It’s the valentine week. I remember I wrote an article for the Hyderabad Times in 2011. It was called ‘ A Single Day of Love’. I was single then, and I spoke to my seniors about this idea a week before Valentine’s Day. The article was about how people were embracing their single-hood and were going to indulge in doing things they love the most and are passionate about. I think the message I wanted to drive home was that people need to be happy with themselves first, and then find someone who’d make them happy.
Cut to the chase. I recently turned 30, and I am single, which is not a bad thing after all. But people will tell you all kinds of things cos you’re now ‘old’.
All the things that I am going to be writing here are out of experience, either personal or of people in my close circle.
Dating at 30 is visibly very different from dating in your 20s. You may call these tips, but I am no one to advise you. These are certain observations I have made and convolutions that I have tried to resolve while I try to live my life to the fullest.
Let your guard down
At your 30s you’re at the prime of your life. I was recently having this conversation with a friend, who’s going through a divorce in his early 30s, about how when you’re young you are unsure about what life holds for you. You’re just starting out your career, and let’s agree for the most part you’re broke. But when you’re in your 30s, you’re earning well, you have your career in place and are self sufficient. You indulge in good things because you can. You’ve figured out a way of life for yourself. A lifestyle like this is very addictive. You get so used to your own company, cos life is comfortable. Comfort is always appealing. In this process, you distance yourself from emotions. You forget to appreciate the presence of another person. In simple words, you have your guard up high. You’re scared to alter your lifestyle for obvious reasons.
But, hear me out and let your guard down.
Remember how when you’re a child you’re not scared of having a fall. It’s the same with emotions; you are vulnerable at all times, 20s or 30s. Let go off these inhibitions and let people in. Get acquainted with your emotional self again and discover like minded people. Honestly, uptight is such a turn off.
Steer clear of biases
I cannot believe how taboo the term ‘divorce’ is in some of our communities. I personally hadn’t considered this a possibility; as in it never crossed my mind if I would consider dating a divorcee. My cousin and I went over this and realized, it was not likely that we’d come across a divorcee in our early 20s. But in 30s, it’s a possibility that cannot be averted. I have made it a point to steer clear of any bias that I may have had until now.
Move on from your past
Maybe you were a mess because of what happened with your ex. But that doesn’t mean you are always going to be one. I hear people saying ‘Oh, I wish you had met me earlier, when I was not so broken’. Forget people, I myself am guilty of saying this a couple of times. But you will not always be broken. Time heals everything, and it’s important to leave the hurt behind as you heal. You are not expected to recite your heartbreak story on your first date or your second or your third. You’ll know when the time is right; but just don’t be pulled down about it.
An understanding of who you are/Know what you want
When you’re in your 20s, what you wanted may have been very different from what you want now. I knew exactly what I wanted from my first relationship; I wanted to be with this guy and I put love above everything else. But things changed and we started to evolve into two very different people. I realized, what I wanted was actually only what I thought I wanted, not exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be the giver of affection, and I enjoyed it. But after a point, I had nothing to offer; I was exhausted. That altered the way I looked at things.
It’s always important to keep rediscovering yourself and identifying the things you want.
Do not time-box anything
We get a lot of grief for not having our life sorted because we haven’t found the ‘one’. But no good can be reaped out of being stressed about a particular timeline. We need to stop time-boxing these things and let things flow at their own pace. Just be assured that it’s your sanity that matters.
Age is just a number
As cliche as it can get but there is so much truth to this. Age is after all just a number. You may fall in love with someone at any point in your life, and in the most unexpected way. No matter what the age (or the age gap), what matters is the fact that you’re in love with the person and see a future with them.
If you know what you want, then never settle for anyone that you’re not into just because they fit the bill. Of course nobody is perfect, but don’t run into something that you may regret later.
Wear your heart on your sleeve (Be honest)
When I say this, I mean be as raw as you can. Like I’ve written before, I think baring all insecurities becomes a challenge as you grow older. But be honest about your likes or dislikes. About your past. About your status. About your identity. Dishonesty is also a turn off.
No, you don’t have to reveal all about yourself on your first date. But when you have a connection with someone and think things may go forward; find the right opportunity to tell them what they need to know.
Listen to yourself
Listen to yourself. Your hunches are your best guides. You may want to seek opinion of your friends and family but you know best what you want.
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Some of my girlfriends always advise me not to be the first one to text, but that’s not who I am. If I want to text someone first, I would go ahead and do it.
You may have your own quirks, own them and be yourself.
Just cos you’re 30 doesn’t imply you need to do boring things. It’s also very easy to get caught up thinking about the future. Maybe you haven’t met the one, you’re not married, and you don’t have kids yet. You may have certain expectations, but it’s never okay to project it on every person you meet. Give more of your mind and heart to having fun. Find things that interest you and do them together with the person you’re getting to know. Also, at this age, you know exactly what you enjoy. So it becomes clearer to chose what you want to do.
Of course I put together an outfit for this post. If you know me, you’d know my love for pleats. I’ve been on a spree of buying all things pleated and my latest buy is this lovely champagne pleated skirt. I paired it with a black solid blouse that has some drama going around with its sleeves. This definitely could be an ideal outfit for your first date.
A Happy Valentines to everyone out there 🙂