29 Days Remaining
Wow. Here I am, with less than a month to go until I am officially finished this year of reflection and challenges. It's almost impossible to believe that it is almost over.
rules, regulations, and expectations of myself. I still kissed someone. I still had to deal with attractions and crushes and relationship tests. I definitely flirted. But although I flogged myself quite a bit, I have come to realize that all of those things that I might consider "mistakes" in the context of a year without dating simply stem from inherent parts of who I am. I am a flirt. I love people and fall head over heels, get my hopes up, trust - all a little too easily. The fact that I make these mistakes is an okay thing. The main point of this year was to get to know myself better, to strengthen my relationship with God, and to be able to recognize red flags as well as men that just aren't suitable. I suppose if I had stayed away from men as completely as I wanted to, I may not have been tested enough with learning to recognize those red flags and dealbreakers. My friends have continuously helped me to remember what my goals are, as well as telling me not to be so harsh with myself when I make yet another mistake. Life is full of mistakes. I'm going to make them. I'm just lucky and blessed enough to have a circle of wonderful friends who will be there for me both while I'm making them and during the aftermath.
the way I wrote about HB and shudder. It is so clear from the writing that I was still infatuated with him, and that it was incredibly important to me to ensure that my readers did not see his negative qualities. Even in my blog, I was classically co-dependent: making excuses for my partner/lover/crush's bad behavior. HB's story probably didn't deserve to be treated as carefully as I treated it. But I thought I was in love. I'm so glad to look back and see the moment when I really recognized that this was not love, and that I was getting nothing from it but pain and stress. And that three-year-plus (sigh...why did I let it happen for that long???) waste of time and energy has finally become the lesson that it probably should have been right after he dumped me at six months in because I couldn't have his children. I can't smack myself upside the head for taking this long to finally "get it"...the main thing is, I FINALLY GOT IT. So all that time, energy, and emotion had a point after all. And now I know myself well enough to know that I will never allow that to happen again (case in point: I finally decided that The Michelin Man - dear Bibendum - was not giving me what I need, and would not be able to for a long time, if ever - and I managed to end it). I may have spend too many months hoping and believing it would somehow work out, but it took me a lot less time than it did with HB. And here's believing that my dealbreaker radar will just become exponentially sharper with time - and drown out the Hopeless Romantic who still wants a Happily Ever After when it becomes clear that Happily Ever After will not be with this particular man. (I'm not giving up my romantic side, however. More on that later. And yes, that's a hint for those of you who want to read into it.) GETTING TO KNOW MYSELF BETTER: Check!
my last post, but through it all I have managed to really learn to trust in and rely on God in ways that I never have before. Again, with a skim-through of all my blog posts, it's evident that God is present in my life in a way that He wasn't when I began the blog. For one thing, I hardly ever mention God or my belief system or Christianity in the early posts, and now I don't think I go a single post without mentioning it in some form or another. It may turn some people off, but that's also okay. To me, that really illustrates that I have a deeper relationship with the God that I longed to know as I child. The faith, trust, belief and inherent happiness that I have from that relationship is what's important in my growth and learning. GETTING TO KNOW GOD BETTER: Check!
As for recognizing red flags, I think I've gotten much better at it. I also have learned that I can't "fix" anyone or expect them to change. The problem I've still got to work on is cutting things off as soon as I recognize the red flags or dealbreakers. HB took me over three years. The Michelin Man took me five months. Like I mentioned earlier: let's hope each time is exponentially shorter. Or let's just hope I have the right man in my life the next time. RECOGNIZING RED FLAGS: Check! BOOTING OUT THE DEALBREAKERS: Getting there.
The "Don't"s I managed to Not Do: No online dating. No sex. No getting together with an ex. No physical dating. DON'T accept dates. DON'T give out your phone number.
All right! I did have some successes. No more self-flagellation - I actually stuck to it pretty well. The physical stuff was mostly easy...but then again, I know that for me it's always the emotional stuff.
The "Do"s I managed to Actually Do: DO try new places, with friends or on your own. DO find a new hobby. DO delete numbers of guys that you no longer see. DO tell guys who try to slip back into your life that you're not interested. DO surround yourself with good friends - and rid your life of enablers.
I took ballroom dancing lessons. I took a trip to California on my own. I managed to get rid of the last emotional pull of HB. I went out with friends more often and turned to them when the going got tough.
You know what? Even if I've been fairly hard on myself from time to time for the things that I didn't manage to stick to while on this hiatus, I actually see that I've done a pretty good job. I do believe I have accomplished what I intended and hoped to, even if the trail was a bit bumpy, and I'm starting to feel as though I am ready to start going out on dates again (actually I'm really really looking forward to a date or two...is it bad that I've already started editing my old PoF profile so that I can put it back online on August 10th??). The difference is that now I just want to date to get to know a few people and have some fun. I'm not going to rush into anything. But...(and here's another hint:) the latest twist in my life is a resurrection from the past; a certain person has popped up and I am finding that I would like to get to know him all over again...so who knows: maybe I won't be having too many of those dates after all. But that is a story for another day...and there are 29 more of those to go.