“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
– N. Mandela.
Although I do forget it sometimes, it is a well-established fact in my life that I relish a challenge.
My brother, whom I fondly refer to as The Sibling, is the comedian of our family. One of ‘his’ lines from a few years ago is, without a doubt, “IS THAT A CHALLENGE?!” delivered with a mock booming voice (which isn’t that hard for him considering how low his voice is). So, “Is that a challenge?!” definitely has a special (and random) place within our family’s vernacular.
Now, you may or may not remember that a few posts ago I mentioned that I had some Contentment items on my 2014 Bucket List. You may be asking, “How can you make contentment an item you can tick off a Bucket List, Alex?”. To which I would respond,
“You are a smart cookie and, in short, you can’t.”
Then you give me that cute confused look that you do oh, so well.
See, rather than creating something to do this year, I’ve come up with something to not do.
It all began a few weeks ago when I was chatting with a close girlfriend of mine. She’s someone who listens to me ramble about my latest love life, man drama, sagas various and their accompanying stress on a pretty regular basis. i.e. she’s a gem and a patient gem at that. We were discussing Tinder (naturally) as we were crossing Oxford Street at Taylor Square when she shared her recent observations of my love life and I. It went down something like this:
Her: “I don’t think you’ve been very happy.”
Her: “Yeah. You were really happy being single and now you’re not.”
Me: “Hmm. I think you may have a point… When do you think it started? Post-Hot Muso?”
Her: “No. I think it was just before him.”
Me: “So, around the time I started using Tinder?”
Me: “This could explain a lot…”, as I hit my head against a myriad of light bulbs which had suddenly been illuminated.
It took me a bit of time to unravel exactly why Tinder, aka Ego Stroke In The Palm of Your Hand, had actually turned someone who was very happily going about her life with a big dollop of contentment into someone who was (even more) preoccupied with her love life (than usual)… and someone who suddenly found it very dissatisfying.
Here’s my hypothesis: I found Tinder disappointing. See, if you’re inundated with a myriad of ‘matches’ then it’s reasonable to think, “Hey! There’s actually a fairly solid chance that something could actually come of this Tinder thing!”, right? Well, anyway, that was my subconscious logic. And then for nothing (positive) to really come of Tinder I was left feeling… well, disappointed. No, actually ‘disappointed’ isn’t the right word. It made me feel like a less valuable version of myself, because I reasoned that if nothing came to fruition for me on Tinder for god’s sake then what kind of hope did I have in the Real World?
So, during my experience of Tinder I basically went from:
and then finally
Tinder didn’t make me feel good about myself. The Ego Stroke high lasts for about 5 seconds – just in the way that you can have a mega sugar high and then crash after a slurpee. Tinder is my crappy sugar – no real sustenance or nourishment. I started Tinder in a place of contentment and what did I get from it? A big fat wad of discontentment. Brilllliant.
Once I had FINALLY come to this realisation, I knew that going back on Tinder wouldn’t make the discontentment go away. So, I decided when I was writing my Bucket List for this year that my challenge would be to go for a year without any form of online dating. Tinder. RSVP. OkCupid. eHarmony. Zoosk. Elite Singles. Seeking Arrangement. Be2. Ashley Madison. Match. ALL. OF. THEM.*
That’s right, chipmunks: three hundred and sixty-five days sans online dating. Of any kind.
IS THAT A CHALLENGE?!
Uhh. Yes, it is. Also, how the hell will you survive, Alex?!
My internal protests lasted for about twenty eight seconds, because as soon as I committed myself to it, I was surprised to realise that I felt tangibly more peaceful. I exhaled deeply. I hadn’t even realised how shallow my breathing had been – it had been that long. Bizarrely enough, I think I found the knowledge that there would be no online dating rather comforting.
Of course, I do genuinely wonder if I’ll meet anyone interesting this year, but I do find it encouraging to remind myself that all of our parents and older family friends met each other without the help of RSVP and eHarmony. It’s also reassuring to know that I do have a track record of meeting people in somewhat bizarre places (if you can consider that reassuring?)
It’s been tempting to log back in over the past nearly four weeks, but so far I haven’t gone back to the dark side… and the vast majority of the time I think I really like it this way. I can feel the contentment I’ve missed so badly slowly, drowsily waking up from its anesthetic.
And anyway, there’s the chance that when I’m spending less time looking down at my smartphone screen I’ll be able to make eye-contact with more gents in real life…
…. and perhaps one of them will bear some resemblance to Dan Humphrey.