Monday, September 6, 2010

The Dating Cycle

This weekend, it felt like fall had finally found New York (nevermind that it is supposed to be 89 degrees tomorrow).  I love fall.  I love the sound of leaves crunching underfoot and being able to sleep with the windows open.  I love how fall comes with so many mixed feelings - giddily looking forward to a new school year full of potential while wistfully saying goodbye to the carefree days of summer, eagerly picking crisp, red apples while noticing the sudden absence of lush, summer berries from the produce aisle, wrapping a warm scarf around your neck while reluctantly tucking away your flip flops.  I love how fall feels quiet, but hurried, as though everyone is trying to get as much done as they can before turning in for the winter.

This year, the tidings of fall came with the usual melancholic mix of feelings.  But more present than ever this year was dread.  This fall will usher in my third year at my job.  This fall will mark five years of living alone.  This fall will mean two years have passed since I last saw or spoke to 'C'.  And this fall will mean that I've been actively dating for two years, with not much to show for beyond a few more proverbial notches on the bedpost.

As if I haven't said this enough already, dating is exhausting.  First, there's the exhaustion of trying to get a date - going to bars, weeding through the online profiles and flirting, flirting, flirting.  And then there's the exhaustion of going on first dates - making small talk, putting your best foot forward and smiling, smiling, smiling.  And then there's the exhaustion of the second, third and fourth dates - actually getting to know someone, determining whether you're compatible and analyzing, analyzing, analyzing.

I have yet to make it much further than these stages.  It's like I'm stuck in the board game Chutes and Ladders.  I keep plugging along, square by square.  Occasionally, I get lucky, land on a ladder, get really excited, climb up, and then boom.  On the next roll, I land on a chute and get spiraled right back down to the beginning, where the game begins all. over. again.  

Right now, I feel like I'm at the starting line and it's my turn to roll, but I just don't want to.  I don't want to put myself back through the cycle and risk landing on chute after chute after chute.  I just want to sit here for a moment.  Sit on the sidelines.  Take a moment to stop thinking about boys all the time.  Take a break from thinking about how lonely it would be to live by myself for the next five years, much less the rest of my life. 

I guess this dating break has a lot to do with why I am dreading the fall.  That same quiet, hurried feeling that seems to wash over New Yorkers (and squirrels) as they try to get as much done before winter arrives is taking over me.  I have a completely self-imposed sense of urgency that I need to get to the end of this board game before the sand in the hourglass runs out.  Hence my dreading the fall.  The change of seasons seems to remind me that as long as time is tick, tick, ticking, then I need to keep dating, dating, dating.

But I don't want to.  I just want time to stand still with me for a sec while I take a moment to prepare myself to roll the dice again.

1 comment:

  1. But you DON'T need to keep dating, dating, dating. Or, at the very least, you don't need to exhaust yourself trying to do it. Maybe you can look at this Fall as a break, a beautiful time to spend with yourself and your friends in this city you recently admitted to loving, and lay the hourglass on its side. You deserve it.