Leaping Before You Look
A few days ago, I talked about asking yourself whether you were ready to open up your heart after, let’s face it, a long dry spell. I’m discovering that like everything else, it’s a process. First you have to ask yourself the questions. Then you have to answer honestly knowing there are no right or wrong answers here. And finally, you have to start the series of baby steps that will eventually lead you to your destination.
Most of us don’t leap from deciding to give relationships a chance to jumping with both feet into one. Like diving into a swimming pool that isn’t heated, we start slowly, then work our way up to the scarier parts. But how slow is slow?
Once you’ve decided to lower your defenses and take a look around to see what’s out there, how do you actually go about it? Lists? Online dating? Speed dating? Just looking around wherever you tend to spend time (hopefully not the office!) to see what, or rather who you might see? Do you set certain criteria? Single, employed, and with a pulse are usually a good place to start.
Safety First…But Not Forever
If you’re like me, whether consciously or not, you look at the safe ones first. What do I mean by safe? They fall into several categories, the most obvious being currently attached. I look at those because I’m watching how they treat the women they’re with. I learn a lot about how I want to be treated from them (and how I do NOT wanted to be treated as well. One in particular comes to mind. He was feeding his lady popcorn in the middle of a crowded bar! Yikes!) I can watch and learn without worrying about engaging my heart just yet.
Another safe one is someone who exhibits some of the traits of one of those exes you’d like to forget; those red flags that will always be show-stoppers. One of my big turn-offs is someone who drinks excessively. One or two drinks is fine, but beyond that, my red flags are waving like there’s a stiff breeze…50 or 60 miles per hour worth of stiff. And if a guy looks like Adonis, I might enjoy looking, but you’d better believe that’s one I’d never touch. I’m simply not the arm candy I believe they’re looking for. But a girl does enjoy a little eye candy now and then. It’s not just for guys, you know.
Turning Research Into Action
Observing is all well and fine, but there comes a time when you have to decide you’ve put in enough research and start putting pen to paper, so to speak. The question is, how do you know when that time has come? Or more specifically, when you’re ready to venture out past the safe zone. Dipping your toes into the shallows is one thing. But diving in with both feet, oblivious to possible rip tides is quite another.
I suppose several factors will influence the decision. First, how long you’ve been out of the water. Second, whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert. As an introvert, I’m far more likely to take the safe road where people are concerned. It takes a concerted effort or stuffing a sock in the inner voice that screams Danger, Will Robinson! Moving forward will lead to certain psychological annihilation! or something equally dramatic and patently unlikely. But my panic buttons are set at a very low level when it comes to humans in general and males who might upset my status quo in particular.
Assuming we’ve gotten past the first two without incident, there’s the twin factors of opportunity and mutual attraction. When you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, and even 40’s, opportunities are still fairly plentiful even if some of those opportunities are 20 years older than you are. But by the time you hit your 50’s and 60’s, especially if you’ve been in dry dock for more than a decade, not only have the opportunities dropped into the single digits, but there are scores of women on the hunt for an unattached male who are both aggressive and persistent. If you haven’t developed these qualities while sitting on the bench, those few opportunities shrink even further.
Figuring Out the Logistics, Or Finding My Own Crooked Lid
Of course, if staying safe is your intention, none of these are bad things. There’s no charge for looking, dreaming, or even engaging in friendly, commitment-free conversation. Just remember the huntresses are locked and loaded and unless the man is especially wise to their wiles, he’ll be in a relationship before you can say “would you like to meet me for coffee?”
Yet I do see women re-entering the dating game with some success. I can only wonder which of the factors helped them get past the initial dunking with a willingness to splash around for a bit until they got used to the chill and started actually enjoying it. Did someone catch their eye and make them see possibilities? Did they find someone in their usual hangout/group with whom they felt comfortable and connected from the start? Did they haunt online dating sites, sending pokes or messages or whatever the term is these days? Or are they just braver and more socially aware than I am such that they figured out the rules to the dating game and entered with some tools I lack?
Being the inveterate optimist, I prefer to believe a granny-ism a friend once shared: There’s no pot too crooked it can’t find its lid. I think we stay in the safe zone until we recognize our own particular crooked lid, assuming we’re not one of those afore-mentioned huntresses who truly are just looking for someone who is unattached and has a pulse and a job. If you ask me, it’s worth the wait to find that one who makes your heart sing, keeps you laughing and makes you feel cherished. For me, settling for less is not an option. Single will always beat settling, any day of the week.
Stay tuned as I’m not done researching this one. I’ve finally moved on from Google to actually observing the world around me. I might even start talking to men I don’t know, or don’t know well! (or I will as soon as I can get my tongue untied!)
My gratitudes tonight are:
- I am grateful for the lessons I’m learning.
- I am grateful for friends who offer examples, insights, and encouragement
- I am grateful for my curious mind.
- I am grateful for increasing confidence and a little bit of recklessness thrown in for shits and giggles.
- I am grateful for abundance; opportunity, lessons, challenges, friendship, love, joy, signs, wisdom, confidence, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!