This may sound a little touchy-feely, but lately I’ve been trying to feel things a little bit more. When I’m happy, I acknowledge it. When I’m sad, I allow it. When I’m angry, I try to deal with it in a constructive way. I started being more mindful of this after I went on a few dates with a woman. (Sidebar: I’ve been trying to say women instead of girls.) She was fun. I enjoyed spending time with her, and we always had something to talk about. I realized that Hey, I might actually like her.
This feeling was in opposition to the dozens of other women I’ve dated where I could not quite bring myself to verbalize how I felt. Some were good, some were bad, most were meh. I don’t know whether it was out of desperation or loneliness, or what, but I would go on a few dates and then let the relationships sort of wither on a vine because I wasn’t sure what to do next. I’d feel relieved when a woman would tell me, “Actually, no thanks.”
So, starting with these first few dates I embraced whatever I was feeling: happiness, anxiety, nervousness, pining (Is that a feeling?), joy. I’d rushed through so many of those feelings so many times before that I had forgotten how good it felt to just feel something when you’re with someone. I don’t think they dwell on that part enough in rom coms. It’s like adding just the right salsa to your burrito. It makes everything just a little bit more zesty and alive.
I tried to do this in other parts of my life as well. I was sick of my feelings being dictated by anything I saw on Facebook. That’s why I’ve tried to reduce my time on social media this election. Everyone is so outraged and anxious. Yeah, I’ve felt both of those things, but fall is a great time of year and all those posts were killing my vibe. This election has ruined a lot of things for me, but I wasn’t going to let it ruin any chance I had of happiness.
On Sunday night, I decided to not watch the debate. I had already voted, so I really didn’t need to “become more informed.” I knew I’d just be upset and I’d yell at the television. I was sure I’d catch plenty of debate highlights the next morning. I left it at that. So, I got a growler of beer from Dangerous Man and I watched “Good Will Hunting” with my roommate. I made the right choice.
As you could expect, the other shoe dropped in that relationship. I got a call from the woman last night. She more or less said that it wasn’t the right time for her in a relationship. I was upset, but I respected her wishes. After I hung up the phone, I realized that Yeah, I am upset. I sent out a few despondent texts to my friend Jack and I paced around my apartment cursing myself. I eventually told myself that I was allowed to be upset. A woman I really liked told me that a relationship was not in the cards. Who wouldn’t be upset about that?
I told myself that I was allowed to be upset for 24 hours. There have been so many times when both short and long-term relationships have ended that I’ve felt like I needed to brush myself off right away and “get back out there.” Literally minutes after a breakup, I’d be back downloading dating apps and swiping away. Or else I’d have a few too many drinks. This time, I decided to go on a run. I turned on some good music and cranked out a little over three miles. I felt pretty good about that. I was still upset, but at least I had some endorphins from the run. (Regretfully, I did open a beer. I tend to wake up in the middle of the night after I have a beer close to bedtime, which is why I’m writing this so early.)
I thought things would be a little bit more smooth once I embraced this “feelings” thing. I actually do feel a little bit more confident in my daily decisions, and I don’t feel like such a pushover, but like anything, it will take some time. I’ve got time.