I felt all the nervousness of a first date. Honestly, the nerves that I feel when I am doing something on my own for the first time in general. So, I am telling myself the same thing that I do when I am in that place of feeling a little anxious about stepping outside whatever comfort zone I am stretching my toes outside of the lines – feel the discomfort or fear and do it anyway.
In this instance, I am not sure if the feelings stem from the uncertain feelings of heading into a large group of people after keeping my bubble relatively small throughout this pandemic. Or it might be venturing out into a social situation on my own after planning my social excursions to spend time with my former partner. Those first moments stepping into something new always feel a little wobbly, and then it often passes. It doesn’t always pass, but usually, it does.
I took the time to straighten my hair. My hair is long and tends towards curly. Taking the time to straighten it feels like I am taking extra effort and because I don’t do it all that often, it feels special and a little bit fancy. I took the time to put on some make-up even though I don’t usually wear it, but I almost always will make the effort for a first, second, or third date.
I turned down an invitation with a friend for the Friday night and brazenly declared that I was taking myself out for a date, so wasn’t free. There was a pause on the other end of the phone and the question, “so you aren’t free?” and I simply said that I wasn’t. And off I went to explore Fire and Ice downtown Ottawa on my first self date.
This was such a lovely first date event whether on my self-date or if I had been with another person. There was lots of relaxed movement on the street and a wide range of people milled around exploring. There were families with kids of all ages running between light displays and rolling in the snow in the small park. There were older couples who walked holding hands with the familiarity of love holding over decades. There were couples with the look of early dates, of flirtatious laughter, playful touch, and longing glances. There were groups of friends and what I assumed to be a few singletons wandering around at their own speed. And me.
As a first self-date, it was an ideal setting because any nervousness that I had about being on a date with myself melted away as it was clear that no one was paying the slightest bit of attention to me. I was able to wander in my own little world, lingering through the tunnel of lights and snapping pictures of the virtual flowers, bursting snowflakes, and playful sparks of fire playing on the street through my virtual app. I toggled between trying to capture the moments with my camera and enjoying just being. Soaking up the winter night air and the snowflakes falling gently around us all. In the small park at the end of closed-off Bank Street, there were four large screens that played a rotating light show of images with matching music that entertained on a two to three-minute loop. It was here that children gleefully danced around in movement mirroring the images and music that played and repeated.
It took me a little over an hour to wander along the street and then I returned to my car. I felt a little let down, and a bit sad. I took a couple of deep breaths and just sat with a curiosity as to what those feelings were all about. Here is what I learned…
I’ve dated on and off for close to forty years and at certain times of the dating process, I have put too much emphasis on what a date means or could mean, or what was possible. No one date, and more importantly, no one person can fulfill all your needs in any given moment. I felt all the pressure to make dating myself something magical and special and for it to feel like the very best dates that I have had with another person. What a lot of pressure on myself!!
What did I want next then, as the next question? I headed walked down the street to my car, I stopped and bought myself a London Fog latte and drove to Andrew Hayden Park and wandered around in the snowy evening, sipping my latte and enjoying the stillness along the multi-use trails. I loved the stillness. I kept my phone in my pocket so as to be full present in the moment rather than trying to capture that feeling in a picture. When I felt my energy start to shift, I hopped back in my car and headed for home.
A great date often ends with a kiss, or at least it does for me. How could I end my evening in a way that brought that playfulness and anticipation and a feeling of being complete? Fresh snow in my front yard called to me, so I set down my purse on the deck and climbed through the snow to a wide-open space and fell onto my back and made a big, beautiful snow angel, under the softly falling snow.
I’d rate the date a solid 8/10 and a good start to adventures in dating myself. Forty-nine more dates to go.