When you’re almost 30, dating can be kind of weird. There’s this, “Sure, I want to have a life partner someday, sooner than later, and maybe build a family while planting roots,” sentiment, which includes all that comes with commitment. Consequently, there is also the reality of losing your freedom and independence, which, truthfully, has kept me single for the better part of this past decade.
Alas, I went on a date this past weekend.
Yes, let’s pause on this moment for a second: Michael Anthony Goodman, previously and absolutely independent and uninterested in truly letting his guard down, went on a date.
And it went pretty well.
Of course, I should add, if you had been with me just hours before, you would have thought this was certainly not going to be the case. For example, I had brunch with a wonderful friend the morning of my date, and it was typical conversation – life, love, dreams, hopes – quality stuff. Midway through our meal, I started talking about how nervous I was about my date that afternoon.
“Nerves are good,” she affirmed me, and validated the idea that nerves mean you care about something, and/or that something is/possibly important to you. I agreed, and that’s when the conversation shifted.
“You know, I’m most worried about the random stuff, like sweating a lot and looking like a beast,” I argued.
Her response was gasp-worthy and a bit jolting.
“But that’s who you are,” she posited, in the best of ways.
Now, as defensive as I planned to be in that moment, I really had no words (and sidebar, I actually do sweat quite easily). My friend was right. It’s more important to be who you are than who you think someone wants you to be. Authenticity. Of course, this has always been a tough pill to swallow for me, and I played out every worst-case scenario one could go through while preparing to meet this new human in a romantic context.
But I needed to have that moment with my friend to truly pause and center myself before this date.
You sweat a lot? Sweat on. Hell, glisten on! You put your best self forward, and make no apologies. Because your best self is enough. And that’s enough.
Now, I wish this spirit was consistent all the way through my walk to the Metro station. Instead, this trek existed as a brainstorming session of self-loathe, all while crafting a list of apologies I needed to make upon introduction.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get a haircut.”
“I’m sorry I let my pale white feet out on this first day of spring.”
“I’m sorry my beard is patchy.”
“I’m sorry I am 20lbs heavier than I want to be in this current moment.”
“I’m sorry for farting in 6th grade and blaming it on one of my classmates.”
You get the point.
I was dress-rehearsing tragedy again, though this time, outside of my previous job search. We (I) have to stop doing this. We have to stop being the barrier to success (happiness, fruition, love, joy, completion, etc.). We have to stop getting in the way of our unapologetic and authentic selves. We have to know that putting our best self forward is a pretty good offering. And we have to be okay with that knowledge.
So, I went on a date this weekend.
And I talked a lot. And I had Birkenstocks on for all to experience my, Casper-the-friendly-toes, as far as the eye can see. And I was nervous, and I did sweat a little. And I rambled on some stories to where I got tripped up within my own words. And all of this is okay.
Because I’m okay.
And that’s enough.
And I’m enough.
Friends, whether it’s a new job or social circumstance, or even a date, know your worth and know your value. You are good enough, beautiful enough, and absolutely worthy. Be proud of who you see in the mirror, and be your best self for all others to benefit. A new week is here, and the best is yet to come. And who knows, maybe you’ll find a second, a third, or even a fourth date. You deserve it.