My birthday is this month – in five days to be exact. I will be thirty-five (spoken thirty fine) years old and officially middle-aged.
I feel that I’ve crossed a divide. I am firmly on the side that is closer to forty and my twenties are decidedly in my rear view. This unchartered (by me at least) dating territory seems very much the same as it has been for the last decade of my life. But, I am now, in dating terms, old enough to know better (at least about most things involving men anyway). After reflecting on my last couple of years and the unnecessary drama that was the Mayor, Magician, and Specter (I’ll get to him eventually). Here’s some know better things that I’ve learned:
1. You are almost 20 years out of High School. “Hanging Out” is not a real thing. You should laugh (loudly) at any man who suggests that you do so. Same goes for promise rings, phone calls/texting after midnight where the person on the other end isn’t dying, and any suggestions that involve wasting your time and him not spending money or making an effort. Laugh him out of the room and never speak to him again.
2. Be bored. Be lonely. Be depressed. Be sexually frustrated. Be a mess if you need to. Whatever the thing is that makes you think that this dude is a good idea, best to figure that thing out instead of self-soothing with a dude who is not worth your emotional energy.
3. Emotional abuse is a real thing. If you tell someone that their behavior is hurting you and they respond with anything along the lines of you’re too sensitive, you’re crazy, you’re just taking it that way or they compare you to Taylor Swift (cause that happens) – anything that dismisses your very real feelings as they continue with their crappy behavior then stop answering their calls.
Respect is just the minimum ~ Lauryn Hill
4. Set and maintain high standards. If something is non-negotiable then stop negotiating! Walk away. Don’t make concessions. It’s never worth it
5. Don’t date men who don’t date black women. At first I was going to put a caveat that this has limited application, but then I thought….maybe not. These people are deeply confused about life and will one day realize that you are, in fact, a black woman (not a black unicorn) and therefore completely undateable. Just save both of yourselves the trouble and say no.
6. Date someone who sees opportunities instead of obstacles. Find someone willing to tell you why it will work and not why it won’t.
7. Attractive and dumb will only get you so far. Ridiculously good-looking with abs with get you further, and by that I mean a smile and maybe coffee. But dumb is ultimately a waste of your time. Conversation is a must and reading is (always) fundamental.
8. Don’t date a man who makes you question your own worth. Reread that sentence. A man who openly questions your worth is easy to spot and therefore easy to avoid. A man who makes you question your own worth is not so easy to identify. Listen to your self-talk. When you find that your inside voice is mostly questions of whether you should or should not do this because he may/may not like it then you know that this isn’t the person for you.
Make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you. Know your worth even if they don’t. ~ Thema Davis
9. Your life isn’t an accounting ledger. There is no need to keep a running tally of your deficiencies and assets. It doesn’t matter if you are single or dating or all alone and drinking by yourself every night (well, that part may be problematic for other reasons). There isn’t some magical equation where if you have X number of things or skills divided by being in the right relationships multiplied by talent then you will come out a winner, or conversely a loser.
Your life is more than the sum of your assets and who you are dating. You will miss out on your purpose if you are always trying to fit your life into some unsolvable algorithm of other people’s expectations.
10. You’re thirty-fine, single, with no kids, in the best shape of your life, and about to enter into the destiny that you’ve long dreamed about. God has brought you this far; there’s no point in settling now. No looking back, no regrets. Verso L’alto