After a few beers Friday night in Charleston, I thought to myself, “I’m here with 3 people I didn’t know last year, watching a band from my past (Hootie and the Blowfish – always a great time), and having a blast.” I felt good (no, I wasn’t drunk…). It was a satisfied feeling. I thought about that feeling as I took a break last night from packing for my awesome trip to CROATIA in 4 DAYS (just a little excited)!
This time last year, I would never have dreamed I would be preparing for a trip to Croatia. I was in the throes of the dating world; well, trying to date anyway. It was just one crappy situation after another. When I made the decision to take a dating hiatus as part of my New Year’s Resolution, it was out of sheer irritation, annoyance and frustration…with the guys and me. There was never the thought of “I should take some time to ‘find myself’.” I was just done. But life has a way of teaching you lessons you don’t expect.
My stress level decreased tremendously once I stopped the online dating circus. I didn’t realize how much it did stress me until I was done with it. Then I just relaxed and started thinking about things that truly make me happy. I started taking action: Instead of browsing for men, I started browsing for exciting trips; in the spring it was the Dominican Republic. I focused on making new friends, trying new classes at the gym – barre is a KILLER – starting this blog, and just getting out and about; essentially, taking care of myself, mentally and physically. I stopped focusing on finding someone and turned my sights on doing things and for the first time in a very long time, I feel comfortable in my own skin. And I’ve had tons of fun without all of the drama! That makes me happy… and when you are happy, people want to be around you. Funny how that works.
I cherish the friends I’ve had for years and am so fortune they are still in my life. It has been a lifesaver reconnecting with old friends, but lives change. I thought it would be very hard to make new friends. And it does get harder as we get older, but I’ve managed to make some terrific new friends who are in the same place in their lives. I have new adventure buddies! None of which I would have met if I had continued with life as is – miserable. There have been so many changes in my life over the past 5 years: separation and divorce, losing my father, selling my home and a multitude of bad dating situations. Regardless though, life doesn’t end with divorce or when you lose someone and it certainly doesn’t end in your 40’s! I think my true life is just beginning.
Will I enter the dating world again? I’m sure I will. Let’s be honest, it can be very entertaining (especially for blogging…) and it is human nature to seek companionship. However, there is a big difference in being alone vs. being lonely. I’m not lonely and I haven’t missed dating. My life feels satisfying now. I value my independence. When I decide to date again, I will have a new perspective, a new set of rules and high expectations for myself and the other person. I won’t let that world drive me to near craziness again.