In 2003, recently divorced, over forty and working from home, I decided that online dating was the most practical way for me to meet someone new. If I could find books, shoes and music online, why not a companion?
Writing up my profile and a description of who I was looking for would be easy. I’d just wait and the right candidates would surface. The first profile I posted turned out to be more of a description of my interests than a profile of who I was. I knew a lot about the type of man I didn’t want to meet, but I had no clear idea what I did want. I was sure I wasn’t interested in looking for a long term relationship. I wanted to meet someone for friendship and casual dating.
I posted the first profile and I was contacted by people I had no interest in and who, if they met me would have no interest in me either. Obviously I was doing something terribly wrong. With each email I received, I went back and tweaked my profile to be more specific about my likes and my dislikes. I was forced to reexamine myself and try to describe myself as honestly and accurately as possible. I agonized over this.
The available men over forty that I encountered at the time seemed to have a very difficult time honestly describing themselves. Most didn’t appear to be intentionally deceptive, but they seemed to describe the person they wished they were, not the person they really were. Had I done the same? I tweaked my profile some more. I became ruthless when scanning emails and profiles, but hey, I was looking for someone to start a relationship with so there was no point wasting anyone’s time.
Preparing to go on a date felt like getting ready for the firing squad. I was prepared to be disappointed and my expectations were met. I figured out pretty quickly that I hated the idea of casual dating and that I really was looking for a long term, committed relationship. I tweaked my profile some more.
I went on four first dates before I met Scott. He was a much more experienced online dater than I was and he’d been single for a much longer time. I saved the profiles we’d both posted from that time and I recently reread them both. We’d succeeded in writing something that was true and we found what we wanted.
Starting a Blog and finding those Blogs that I visit regularly was a somewhat similar process.
When I originally started to blog, it was because I’d decided to make a commitment to pursue fiction writing. I looked at the decision within the context of my desire to change my life and to transition away from the day job that pays the bills to find a way to pursue what I’m most passionate about. I thought about all of the people who have made major life changes to pursue their dreams and I wanted to connect with them. I soon realized that as much as I thought the transition was what I needed to explore, that wasn’t it at all.
The idea of blogging about writing was one I dismissed out of hand. I didn’t have anything to say about it. But the more I read and commented on other blogs, the more I understood that blogging about the experience of developing as a writer is what I needed to communicate on my own site. It took a while for me to find the blogs that I check every day. I return to them time and time again because I find meaning that I can relate to because there are people somewhere creating those blogs that I connect with in some way, all the way across cyberspace. Some blogs are written by published authors, some are people still working to get there, some are people who love books, or art and some are people who just have interesting things to say.
Thinking through and expressing my fears, questions and incremental accomplishments means I have to check in with myself regularly and reflect a lot. The wonderful conversational format of the blog allows me to share ideas with a wide variety of other people who are all somewhere on the continuum that I’m on in reading, writing and just life in general.
I regularly ask myself whether I can really afford the time it takes to blog and so far, the answer continues to be yes. It’s an investment, but the experience and the shared community have given me far more than it has cost.My online dating and my blogging experiences ended up being far different than I what I expected, primarily because I went into them thinking I wanted one thing and I came to understand that what I wanted was something different.
Have you gone through the online dating experience? Do you blog today for the same reasons you did when you started blogging? Has blogging enriched your life?
Note: Our fabulous cyber friend Larramie from Seize a Daisy tagged me with a meme. If you are curious, my answers are in the post below.