For far more than just one night, she sat in her bed wrapped by chenille blankets and sipped her Cabernet as she scrolled through her Facebook newsfeed, ogling over old friends’ and acquaintances’ wedding photo albums. But the joy that was expressed in these between man and woman, woman and woman, or man and man! Oh, how she’d love someone to be with her who respected her love for National Geographic Magazine, and would encourage her to adopt every dog she felt a longing towards.
As she clicked through the wedding photos, she couldn’t help but ponder, “Oh, true love is such a beautiful thing – to understand each other, know each other inside and out. To be willing to be with someone through and through…but where was I in the grand scheme of love? In a city filled with palm trees, the glittering of the city lights at night, in between the arms of multiple lovers…where was my future…man?”
By no means did she intend to wed any time soon, despite the social pressure of being single in her late twenties. Nor did she even want to get married, let alone desire anything so serious as of yet; she knew there were countries and cities to be explored, businesses to build and ideas to bring into fruition, and she could not imagine cancelling plans with her girl gang or her gay best friend. No, t’was unimaginable for now.
Alas, we have the career-driven woman, held up by her own independence and curiosity of life, who also sat in her bed late at night under twinkle lights, secretly wishing at night for someone who could hold space for her and understand her mind, body, and soul. Before logging off, she cursed Facebook and social media one more time for driving her into the comparison game.
-if I wrote my own version of Sex and The City inspired by real life
But, seriously tho…I could probably write an entire book on dating called “How Not to Date.”
An actual fucking guidebook on topics such as questions you just do not ask on the first date (“so how are your other Bumble dates going?”), or bringing up your ex of three years ago and how they “ruined you for good.” Because first impressions are important, but the foundation of your connection with someone is everything.
And I am at the age where it has become ‘normal’ for my girlfriends to come out with the news that they’re pregnant, about to get hitched, or they’re newlyweds. Again, thank you for this, social media. I’ve never been more up-to-date on everyone’s lives and the restaurants they’re visiting with their fiancés on a nightly basis.
I look back on the majority of this decade as a timeline of, well, a lot of boyfriends. Sparks and flames. Missed connections. One guy who had become who I’d thought was the love of my life. I’ve been wildly in love once or twice before. Over the last year, however.. I’ve been focusing a lot more on self-growth – you know, pulling my shit together. Helping other people pull themselves together. Doing my part in the world through the vessels of work I love doing. And since this has come into full effect, my love life was starting to expose a pattern of seeing guys who would end up telling me they really liked some other girl, or they can’t get on board with the things I do.
Who’s to blame? My wild heart, or They Who Suddenly Change Their Minds?
It could be one of us. But let’s not point any fingers here. What I do know is that for the last couple years I’ve been in this West Coast city is that dating is rather, well, hard.
I can say, however, that despite all these romantic mishaps, the lessons I’ve learned have stuck with me – and what are lessons learned if you aren’t sharing them with others?
In accordance with “How Not To Date”… I can state the lessons I’ve learn and held onto since my rather interesting series of dating events.
- People will only meet you as far as they have met themselves. I found this somewhere online… and it hasn’t left me – because it is true. When you encounter someone and begin a platonic or intimate relationship with them, they immediately begin to show you who they are – from the way they treat your servers at a restaurant to the way they talk about the things they love (or don’t love). What I’ve also found along the way is that not everybody is truly ready for something serious and meaningful -Sub-lesson to take from this: remember that anyone’s reaction towards you is always, always, ALWAYS a projection of what’s going on in their mind and reality. This is hard to swallow sometimes – like when that one ex of yours would get mad every time you wanted to venture out
- ..hold to yourself more than ever. Take care of yourself.. All. The. Effing. Time. This applies to when we are #SuperSingle or #happilytaken – because at the end of the day, it’s you and you. Because realistically, you or that other may not be around forever. Aside from that, your relationship with yourself is so essential. Taking yourself out for coffee on your days off. Get dressed up and throw on heels and head out to your favorite neighborhood restaurant and have a solo night out (edit: I HIGHLY recommend this). Dive into your curiosities and passions a little harder. Always save $5-10 in cash in your purse just in case you have a night out where you need to get home and a taxi is your only option. And brush your teeth everyday. Make your skincare ritual mandatory. You know: the little things. They add up. What I’ve learned is that even when we’ve fallen for someone, we tend to lose our sense of self if we aren’t careful – prioritizing that person’s happiness and needs over our own. While infatuation is natural and totally human, don’t forget you. I work for a really wonderful boss-lady in the nonprofit world. She’s a 75 year-old CEO who takes herself out shopping and drives a Rolls Royce and still travels internationally frequently – like, the lady has it GOING. Her husband had passed over 10 years ago, and she herself has reminded me countless times: “Remember, Danielle, always take care of yourself. Nobody else will. It’s entirely up to you, because no one will do that for you.
And on that note, I mean diving into self-care will save you. It will revive you, it will keep you going, it will allow you to love the mind and body you have now.
- If you keep the rose-colored glasses on, you’ll miss all the red flags. This one goes out to my empaths, my overly compassionate ones,
- As I mentioned in last week’s “Seriously Though,” each and every one of us has our own blueprint to the life we’ve lived thus far. Within these blueprints are our connections we’ve had, have, and will have: every single one has been embedded in our psyche. With this, I say: protect your energy. The people we end up communicating with, arguing with, dancing with, or tangling bodies beneath the sheets do interact with our levels of energy. Ever come away from someone feeling very elevated and inspired, or like someone sucked the life out of you? That’s why. In accordance with this metaphysical level to love, I’d suggest surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you and fully support you in your endeavors. Same goes for those who will lovingly call you out for your own BS and bad habits because they want to see you at your best. And if someone’s vibe throws you off, you’re always free to leave. Remember that.
And how do you know…when they are worth keeping around? They capture you on a soul level. They understand your nuances. They don’t rip you down or pull you apart. They may help you realize another part of yourself that needs to be brought forth. You’ll know because..you’ll know. You’ll understand it when it’s happening.
Whether you’re single and looking, single and focusing on you, or in the midst of something intimate already – commend yourself for where you are. You’re always at a prime time to understand yourself better and to tend to the relationship you have with yourself. The more you learn and experience, the more you have to apply to the rest of your life, your relationships, and your experiences…and then you can live a little more fully. Isn’t that really what it’s about?
(PS – don’t worry if you scroll through everyone’s gorgeous wedding or engagement photos on social media. We all do it. Just make sure you take the time to get off your devices and fall in love with yourSELF, too). 😉
Also published on Medium.