Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The New Bachelorette: Dating after 40

Dating in the 21st century is so different than it was way back in the 20th century, which was the last time I entered that field, if what you could even classify what I did as dating.  And dating over 40 is even more ...well, I've not yet been able to truly designated it yet. There was no internet back then, no online dating, no meetups, and social media. 

I've been married for 20 years, so that's been two decades of having a status where I held a specific mindset - unavailable, taken, spoken for, off limits, half of a whole, not an individual, committed, married, married, married.  Throw being a mother, a leader in the church, and a career woman on top of that... and any semblance of that sexy, single woman... disappeared, as it should. 

My marriage dissolved.  Now what?

I've watched the reality shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for a few seasons now and I'll have to admit that I couldn't quite wrap my head around the idea of one person dating several people at one time.  It just seemed preposterous to me, full of confusion, conflicting emotions, and surely a lot of controversial issues such as honesty and faithfulness.  Because that's all I knew - honest faithfulness.  I couldn't understand how a person could be with one person one night and feel this deep 'connection' - and that be an honest connection, and then the next night feel a 'connection' with a different person.  It was an odd sentiment my brain couldn't wrap around - because I was of a commitment monogamous mindset.  I only knew how to focus on one person at a time, and that did not include me. 

My motherhood changed.  Now what?

Through the help of someone I love dearly pushing me out of my cave (the place I put myself to lick my wounds, heal, and begin my journey of self-discovery) and into the dating world of the 21st century, I've entered into my own new Bachelorette experience.  I'm now past the point of writing down, dreaming, and thinking about what I want in my future partner -my prince charming, to getting out there and discovering if he actually exists. It's scary, yet it's exciting at the same time. 

 My single status has begun.  Now what?

What do I know about dating?  NOTHING.  I know how to be married.  I know how to give up my life for someone else.  I know how to deny myself and do what's expected to fulfill an obligation.  Being single, the first thing I've learned is that I had to start thinking about me, what I want, what I don't want ...not what I think I want... but truly search my heart and soul and decide what kind of life I want the next phase of my life to consist.  I can't know what I want until I figure out who I am... who I really am ...and what really makes me  happy.  That's what I've been doing for the last couple of years. I have a list of those discoveries I'll detail in another post.

While the proverbial limos are pulling up and my potential Prince Charming steps out and introduces himself, I find myself standing in my present circumstances, looking better than I have in years, nervous anticipation filling my mind, and fear of all the unknowns pushing and pulling me. I'm taking a deep breath and telling myself to 'breathe'. 

Stay tuned for future posts on some of the things I learn while my adventures as The New Bachelorette: Dating After 40 begins.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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