It’s so exciting to introduce you to Annie Downs! Annie says:
Go after your dreams. Don’t wait for permission or a partner or more money. Take little steps towards what you want to do with your life. When you are running after freedom and courage and fun, get to running and look around at the folks beside you – they are doing the same.
What caught my eye the first time I found Annie online is that she’s from Atlanta (so I am!), she went to the University of Georgia and is a huge Georgia Bulldogs fan (I did too, and so am I!), and she has a degree in early childhood education (me too!). A big difference between us (now that I’ve read her interview) is that she’s an off-the-charts extrovert, and I’m an off-the-charts introvert!
Annie is a fabulous a writer, blogger, speaker, and person!! who is passionate about investing in the next generation!
Brenda: First, tell us a little about yourself – your name, age, where you live, and where you grew up.
Annie: My name is Annie Downs. I am 34 years old, and while I grew up in Georgia and am a diehard Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Bulldog fan, I now live in Nashville, Tennessee, land of the shade of orange I will never wear.
Brenda: Where do you work, and how did you get started in your job?
Annie: I am an author and a speaker, so I work at my dining room table, any coffee shop that has WiFi, and any stage that will let me speak.
Brenda: Do you feel like your job is God’s calling on your life or do you hope it leads to something else one day?
Annie: Yes. Both. I think it is the calling God has for my life and I hope it leads to the next thing as well.
Brenda: When you envisioned your life as a young girl, did you hope to have a career when you grew up or was your desire more for marriage and children or did you want both for your life?
Annie: I never wanted a career like this. I always thought I’d be a school teacher and a wife and a mom.
Brenda: What fires you up? What are you most passionate about in your life and in the world?
Annie: I am most passionate about investing in the next generation and equipping my peers to be healthy and healed and passionate about investing in younger people.
Brenda: Are you involved in serving in your community or church? What, if any, ministries or organizations are you a part of?
Annie: I lead a college small group for my church – they are seniors in college and I love them to pieces. I also mentor a few other students in our church.
Brenda: Tell us one thing you LOVE about being single and one thing you hate (or your biggest struggle) about being single.
Annie: I totally LOVE having the freedom to do what I want with my time, space, and money. I love that I can pursue the things that matter to me most without having to run those decisions by someone who is intimately affected by my choices.
The part of singleness I hate is the alone-ness, having to balance my life and my dreams and my plans without a partner.
Brenda: I imagine there are times when you feel content in your singleness and other times when you want to throw something across the room because of it, but overall, how do you feel about being a single woman? Is there more contentment and peace or more of the opposite?
Annie: Currently, it is peaceful. I feel super on purpose and like I am living the life God has for me, so it’s okay today. Tomorrow? Who knows.
Brenda: Do you ever get mad at God because you are single? When bitterness, discontentment, confusion, and even jealousy creep into your mind, how to you deal with it? Do you have a go-to person or scripture verse or something else that helps?
Annie: I totally have in the past – gotten upset at God for not answering my prayers.
When that happens in my head, I usually try to notice the patterns (what else is going on that could trigger this?) and tell people what is happening. The worst thing for me to do in that state is keep it to myself and let it fester. So telling my best friends always alleviates some of that pain.
Brenda: How do you deal with loneliness?
Annie: Loneliness can be such a cruel companion. When it creeps in, I usually get out with my friends and try to have fun. I highly value fun, so I really ramp it up when I’m lonely. Also, the truth is, you just have to keep going. Swimming in the loneliness isn’t going to make it go away. You have to keep living.
Brenda: Do you struggle with obsessing about guys and dating? Like, if you’re interested in a guy or if you just start dating someone new, do you think about him constantly, analyze every conversation, and get overly attached quickly? Is so (or if not) how do you deal with your emotions?
Annie: No. At this point, I’ve been single long enough and casually dated enough guys, that I really sit back and hope/pray that things work out, but try to just live my life around what is going on with a guy.
Brenda: What is your biggest pet peeve about the way single women are perceived?
Annie: It bothers me when people assume I’m not trying to change my situation. Like, “well have you tried this or have you tried that?” as if I haven’t thought of it.
Brenda: Do you struggle with finding community in your local church? How do you find community in a world that seems coupled up?
Annie: Our town is pretty friendly for singles, so there are a lot of us who are single 30-somethings. We are intentional about hanging out and spending time together.
Brenda: Are more of your girlfriends married or single? How do you find authentic friendships as a single woman?
Annie: My ratio is probably about equal – I have a handful of both. I would say the best way to find authentic friendships is to be an authentic friend. Hiding your struggles or your joys will draw people to you who do the same thing. Those friendships can be fun for a while, but when things get hard, those are the ones that tend to crumble for me.
Brenda: Our perception of you is that you are living a fulfilled, purposeful life as a single woman. You’re not waiting around for marriage, but fulfilling God’s call on your life now. What would you say is your secret to doing this?
Annie: There is no secret, honestly. It’s a daily choice, a daily struggle, a daily surrender, and a daily joy to live the life God has given me. It’s not always great- it sucks a lot in a lot of different ways- but in general, I really love life. And I believe our God gives us everything we need, so whatever I have today, it is His best for me.
Brenda: What words of advice do you have for other single women who want to live with purpose now and not wait for marriage to start their lives?
Annie: Go after your dreams. Don’t wait for permission or a partner or more money. Take little steps towards what you want to do with your life. When you are running after freedom and courage and fun, get to running and look around at the folks beside you- they are doing the same.
Brenda: And some fun stuff!
Brenda: Which do you like best – Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest (or all of it!)?
Brenda: What’s your favorite drink?
Annie: Almond milk chai. (I assume you mean that versus a dark and stormy?)
Brenda: Where would you want to live the rest of your life – beach or mountains?
Brenda: Do you read more fiction or nonfiction?
Brenda: Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Annie: Extrovert to the highest degree.
Brenda: What’s something quirky about you?
Annie: I sleep in socks every night.
Brenda: What else do we need to know about you? Where can we connect with you online?
Annie: I’m easy to find on the internet- anniefdowns everywhere! Website, twitter, instagram, pinterest, facebook– always anniefdowns. I’ve written three books– most recently Let’s All Be Brave, where I discuss singleness a pretty good bit (but not an annoying amount, I hope.)