Who knew dating in your 30's would still contain "WYD" texts at late hours of the night? Here's a glimpse into my dating life and what I am doing since it is such a hot topic. Drink responsibly, with champagne, while reading this.
Dating in your 30's
Reconnected with an acquaintance, whom I spent 2 hours on a 3-way call with him and my best friend, as he gave her dating advice. He painted this picture of this values congruent man whom loved hard, was understanding, and romantic. My best friend is texting me "I want you to date him" as we are on our call. After our first date, I was vulnerable about what I was looking for and what I have been through. Okay, it was via text after the first date. Hit send. And... crickets.
And on the ninth day...
I get an apology text. He is 34. I, Sue, needed some time to process, accept, and move on. This text was a little too late leading to lots of caution and speculation on my end. A few days later we go on our next date... to Five Guys. He is on his phone the whole time trying to find Redbox coupons and the nearest location. If your love language is quality time, like mine, you are so insecure by someone not giving you their undivided attention. I needed the phone to be down, eye contact, and talking, not silence and bubble gut forming at the restaurant.
Bye WYD Bro
As we fast forward, I ended things. The night at Five Guys had no spark. I was not going to turn an apple into an orange. I had no feelings for this person who made a lot of verbal descriptions that I did not find to measure up to his actions. I texted him when I got home, like he asked, and ended things. Then, return of the crickets. Not even a "K".
But there's a credit card transaction involved...
He had my Redbox DVD rental! We rented movies, one with his coupon, and mine without. I texted him a few days later out of concern for my credit card not being hit by the return fee, no response. I was mentally prepared to pay the $60 blue ray late fee. This saga still continues as I have yet to receive a receipt from this transaction. Stay tuned.
Airplane mode is everything
Now, three weeks have passed. I wake up one morning, take my phone off airplane mode, and see a "WYD?" text. Is this a joke? We are in our 30's. At 12:47 AM, I am sleeping that is what I am doing and will continue to do at that hour. Ten years ago, I would have felt so wanted. The insecure me would have been doing jumping jacks, but the 30 year old knew I deserved more.
Two days passed, and I get another WYD text. Again, this would have tied into my insecurities years ago, but the place I am in now, is so at peace and in love with who I am. I know my worth. WYD bro didn't feel well and wanted someone to snuggle with at 9 PM on a Sunday. I am good. Get a teddy bear bro because I want a steak dinner, white wine, and a thought provoking conversation. Let's act like adults. Thank you, next.
But Sue, what are you doing?
I find society conditions us to put so much pressure on occupation. Upon meeting someone, we are always conditioned to ask "what do you do for work." Then we can't wait to one up someone with our job title or job duties when it is our turn to share OR we down play what we do or make excuses for our current state.
Who cares what someone does for work? I want to know what you are passionate about, how you treat strangers, and identify some kind of balance exists in your life. I want to know if you are going to shame me for eating donuts or share coffee with me in the afternoon. Those are things that matter. Your 9-5 is cool, but it isn't the end all be all decision as I get to know you. It really isn't how I define anyone. Janitors make great money! I would love to be a janitor, be in a union, have a pension, and clean. I would also love to work at Home Depot in the garden section and water plants part-time.
A job doesn't define you, you define you.
Here is how I am defining me:
I am working towards my doctorate. I truly love the online program, the opportunity to see and connect with my cohort, my relationships with classmates, and the expertise of USC professors. I am almost done with my first year! It flew by so fast. My thinking is at a higher level, my self-awareness and society awareness is higher than ever, and I am content. My intellectual wellness is well fed.
I am working on curriculum for colleges and small businesses, a side hustle. While fine tuning my craft, I volunteer for fraternal organizations in which I am certified to facilitate in their specific programming endeavors. This allows me to travel all over, connect with collegians, and really dive into wellness conversations. This is truly a bucket fill for me!
I am not in a place to commit myself to a career I am not 75% interested in just to get a paycheck. One - it is not fair to the employer/company to hire someone who is not all in and two - it is not fair to me to take on a job where I am unhappy and unchallenged, waiting for something else to come along. I know what path I want to take and am patient working on the path to getting there.
I love the opportunity to hustle at two great restaurants, read all the pages for class and write all the papers, practice self-care, develop my side hustle, spend quality time with my parents, get breakfast on Thursdays with my mom, and not be glued to my phone. I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to leave my phone on airplane mode or in my car and be present. There is nothing urgent that needs my attention that needs to be through text.
For past jobs, I was glued to my phone, I actually had to be glued to my phone to stay up to speed with group texts, questions, and happenings. The phone addiction was unhealthy. It fueled my anxiety and Sunday scaries.
As I sip on Patachou Coffee from my last trip, Hawaiian Caramel Macadamia Nut if you were wondering, here is some wisdom I want to share. If it resonates with you, great, if not, no worries:
1. Know your worth. Whether it is dating, professionally or personally, know what you bring to the table, what you deem as a red flag, and know what you deserve. One great way to discovering this is thinking about what you want things to feel like, look like, and so on. I know I am too old for "WYD" texts or to snuggle with someone who feels sick. I know I am worth a steak dinner, maybe for date two or three, but I am worth it. And I will owe you nothing after, spark or no spark.
2. Always come with the intention that someone is becoming the best versions of themselves. It may not be the path you would have taken, but it is not you. Remember that.
3. A job does not define you. This took me 30 years to learn. A job pays your bills and gives you spending money, but it does not define you. You define you. You control the rhetoric. What are you working towards? How are you becoming your best self? Are you occupied with what others are doing or are you checking in how you are doing? Society can deem you have a good job, your paycheck too, but how you treat people, how you take care of yourself, and how you are fulfilling your time, defines you, not your 40+ hour job.