The first time that I heard “I have someone I want you to meet,” I was flattered. In all my adult dating years, I had never once been set up. I always wondered what it was all about. In the few instances that I had overheard these remarks to friends, I admit that I was a little jealous of how much fun it all sounded.

As many of you may know, EVERYONE has something to say about a single woman in her 30s, but the way Latin culture emphasizes marriage and family sometimes creates twice, if not three times the conversation. Whispers fill the room with questions like, "What is she doing wrong?"

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I didn't think much of set ups at first. I mean, it works in the movies, right? I genuinely looked forward to people’s suggestions. But the older I got, the more the excitement dwindled and the whole situation became annoying. Eventually, it was a soft spot. As 30 kicked in, I started to notice that I was getting a lot of mixed signals from people. It always started with "The right person will come . . . " Then I'd fall into a trap and get the "Why are you so picky? You should totally date (insert this group's gentleman of choice)!" It made things hard and complicated.

Many of the comments were well-intentioned, but left me jaded and wondering: What’s wrong with me? What about kids? Is this supposed to be this way? Though my parents never added to the pressure, lots of it came from other family members, longtime friends, and sometimes even the opposite sex. It was all that inane debating about my personal life and what I could be doing differently that finally forced me to let go. The thing about being single and over 30 in Latin culture is that it instead of dealing with my marital status, I ended up finding peace.

I got sick of jumping to conclusions and assumptions. I looked back at every one of my relationships and realized it had always been natural. I began to focus solely on enjoying myself. If I got lonely, I reminded myself that I wasn't the only one. This happens to everyone. It even happens to married people! I began brushing off so many of the clichés I associated it with “being single.” I stopped wondering if I was single for a reason. I dropped the “Why me?” all together as I began to notice that so many people around me were struggling with their own issues. In all honesty, I preferred my own issues. The understanding that my circumstances were not my fault was key. My only job is to be happy now. I know one day I will share that happiness with someone, but I don’t have to wait for them to have it.

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In short, there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. Or you, or any of the girls that find themselves in this position. I don't know why it takes some of us longer to find what we’re looking for, but in all this waiting, I've learned so much about life and love that I've come to feel grateful for all this time I’ve had to myself.

As much as we want to set off into the sunset with someone, there is a journey far more important than the one we share with someone else. Mastering our own feelings and lives is a grand adventure that so many of us overlook and I feel fortunate that I had time to acknowledge this before my partner came along.

I know who I am and I have so much clarity on what I want to do with that . . . alone and with someone else. Even if it takes our culture a little longer to understand, mi querida niña, you are where you need to be. Don’t let your grandma or a room full of your friends tell you different. It really is a blessing in disguise. You’ll see.