WHAT IS #365DaysToLive? After taking a real look at my current existence, I decided to both live life and parent my son as if I knew I only had 365 days to live. The following is a blog post within that series.

DAY 1 OF 365. A GLORIOUS LONER…

I’ve heard it said so many times… Try dating yourself. It always seemed so silly to me, even when I heard the logical reasoning behind it.

As you know, I removed all dating apps from my phone for this 365 day challenge, and in doing so, I decided to challenge my own perception of the concept and to actually try dating myself.

A big part of what I want to do for this challenge is try things that other people think are awesome or amazing, but which I originally scoffed at, had no interest in, or thought absurd. I don’t just want to see the world. I want to see the world in a new light.

THE PROMISED BENEFITS

I’ve had several followers and a handful of friends tell me all the reasons I should try dating myself. Those reasons included:

  • I would learn more about what I like and don’t like.
  • I would get to observe myself under my own microscope the way I can’t when I’m with other people.
  • I would always get to go somewhere I want to go and do something I want to do.
  • I would become better acquainted with whatever it is that fills me with loneliness.
  • I would become less dependent on other people’s company to live a full life.
  • I would get to know myself in ways I never had.

WHY IT ALWAYS SOUNDED STUPID TO ME:

Do I really have to answer that? The very term itself is pretty damned absurd. “Date yourself.”

Also, I am an extrovert. My energy is replenished when I’m out with other people. I enjoy getting to know new people. The thought of going out to a nice restaurant by myself, or to a movie by myself was not all that an appealing one.

WHY I AM DOING IT ANYWAY:

Besides the fact that I want to challenge my stubborn ways and opinions, a strange fact remains to me… I am almost 40, and I have never been to a movie by myself. I’ve also never sat down and eaten at a nice restaurant by myself. In fact, I’ve never done much of anything by myself when it comes to getting out and living life.

I’ve always had someone with me when I travel (except on business trips). I’ve always had someone with me when I go out and about on photography expeditions. I’ve always had someone with me when I go to karaoke, or fitness events, or when I cook nice meals.

Maybe there is truth to the concept that I’m not actually okay being alone. Doing any of those things without someone there just doesn’t sound all that fun. But here’s the problem.

I’m single. I’m frustrated with dating. I haven’t had a real and long relationship for some time. And if I’m waiting for someone to do all that stuff with, it seems almost inevitable that I’m not going to do much of anything at all. This will add to my anxiety and depression. It will deplete me of energy. And it’ll make me a less desirable person to date. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle when I think about it.

So, shoot. It’s not like “dating myself” could hurt. The worst that happens is I don’t find value in it, right?

OFF TO THE MOVIES:

For my first day of the 365 day challenge, I decided to try this dating myself nonsense and go to a movie all by myself. It was a pretty simple challenge. Or so it seems it should be.

As it turns out, it wasn’t. Not really. As I drug my feet and forced myself to do it, I realized I had a couple core beliefs that needed changing.

I felt like I was going to be a loser if I walked into a theater alone. This means deep down I think that having someone there somehow makes me more valuable as a human. It validates me as someone worth being around.

I also felt like it was admitting defeat to go into a movie alone. This means deep down I think that going alone means I might end up alone forever.

Core beliefs suck when they’re exposed and they’re ugly. But, ain’t nobody got time for them if they’ve only got #365DaysToLive. So off to the movie I made myself go.

THE DOWNSIDE:

It actually felt good to go to the movie on my own. I was feeling pretty great about it, once I actually committed myself to it. But then the first silence hit.

As it turns out, there are a lot of moments of silence from the theater speakers before a movie starts (mostly between previews). And every time the silence hit, the theater filled with whispers, and giggles, and even louder laughing.

People commented to their friends and dates what they thought about the trailer that just played. They made jokes to each other. They said witty things. I had witty things to say. I had comments to make. But I had nobody to make them to. I was always quite thankful when the speakers blared again.

THE UPSIDE:

There was so much upside, if I’m being honest. I didn’t expect it to feel so good to be there by myself.

It was a nice break to pay for one ticket and one ticket only.

It was really nice to sit there in sweatpants and not worry that I wasn’t dressed up enough.

It was really nice to take off my baseball cap during the movie and not give two shakes to the wind what the person next to me thought of my messy hair.

It was really nice to sprawl out in the sparsely crowded theater and put my crap in the chairs around me without fearing looking like a slob.

It was really nice to pick a movie I wanted to see and not debate for twenty minutes about what movie we should go see.

It was really nice to go straight home when it was over, and not have to worry about how a date ended, or if it was too early to kiss someone, or if they thought I was weird for laughing at the parts I did.

CONCLUSION:

I’m officially a fan of this “dating myself” thing, so far. Next I’ll try a nice meal. Then I’ll move to even bigger and better dates.

Sitting alone in a restaurant, though?

Ugh. Why not?

Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog