Lately I've found myself learning to navigate a new phase in my life.... being 38, single and w/no kids.... when all your friends are married w/toddlers.
I've been divorced for about 2 years now. When I first got divorced, I knew everything was going to be new and weird and awkward for me until I learned what my new normal was. I didn't start dating right away, and I really focused on myself and filling my time with things I loved and that made me happy. I focused on my fitness, I hosted "Wine Wednesdays" at my house for my girlfriends, and planned as many sushi dates with them I could to fill my time. I also really learned to enjoy my quiet nights at home on the couch.
When I started dating a few months later, that quickly filled my time. (Omg dating can seriously be a full time job! But obviously, necessary and so worth it.) Dating, just like everything else in life, has seasons, and I must have hit dating smack dab in a high season, because before I knew it I was a power dating pro, sometimes going on two dates a night.
Side note, no one ever tells you about the Dating 15... that 15 lbs you gain when you start dating. Since dates usually involve at least drinks, and sometimes dinners, too, it was hard to find that balance at first, but I finally have it down now.
After 5 months, about 20 first dates and a handful of 1 or 2 month long relationships, I met someone, fell madly in love, and we dated for a little over a year until we just couldn't make it work anymore. This break up hit me hard, and affected me way more than my divorce did. (If you're going through a breakup, be sure to check out 8 Ways To Survive a Breakup for some helpful tips!)
So here I am, a couple months out of that breakup, dating again, but also wanting to find myself again. I'm not interested in power dating anymore. I'm much pickier about who I spend my time with and who I allow to take my energy. I'm learning to stop ignoring red flags. To stop giving people the benefit of the doubt over and over and over again. I'm finally taking my friend Jesika's words to heart... "People will tell you who they are, you just have to listen."
And through all of this, I've found myself in a weird spot... I'm 38, single w/no kids... and most of my friends are married w/toddlers... so I'm not really sure how to fill my time. I've built great relationships with my friends, we just don't see each other as often because they have less flexibility in their schedules. I don't have the typical kid duties, not meeting up for play dates, so when I'm not dating, I'm kind of feeling lost.
This is what I decided to do... I got focused on what I did want to fill my time. (Remember, my word of the year this year is INTENT!)
I created a calendar of all the free fitness classes being held all summer down by the waterfront at Canalside. Then I added in all the SUP (stand up paddleboard) classes being held on Lake Erie. These are things I can go to alone and not feel awkward being there by myself. From here, I'm going to take the initiative to reach out to and plan as many things with my friends as possible. Dinners, brunches, meeting up at coffee shops during the day to get some work done. All while enjoying my time alone, too.
This past week was crazy busy with the holiday, but I decided to take one night and spend it in. I bought myself flowers, ordered Pad Thai, opened a bottle of wine, gave myself a gel mani, facetimed with my bff who lives out of state and watched Magic Mike XXL (which is soooo much better than the first one btw.) The next morning I headed to Canalside to take an Insanity class, then met up with a friend for drinks later that night.
If you've recently found yourself going through this phase, you're not alone! I hope this helps you, and as always, be sure to share this with anyone you think could use it.
If you have any other ideas on how to fill your time when you're first entering this new phase of life, be sure to comment below and let me know!
Hang in there, gorgeous!
Need more tips on dealing with dating and breakups? Be sure to check out my Top 12 Books For Kick Ass Women and 16 Things Women Need To Know Before They Start Dating!
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