18 years ago. That was such a lifetime ago it seems. That was also the last time I ever dated. Now I will say this will not be something I write about often. In fact, this may be the only time I write about dating. There are probably some people questioning whether or not it’s too soon to date. The reality is, there are no rules to time. When your heart is ready to go out try again, you know you’re ready. I knew I was ready when the rest of my life and the kids’ lives had fallen into place and I felt like I was missing something. Adult conversation and companionship was that. Dating filled that void and has been one of those journeys filled with eye opening moments.
I have mad respect for every person out there trying to start again. It’s not easy at all. Months ago I started going out with friends. Sometimes that would lead to dates or at least conversations with guys we’d meet while out. Then there’s the Woodwork! Yup, that not so magical place where random people pop out of no where once they realize you’re going out again. Where do you even begin?
I am no longer a 20 something without many cares in the world. Dating at nearly 40 brings with it some amount of baggage. Really anyone dating at this point in their life has some amount baggage. I felt like I should start all conversations with anyone asking me out, “So here’s the deal. I am a widow. I have 3 kids and a crazy schedule. You date me, you get my squad too.” If they didn’t turn and bolt, well then maybe a date was possible.
There are some moments where I just can’t get over the lines people use. In my head all I can think of is, “Does that really work for anyone? Because if it does, you should go to her… now.” There are friends who offer to try and set me up. Even when I say no, some sneak a “oh hey funny to run into you here by the way this is my friend.” Oh no! There were moments all I could think of is that my friends needed a much better vetting process. After some initial conversation, “Sweet baby Jesus get me outta here,” kept running through my head. My poker face needed work, so did my plan on how to date in this day at my age.
Going for coffee could be good and all but if the conversation wasn’t going well you can’t drink that fast and be gone, you’d burn yourself. Yup, mom brain didn’t want anything to go to waste, including my time. So in my head I calculated any potential date plan. If you really weren’t sure but worth a try, go out for cold beverages. If it doesn’t go well, drink it fast and out the door. If the outlook was a little better, hot beverages and/or appetizers because it still wasn’t as long as a full meal. Then there was lunch or dinner, well you had to really give off good vibes for that to be a first date. Sounds crazy I know, but it works. Yes, I’ve gone out to dinner a few times so I know there is someone who has made it past all of the above. Yes, only one person at a time too. I didn’t realize that now dating more than one person at a time is the norm unless you both agree to only see each other. Last time I dated, you only dated one person at a time and if it didn’t work then you move on to someone else. I barely have time for one let alone more than one. Yup, sweet baby Jesus!
Once you find “one” and a date night is set, how the heck do you get ready? I mentioned that is has been like forever since I’ve dated right? My confidence levels also needed work. I’d be getting ready and looking in the mirror to channel my inner Beyonce, music and all. The problem is as soon as I leave the house, nerves take over. Thank God for radio in the car, Beyonce is back! In the past few months there have been some heart aches, some laughs, and yes… some butterflies. Those are the moments that make me know I’m still alive. People always said when a good one comes along it will almost be as if Mark sent them. I will admit that I ask Mark for signs and to guide me to who I’m meant to go out with. Beppu, you’re doing good, thank you. This whole dating thing may not be easy but when you find those moments that make your heart skip a beat and just smile long after the date is over, you know it’s worth it. So here’s to the dating journey and venturing out of the snow globe.