Have you ever found yourself suddenly single? I did, over 7 years ago. Dating Myself is an article that I wrote a few years after my husband’s death – part of my moving forward process. Can you relate?
By Dr. Diane Lass
As a gift of appreciation, I was given a very nice, beautiful bottle of wine. The bottle itself was a plain, green bottle with the exception of the front label, which was a delicate and decorative letter ‘D.’ I was told that one of the reasons this specific wine was chosen for me was because it seemed appropriate as the ‘D’ could have represented either ‘D’ for ‘Dr.’ or ‘D’ for ‘Diane’ or both. It was a thoughtful gift and I very much appreciated it, but the problem was, because of the bottle’s beauty I didn’t want to open it. I felt very conflicted; I wanted to “try” the wine, but once I opened the bottle its contents would be disturbed and it would never be the same. I felt a great amount of responsibility to do the “right” thing. If I made the decision to open the bottle of wine, there would be no turning back and what if I regretted my decision?
In addition, if I did open the wine, whom should I drink it with? Poor a special glass for me alone? Make a nice candlelight dinner for one and pour a glass? Or maybe I should share the wine? Should I share it with the gift giver? Was it rude of me not to ask? So many thoughts and decisions stemmed from a simple, beautiful bottle of wine. I asked several of my friends their opinions as to what they felt I should do about what felt to me to be a life-altering dilemma. Some said I should drink the wine and then make the bottle into a candleholder; some said I should drink the wine and then fill the bottle with decorative rocks. I thought it might be a better idea to purchase another bottle of wine just like it so that I could taste the wine, but still keep the one I received as an unopened gift.
One day, I confessed to the person that gave me the gift my dilemma. He said simply, “life is short, drink the wine.” I responded in an off the cuff manner, “true, life is often too short, but some decisions such as whether to drink the wine or not should not be taken lightly.”
The next day when I reflected upon the exchange between us, I realized my conflict had nothing to do with the bottle wine. To open and drink the wine or not had more to do with whether or not I wanted to “open” the door to the idea of the possibility of a relationship with the gift giver and that could have been very complicated for several reasons. First and foremost, I wasn’t even sure I was ready to venture out and ‘try’ to date. To complicate matters further, the gift giver was someone that I would have ongoing interactions with professionally into the future. Furthermore, what if I thought I was ready to ‘open’ that door and then later realized it would have been best to leave the friendship just as it was without disturbing it? Would I regret opening that door or should I say, opening the bottle of wine?
So many times we feel conflicted and struggle with what appear to be very simple decisions, but if we stop and pay attention and really look at the situation we can use these experiences to develop insight and to learn about ourselves on a much deeper level. In this situation, I didn’t know if it was ok for me to open the wine, or open the door to the possibility of a relationship, because I didn’t know what I wanted. I knew my life was changing, I knew I needed to move forward, but I also didn’t know what that looked like. On one level I wanted to venture out, I wanted to open the door to a relationship and to once again have someone special in my life to share it with. But, everything in my life had changed. Now, what did I really want? Who would I want to date? Why did I even want to date and what would it look like if I did? Would I be solid enough in my own values and belief systems to follow my own dreams or would I be at risk of being sucked along and living someone else’s dreams because I didn’t know what my own dreams were yet? No wonder the decision as to whether or not I should open the wine was so complicated. I had more questions than I had answers. So, maybe the idea to move forward, to venture out and learn to date was not a bad one, but maybe I needed to start with me, maybe I needed to spend some time with me first so that one day I could open a beautiful, thoughtful gift of wine with confidence knowing that I would not regret my decision regardless of the outcome. I could try the wine and I would know that it was part of my life process and one day find another just as beautiful bottle and give that one a try too. Maybe one day I would find the perfect match for my palate and maybe not, but either way it would be just fine.
So, in the end, what did I do? Eventually, I filled the Jacuzzi tub in my bedroom, which I had only used a handful of times since my Husband had passed with salts and bubbles. I dimmed the lights; I opened the balcony door as it was in the middle of summer and lit the fireplace. Along side of the tub, I placed a facial kit and some fruit and then opened the bottle of wine and poured myself a glass. It was in that moment that I began the process of officially dating myself.