A while back I read an article that asked what the key to leading a fulfilling life is. One person said it was to do one thing that scared them each and every day.
Today, for me, that was booking a flight (well, four actually) with a guy I had a first date with the other night. It’s literally been so long since I’ve been on a first date that I told him, flat out during the date, I haven’t done this in a while and I’m a fidgety (read: HOT, but not in a cute way) mess.
He didn’t skip a beat and continued to ask me about myself and we kept talking for four and a half hours…until I had to leave for my second date of the night. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t left the first date, because my second one was a disaster and I felt like one of those girls in the movies that hides in a bathroom until the guy gets the hint that the date’s over.
But I didn’t hide in the bathroom. I closed my tab (read: paid for my own drink because I’m not dating for all the free perks people think it’s cracked up to be), wished him a good night, and then awkwardly ran into him after leaving the bar on the way to my car.
Sometimes I think my life is an ongoing tragedy; other times I can’t help but laugh at the comedy that interrupts all the bad things that happen. Call it “God,” call it “serendipity,” call it “life.” Whatever it is, it keeps me walking up in the morning excited for the day’s challenges, because those are what makes us stronger people.
The impromptu trip happened because I called to ask if the guy was serious about meeting up cross-country while he’s on a work trip. Next thing I know our flights are booked (and he stayed on the phone with me for an hour to coordinate sitting next to each other on all four flights – swoon, seriously).
Today, the one thing that I did that scared me was booking a trip with an *almost* complete stranger on the other side of the country. We’re getting separate hotel rooms because he’s not pushy and I’d like to get to know him first before sharing sheets, spit, and/or anything else. I’m visiting a city I’ve never been to before and I’m challenging myself to adventure on my own during the day while he’s in meetings. So far my list consists of a few museums and some fun brunch spots to take a book to.
Dating after a long-term relationship is seriously second-to-none one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I think I’m ready to close this chapter and start a new one. As difficult as it is to keep my gaze forward-facing, it’s entrancing to think about all of the possibilities my future might hold.
We only have one life to live, and honestly, if you spend it scared of what might go wrong if you try something new, you’ll be crippled by the anxiety of rejection and remain sedentary in your ways. And it’s true, rejection fucking sucks, it doesn’t matter what stage you encounter it.
An almost proposal.
A marriage turned ugly divorce.
Insert your own perceived worst fear here.
But I’m here to say I think I’ve pulled myself up over the slump of a shitty breakup that I spent far too long trying to piece back together. I so desperately wanted to hold it together as it slipped through my fingers, but that’s okay, because I know I gave it every ounce of my heart and now I think I’m ready to leap into the unknown abyss that dating is (or at least seems to be).
There is an inherent risk of getting hurt, but I’d like to keep believing that the risk is 100% worth the possibility of what you might find along the way. It may not be a forever happy ending, but each love shapes our hearts into a better version than they were in before.
Is this sappy? I’ve gone from rock-bottom depressed to kinda, sorta, butterfly-level excited to try new things that scare me shitless.
I hope my words find someone out there and inspire you to try something that you’ve been toying with but haven’t followed through with for whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be a cross-country second date with a complete stranger; maybe it’s ordering something different at your favorite restaurant. Maybe it’s striking up a conversation with someone you always see but haven’t quite mustered up the courage to talk to. Maybe it’s committing to that workout program you’ve told yourself you’re going to, but haven’t gotten around to yet (so guilty of that one).
Whatever it is, put yourself first and challenge yourself. No one else can live your life for you, so what’re you waiting for?
Damn, I’m a fucking fortune cookie. Outside of the incredible support system that caught me as I nose-dived through this breakup, I think one of the most invigorating things I’ve realized is that I’m resilient. I’m worthy, and I love myself, even when I feel like I’ve royally fucked something up beyond repair.
I want to make this world a better place, even if it’s just through blubbering rants about the up’s and down’s in life no one else wants to candidly talk about.
Enough words of wisdom from a hopeless romantic. I hope you love yourself enough to know that you matter and what you do matters, so make it count.