Week 13 – Go on a Date

Activity: Go on a date

Where: Out and about in my neighbourhood

Cost: Depends on the guy I guess? Lol, it was free for me 😉

The Story: (I don’t know why, but I find this hilarious – click the linked text for even more history of dating gems)

Dating is a part of the human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. It can be a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by the couple. While the term has several meanings, it usually refers to the act of meeting and engaging in some mutually agreed upon social activity in public, together, as a couple. The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time. The most common idea is two people trying out a relationship and exploring whether they are compatible by going out together in public as a couple who may or may not yet be having sexual relations. This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement or marriage.

So believe it or not, I have been in three long term relationships in my life, and before this past Thanksgiving Monday, had never been on a date before! I met my first boyfriend in high school and we started “going out” right away – much too young for actual dating, so we just became “boyfriend/girlfriend” right away. We were together for 4 years until I was 18, and then shortly thereafter I met my next long term boyfriend at a bar, and again, we just became a couple right away. Our relationship lasted almost 4 years as well, and after we broke up I was effectively single for 6 years. Just did my own thing, travelled and partied with friends, and enjoyed my independence and freedom until one day my ex-husband kind of fell into my lap. We randomly met one night at a bar he never went to, and that I hadn’t been to in years and after about a month of confusion, we started dating, moved in together and eventually got hitched.

Now as you know, my husband is an ex-husband for a reason and I am back on the market and in the singles game for the first time in six years which is SCARY. I have heard so many horror stories of dates gone awry and outrageous online encounters gone wrong that I honestly have no desire to hit up the digital world of dating at this point. I’m easing myself into this all slowly but surely, and on my own time which is super important. The thought of a new man in my life is still very foreign to me, but I decided to go on this date because I feel like we all need to start somewhere, and this was going to be my somewhere 🙂

I met this guy at a pub about 2 months ago on a random Thursday night out with my girlfriend, and we just kind of got to chatting for the last hour of the night. He’s a pilot, which I find fascinating (you know by now I hate flying!) and is from France which I also think is pretty cool! We exchanged some drunken French banter and phone numbers at the end of the night, and have been texting back and forth for the past few months (seriously, months!). We’d set up several “maybe” dates before this past week, but one of us always found a reason to cancel, so I was pretty surprised when things actually came together and we met up last week!

I made the date for afternoon coffee because I didn’t want to get stuck hanging out all night, or having a long meal, and it was kind of the perfect introduction to dating. We met at a coffee shop, grabbed a drink and went walking for a couple of hours. Conversation was HARD, but luckily I can talk enough for two people lol! I asked lots of questions, but I think nerves might have been a factor for him – not a deal breaker, but definitely not the conversationalist-type I’m usually into. We ran into a friend of his on our walk who I’ve since basically started cyber-stalking (joking!) so I’m pretty sure that I’m not interested in anything more with the French pilot, but I’m so glad I took the leap and realized how not scary dating is – at least this time around!

The Verdict: Well, clearly I’m going to have to keep doing this if I want to meet someone new! Like I said, I’m in no rush to jump into anything new – working on myself has been such an amazing blessing and the journey is just beginning! Hopefully when the timing is right I’ll meet the person who is meant to go on this journey or self-discovery with me, and we can grow together 🙂 xo

Week 12 – Start a Volunteer Position

Activity: Start a volunteer position

Where: At a women’s centre in Hamilton (I’m going to keep the exact one confidential)

Cost: FREE! Just my time 🙂

The Story: The United Nations defines violence against women as:  “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

Volunteering with women has always been something I’ve wanted to do, but have never been able to make time for in the past. I volunteered with the organization Ten Thousand Villages in my university days (which paired nicely with my global studies courses), but still every time I drove by signs asking for domestic violence hotline operators, I felt a strong pull to call and take action – I just never did it. I don’t know what stopped me, or why I didn’t follow through before, but I finally decided (before this blog was even on my radar actually) that I wanted to make time for this very important responsibility back in February when things first fell apart with my ex-husband.

My ex’s Mom had been very involved with a Halton-based women’s shelter in her youth and while he was growing up, and it’s something I respected about her so much when he would tell me stories about her crusades for women’s rights. If I’m being honest, when the idea of volunteering first came to me earlier this year it was because I wanted to win back my husband and “prove” to him that I was the kind of woman he wanted to be married to, but I’ve since realized that it is actually a deep-seeded passion within me to help women that has led me to this amazing volunteer opportunity about 8 months later. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that when I first applied they had just closed applications for their winter training program, and that I needed to wait until the Fall for their current training sessions to get started – it was the time I needed to realize that I am doing this for ME and not for him. As always, I am so grateful to the universe for keeping me on the right path, and bringing me opportunities when it sees I am ready for them 🙂

So flash forward to a few weeks ago when I receive the call for the Centre and am offered an interview to see if I’m a good candidate for their volunteer program. I initially thought I’d be volunteering doing administration work – answering phones, booking appointments, filing, etc., but I found out at the interview that I’d actually been selected for their Peer and Court Support program. I was (and still am!) very intimidated at the prospect of doing something so outside my wheelhouse, but when I heard back that I had been accepted for the training program, excitement about becoming involved in such a worthwhile cause took over any nerves I might have had.

I won’t get into anymore specifics due to confidentiality, but I will say that my 10 week training program started this past week, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to help women in my community. These statistics are so incredibly alarming to me that they have made me realize what kind of need for volunteers and CHANGE there really is:

The Verdict: I have no doubt that this ongoing volunteer position (I committed to a minimum year’s service) will become a huge part of my life, and a huge part of my continued evolution as a woman. I am so thankful that I am able to come away from my marriage independently able to pay bills, make my own choices, and work doing something I love, and that makes it all the more real to me that there are hundreds of thousands of women around the world that cannot do the same. We can only continue to work towards change together, and I hope that reading this ignites a small flame within you to put yourself out there and get involved.

Find Yourself