This post could also be written as, “How to date in your twenties like a sane person.” Obviously I went with the more obscure title but you get my drift… Dating is something a lot of people have apprehension over, me included. The uncertainty! The frogs! The crazies! The dressing up! The fake smiles! The small talk! It’s enough to make you want to hide in bed watching old episodes of Friday Nights Lights, lamenting that Lyla will never be good enough for Riggins and why is Julie such a pest… Oh wait, is that just me? Yeah? Moving on… However, I’ve unlocked the secret to dating and life, really. You ready? IT’S CALLED LEVITY. Bear with me…
I came home on Thursday, threw my purse on the ground, and dissolved into a fit of sobs. No joke, I literally had a melt down, leaving my visiting mother speechless. I don’t even think I said anything for the first two minutes, just kept crying, and when I did finally stop snorting (I’m such an ugly crier), the only things I could say were “IT’S… TOO… HARD.” I mean, hello temper tantrum. Two glasses of wine later, I finally cooled down and went over my long day at work, the state of my personal life and my dwindling savings account, all the while my mother patted my arm and simply said, well it sounds like you just need to stop thinking and move on. After glaring at her, she quickly realized that was advice I clearly didn’t want to hear but she was onto something. Later that week, after having an impromptu late night call with a friend where I retold the same sob story (minus the sobbing, phew), my friend started laughing. YES LAUGHING. And said, well it sounds like you are torturing yourself and not seeing what life is giving you.
After an awkward (and rather icy pause by yours truly) she continued to spell out that these experiences are making me a better person, and that if I could only look at these experiences with a little more laughter, a little less devastating, I’d be enjoying my life more. Now, my argument was that these experiences weren’t actually funny and she countered that my POV was all wrong.
Your ego is taking a bruising, she said, but overall, if I saw these experiences on TV, I’d laugh because they are funny, and I think that if you could only take yourself OUT of said experiences, you’d learn something AND move on from them in a positive way. Levity, Amanda. Levity is what you need. This isn’t life or death. It’s dating, it’s work, it’s being in your mid to late twenties. You’re not saving lives, girl. You’re living and doing the best you can do.
It hit me, soon after that call, that maybe she was right, maybe levity was the name of the living game and that without it, everything seems too serious. TOO URGENT. What if, instead of walking away from a bad date with an epic sad face, you simply walked away thinking well that was an entertaining hour and a half and I’m so glad I realized that so-so is NOT the one for me. Now let’s go eat pie. Think of how much easier life would be. NO TEARS. NO PRESSURE. Dating would actually be, dare I say it, enjoyable?!
I struggle with levity, alot. I take everything too personally, too seriously. The amount of pressure I put on myself to succeed in life and work is ridiculous. I know this and yet, living this way has never made me happy. I beat myself up over the stupidest of things, things way out of my control and why? Does it make me feel better? No. Do I get joy out of it? God no. So what’s the point?
Besides torturing myself, there is no point to being that serious. Right then, at that instant where it hit me that being so serious hasn’t gotten me very far, I decided to stop. To throw this weight off my shoulders. To actively find the laughter in every moment and realize that joy > anger every time.
Case in point, I went on a nightmare of a date a few weeks ago. One that I didn’t think bothered me until I realized, 48 hours later, I actually felt nauseous and a little violated.I’ve been holding out on you all, which seems so wrong since this story is so unbelievably epic that is JUST HAS TO BE SHARED. CAPS LOCK NEEDED. Without giving away names, I met said douchebag (DB) for a promising drink, after a week of texting. He seemed great on paper, a designer for a start-up at a building I used to work in. Smart, funny, sexy and tall. ALL GOOD THINGS. Until, 15 minutes into our date, he mentioned how he couldn’t stop staring at a girl’s breast two tables away from us. U 4 REALZ? Yup, totally happened. He then proceeded to ask me about my entire dating history, gory details needed. Why I didn’t leave, I will never know. But two hours later, I basically had my heart ripped a part by this DB who thought he knew exactly what my issues were. AND THEN he started asking for inappropriate sexual details that made me want to slap him HARD then walk away. No joke, this stranger actually asked me for information that I don’t even share with my closest friends. Yet I stayed, transfixed by this DB’s ego and his lack of respect. After hour 4 of said date, I attempted to pry myself away from his grip, literally had to remove myself from his grabby hands, and politely declined his request to go elsewhere for a post drink rendezvous. It wasn’t until I safely in the cab that I looked backed at my night in horror and thought WHY ME. WHY ME. This gross-factor haunted me all week long, even lasting into the weekend where I met up with another dude who was ten times the man this DB was. And yet, I couldn’t shake the DB off. He had mind-f*cked me so hard that now all I could think about was that train-wreck of a date.
It wasn’t until I told my therapist about this DB date that she actually laughed in my face and said how hilarious this was. After realizing that I didn’t share her thoughts, she pointed out all the ways that this DB date was actually hilarious. And finally, after focusing less on my role in this date and more on this dude’s stupidity, I realized that yeah, this was amazingly funny. You see, I was only able to shake off this date after finding levity, after removing the pressure and seriousness from the date and experience and letting it go. I mean, I wasn’t even going to share this story online because I worried what others would think of me but I realized I couldn’t NOT tell this story, mainly because that slight shift in POV made this date less horrifying and more ridiculous.
The bottom line is, life is hard. Plain and simple. It sucks. You’re either breaking down, breaking up, moving away, texting too much, not texting enough, losing weight, gaining weight, losing a job, hating your job. The list goes on and on. But what if you were able to look at each situation with more light, less darkness and see the beauty in the experience. What I’m trying to say and what I’ve learned is:
You make your life. Yes, things happen to you but you play an active role in how it affects you.