When I talk about dating, relationships and PLAY I’m not talking playing the field and hooking up. I’m talking about PLAYing with how we show up, how we begin and intend to continue. PLAYing with showing up as 100% ourselves, quirks and all from the very beginning and each and every day. PLAYing with how we attach ourselves to the experiences and the outcome.
Here’s the thing with PLAY, when something doesn’t go the way we expect we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try again, but in a new way each time, like we did when we were kids. We approach it with a curiosity and a sense of wonder and stoke to simply be doing it. We’re not attached to the outcome in the way we have become as adults. We try something and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sure we might have a good cry or tantrum, but we don’t give up, we don’t stop building sand castles, drawing pictures, riding our bikes, creating the cubby house out of every sheet in the house or whatever we’re doing simply because we ‘failed’ one time. We’re having a great time creating and doing the activity so we keep doing it.
So how does this PLAY work when it comes to dating?
Pixie went on a date. And boy did I feel like a PLAYful pixie.
I’m in my early 40s and single. I was married, then separated and divorced over 7 years ago. I’m not a fan of the dating game, it feels awkward and contrived for me, I feel like I can’t be myself and the lion share of people I chat to aren’t being themselves either.
Recently I went on a spontaneous night out with my flatmate. It’s a rare occurrence for me to go to a bar these days and as it turns out we’re great wing women for each other. That night I met someone who magically appeared beside me at the bar at the perfect moment. A man I would like to spend more time with and get to know. That night simply flowed and we connected, it was PLAYful and fun with no plan for an outcome.
Fast forward to post night out, cue awkwardness, nerves, overthinking, not being me for fear of not being liked, blah blah, blah. Then I stopped and took a moment. I’ve got this single life thing dialled and as much as I would love to spend time with this man and have him in my life I am a whole fulfilled person as simply me. So I figured I had nothing to lose I’ve got my own back whichever way this goes so I'm going to PLAY.
There had been some sporadic chat since and we arranged to catch up, to have dinner and drinks, usually the kind of date I avoid. I was a wee bit nervous as historically I’ve been at the awkward end of the scale with dates, but this time I decided to PLAY differently.
I had a little time and some nervous energy so I decided to head out on the water (anything on/in the water is my fav) heading out for a paddle around the island where I live...yup I PLAYed. The wind and tide was hectic, but the views, the lowering sun, the swans, it was all so freaking superabundant. I chose to PLAY as the perfect way to bring myself into the present, be right there in the moment, and appreciate all the goodness. It was a good/bad decision (but there are no bad decisions right) as it left me feeling quite PLAYful and energetic and also a little rushed as the wind made it slower than I’d hoped and I was then pushed for time to shower and get ready.
Choosing my outfit was a flap and late in the game I decided, fuck it, I’m going to wear what I would if I was going out for a lovely fun, PLAYful and casual afternoon full of laughter and PLAY with my wing woman flatmate. Done, easy, comfortable, feminine 100% me…oh and of course a little something underneath so I felt sexy and fun no matter what the outcome.
As things would have it my date was running late so I ended up with a little breathing space back to appreciate the sunset (that he was missing out on…he made it just in time).
And here’s where I particularly PLAYed in a new way to how I have ever before. I chose to show up like I was hanging with my flatmate, my closest friends, my soul sisters and be more me than I ever have before on a date. Something happened, my chatterbox switch was flicked, I was so freaking chatty, like seriously I talked a lot…amongst it all I listened, heard and noticed a lot. I generally have a very quiet mode when dating sussing out the other person so this was particularly interesting as it simply flowed and was actually really funny (as in we were both laughing) at how I was flowing with the conversation and going on tangents. I didn’t feel the need to hold back at all, I was totally like an excitable child having amazing conversations about experiences, concepts, ideas, everything. The conversation was seriously good, this man can handle conversations from psychology to spirituality, meditation, engineering, quantum physics, health, music, creativity, travel, events, sailing, sport, crazy life experiences, values, no topic was off the table, it flowed.
There was plenty of laughing and general fun. It was one of the most fun dinner dates because I didn’t hold back and we covered the full range of getting to know you, intellectual, silly, fun, serious, you name it. This man has seen more aspects of my personality in the short time we’ve met than most people see in a year and some never because I chose to PLAY without attachment and show up as 100% me.
And then as the after glow of a super fun night wore off the ridiculous worrying about whether he likes me as much as I like him, worrying about talking too much and all the silly things kicked in. And again I stopped and took a beat, no matter what happens next the most important thing was I was 100% myself. I was true to myself and it’s up to him if that’s for him. I’ve got my own back and my life has been enhanced from the time we shared, I got to PLAY and have a lot of fun.
A relationship of any kind is something that needs to flow and align because only then can we both be the best versions of ourselves.
An intimate relationship and all the good and challenging stuff that comes with it would be a juicy layer of goodness to add to all the amazing work I do in my life, however it’s something I will never force. For me a relationship needs to be both a ‘we’ and each continue to be our ‘me’. We each need to be able to evolve in our own way and at the same time know that there’s a partner in crime right there cheering us on who's got our back even as the other persons journey looks and PLAYs out differently. It’s not all roses, but it does need to be a HELL YES for both of us.
Here’s to PLAYing with how we show up and honouring ourselves in dating and relationships both intimate and friendship so it’s a HELL YES to ourselves at all times.