The Accidental Date

I have a lot of single women friends, almost all of whom have tried online dating, almost none of whom have had any luck with it.

Well, actually that’s not true. They’ve had plenty of luck, just none of it good.

If you know anybody who’s searched for love online, you’ve probably heard the horror stories. Guys who might have—on a good day two decades ago– resembled their profile picture. Divorced guys living in the same house as their “ex”. People who tell you what great listeners they are as they talk non-stop about themselves for three and a half hours. Should I continue?

One of my best friends has been dabbling in these waters for years. She’s someone who, for as long as I’ve known her, has longed for a committed relationship but has been unable—for whatever reason—to connect with the right person. She lives her dating life going from hopeful to disappointed.

Then, one day, she decided she was done with “dating”.

But it wasn’t for the reasons you might guess.

She wasn’t dropping out of the dating world because of frustration or hopelessness.

She was dropping out of the dating rat race because she had found something better—herself.

My friend has always been a very conscious, mindful and spiritual a person in the most generous sense of those words. She is thoughtful and reflective, and extremely self-aware. And what she had finally come to discover was that she actually liked being single.

She hadn’t thought she was supposed to like being single—but she did.

She looked at her life and saw that it was pretty damn good. She lived ten yards from the beach. She had dogs that she loved and cared for. She had a career doing the thing she had wanted to do since she was 7 years old and now, 40 years later, people were actually paying her to do it. She was healthy and fit and in the prime of life. She had a great son who adored her. She had incredible friends. She liked and cherished her alone time.

Now you wouldn’t necessarily know this since you don’t know my friend, but believe me when I say that this inventory of blessings was not “sour grapes”. What my friend had discovered was true joy in the pleasures of daily life and in the pleasure of her own company. And not in a way that was narcissistic, but in a way that was celebratory.

She no longer had to pursue something that she thought she needed to be happy—she already was happy.

Some time passed.

Recently, I heard from her.

She had gone to a meet-up group that hikes in the Santa Monica mountains. She loves hiking, she loves the Santa Monica mountains, and she had been to that meet-up group a number of times and always had a great time.

Except this time, because the weather had been kind of iffy, no one showed up.

Except one guy.

So they decided what the heck, they’ll go on the hike anyway, just the two of them. And they did.

It was terrific. They connected. They talked. They had a great time. There was chemistry. They exchanged numbers.

My friend called me up to say, “I just had an accidental date”.

Indeed.

Now I can’t tell you that this story ends like a Nora Ephron 90’s rom-com, because I don’t know the “end” of the story, and that’s not really the point anyway. The point is not the result-the point is the process.

Standing still. Breathing deeply. Loving and appreciating where you are and who you are.. Letting go of need and desperation and replacing it with acceptance and gratitude.

It’s a basic tenant of almost every spiritual practice that when you let go of your attachment to the result, that’s when the good stuff shows up.

I wonder how many of us never get the chance to have an “accidental date” because we’re too busy looking.

I wonder what wonderful and magical things might come into our lives if we only stopped searching so hard for them……

……….and just allowed them to happen.

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