It’s 2005. I’m a young, fun college student with zero expectations. Facebook is a thing, but insta-what, twit-who? There’s no Bumble, no Hinge and, let’s be honest, Match.com is for old people. I ignore my godmother’s advice, Find your person in college. It’s rough out here. Because what does she mean rough? Daily I bump into a cute boy at a track meet or on Telegraph Ave where we chat and laugh, and exchange contact information. Maybe we run into each other again at a party or in the library. We become acquaintances, soon, friends, and, later lovers. Time spent exploring the city in our unlimited downtime brings us closer. Suddenly, we’re in a long-term, committed relationship. It wasn’t rough. It was easy. And if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere, right? RIGHT?!
See, that young, fun Brook was in the Flow. For me, that means in a space free of expectation and attachment. There was a time when finding that space was innate and easy. Now I can’t help but wonder – where the fuck is the Flow when it comes to dating in your thirties?
The Flow according to me: A space free of expectation and attachment.
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, as women, if we want to have children, there’s an ever-present “ticking clock.” And, while I know the evolved birthing and doula community would like us to keep calm and remember that a healthy lifestyle could keep us fertile until 50 – I’m not a gambling woman. So I’ll keep working out, eating veggies, and drinking copious amounts of water, while also monitoring my AMH hormone.
Let’s not even get started on the challenges of living in a big city on a single income, or homeownership, or the disappearance of your single friends. We’re not going there.
Over the past 18 months of dating, finding the Flow has been challenging. Why, you ask? Well, let me highlight important aspects of my Flowtheory for you.
Ah, the serendipitous meet-cute. You bump into someone randomly, build a connection, and possibly fall in love. I don’t think it’s impossible – but when it’s difficult to even make new friends as an adult, imagine meeting a life partner! A newly single friend recently asked me a mind-bender: How do you date in 2019 without apps? Despite giving up dating apps, I really didn’t have an answer for him. I’d been on one date since giving up the apps four months prior – someone I’d met at a holiday party. I pondered suggesting my friend wait until next Christmas, but 11 months seemed a long time to wait. Meeting people at work wasn’t the best suggestion. And I’ve heard from reputable sources that married and partnered friends rarely have prospects to recommend. So, I couldn’t help but wonder, was the meet-cute dead? Did we have to try harder to meet our person? And, wasn’t that in direct opposition to the Flow?
The very nature of dating apps means everyone involved has an expectation. Maybe it’s sex, or a date, or a long-term monogamous relationship – but whatever it is, each individual is looking for something. The first time I remember being in the Flow, I was looking for a Chipotle burrito. A dude in line was impressed by my request that the cheese be melted inside the tortilla, on the press, before adding additional fillings. I wasn’t looking for a husband or the father of my children. I. Wanted. Melty. Cheese. We dated a while and it evolved naturally without worry, care, or concern because we had zero expectations from the beginning.
Remember when you were twenty-one? Marriage was the furthest thing from your mind. You were in a serious relationship – in love. But you understood that anything could happen. You knew to follow your instincts and not to hold onto anything too tightly. To let go and let life breathe. Well, guess what? Now you’re thirty-seven. You’ve been seeing someone for a year. Something’s not quite right, but you’ve calculated that if you don’t hold on tight, if you let this go, it could take you a year to heal. Another year or two to find someone else you like. Another year to figure out if you’re a good fit for each other. And now, all of a sudden, you’re forty. And, while the doula’s said you have another ten solid years to grow a human – it’s all a little scary. Is it worth it? Nah, let’s not let go. Let’s hang in there.
That’s not the Flow. That’s fear.
That’s not the Flow. That’s fear. And I understand it. Now, suddenly, there’s attachment to an outcome. The stakes are high. And sometimes, we’re too busy calculating to really allow relationships to evolve naturally.
But, I’m an optimist, remember? And, I said that I’ve found it challenging to find the Flow, but I didn’t say I haven’t found it. And, of course I’ve slipped up from time to time… Like when I tried to convince someone they’d love monogamy if they tried it just one more time. Mistake. But, when the Flowseems to have left me in the dust at the whims of my internal expectations and pressures, how do I find it?
Okay, I know it sounds corny. But I do truly believe that things work out as they should. So, whether you believe in God, the Universe, or simply yourself – know that it’s gonna be alright and try not to worry. Give up the need to control every outcome and you’ll feel a sense of freedom wash over you. Easier said than done… I know.
A year ago, I got a dog. And, while this wasn’t the intention, my dog has made it infinitely easier for me to meet people and stay open. I talk to other dog owners. I visit my local coffee shop and chat it up with cute men who my girl, Pepita, lures in (she has phenomenal taste). All of a sudden, I’ve started making friends AND going on dates with men I haven’t met on an app. Men who I’ve had a few coffees with and like, without any expectation of where our relationship will go. It all feels super flowy.
Or keeping it real. With who, you say? MYSELF. I legit have become an expert at deciphering when I’ve allowed fear or attachment to an outcome color my experience with a potential partner. This has made me really great at communicating, correcting, or letting go if necessary.
So, singles, if I have one wish for you – aside that you find the partner of your dreams – it would be that you find your Flow. Because the truth is, I was right in my twenties, it can happen anywhere, including right here, right now, as we let go of our fear and allow the flow to carry us directly to our hearts desires.