Dating Outside the Box

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If you have been following my blog, you should be aware of the yearlong dating challenge I undertook last year March as a form of breaking my three-year dating sabbatical and stepping out and putting myself out there again. This challenge was an immense success and resulted in stories like the ones described in Dating the Dozen and the internal tumult of My Perfect Mistake.

“Did the experience make me better?”, many asked. Yes. It taught me the importance of knowing  who you are and what you have to offer as an individual and to not be swayed by the thoughts and perception of others, even if it means walking way from someone who came to mean a lot to you. This experience taught me to walk away from situations that made me feel less than who I am. Most of it, it taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and to laugh, have fun and enjoy the companionship of others, if only for a moment. There is no crime in budgeting time for FUN!

Now, a year of dating equivalents to A LOT of dates! We certainly won’t get into numbers…

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There are two things that persons who have been following my progress want to know:

  1. Where do I find the guys?
  2. What do I do for my dates?

We will leave #1 for another time but I must answer #2 because the follow-up question to that normally focused on whether or not my dates and I went to get drinks or a meal. Well folks, anyone who knows me knows that I am not a foodie.  A lot of food gives me anxiety issues if I don’t have help…. so… if my dates were just based on eating, I would have a problem.

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So, here you go! 12 fun activities that I have done in the name of dates:

  1. An evening out Painting and Sipping – This activity gives you and your date a chance to have a bit of relaxing competitive fun. Plus, paint, brushes, bad artists, cheap wine and good company is a good combination to spark a little chemistry and give an evening to remember.Image result for paint and sip gif
  2. Go picnicking in the park – A picnic has been on my bucket list of date ideas for like…forever! Can you imagine my excitement when that wish was fulfilled? Throw in a movie as dusk approaches and chocolate and you will have what can only be described as perfection. If you are not a fan of movies, put on some low music and talk/dance…
  3. Do karaoke together – I don’t recommend doing karaoke with someone who is a stiff-shirt especially if he can’t sing or take a little good-natured ribbing. Karaoke, good company and drinks are a great way to have a very memorable night.Image result for karaoke gif
  4. Shopping for ingredients and then cooking a meal together – I never thought going to the market and supermarket could be fun until I made a date of it. It took it back to caveman days of foraging for food to make a meal. Once the foraging is over, you and your date get a chance to do accomplish something together. Who knows, if you are lucky you might just end up doing a food fight.
  5. Going hiking – If you are a person who loves nature, this is perfect for you. There are a lot of wonderful spots to go hiking. Personally, I prefer afternoons because it is cooler and that also gives me the opportunity to see the sun set.
  6. Doing a 5K together – There is nothing like bonding while running/walking for a cause. and joking about dying during the process. While I did a 5K, you and your date can spend an afternoon volunteering for a cause that you are both passionate about.Image result for 5k gif
  7. Going for a walk and exploring a spot you are both interested in – Throw in some Jackie back, good company and laughter and have yourself a marvelous time
  8. Building a playlist together – If you are both music lovers (I am average), a great date is to have a music face-off that results an a playlist. It’s fun when you are trying to up the song your partner just played, especially if you both like music from different eras. This becomes a great keepsake….well if the date goes well.
  9. Going to a fair/theme park – If you have a big inner child, like me, going to a fair or theme park is a definite “MUST”! Try every ride, every slide and every attraction possible! Do not stop until you are done!
  10. Taking a dancing class – This experience was the one I found the most uncomfortable because I am not much of a dancer. However, taking a salsa class is something else when you have relaxed and become engaged with laughing and dramatizing every body bumps and toe steps! I can honestly declare that in the end, my beginning discomfort was worth it! One of the best dates ever! Bad moves and all!Image result for bad salsa dancing gif
  11. Going to a concert – Personally, I don’t like concerts that have too big an audience of sweaty people who are all up in my space. But there is something to be said about bonding while grinning ridiculously and screaming the lyrics of some of your favorite songs. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it… My personal favorite happens to be any concert that has a steel band. I have a ridiculous partiality to steel bands :).
  12. Having the person teach you something they like to do or via versus – like how to play pool… I totally never realized how fun learning during a date could be.

You should have noticed by now that I have not mentioned “Netflix and Chill” or some of the common date outlets such as going to watch a movie. The point is, there are many creative date outlets. Get dolled-up or dolled-down, put out your best personality and go out with the intent to have fun. A date is what you make it.

Do you agree? What are some of your favorite date ideas?

XOXO,
Chañel.

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Dating the Dozen

Can I tell you guys that I started year 24 with a lot of hope. I was determined that it would be my best year yet especially, as my supervisor reminded me, it was my year according to the Chinese. Year 24 has been challenging, frustrating and rewarding. Most importantly, it is the year that I’ve learned to be brave and to find, define and focus on the positives.
 After almost three years of chosen singleness, I felt ready to be open and step out again. Fear and indecisiveness ruled me until my friends took matters into their own hands. Before I had time to think, I was agreeing to do to something different. My friends would ensure that I went on at least one date per month! 
That challenge was successful in a way that I didn’t expect! It turns out that my friends’ taste in men may be as atrocious as mine but these were experiences worth having. I didn’t find “the one” but some of these experiences forced me to find positives in some very dark clouds.

  1. Mr. April, a friend, reminded me to listen. I was blown away by the simple yet considerate touches he made to ensure our picnic date was memorable. Read more about that experience here.
  2. Mr. May, the lawyer who boasted constantly about himself and his successes reminded me of the grace and dignity which exists in being humble. 
  3. Mr. June, the guy who felt the need to tell me exactly where he thought a woman’s place is – in the home and breeding – reminded me of the importance of chasing after what i believed and never letting anyone, but God, stick a label on me.
  4. Mr. July, the guy who made me laugh until I cried, reminded me of the joy that came with smiling from within and being silly just because and the joy that exists in sharing that light. 
  5. Mr. August, the guy with the gap in his teeth who tried to grope me, gave me two lessons. The gap reminded me of a close friend I had a few years ago who disconnected when we had a major fall -out. Realizing how much I missed him, I reached out and we reconnected. He also reminded me of the importance of treating persons in the way that I expected to be treated. I walked away without giving him the kick my indignation said he deserved.
  6. Mr. September taught me to be open to expressing myself and slowing down and taking the time to savour the things I enjoy. I now ensure that I take the time to stop and smell the roses and, most importantly, to relax.
  7. I didn’t go on a date with Mr. October but, whilst he intrigued and challenged me and made me want more, he also served as the biggest and most painful lesson of all. Crying, even in bathrooms, when disappointed or hurt is not an indication of weakness or defeat but of strength, especially when after you are done, you get up and get back in the game swinging with all your might. Weakness is your unwillingness or inability to deal with the hurt/disappointment and allowing it to take root and fester inside. He reminded me to BE BRAVE!
  8. Following Mr. October, I took November off to ensure that I did not suffer any emotional ill-effects. I stepped back in the game after meeting Mr. December on my cruise. He reminded me to embrace the woman I am but not be afraid to let my inner child out to play. Guys, being chased, screaming and laughing in the rain is exhilarating! An added bonus is when, though you are soaked, the guy you are on a date with catches you and then looks and proclaims you the most beautiful sight he has ever seen. In that moment, I found myself wishing I could bring him back to Jamaica with me.

More than 3/4s of my experiences so far haven’t been anything to write home about but they have been very eye-opening. In fact, I look forward to continuing the challenge right up to the end of March 2018. You see guys, no matter how despairing, disheartening and disappointing the situation may seem, it’s all about perspective. 

I prefer to believe that there is a good reason or positive light to every negative. God has too much in store for you for you to only focus on the negative side of any experience you have!

The glass is only half-empty if you choose to see it that way. As for me? I prefer my glass half-full with a lot of room for possibilities, opportunities and…good wine. 😉 What about you?

XOXO
Chañel.

I will wait for you

For the past few weeks, much to my chagrin, I’ve found myself in a couple conversations that run along the lines of:

Person: Hi!

Me
: Hey what’s up long time don’t seen!

Person
: Girl, you nuh married yet? When you planning to tie the knot?

Me
: *speechlessness*

OR 

Random Person: Girl you so busy chasing you career, yuh no want a man?

Me
: Obviously I am sporting a “I NEED A MAN” sign that I’m not aware of.

It seems persons are under the impression that this is the 1800s and so, if at 23, I don’t have a man in the wings or I am not preparing to get married and heralding the bells, I am weird and abnormal.

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He Will Help You Choose.

I was having a conversation with a friend last night. Somewhere along the way we started discussing times when we have discovered that persons we considered friends were otherwise. My mind replayed the conversation as I sat in bed, reflecting. The Lord brought back to memory something that I had read the previous night during my Bible study. I opened my Bible app and as I reviewed the scripture He gave me a new perspective.

When anyone remember Gideon, we remember the story of the fearful man who, though he doubted, God used along with 300 men to deliver Israel from the Midianities. Many times we overlook the process it took to get to that victory. There was something integral in that process. A choice had to be made.

When it was up to Gideon, he chose the strongest and the greatest of numbers to go to war. Remember, these were men who would be expected to watch his back in the heat of battle. These would have been the ones he expected not to desert him in the midst of a crisis and a tense stand-off. The men Gideon ended up with would need to be ones he thought he could depend on.

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A man after God’s own heart

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I don’t know about you guys but this summer seems to be the engagement season! I turn my back for a few seconds and by the time I turn around, I hear that another friend or acquaintance is married! Okay, okay, maybe I’m exaggerating but you get the point.

In recent times, I’ve not been really concerned about marriage but this season have found me giving the entire institution some thought. This is due primarily to the fact that persons have suddenly seen it fit to constantly remind me that I am now nearer to 25 than 20 and thus, I needed to get cracking.

As I knelt praying, early Monday morning, I found myself thinking about how my perception of my perfect guy has changed over the years. When I first discovered guys, I envisioned my ideal husband to be all looks and no substance. I had it all planned and nothing else mattered as long as we both looked good. As I grew older, I started to realize that the substance mattered and my prayer changed to focus not so much on looks but more on his substance and character. By this point it was all about WHAT I WANTED.

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Male-Female Friendships

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One of the theories that I’m positively tired of hearing is that females cannot have male friends without either party wanting to “do the tango” with the other. Well that’s a load of bull! I have two male friends who are my wingmen, my protectors, my trustees, my advisors, my psychologists, etc, etc all rolled in one…well two ;).

I trust these guys implicitly. They give superb advice. If I got in trouble, I could call one to come and bail me. If I needed a getaway car, I could call one of my guys and he would come if only to give me a lecture and then help. They have been there through most of my dating mishaps too. Whether to console me, threaten a beating to the unlucky guy, offer emotional support after a “I told you so”, help with homework or participate in my random debates, these guys have been my wingmen for years.

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The Fears of Yesterday

All of us, as human beings, have tasted the frightening effects of fear. The sad part is that some of us allow the fear to dominate us to the point where we don’t even try the things we have wanted the most and thus, it cripples and prevents us from being the best versions of ourselves. One quote that I’ve kept constantly in my heart is”

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

The first and only time I came across this quote was some years ago while watching the Hillary Duff movie “Cinderella Story”. I don’t even remember much of the plot of the movie but I have never forgotten the quote.

This week, I touched a milestone and found myself reminiscing on the fears I had to overcome to get to it. Today, I will be listing some of these fears  and telling why I have no regrets in moving past them.

  1. I feared losing my best friend: I eventually lost my best friend despite all I did to prevent it but you know what? I survived! While in the process of learning to come back from the abyss of emotional despair, I picked up a few lessons. Not everyone who comes into your life is meant to stay, some are just to teach you lessons and go. That was the role of my best friend. I also learned who were the persons in my life I could lean on for support.

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