Looking for love? Find yourself first
Look around, you’ll see a fierce focus on trying to land a beau. The Batchelorette, the Bachelor, and those insufferable reunion shows. But here’s the truth.
Love is not an interviewing process. Just like you can’t buy happiness at Target or anywhere, for that matter. But looking for a date is a pain in the rear. So cut it out.
Over the rainbow
As a single girl for two adulting decades, I used to daydream about picking up a custom-made match at a retrofitted Build-a-Bear workshop. My usual dating experience ended in my quick exit. For example, the jackoff super nice guy who said in the first 15 minutes of our meeting, ‘I’m don’t know why Kelly set us up, you’re not really my type.’
I know only one girl who received two marriage proposals in the same week. She is a real urban myth, about as common as Haley’s Comet.
Listen to your mom
Turning to our elders is a good idea. Advice from my Oma was generous. Date a lot of people, don’t get tied down too early. Yeah good advice but I needed a more prescriptive roadmap.
As I approached 35, my mother got a uber practical. Her advice was this:
1. Go have fun. Go to a film festival. Take a welding class. Plant a garden at your local community center.
2. Look for laughs. Be around people who make you laugh, avoid those who don’t. I had to install a ‘no fly zone’ for girls’ nights and any opportunity to buy something while at your house. Those graphic yoga tights that don’t fit my butt life. I gravitated to folks who played outside. Those are happy people and they do some whackadoodle stuff which makes me gut-laugh like a pirate.
3. Join a team. Choose wisely. I joined a volleyball team thinking I’d meet some good friends. Instead I met people who played a lot of volleyball which btw is not a social sport. However there are plenty of groups that involve a layer of get-to-know-you. Bowling, chorus, even hiking.
What my mom was really saying is find out what makes you happy and who makes you laugh. Then do those things with those people.
Try and Try again
Maybe I’m a slow learner but I finally did learn about me.
I learned that white water rafting is the opposite of fun. That heights are not a place to be. That sports played in sand require quick reflexes I do not possess. That resort vacations are for people who tan.
I also learned that I breathe best in the woods. That horses are my people. That my mind is happiest on blustery days. That a book read in a hammock is a holy thing.
When the student becomes the teacher
When a long-lost friend boomeranged back into my life, I thought of my mom when – on one of our first dates – we took swing dance lessons and beamed as we twirled.
We still swing dance every time Alexa plays our favorites.
Last week I happened across him in our kitchen, grinning huge while teaching our 11-year-old son how to partner dance and, by extension, to do what makes him happy.