I had an epiphany (actually several) and I think I can officially say that I am on the dating scene.
Sure, I've had a couple of boyfriends in the past, and sure I've engaged in more than just "talking" since I am the mother of a 9 year old boy, but I don't think I ever really "dated." It's amazing how experiences from one's past are so powerful that they can affect one's future. And I think that at the age of 35 I finally got tired of relinquishing the power over who or what was going to shape my future.
Before, when it came to dating, for me it was all about finding a mate, a partner, someone to grow old with. And I'm not saying that idea isn't something that I would like to be a reality, but I had to pull back a bit and explore why I haven't been a 'dater' in the past. Luckily there were a few things that helped me to revise my thought process and approach when it comes to tangling with the opposite sex.
1. Reality checks kick ass! (in a good way!). Age, health, circumstances, personal and professional growth (or lack of) - all of these things made me stop and look at my situation as objectively as possible (luckily I'm pretty hard on myself so it's never difficult for me to realize and accept when I am doing something wrong, lol!).
2. Past experiences are today's lessons. Every time something doesn't go our way it's so easy to SAY that 'I'm never gonna do that again,' but DOING it is a whole other issue. I'd decided to question whether something that felt good at the moment would last, or was it just a temporary high? Was I being honest with myself because maybe it isn't good at all? Or, am I repeating past actions that did not lead me to a good place? As a result of asking myself those questions, I have found it easier to step away from situations that I knew deep down inside, would only lead to heartache for myself and others.
3. I really like me. I never hated myself, but I never thought I was extra special either. But despite all of my personal flaws, I really like me. I like my own company and think that anyone who is willing to enjoy life would enjoy my company as well.
4. Don't work on anyone but myself. I never was the kind of woman who wanted to change a man into what I wanted him to be (especially since I don't necessarily have a type). He either has to be someone who I want to be with, as is, or he just isn't the one (or the two, lol!). I don't want anyone telling me what I need to change about myself, so why would I be interested in being a hypocrite?
5. Let a man be the man. I am so used to taking care of everyone that I forgot that, at least in the types of relationships that I strive for, I have to allow myself to be taken care of as well. That, my friends, was one of the hardest things I've had to face thus far. My excuse has always been 'I'm used to no one doing anything for me' and I think that mindset has blinded me to situations where (maybe) there was someone who actually wanted to do something for me and I did not allow it. Maybe that has or hasn't happen, but I'm real and clear enough with myself to know and admit that although I like taking care of others, I had no clue as to how to allow someone to take care of me. But I'm learning. On a recent date I actually allowed the man to hold the door open for me each and every time we came to a door. That's big for me, because in my experience there were men who walked ahead of me, didn't even attempt to open a door for me, or if I held the door open for them - walk thru and not say a word of thanks, so for me, this truly is a big step (even though I had repeat in my head over and over again: "do not race him to the door!" lol!)
With those, and probably a few more, things in my arsenal, I am taking chances again on finding men who are interested in dating me (and vice versa of course). And when I say dating, I literally mean sharing experiences (outside of the bedroom) when we can enjoy ourselves and get to know each other at the same time. It's not about sex. It's not about love. And I am digging that big time. Finally, when I think about the dating world, I'm not asking myself what's wrong with me. I'm sure I'll have a "moment" or two (or more) down the line, but right now my eyes are on the prize. I am ready to have fun.