From the time I was old enough to date until I was in my mid-thirties, my love life pretty much sucked.
It didn’t make any sense to me (or to anyone who knew me) why I couldn’t attract a deserving dude. I was cute, I was smart, and I was fun. Nonetheless, there was still something about me that made most decent men run in the opposite direction.
When I look back on my dating life during my twenties and thirties, I realize how my focus was all messed up. The only thing I cared about was the end game – that walk down the aisle I had been dreaming about since the first time I watched Cinderella. Every time I went on a first date, I was already wondering “Is he the one?”
I wasn’t crazy or mental or stalk-ish. I was actually quite normal. My priorities were just a little skewed and, as a result, I was felt “less than” because I hadn’t “achieved” that one thing that I thought I was meant to do in my life: settle down, have babies, then stay at home and raise them.
Keep in mind, those goals weren’t things I specifically and intentionally set out to do.
Rather, they were things I just “fell into” by virtue of observing the women around me and giving preference to the expectations of others over myself. In any event, things didn’t pan out as I thought they would.When my thirties rolled around, I was educated, but still single, dateless, minus any children, and I had no marriage prospects in my foreseeable future.
I also thought I knew everything, including “who” it was I wanted to be my life’s partner. In case you’re wondering, he looked kinda like Brad Pitt, was well-educated, was funny, and, of course, he was rich.
In addition to being a know-it-all in my thirties, I was also desperate, sad and lonely.
One of my friends who couldn’t take any more of my whining actually suggested that I loosen up on my future husband prerequisites.
What? Lower my standards? No way!
That same person thought that maybe I should open myself up to every person and dating opportunity that crossed my path.
What a waste of my precious time!
She also said it might do me some good to give each prospect more than one date before I made a decision about him being husband material or not.
I will know in the first five minutes of meeting someone.
I didn’t follow her advice. And, you know what happened?
More time passed. I got older. I got sadder. I got lonelier. And, I got more desperate.
Desperation isn’t a great place to be for anyone. The gift in being desperate, however, is that it makes you consider doing things you otherwise might not do. So, I relented.
I finally decided to open my mind.
I signed up for a dating service. I paid $1200 for a guaranteed 12 dates in a year’s time. I was excited. I was terrified. I knew that in year, I would find The One.
I did, however, go on more than 12 dates. I met some cool guys. I met some strange birds. And, I met some jerks.
The best thing that happened though, is I became a pro at going on first dates. I got more comfortable with presenting the “real” me with each date that passed as opposed to the “fake” me. By being exposed to more men, I learned about the qualities that I really did want in a partner. I realized the fact that I had not “settled down” was a blessing for more reasons than I could count.
After my tour-of-duty with the “It’s Just Lunch” dating service, I didn’t re-sign a new contract. I did, however, decide to give match.com a try. Then, I gave eHarmony a try. Then, I said “yes” to some arranged meetings.
I also started to re-examine my standards, and I began saying “yes” to every dating opportunity that came my way.
Then, finally, many, many years later, the love of my life, my best friend, and my now-husband showed up. On a blind date. No. It wasn’t love at first sight. Not only that, but the amount of time between our first and second date was one year. (Long story. Another blog post.)
We gave each other a chance after that first date and, based on what happened between us on that second date, the rest, as they say, was history.
We just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. We have a 3 year old daughter. I have a demanding full-time profession. I am a good mom. I love my family.
I am happy.
The only reason I have (and am) all these things is because I went through many years of loneliness, self-discovery, desperation, and self-reflection. I am so grateful for the progress that took place over nearly half my life. It was a long and confusing road. It was also well worth the heartache.
The lessons I learned apply to you because I KNOW there is something in your life you want but that you don’t have. You CAN have it. There are two keys that will help you make progress towards getting that thing. Here they are:
One: Be intentional and thoughtful about what (or who) you want. Examine your own conscience and be real with yourself. Do something that is going to make YOU happy and do it in your own time. Do things not because you are expected to (or because you once wanted to), but because that is what you truly want right now in this moment. Be clear about what you want. Set an intention that your deepest desires will happen.
Two: Once you are clear on what it is that you want, each day, take a tiny step in the direction of your desire. Plan a meeting. Do lunch. Make a phone call. Make a to-do list. Daydream. Make a collage.
If you set your intention and follow through with consistent thought and action, have faith that what you want is going to come along. There are things happening below the surface that you have no way of knowing about. The universe is conspiring on your behalf. When “the thing” does show up, the timing, the place and the people will be perfect.
Keep doing. Keep going. You will make progress. You are making progress.
Your dreams will come true.