32 and Dating (!!!)
Alright, I can’t take it any longer. I have some fun news that I’ve been dying to share with you these past four months.
I’M DATING THIS WONDERFUL GUY!!!!!
And I am so dang happy about it. :)
Like, wake-up-every-morning-with-the-cheesiest-grin-on-my-face, still-can’t-quite-believe-my-luck, slightly-freaking-out, yet-loving-every-second, feeling-oh-so-grateful, and-basically-just-wanting-to-shout-from-the-rooftops-that-I-REALLY-REALLY-LIKE-THIS-GUY happy about it.
And after trying to play it cool and keep things hush-hush on the blog while we got to know each other — because, really, what on earth is blogging protocol for introducing a new boyfriend to the world wide web?! — I couldn’t wait any longer to tell you all about it.
About this me who’s now dating him.
About this crazy but wonderful new thing called “us”.
It kind of feels crazy typing that out for the first time, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really know how one goes about sharing this sort of thing. But I’ve been looking forward to introducing him to you for months and months now. So without further ado, friends, I’d love for you to meet this handsome new man in my life.
Meet Barclay. :)
And that’s us!
And yes, pretty sure I’ve had that cheesy grin on my face ever since I was introduced to him this past May. :D
Believe it or not, Barclay (pronounced “Bar-klee”) and I actually met the “old-fashioned way”, which was a total but very welcome surprise for someone so exhausted with the online dating scene. I had said for years that, if it were up to me how I’d choose to meet a guy, I would love to have a good friend set me up with one of their good friends. (Keyword: good. I’ve had a few too many set-ups with someone’s sister’s hair stylist’s dog-walker’s cousin who they knew little about, but who “happened to also be single”. And I’ll give you one guess how those turned out.) Basically, I just loved the idea of someone who knew me well making a connection instead of Tinder or Match. I had all but given up on the idea of that happening.
But then this spring, the most surprising coincidence happened. Not just one, but three good friends independently told me about this guy named Barclay whom they thought I should meet. My ears perked up because all three of them knew me well, and also apparently knew him well. So then, being the good friends that they are, they all immediately started plotting different schemes for us to meet. (Mwahaha.)
Really, though, Barclay and I both agreed that it was kind of shocking that we hadn’t met before we did. As it turned out, we already…
- had dozens and dozens of mutual friends in common
- lived just 5 minutes away from each other in Kansas City (plus I had apparently driven by his house literally hundreds of times on my way to church over the years)
- worked just 5 minutes away from each other (and I had actually traveled to El Salvador and sponsored a friend with the humanitarian non-profit where he works)
- had attended many of the same gigs and concerts together around town
- had an uncanny number of common hobbies and interests
Still, it wasn’t until our mutual friend, Sara, decided to throw a party on a warm spring night last May (with the specific sneaky intention of getting the two of us in the same room) that we were finally introduced to one another. I immediately was impressed by how articulate and thoughtful and kind he seemed, and thought that he was super-cute, but I left the party unconvinced and was worried that he was “too nice”. (<– Um, who says that, by the way?! Thank goodness for friends who talked me out of that one.)
Still, as I was leaving, I invited him to come to a concert that I was performing in a few weeks later, and he put it on his calendar and said that he would come. I gave it a 50/50 chance that he would follow through. But sure enough, the second the show ended, there he was up front waiting to greet me. We talked for an hour or so and were the last ones out of the space, and he eventually said something about “wanting to spend time getting to know me”. So two weeks later, once we both returned from business trips, we went on our first date for chips and salsa and margaritas (<– he did his research well!). And then seven hours later at 1am that Wednesday night, we were still sitting out on the patio talking and talking and talking.
And I could not believe my luck. :)
Well, when I say that we were out talking for 7 hours, I should probably note that Barclay carried the majority of the conversation because I was awkwardly, goofily, butterflies-in-my-stomach, could-not-form-a-complete-sentence-to-save-my-life, totally tongue-tied for the entire first date. Which I would like to point out NEVER HAPPENS. He assures that he didn’t notice my inability to cobble words together, but good grief, it was more than a little ridiculous. He totally threw me off my game! And I was totally surprised. At one point in the date, I think I even blurted out something smooth like, “I’ve just never been on a first date like this before!”
It was true, though. I could tell within the first 5 minutes that there was something special about this cute guy in sitting across the table from me in his sharp white button-down shirt, looking me with the kindest eyes, asking thoughtful and meaningful questions, telling the most fascinating stories about the life he leads, leaning in over the chips and salsa and wanting to get to know everything about me. It’s no exaggeration to say that I couldn’t quite believe what was happening. But I knew that I didn’t want the night to end, and that I just wanted keep talking and get to know everything about him. :)
Apparently the owner of the restaurant had his eye on us and thought that things were going well too. Because within a few minutes of our arrival, he came over to tell us that we “looked SO in love!” and we were “the cutest couple!” and we “totally needed to get married!” — ha, not just once, but again and again and again throughout the night. He gave us marriage advice. He brought us drinks on the house. He even made us pose for a picture together before leaving, because he insisted that we had to remember that first date at his restaurant.
I was more than happy to oblige and when he told Barclay to get close and put his arm around me. ;)
Four months later, I still get butterflies in my stomach when he puts his arms around me. And I can hardly believe that such an amazing man is part of my life.
Because as those of you who followed my 30 and Single series know, I spent pretty much most of my adult life being single. Or at least, I was that serial-first-dater-with-very-few-relationships-lasting-beyond-a-month-or-two kind of single. And while those years were deeply good and full of adventure and taught me so much, they were also profoundly hard at times when I yearned to have someone to share them with. I fiercely held onto hope that things might someday change. But with each passing year, the possibility of finding a match seemed more and more unlikely, and I started to slowly make my peace with the fact that there was a very real possibility I might be single for the rest of my life.
Who knows, that’s still a possibility. I’m clearly only 4 months into this new relationship, and I’m very aware — especially as I’ve weighed the risks of (ahem) publicly sharing this new development with the millions of you who read this blog — that there’s no telling where things will go. I’ll be honest — the impatient, curious, always-gotta-get-to-the-bottom-of-things-stat in me would totally love to know. ;) But that’s not how relationships work. All I know is how things are going right now.
And right now, I am simply so thankful to have him by my side.
And as cheesy as it sounds, I still can’t quite believe I met someone like him. Someone who I can talk to for hours and hours and hours and hours. Someone who lives a life chocked full of wild and brave and meaningful adventures. Someone who rivals my obsession with Mexican food and margaritas. Someone who makes my heart beat fast every time he wraps me in his arms. Someone who works selflessly and gives generously and loves thinking creatively about how to serve people well around the world. Someone who knows how to strum an F#m, and how to conjugate verbs in Spanish, and how to tile a bathroom floor, and how to mix a damn good cocktail. Someone who makes me laugh until I can hardly breathe daily, and who always knows how to make me smile. Someone who plays fetch with my crazy dog. Someone who is unfailingly kind to everyone he meets. Someone who listens to me, challenges me, encourages me, respects me, cares for me, and inspires me to be the best person I can be.
Someone who I’m crazy about.
Oh, and also very importantly, someone who will have entire Bitmoji conversations with me. Because good communication is essential in any relationship, right? ;)
Anyway, within a few short months, this guy has clearly become a dear and important part of my life. And since you all have stuck with me through the ups and downs and in-betweens of said life these past years — and have been so cool and encouraging and important to me every step of the way — I really wanted you to meet him.
I promise to keep you posted! :)
Cheers to fun surprises in life, eh?