Several years ago, amidst babies and boredom I decided to try my hand at matchmaking. Always a romantic, I was convinced I could find random strangers love through a strong focus on coordinated life goals, encouraging flexibility and trusting a gut instinct. I was fairly successful matching up hundreds of daters (more than just a first date) and even a successful marriage that is still going strong on baby #2.
One of my biggest challenges working with singles in the over 35 range was convincing a very disheartened person to give love another go. After years of disappointment, dating seemed more like work than reward. I heard from so many singles after a mere 10-minute meeting (and often even less than that) it was just not going to work. I scoffed at this. How could you know? How could one judge so quickly and turn a deaf ear? Picky, much?
I tried so hard not to judge, but for those singles I was helping that were under 35 and the closer we got to early 20s, it was just so much easier. These men and women were more open-minded to sitting for an hour or two or three before judgment. Often chalking up ‘no sparks’ after one date doesn’t necessarily mean no sparks after 2 or 3. These were my easiest long-term daters. Many dating months, before deciding it was a no-go.
I am not very good at math, but the numbers easily added up. The older a Single got, the more difficult it was for her to imagine herself with said person. Perhaps it was a comfort level of living alone for so long. Perhaps it was waiting for perfection to sweep them off their feet. Perhaps it was fear that they actually could live out that dream, instead of being dependent on the Woe is Me. Perhaps they needed therapy. And, then of course, perhaps they just had not yet met Mr. Forever, yet.
Eventually, I hung up my matchmaker hat for a less frustrating job of parenting my teens, tween and tot. At least, I spoke their language.
Today, I think I finally get that feeling that as a young married woman I could never understand. That one emotion in mere seconds the over 35 Singles always quoted me as I rolled my eyes (inward of course, never outward) – that Spark.
I have been looking for a house for nearly 2 years. I already live in a very beautiful, warm and cozy home. But, with the six of us and nearly 20 years of ‘stuff’ we are squished and ready to upgrade. I have dated many a home. At this point, I would say I have likely seen, perused on-line profiles and nearly gotten engaged to 50 homes. But, not one of them gave me the ‘Spark’.
In the beginning I did the same thing. Look up the profile of the home. Create a very perfect looking list of my Must Haves and look for little ‘cracks’ in the façade that may be costly to repair later. I would look in person convincing myself I could make it work. Then as days went by little by little my impression of the home grew worse and eventually we’d break it off.
As I entered a full year of looking at homes, I became less picky – or so I thought. If I am upgrading to my Forever Home, he better have everything I’m looking for. But, perhaps it was taking so long because I was only looking for perfection and it was time to be flexible. So, I decided to open my mind to potential for perfection, not perfection itself. Be realistic with my budget and start focusing on what was sensible, not necessarily absolute.
New homes potential opened themselves up to me. I would again, excite at the possibilities that lay before me, but again over time the investment in something that needed so much work did not seem worth the effort.
My Ah-Hah Moment had arrived, Ms. Oprah.
I now understand and instantly connected with my Singles. I saw many of their faces and remembered many of our conversations running through my mind. As we grow older, more firm in who we are as a person, it becomes so entirely difficult to imagine investing in something that needs so much work. We are oh, so much more willing to see something imperfect as perfect for me when we are young, naïve and innocent. As we know more want want, who we want, it becomes harder to find them.
I was never more grateful for my current home (which we have invested much money and love over the years) and for my current husband (same). Singles. Please forgive my ignorance back then. I apologize profusely for being too dumb to ‘get it’.
My wish to you and to myself is that we can find what is perfect for ourselves, not something that is perfect in and of itself. That we can open up to new challenges and possibilities to find that both time and investment of love and patience breeds something special, innately ours and full of joy.