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Jenna talks about the greatest adventure of her twenties...
I was a late bloomer. Feeling deeply shy and uncomfortable with myself I hardly had the courage to make eye contact with a man, much less make the first move. I dreamed of adventure, romance, and of falling in love. I imagined that it would just show up one day. However, after graduating from college having only gone on a handful of dates I realized that something would need to change if I ever wanted to find the romance I so longed for.
As part of this effort I made a dating profile and even started going to singles events. One of these events was an outdoor movie, where I met Brian.*
Brian sat next to me on the grass beneath the summer stars, and we talked through the whole movie. I remember looking up at his face so close to mine, and I remember feeling that no man I’d ever talked to was as wonderful as this one. We exchanged contact information, and my belief that he was the most amazing man I’d ever met gave me the courage to ask him out to a concert.
The evening did not go quite as I was hoping. It was a band that I loved and was excited to see, but he complained about the crowds, the traffic, and even the music. At one point I put a hand on his arm to ask him a question, and he physically recoiled from my touch.
Turns out he wasn’t my soul mate. Actually he was kind of a dick. I made the first move and it went about as bad as it possibly could. But then something incredible happened….
I was totally fine. In fact, I was better than fine because this guy no longer took up any real estate in my head or my heart. I could let him go and move on, and I didn’t have to wonder, “What if I had been brave enough to ask him out?”
This experienced changed the way I saw dating. I’d faced rejection and awkwardness head on, and I didn’t have to be afraid anymore. Not being afraid meant that pretty soon after this experience I started going on a lot of dates!
I turn 30 this year, and even though I got a late start, dating has been one of the great adventures of my 20s. Hell, it’s been one of the great adventures of my life. I’ve been on bad dates like the one I described, but I’ve also met incredible men.
I’ve been introduced to music I never would have listened to, books I never would have read and I even discovered that I love sushi. I’ve learned how to rock climb, how to salsa dance, and how to flirt in Italian. I’ve also learned what I want, what I need, and what is unacceptable. So far none of these men have been “the one” for me, but they have been my teachers, my cheerleaders, my confidants, and my friends. A few of them I even loved.
It’s still scary to be bold, or to go out on a limb, but there is a whole world of experiences out there. Some of them bad, but so many of them are better than I could have imagined. In order to find the romance and the adventure I wanted in my life I had to be brave enough to make the first move.
*Name has been changed
Jenna for The Bumble Hive