By Cathy McNally. Cathy is leading Living Alive Phase I at The Haven in November. Here she writes about starting to date again, thirty-six years later ...
The last time I went on a "date" was in 1979. Yup – thirty-six years ago. Oh my.
It was before my first marriage. I never dated my second husband, Ernie. We met as team in the senior part of our Diploma in Counselling journey. We met in Phase II, working side-by-side in a small team for those 26 days. We were able to see the quality of person the other was – truly a rich and remarkable way to "get to know you".
So, 19 years after meeting Ernie, here I am exploring the possibility of entering this new reality of dating in 2015.
Things have CHANGED!
Shouldn’t be a surprise. And, I hadn’t paused to imagine what my body-felt responses would be to this new experience.
In many ways I am SO much more settled. I like me. I am okay with who I am – imperfections and all. I don’t need someone to approve of me. But that does not stop me from being human and “hoping people like me!” (I am smiling as I write that!)
Along with this reality is the fact of having so much more life experience. I think I am less hesitant to choose what appeals to me and what not. At the same time, I am also more aware that I may be looking out through old perspectives … maybe my glasses are tinted and I’m not noticing?
Thank goodness I have a wonderful and wise circle of good friends for support! (…and also to help stop me from over-thinking things!)
So, after the unsolicited suggestions of no less than THREE people in the space of two weeks, I signed up to have a taste of ‘Online Dating’. Interesting experience. I am immediately asked to give “my story”, to say “what I am looking for”, and “what my interests are”, what my “ideal date” might be. […remember I have not had a ‘first date’ in a l-o-n-g time!]
So … I sit down to get on with this task.
Just how appealing might it be for someone to hear that I want to be "friends first" and non-negotiable for me includes: honesty, integrity, and an appetite for intimate CONVERSATION! Sigh. I plod on…
Several weeks and drafts later I notice that I have finally relaxed and remembered to talk about how having fun and loving life, singing, dancing, sailing and more are also part of the picture for me. If he were here I could imagine Ernie encouraging me to "lighten-up honey!"
Also by this time I am getting out more, have been on a singing camp, done another amazing Act Natural program, and … three days ago … went sailing again for the first time since I arrived in Canada 18 years ago. It was breathtaking. I was moved and teary. I must remember that there really is a little salt in my blood!
So, I have no idea if I am doing this dating thing "right". I am clear that I am feeling … sharing … laughing … crying …and being alive. The ongoing gift in my life: embodied, relational connecting … what The Haven is all about.
I am blessed.
Post Script: with two "meet for coffee" first dates under my belt, it seems that being open, honest, personal and real doesn’t put everyone off, and can lead to a warm and interesting first conversation. The process continues …