The Reasons Why (or Dating in My 40s)

After a relatively long hiatus, I’ve started dating again. And I’ve been having

The last time I actively dated was in my early/mid-30s. I went out with some great guys (one in particular who was fantastic), but we were in different places in life with different priorities. And life happened. I got busy focusing on my new career, I moved a couple times (which wasn’t conducive to building a relationship), and several years passed.

Fast forward 8 years. I turned 40 and have been in the D.C. area now for a couple years (plus, it doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere anytime soon). So I decided to give this dating thing another go.

When you’re in your forties, the question is where do you meet people. I’m not interested in a “hook-up,” so the bar scene was out (except to occasionally enjoy a delicious adult beverage or two. I’m talking to you Bar PX.) Work romances are always iffy and usually a bad idea (plus there’s really no one I’d want to date at work. Except you, AM, you are always my “hot date.”). So that left meeting someone through participation in some kind of group/organization, random chance, or online dating.

I opted for online dating.

So far, I’ve had an overall marvelous experience, which I contribute to three main reasons.

First, I know who I am. I admit, it’s been a journey, and I constantly learn new facets about myself. But that’s part of it, right? Being open to learning and constantly evolving.

Second, and maybe more importantly, I am happy with who I am. Some may not get the difference between knowing and being comfortable with it, but trust me, there is a difference. That has taken a lot longer to achieve. And honestly, it wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve really been comfortable in my own skin.

For years, I struggled with the ideals and expectations of what I should be. Changing my path (which I talked about here, here, and here) helped. But it wasn’t until the past couple years that I’ve really been able to not only say, but mean, “I am extraordinary and I’m having a f*cking fantastic time.”

I attribute this transformation to turning forty.

ouiser_oldsouthernwoman.jpgSomething about turning 40 was liberating for me. Maybe I embraced my inner Ouiser, a southern woman in a sunhat with a humongous dog living life in her own curmudgeonly way, or maybe my inner Idgie, rebellious bee tamer ferociously living life on her own terms.

Regardless of the reasons, I’m simply saying, this is me and I like me. 

Third, because of reasons one and two, I am simply open and honest about who I am and what I want. This has made dating fun. I am upfront about who I am. You either get me or don’t. If you get me, fantastic. If you don’t, we part ways—no harm, no foul. Honestly, it’s made dating not only fun, but easier.

Because of these 3 reasons (even despite the fact I’m not the American stereotype of beauty (which is BS by the way)), I’m having a fantastic time. My social calendar stays rather busy with coffees, dinners, and outings.

But let’s get real.

There’s another reason I’ve been enjoying dating again. If I’m honest, it’s actually the real reason.

I love to go out to eat.

Eating amazing food is one of the simple pleasures in life. In fact, I will plan vacations around food (Thailand is at the top of my to-visit list mainly because I’ve heard the food is incredible). And living in a metro area like D.C. is a foodies paradise. The number of restaurants, bars, diners, cafes, and variety of cuisines (Italian, Cajun, Japanese, Korean, French, Thai, American, tapas, burgers, steaks, seafood, and don’t get me started on the fusion places) is overwhelming at times . . . is your mouth watering thinking about it?

So if my date wants to take me out to dinner, and better, suggests a place that I’ve never been, hey, you will not hear me complain. In fact, I will smile and say, thank you. I’d love to go out to eat.

Hey, my philosophy is life is too short not to have fun and enjoy. So why not have a tasty meal whilst enjoying it? 😉

What you like or dislike about dating? Any favorite cuisines or restaurant recommendations? Tell me in the comments below.  

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