This post’s title is taken from the last few words of the children’s song “Hokey Pokey”. The song begins something like: You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out, you put your right foot in and you shake it all about…”
I’m not quite sure why that song popped into my head but it did so right after talking to – dare I call him my boyfriend – about dating. We were discussing how,it’s human nature to put our best foot forward when we first begin dating someone. After all, if we are attracted to someone, we want them to see us in only the best light. Now I’ve discovered that dating as a 44 year old is VERY different than doing so as a 20-something (surprise!). The foot I’m putting forward is my best foot, but it’s one that’s walked thousands of miles and over some rough terrain. Additionally, I don’t have the energy to always be at my very best. At this point in my life, I’m too busy juggling work, friends, yoga, working-out, spending time with my awesome niece, getting Starbucks, and sleeping. Therefore, in a nutshell, what you see is what you get.
If that’s my approach to dating, then why is it when someone exhibits interest in me and I in them, I freak out? My anxiety level goes through the roof at the thought of being emotionally connected to another. The desire to back off and shut down is overwhelming at times. But why? Well, the only answer I can come up with is fear. No, I’m not afraid to open up to people. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable. I’m not afraid to communicate my needs or even to reveal my craziness. What elicits my emotional paralysis is the prospect of having my heart broken. I would do anything to avoid the feeling of loss whether via break-up or move or death.
I already know (intimately) that all things come to an end. Nothing lasts forever. The other shoe does eventually drop. So, BF, don’t give me permission to turn tail and run because I’m really good at that. Instead, I’m going to practice some yoga. When things get uncomfortable, I will acknowledge my feelings and sit with them and through them. And, perhaps, instead of letting myself get freaked out because this good stuff has fallen into my life when I least expected it, I will enjoy the fun we are having together.
I think this calls for a celebration. Some singing and dancing? I put my right foot in, I take my right foot out…