Everyone lives by a set of rules -- unspoken or otherwise. I have found in the past year or so my single friends have written all sorts of rules for themselves. I won't go out on Sunday night. I won't go back to his apartment. I won't meet after 9pm. I won't. I won't. I won't. Now, do not get me wrong, I have created and subsequently broken several of these rules myself. Consider me guilty.
Now that I am a bit older and wiser (and have done a lot more dating) I have come to understand the difference between having standards and creating walls. Standards are extremely important -- they directly correlate with your self-worth. I will not date anyone who doesn't respect my time as much as I respect theirs. That's a deal-breaker for me. If they travel often and work late I will eat dinner with them at 11pm just to sit across the table and talk. That is compromise. When I was 25 (and 26...and perhaps 27) I wrote on this very here blog a super long, detailed list of my perfect man. Of course, some of those items are still important to me. Others are completely laughable. Turns out smart and interesting trumps cute and Jewish these days.
The shift from I won't to sure why not has crept up on me -- seemingly out of nowhere. I find myself looking for reasons to say YES instead of a million reasons to say no. It is easier to stay within the walls that we have carefully built over the years. We convince ourselves that a person has to have these requirements and all we end up doing is working so hard to avoid getting hurt that we take all the fun out of getting to know the person sitting across from us. Be honest, how many times have you gone through a mental checklist before going on a date -- or even agreeing to go on a date? This person is too young, lives too far away, has a different background, etc. We have all been there. Multiple times.
Now is the time to break those bad habits. I'm nearing 30 and although I am in no rush to get married, have kids, etc, I would like to at least feel as though I'm setting myself up for success in my personal life. I want to be open to whatever -- and more importantly whomever -- comes my way. That sentence has most definitely never been written before on this blog and I'm sure my Mom is somewhere in Westchester hyperventilating. But, the truth of the matter is, people aren't "things." They don't come in perfectly wrapped boxes that look like boxes you grew up with. Isn't part of the beauty of New York City the diversity here? I feel like I'm veering off course a bit here, but just go with it. The idea of closing myself (or really the idea of my beloved friends closing themselves) off to certain groups of people really irks me. Some of the most unexpected fun I've ever had is with people that two years ago I would have never even had a drink with.
I understand the pressures of getting older and having parents and grandparents getting older as well. Everyone wants to see me get married while they can still enjoy my wedding. My sister's wedding is in November and I somehow thought the pressure to "pick someone already" would dissipate among the wedding planning, but the opposite occurred. A lot of furrowed brows and awkward small talk and "your time will come" happened. I loathe small talk and I especially loathe small talk with people who know only two things about me at best: I am 29...and I am single. Woof. Well, when I turned 29 I decided to do whatever I wanted. I will date whomever I so choose. I will say yes to last minute adventures. Oh you live in Greenpoint? Awesome, I don't know the area well but I'd love to explore. That's the type of stuff that turns dating from "husband hunting" into actually having a life...a fun life at that.
Break the rules...and break them often. I'm telling you, you're about to have the time of your life.