Sunday, January 06, 2013
I make no bones about the fact that I have been divorced and single for a long, long time. Like most single women in the 21st century, I've dated and had a few relationships, but love? No, not really. Along the path I've met some amazing men and some fantastic losers. My closest girlfriends are still waiting on me to write a book about all the bad dates and weird personalities I've encountered over the years. They've even developed nicknames for some of the worst offenders.
Two years ago, I found myself an unemployed grandmother-to-be. It was a scary time because for the first time in decades, every aspect of my life was uncertain. Where would I live, would I find a job, how can we afford a baby? What will happen to my daughter? There was no time to even think about dating or meeting men. I put my love life on the back burner.
Now, it's 2013. My daughter and grandson are doing well, I downsized from a three-bedroom house to a 2BR apartment, and I've been steadily employed for about a year and a half. I'm 50 pounds thinner and life is calm and stable. Time to get back "out there."
Like anyone else, I carry my fair share of "baggage" from previous relationships and tendencies to invest time and effort into men that aren't worth two dead flies. None of this has changed simply because I'm thinner. What has changed is that I have more choices about who I can date. It's not only about being slimmer, but feeling healthier and more confident about myself which attracts more people. When I was younger, I detested this type of attention. I'm sure it factored into my weight gain. Now that I'm older, I feel more grounded, wiser and focused about what I'm looking for. The unwanted attention is easier to deflect.
I think the biggest change is a new sense of calm about being single. It now feels like a choice, versus feeling invisible to the opposite sex. This calmness is going to help me do a better job of really evaluating if a man deserves to be a part of my life versus glomming on to any decent-looking man who gives me the time of day. It's given me the confidence to throw a few fish back into the sea because of varies character defects that I would have previously overlooked or rationalized. It also helps that nothing shocks me anymore. For example, last month I traded phone numbers with a man who I later learned was engaged by googling his name (And had the nerve to ask me for my number--seriously!?). Appalling, but there are a lot of scandalous people out there and not everyone who is good to you is good for you. That's key.
So after a long absence from the dating scene, I'm back "out there", meeting, greeting socializing and dating. I'm dealing with the challenge of eating properly during dinners out without looking like a "salad-eatin' b!tch" or abstaining from alcohol while I focus on dropping more weight. I'm also dealing with how to overcome the inherent awkwardness of first dates and conversation without giving into the strong urge to run home and pull the covers over my head. I'm also dealing with the reality of being a 40-something single grandmother in a society that worships youth.
Regardless of what happens next, I'm glad to be back on the singles scene feeling healthy and looking my best.