“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” ~John de Paola
After six months of being single after my divorce, I wanted to date again. I was still afraid of failure and rejection, but I wanted to try. I felt the best way to get over it was to dedicate my time to finding someone new.
I didn’t know where to begin, but I knew I had a clearer understanding of what I wanted in a relationship. I definitely knew what I didn’t want in a relationship. I thought if I could just find someone with the right qualities, happiness would follow.
I made a long list of qualities I desired in a man. I signed up on internet dating sites and asked friends to set me up on blind dates. I thought I could get what I wanted by playing the odds, like sending out 100 resumes for a job hoping one company would call back.
I felt I had learned from my past mistakes and was impatient to find true love. Six months later, after a string of bad dates, I was no closer to finding the love I desired and the whiff of desperation seeped from my pores.
I started to feel like maybe there really wasn’t anyone out there for me. So, I decided to stop chasing. I began to take care of myself. I decided to be the person I was looking for while at the same time, creating a way for the right man to find me.
I decided to remove all the clutter from my home and my mind. I threw out boxes and bags of clothes and objects that represented the old me. I wrote daily gratitude lists and stopped thinking about what I didn’t have.
I started going out to movies alone. I found new restaurants to try. I took long hikes in the woods.
Once I took my focus off finding the right person, I started to find myself. I could sit for hours on my back porch reading a novel. I would buy myself chocolates and flowers for Valentine’s Day.
Once I was providing for all of my own needs, I started to smile again. This wasn’t a race—it was my life. I intended to enjoy every moment of it, with or without someone by my side.
Around this time, I started to think about finding some new friends. I lost half of my friends during my divorce. I was looking for positive people to hang out with that would be interested in the same things I liked to do.
I started joining book clubs and meetup groups. I went to exercise classes and asked coworkers out for drinks. I started accepting invitations to parties.
Meanwhile, I still meditated. I still read on the porch and I stopped looking at internet dating sites. I just wanted to have a good time and find some friendly people my age.
I wasn’t having a lot of luck in the friend department, though. It seemed like I was in a strange age group. When I joined clubs, most of the members were either a decade older or younger than me.
I wondered why no one my age seemed to go out. I reasoned they must be busy with parenting and working a lot like most people in their thirties and forties. I just wasn’t finding people my age.
Then one day, sitting around the house doing absolutely nothing, I had an epiphany—I would start a group for people my age to meet and find friends!
At the second meeting of my group, my future husband walked in the door. I knew I would marry him the second I saw him. And yes, he has most of the qualities on that original list.
If you’re looking for love and feeling like time is running out, slow down. Breathe, go buy yourself some flowers, and stop trying so hard. Love comes to those who are at peace with who they are.
Here are some tips for cultivating love while you wait for it to find you:
1. If you build it, they will come.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, create a way for it to find you. I created a meetup group for people my age so I could meet friends in a casual atmosphere.
2. Be the person you’re looking for.
The best way to find love is to love you. Spend time exercising, meditating, and cultivating your self-esteem. When the right person does show up, a calm confidence will be far more attractive than fear and anxiety.
3. Stop and smell the roses.
It’s not a marathon. You’re looking for the best person to show up, not the first person to show up. When’s the last time you found someone who seemed panicked attractive?
4. It’s okay to dine alone.
Many people are afraid to do “couple” things alone. Try going to a play by yourself. You can really have a good time just enjoying your own company.
Take action toward your dreams, but then step back and let those conditions manifest. Enjoy life and give yourself what you need instead of waiting for someone to give it to you. Meet each day with gratitude and joy in what you do have, and what you wish for will find its way to you.
Love image via Shutterstock
About Melissa McCaughan
Melissa McCaughan, the author of Legacy, is a literal ghost writer, choosing ghosts as the protagonists of her novels. She is currently working on a sequel, Epiphany, coming out later this year. She teaches an Adventure e-course called There’s No Place Like Home: Finding Adventure in Your Own Backyard and writes a blog called Carpe Diem. Follow her on Facebook.