It seemed like a good idea at the time. And I do think that setting time aside to get myself out of my house and into social situations is a good use of my day. That said, it did not turn out, even remotely as I was expecting.
So, to set the scene...
I wake up at 4.30am; I'm suffering from night terrors at the moment. Either I wake up convinced someone has broken into my house or I see the menacing face of my latest ex. I regularly think the former is a more preferable scenario. Anyway, I digress.
My point, I wake up tired. I'm staying with family at the moment, instead of living in the house I own (more about that another time) and I have an hour and a half drive to work. 9 hour shift at work, drive back to the house I actually own for 6.00pm, frantically coat my face in power, throw on a fresh change of clothes and I'm back out of the door at 6.35pm.
I'm running late. I get into the city and park in my usual free parking location only to find the throughfare I usually take is blocked to pedestrians due to building work, meaning I would have to take the scenic route. The speed dating event starts at 7.00pm. The email said specifically do not be late. I'm not always the best at time management and frequently end up running to my appointments and arriving flustered. This occasion was no different.
I arrive at 6.58pm, exhausted, heaving for breath with each word. "I'm ... here... for... event..." I manage to say to the bar tender. There were no signs indicating where the event was and I was feeling embarrassed to admit I was there for speed dating. The bar tender saw through my facade and very graciously wished me well for my evening ahead.
My speed dating dreams were squashed within 26 seconds when the host said we don't actually have enough couples to run the event. We can give you a voucher to attend any of our other events for free though. Wow, fantastic.
I didn't sign up for the event assuming I would find the love of my life but at the very least I was hoping for one or two interesting, or at the very least pleasant, conversations. And, I wanted the confidence boost that the dating pool is in fact, not as atrocious as I think, and in fact, I'm not going to be alone forever. These expectations were swiftly kiboshed.
The silver lining was I did make a friend. A fellow woman, also in the same situation as me. We got a drink together and bonded over this disappointing shared experience. We exchanged numbers and hope to meet up to tackle further social situations as a duo. Strength in numbers, right?
Unwelcome thoughts, enter stage left...
My latest ex lives in London. Thursdays are his office day and the team have a night out each week. He has a very wild life of drugs, alcohol and partying; while it definitely isn't my scene, I always assume he is having more fun than me. On this particular Thursday, I was smug in the knowledge that while he drinks himself into oblivion, I would also be out in the city (albeit a different and much smaller city) but I would making connections with interesting people and making steps to achieve the life I thought I wanted.
This notion quickly turned sour.
On the drive home, my thoughts. Why don't things work out for me? Why do I find dating so hard but he clicks his finger and has every woman in a 2 mile radius at this beck and call? Why can't I find someone and move on? If only I could find someone!
All of these thoughts, of course are ridiculous, I'm not even going to indulge why. But what I will say is I think it's normal. I think it's normal for us to compare our lives to others. I think it's normal, when we have a bad day, to feel that everyone's lives are so much better. Let the thoughts be there. Be frustrated. Be angry. Be disappointed. Acknowledge these dysfunctional thoughts but ask yourself the question, is truly the reality?
The reality is there a lot of people who are single, just like me. There are a lot of women in their 30s trying to date, just like me. People who have bad dates, bad days... thousands of people with the same fears and thought processes. It's ok to be disappointed, no one needs toxic positivity but tomorrow we try again.
I knew tonight I wasn't going to find love. I'm not even emotionally available for love right now even if it slapped me in the face. But what I am certain of, is that I am enough for me and I have everything I need to create a happy life for myself, by myself. Being "self partnered" is a way of life that is becoming more and more irrisistable to me.