Last night I spent New Year’s Eve enjoying the evening with three cute guys. Two of them were the children of the man I’m dating, but they were very cute, just the same. As for the man – Jason – well, he’s much more than cute.
The The Laptop Dancer Diaries took place in 2008. In 2009, I did some dating, but with little expectation of finding a mate. I was content with my life and felt ready to accept a fate of singleness. Then for some reason, last month, I got the urge to explore the world of online dating one more time before I crossed over into that decade I’d been dreading for so long – the fifties.
The first profile I came across was Jason’s. His profile included only a couple of sentences but contained just the adjectives and descriptions that were most important to me… playful, confident, love of children, spiritual. He was 48, so entirely age-appropriate. His face smiled out from his profile photo and my heart felt that little tingle of hope. Of course, if you’ve read the book, you know my history with online dating is pretty dismal. I have learned people are usually much better in their profiles than in real life.
Not so with Jason. Our first meeting was at a cozy pub that he’d suggested. We sat in front of the fire and chatted and I immediately liked him. I always thought when I found the right guy, I’d know it. There would be no questions or fears or worries. I’d just know he was right. And that’s exactly what I felt.
Amazingly, Jason liked me, too. Two days later, I was having a romantic dinner at his house. Soon after that, I was relaxing in his hot tub, feeling snowflakes on my face, looking up at the sky and feeling like I’d found a piece of heaven.
The happy surprises continued as I got to know Jason better. His children are polite and sweet – such little gentlemen who charm me with their smiles and giggles. Last night, Jason let me share in the good-night rituals, and when 11-year-old Connor reached out his arms for a hug and kiss good-night, I choked back a tear – I was so moved by his innocent acceptance and affection. Could I already love this little family when I’ve only just met them?
My relationship with Jason is too new for me to declare that I’ve fallen in love. Those words scare me. What if he doesn’t feel the same way about me? I don’t think I can survive another broken heart.
But I think about that innocent affection that Connor showed me and know I want to be like that. I want to love without fear. If it doesn’t last forever, it will hurt, but I’ll survive. And if I don’t take the risk, I will never know what might have been. Even if it only lasts a month or a week or a day or an hour … I want to know the joy of loving someone.
I started this book looking for a cookbook approach to falling in love and I think I’ve found the answers. Find out who you are. Take risks. Live life to the fullest. Live like you are the protagonist of a book. Love all the people around you – your friends, your family, your pets and even your laptop, if you want. Love God, life, the ocean and the mountains. Figure out what’s right for you and don’t let anyone – not even your inner-angel or inner-devil guilt you into doing anything you don’t want to do. Love yourself.
And when that right person comes along, love like a child that’s never been hurt -- reach out your arms and give of your heart. Trust that whether it lasts for a minute or for a lifetime, it will be worth it.
And that’s the secret for falling in love.