Sooooo.... I've just gone on 14 dates in the past 14 days.
I'm not even quite sure how I survived this little experiment, but I did. I'm sure your first question is, where did these potential suitors come from? Men don't grow on trees! Well, considering my past experience with Tinder, I figured give it a shot. After a few days of "Hey there" and "You're pretty" I decided Tinder and I needed to break-up. Like, officially breakup. #icanteven
Oddly enough, when it rains, it pours. After deleting that app for good, suddenly I had friends setting me up left and right, and met quite a few guys just out and about. I promised myself I'd be open to the possibilities, so I said yes. 14 times.
After dog park dates, coffee dates, cheat meal dinner dates, gym dates, "happy hour dates" (I use quotes as it was more of a "get water wasted" date for me), there was even a date I met while traveling who flew to Atlanta to take me to dinner. After my two week "say yes" experiment, I must say. I'm exhausted.
And not just tired - but wondering WHY I'm acting like a dang Salmon and swimming upstream. I'm single. And what? Be single!
So in the spirit of me embracing every ounce of my singleness, here are a few simple ways all my fellow singletons can try (Hey - some of this even applies to my happily-married/dating friends. Self-love never hurt!)
1. Choose You: Even if it means saying no, cancelling plans (although don't cancel last minute - that's just rude!), or staying in on a Saturday night. Don't feel guilty. If it feeds your soul, do it. If it doesn't bring you happiness, abstain. One particular day last week, I rocked the crap out of a 5am workout, worked all day, taught a double header at barre and headed straight out for a date. Did I feel guilty for sipping my tea and calling it a night early? Not a bit. Oddly enough, we're going on a second date next week. I guess my sober grandma status is appealing to some!
2. Stay True to You: We've all done it. Said what we thought someone wanted to hear. Held back on what we really wanted to tell someone. I no longer swallow words. I speak my truth - whether it's pretty, whether my voice shakes. And if it's not my truth, I don't speak it.
3. Dress for You: This is almost embarrassing to admit, but I remember when I was married my appearance was a direct reflection of my husband's taste. I always wanted him to find me attractive, so I would wear the clothes I knew he liked (skirts and dresses) and style my hair the way he wanted (blonde, long and slicked back). I think the first thing I did after the ink dried on our papers was dye my hair back to brown. I know everyone has done something of the sort. Worn something or done something to appeal to our partner. Embracing our singleness means we get to dress for us! Working from home and practically living in the gym leaves little time for non-Lulu inspired outfits. On the rare occasion I am dressed in "normal" clothes, I want to feel beautiful. I've begun purchasing fun, summer outfits like crop tops, new bikinis, and short shorts that make me feel sexy and pretty at the same time.
4. Toss the Rear-View Mirror: It's always painful when we realize we spent far too long romanticizing a relationship that wasn't what we thought it was. After tons of self-reflection, I had to realize that my relationship last year came to an end for a very similar reason my marriage did. Simply put, the relationship wasn't strong enough. If we were to poll friends and family who have been married for any long period of time, will they tell us it has always been perfect every moment of every day? Hell no. There are storms. There are times when you stare, dumbfounded, wondering how on earth you love this person yet want to strangle them all at the same time. Great relationships aren't great because they're perfect. They're great because they're comprised of two people who love each other enough to always work it out. Coming to peace with the end of the relationship I thought would be my last has made me realize that sometimes new beginnings are disguised as painful endings. Letting go was difficult, but it was necessary. I started getting so frustrated with myself for holding on to something I knew was over. Now, I take it as such a positive - I am poised to become a stronger partner for the man who will put in the work with me.
5. Enjoy Your Company: Friday night protein shakes and netflix in my underwear dates (with myself) are my new fave. Manis/pedis and afternoon shopping. Workouts and posing practice on Saturday afternoons. I'm spending more time than every before alone with myself. And pleasantly figuring out... I'm a pretty cool ass chick! Find those things you love to do alone - without outside company, without your phone glued to your hand. Get out in the fresh air, play with your pup, read a book. Discover all the reasons you're so bad ass.
6. Understand Where Your Energy Goes. For example, clearly we know where my energy was the past two weeks. And you know what? It was too much. Not enough time spent nurturing friendships and keeping up with family. Not enough time sleeping. Not enough time with Lucy. I spread myself too thin and neglecting the things in my life that truly bring me happiness. Identify some energy sucking activities/people/hobbies that simply are not worth your energy. And remove them from your life. Or, at the least, recognize that something needs to change - and work towards rectifying it. There are only 24 hours in a day. Choose wisely.
7. Love Yourself Even When You Fail: Because it's not a question of if you'll fail. You will. We all do. However small or large the failure is, continue loving yourself. And whatever you do, never ever put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket.