It’s the last day of the first month of 2019. The time we use to set our intentions for the year. I used to think that manifesting was bullshit, though. Maybe using words like intentions and goals makes it a little easier to swallow. How else are you supposed to achieve goals without keeping them front of mind? I’m still skeptical about manifesting concrete things like love or people into your life, but if you keep yourself open to a possibility rather than being cynical or closed off, it could be called a success in the end. Changing your mindset can change your life.
I’ve almost always kept myself surrounded by reminders of my past and present. Photos of people I’m grateful to have in my life, pictures and souvenirs of happy events and moments, vacations, etc. But it wasn’t until the last few years that I decided to display phrases and quotes to influence how I wanted to feel. I would stick post-it notes on my bedroom door, bathroom mirror, refrigerator, places that I would see them and be reminded every day.
Last year was the first time that I set an intention in a visual form. I posted two California postcards from a recent trip on my bulletin board. Part reminder of a great trip that was meaningful to me, and part intention of eventually moving there. At the time it seemed crazy, but I thought that I would be really happy in the climate and culture of Los Angeles, and I realized that as you get older there are less and less opportunities to try something new, to completely change your life. And I wasn’t getting any younger.
So I set it there. One year. Open to the possibility. Intention set. I saw the postcards every day. And the idea became less and less crazy, especially as I started to see the signs that were everywhere. I was open to it, but not pushing it. And now that move is in the works.
I’d love to hear your own stories of manifesting or intentions realized. Has simply changing your mindset ever changed your own life?
The last two months have been such a fulfilling (and busy!) experience. I’ve completed eight weeks of yoga teacher training (just 10 more classes until I receive my RYT 200-hour certificate!), where I turned my self-study (Svādhyāya) into a practice, challenged myself and made new yoga family friends. While I loved learning the class sequence and what it takes to be a good teacher, I really enjoyed learning the philosophy behind yoga. The eight limbs, yamas, niyamas, and the 7 chakras put names to the pieces of the journey I’ve been on over the last year. I had already learned so much about myself and about using a challenge to thrive, and diving into this near familiar world was another sign that I am on the right path. Being able to turn my attention outward has been a great part of my growth as well. Not only have I set this goal to teach others, but I’ve shared with my Omies and in turn helped them open up, too.
To cap the training, I booked a trip back to LA where I am right now typing away on a coffee shop patio. It’s been amazing to have so much open time (that would usually scare the shit out of me), even if I did spend a couple days of it sick and dealing with the challenge of plans not working out. I’ve been able to get a ton of restful and healing sleep, spend quality time with my boyfriend and hit the mat for fun. His place is a block over from a CorePower studio, which he swears he didn’t choose for me, but hey, lucky either way. And today I finally made it out to Y7 to try out their “sweat dripping, beat bumping, candlelit yoga.” Twas fun.
The world of dating has CHANGED. Not that I was all that adept in it ten years ago the last time I was single, but I do not remember shit being this complicated. Or maybe it was MORE complicated without the simplicity and efficiency of apps like Tinder and Bumble. Technology has changed the world in more ways than just dating, plus I’m a decade older, peeking over the hill at 40 instead of reveling in my mid-late twenties. So we’re talking differences in life stage as well as digital age.
I mean, did we even have smartphones yet in 2008? I certainly didn’t. I might have been pining for an iPhone though while waiting for my two-year AT&T contract to end so I could get a new phone for free.
Anyway, meeting someone online was JUST becoming a socially acceptable notion with sites like Match and eHarmony, much less apps that you could use to go home with someone within x number of miles of you that very night. I thought it was crazy enough that I met my future ex-husband on the internet while applying to write for a reputable website (RIP Chicagoist). Now it’s swipe right, swipe left, yes, no, yes, no; it’s like a Hot or Not game on steroids. With real people. And real interactions.
I did a short Match subscription once when I was 26. I went on a bunch of dates because I was 26 and had nothing to lose and who knows, even though I’m not really clicking with someone via text, that doesn’t mean he’s not unknowingly the man of my dreams. Right?
Most of the guys were short. Really short. Which I have no issue with, just an observation. Maybe back then in the analog days shorter dudes had a harder time picking up women in the real world, so they resorted to the internet. It’s especially interesting to me now since almost every dude’s profile that I see on Tinder mentions their height, like they’re bragging that they aced the ACTs. Or won the genetic lottery.
It’s also made writing pickup lines a new art form. It’s almost like a tit for tat – write a profile that’s just luring enough to give someone a nugget of info to use in their opening line. Here’s just a sampling of some of the initial messages I’ve received in the month that I’ve been on dating apps:
“Hey Michelle – going thru your IG pics and it reminded me that I have a whole in my life, and I needed it filled. Sorry, did I say “life”? I meant fridge. It needs Oberon.”
This one is good because he took the initiative to look at my “IG” pics and talk about something relevant to me. And who doesn’t like a guy who’s funny? But then he misspelled hole.
“Good morning beautiful, interesting lady. Hopefully I can be the first to compliment you today”
Flattery will get you everywhere. Except the inside of my apartment.
“Oooh girl we matched!” (accompanied by a gif of John Mulaney shaking his shoulders)
This one is good because it’s cheeky, and shows me that he knows who John Mulaney is, and communicating with gifs > words sometimes.
“I love st Vincent! You’re so lucky to get to see them”
This one is good because he references the artist and concert I mention in my profile. I even let it slide that St Vincent is a her and not a them because I liked that he talked about social activism and books in his profile, and we had mutual friends on Facebook. And because he was cute. Is cute. I’m still talking to this one. He’s 6’5”, not that that kind of thing matters to me…
Something else about app dating is being a target. Whoops did I say target because I meant woman. My first week on the app, I get this Tinder notification:
“Wow, you had quite a week! 2470 new people liked you! 😍 Keep swiping!”
Now, I’m not trying to brag here. That is just downright terrifying. Granted I was in three big cities that week, and I was new meat in the app, and I don’t know how these algorithms use that information, but I could swipe all day every day for another week and not get through two thousand profiles. Going from being in a long term relationship to having thousands of guys “liking” you is scary. (Okay, I’ll admit there’s a teensy bit of ego boosting going on, especially after leaving a marriage and feeling so crappy for so long.)
There are also some swiping “rules” that I implemented along the way. I admittedly jumped into these apps too quickly, but the swiping is just so much fun. But then there are all these matches and messages, and for someone just entering the dating world following a rough divorce, it was a little too much. Especially with Bumble’s 24 hour rule. I don’t need that kind of pressure when I just swiped right on like 10 guys.
So I had to “like” less often. Here are some of my automatic “nopes”:
No written profile.
Shirtless photo. Save it for after we exchange numbers. And not unsolicited.
Photo with another woman that’s obviously not your mom. I don’t care if it’s your sister, cousin, ex, whatever. You have one goal here and it’s not to show women what you look like with other women. Seriously, of all the photos you could choose for a dating profile?
While we’re at it, group photos only. I shouldn’t have to compare every photo to figure out which one is you.
DJs. Or any type of nightlife professional.
I’m sure I could write another whole post about how this form of connecting brings us back to our most basic, barbaric selves when selecting a mate (whether for long term or for the night). It’s mostly based on looks, height, race (come on), photo choice and composition. I suppose at its base, meeting in person is like that too. We judge with our eyes initially in most cases, whether we want to admit it or not. But I’m not a sociologist. I’m just a woman trying to navigate the new weird world of being single.
There’s the guy you haven’t seen since your first semester of college who (gasp) is getting divorced at the same time (!) and asks you to go to a wedding. Two states away. Six months from now.
There’s the one you kind of know from the local scene (also divorced) who offers support in the form of “venting or grousing or advice,” but is also “really excited to see you.” Despite not reciprocating any of his vibes, he still lays one on you at the end of the evening.
There’s the guy you briefly dated after graduation (high school) who, get this, also knows what it’s been like to end a marriage, and is there if you ever need someone to talk to, or, ya know, check up on you daily via Facebook messenger.
There’s the friend you and your ex shared from the neighborhood bar. Yeah, maybe you had a crush on him back in the day when the drinks flowed and the mysterious artist type looked really good. But now you’re a decade older and part-time jobs and dreams just don’t have the same allure.
There’s the rando who you think is friends with your ex that repeatedly submits friend requests on Facebook. After straight up rejection, he still has the audacity to message again to ask if you want to go to Medieval Times. Huh?
Then there’s always the one you actually do want to commiserate with after mildly and mostly unconsciously crushing on him for a couple of years. Somehow his catastrophic break up is timely and relatable, and now I need a rebound from my rebound.