If you have followed along with Tampabayonashoestring.com, you have seen quite a bit of activity that I've had over the last several weeks. There are several entries to be added from this last weekend. I'll get to those on maybe Tuesday. I will be shifting that blog more to a stand alone, location based blog with the foundation of places that I have already added and will slowly add to it more, over time. That said, I'm tired... ha. Don't get me wrong. The places and events have been fun, and I would recommend to anyone to get more active in similar ways. But, maybe do 1-2 things per week, like like 7-8 that I was doing in a week. That's my plan.
But, activity, no matter how fun, is just activity. It happens for a bit, and then it is gone. I value the experiences a lot, though.
As I reflect over this year, I have gone to concerts to see Toto/Journey, Train/Jewel, and Onerepublic. I've seen music played classically at USF twice, saw the Florida Orchestra at Mahaffey theater in St Pete and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. I've watched two movies at the beautiful Tampa Theatre. I did a bar crawl for the first time in my whole life for Halloween. I watched a movie on the lawn at Straub Park in St Pete. I've gone to see several popular bars from those with 80s themes to sports related to social. I've gone to several baseball games, both the Rays at Tropicana Field and the local minor league team. I took my daughter to Universal to see their Harry Potter areas. I've now completed 3 5k runs, and it has been maybe 5 years since my last 5k run prior to that. The fitness that has gone along with the training has made me slimmer, and I knocked 3.5 minutes off my 5K total time in the last month. Coming events, I will be going to a few more meetup events (already did a dance with them once), seeing Lindsey Stirling in concert (long time fan), and doing the Tinsel 5k Run in Tampa in December.
To say that it's been an active year is a huge understatement. However, beyond the memories and the pictures, it's still just me.. I didn't share it with anyone but online friends that happened to notice the posts. I'm by nature driven to personal relationships, and I have a more fulfilling time snuggling on a couch to watch a movie with someone I love than a history of experiences, no matter how awesome they happen to be. With a few exceptions, all of the events above was done by myself, including the times at restaurants that I still have to post. So, I will be making an effort to connect with others and build relationships, whether it be friendships or more.
That being said, there are many differences in how I present myself and what I am seeking that have happened over the last few years. This year, specifically... both from a few failed dating connections and from my own time doing things alone.. has changed me in many ways for the better. I wanted to go through some of those, here.
1. I've learned that I can be happy on my own, while waiting for the right connection. So, even though I want to start looking for connections, I won't be so desperate to get one that I sacrifice my own interests or accept one way situations to do so.
2. I'm not going into things with defensive walls. What I've seen in others and myself is that you can't really know others or let others know yourself, if you are holding back. The best answer to all of that is to be real from the start. Then and only then can you know if you are a good fit.
3. I'm historically a very introverted person. That means, I have often been a receiver and observer, rather than a doer. But, I've learned that women are often waiting for the man to speak or act. You can't always know if they are waiting on you to act or don' WANT you to act, but the only way you can know is to make the first move. This year, I have been more active with messages on dating apps and other forms of communication. It's been AWKWARD, as I have not been active doing it for many years... since before my last ex. So, I try and then critique myself after... did I really just say it that way... why would she think that was me being interested... etc But, each time I do, I feel more confident and more able to let rejection roll off of me and just have fun.
4. I'm going to have fun with it. When I was at a 90s thing at Ritz Ybor (to be added to the other blog), the music started and for the first half hour everyone just sat at the edge and didn't go on the floor to dance. I thought... what's more 80s and 90s than a bunch of people at a dance not dancing? Ha. But, then, people started moving towards the floor and a few going out on it. I, myself, went down to the edge and started to bop along to the music. Before long, the dance floor was crowded, and I was out there dancing, as well. Why? It was not because I was dancing with someone. I just wanted to dance for fun and did. That's one thing I have rediscovered about dating and ONLY because I started being more active. It's supposed to be fun. Even if you don't end up together with someone, you can have a fun time, together... or even just you having a fun time on the date, even if they choose against you.
5. Older people... I'm getting more comfortable being in that group... often just want to gather together and have fun, and many are not even LOOKING for a relationship. While I am ultimately looking for someone with which I can be intimate and personal, it has been awakening to see that the same kind of social connections that you had in high school and college happen among older people that just want friends and connections. Further, it is a reality in dating apps and more that older people that are not looking for having children and have their own friend base are more inclined to want shorter term dating experiences, rather than relationships. Again... while I am more inclined towards long term, I do need to be more open to dating.. just for fun. I'm going out and doing things on my own, anyway. Why not have company, while I'm doing it.
6. Finally, I wanted to say something about money. I grew up in a very traditional family, region, and time. It has been my way to always pay for the dates, and I always felt pressured to make more money or impress others with money for romance. It's still common in many places for women to seek out men that make money to pay for their gifts, dates, and bills. However, I have experience with that over my life, and it often turns from gratitude by the woman to resentment at your financial offers. They either feel incapable or even feel like they are bought by your money. I've also got jobs to try to impress modern women, only to have the jobs and money have either no effect or an anti-effect of having women be offended by my paying. I'm older in an older society, and people have built their own financial supports and don't need mine. So, I am not going to get any job to impress a woman, and I plan to keep my initial dates inexpensive. If we connect, I can plan more costly things, but I want their object of interest to be ME, not what I can provide.