I’m, uh, dating again. At 51.
Is dating even the word for this whole thing? This confusing, fun, horrible, self-esteem assaulting, self-esteem exulting experience? That woman in the mirror alternates between knowing what she wants and not knowing even a little. Just thinking about what I’ve been doing for the last couple of months gives me a faster heartbeat. The question I ask myself often is Is it worth it?
Last night I had dinner with a girlfriend, who asked me if I get nervous when I meet or talk with someone for the first time. Sometimes the answer is yes, but more often it’s no. I won’t pretend at 51 however, that I’m all that different than when I was 17, at least when it comes to self-doubt. It does still lurk in the corner, but I notice that it doesn’t pounce as often these days. I notice that I am far more interested in my reaction to someone else than their reaction to me. I notice that conversation comes quite easily these days, from years of life and people and places and yielding the desire to impress.
My daughter commented one time on a woman we knew who wore “I give up” clothes. I’ve never forgotten that comment, and I have never ever wanted to be in that category. Instead, I was an “I will wait” woman. I waited for myself to recover from my divorce . I worked intentionally on my own spiritual and emotional well-being, so that I could be able to joyfully welcome someone into my heart and life again someday. And I waited until my children were out of the house and on their own so that my physical environment was open as well. Lots of work, lots of waiting. Seems worth it.
Just in case you are wondering, I’m still single, but today is a day I am happily dating. Today I looked in that mirror and that woman who looked back? She seems to know what she’s doing.