment. Thank you. It may be time for me to write again.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring story. I am going through it right now. I am in an emotional roller coaster…in a transitional period of waiting. I cant get frustrated at times when things don’t go my way. But this message reactivated my faith. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

  16. I don’t usually comment online but this article really touched me and gave me some perspective/hope during a difficult moment. Thank you.

  17. This is perfect timing for me… The universe is sending me this message through your Inspiring story… I am at that place in my life where I am keeping the faith and believing everything right now is definitely working out for my highest good… May be not the way I have desired it or dreamed it but I know it’s gonna be lots better than I have imagined it.
    Thanks a lot for your story… I wish you and josh all the best and many more beautiful years to come!

  18. Sallieu Sesay

    Well written and inspiring. It’s not often I read an entire blog but this one held my attention. Going through some huge life decisions and this article gives me the permission to make the initial move and wait. Not feeling as though I need make more that one move at a time.

  19. what a beautiful inspiring heartfelt newsletter that made me a giddy inside and excited for the future! Thank you for sharing your stories!

  20. I needed to read this. Thank you, Wendy. Absolutely perfect timing- as I am currently in my “year to myself and dancing / crying and facing all of my fears.”


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