Just like all single 20 somethings, I was on tinder about a year ago. Mostly, it was for entertainment purposes, but I did go on one date. Just one.
He swiped right, I swiped right, yada yada. Truly the beginnings of a modern love story. We talk for a few days here and there, and then he asks me to hang out and go for a hike with him at this park near our houses. I get excited of course, hiking sounds like an actually interesting date; no dinner and a movie.
So we meet up, do the whole super-small-talk, getting-to-know-you type stuff as we’re walking along the trail. Its late March (if my memory serves me right), slowly starting to warm up from another Connecticut Winter, so theres a few other people on the trail walking their dogs and such. We find a bench right by this little lake and get to talking some more.
Talking some more. Lovely.
Look. First dates are always awkward. It’s kind of just casting out lines and waiting for the other to bite so you have something to talk about. But every line he’s casting, its like I’m completely avoiding it.
He tells me he’s going to Six Flags this upcoming weekend. I respond by telling him I’ve always been afraid of rollercoasters and amusement parks just don’t make sense to me.
He tells me he’s got 2 dogs and a cat, and I tell him dogs are fantastic – but I’m scared of cats.
He talks about his favorite sushi place, and I inform him I am not a fan of sushi, any seafood really.
He loves to snowboard. I hate the snow.
So far, everything this poor guy was talking about, I either strongly disliked, or was afraid of. Everything.
“So tell me a little about yourself then,” he says.
I’m sitting there wracking my brain for any somewhat interesting thing to say about myself. “I’m a musician,” I say. “I play guitar, piano, and I sing!”
“Oh very cool! Do you perform anywhere?”
“Well yeah if you count my elementary school talent show and high school choir concerts.”
I tell him that I love art, and am interested in photography. I tell him I love to read, and go on hikes, and kayak. I tell him everything I have a remote interest in.
All the while, I’m sitting and thinking to myself, when was the last time I did any of these things?
I’d gone kayaking once in the last two years. I hadn’t picked up a camera since I was 14. I make my own art maybe a couple of times a year. My guitar and piano stare me down every day, yet I don’t pick them up and play. I felt like such a fraud.
There was no second date. Shocker! His whole first impression was me telling him I either didn’t like, or was too scared to try anything that he liked to do.
The months following, I observed my lifestyle. I observed the lifestyle of my friends. And what I noticed, was that ALL of the people in my life were just like me. Stuck. Stuck in the routine of going to school, going to work, going to sleep. Some of my friends relied so heavily on having to drink or smoke to have a good time, going out to bars and clubs 5 nights a week. Others were so stuck in the grind of work and school that they had no time for themselves.
I didn’t want to live like that.
That lifestyle was completely misaligned with what I wanted for myself. So, I stopped.
I started taking note of all of the things I was afraid of. For example: going places alone, trying new foods, a very wide range of sports and activities. As scared as I was, I started to do all of them. I finally started being adventurous. I found the things that make me, me. I remembered how much I love to play guitar, how much I love to write and create. I started playing guitar every week. I started drafting up my dream blog. I started taking boxing classes. I went shotgun shooting. I tried seafood. I took trips by myself. I did all of the things that made me afraid and anxious, things I previously didn’t like. Now this was only a few months ago, so I’ve barely grazed the surface of things I need to try. But it’s been so much FUN.
Around 6 months ago, I started this new blog.
I had tried blogging before, but was terribly unorganized and without focus. This time around, I sat myself down, honed in on my niche, and got to work. I enrolled in dozens of classes and webinars and downloaded all of the E-books I could, and taught myself how to do it. Everything I was learning was just fueling this desire I had to build this beautiful, purposeful blog. This blog is a huge part of me and my life.
I told a couple of people that I was starting it, but never told them my site name or what it was about. I was nervous, embarrassed and expected nothing but criticism. But, it clicked in my head that that was something I was afraid of, so I met it head on.
I posted a photo of my logo on my Instagram.
I shared this part of my life with people I trusted, and people that intimidated me.
It was terrifying, yes. But I received nothing but support and encouragement. The people who didn’t care, didn’t care. They didn’t make fun of me, didn’t put it down, they simply didn’t pay attention. The people who did care, told me that they did. They subscribed to the email list and they left comments on my posts. I learned to stop caring about the people who didn’t care. Now, I take pride in my blog and love to share it with others. I’m not nervous to share posts on social media’s or send out emails. This blog is something I’m SO passionate about, and ever since that date, I’ve decided I need to live my passions to the fullest. I need to live a full life.
There’s been times I have my friends ask me why I’m so happy and what I’m doing. My first question to them is, “What’s something that makes you happy?” They all sit and think for a moment, and say they don’t know. That’s the first problem. You need to find the things that you love to do, the things that interest you. Find something you don’t know much about and learn about it. If you love running, run. If you love painting, paint.
There is so much time in this life that gets wasted.
I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be one of those people who exists rather than lives. I urge you all to think about your lives for a moment and think about the last time you did something that made you truly happy. The last time you engaged in something you’re passionate about.
How would you describe yourself on a first date?
Would it feel genuine to describe yourself that way?