Let me preface this by saying that as an adult, I've never been a church-goer. Raised Unitarian, I'm appalled at the things done in the name of organized religion. If pressed to name something I believe in, I say "evolution". (The elegance and simplicity of the mechanisms of evolution amaze and delight me every time I contemplate them.)
However, for the last year or so, I've been attending a church. It's a Unity church, which is to say, it's liberal and progressive, supports individuals of all spiritual persuasions, and is just an open, friendly, welcoming place to regularly contemplate the meaning of life. You (read I) don't even have to believe in God; believing in the inherent goodness of humanity and the value in coming together as a community to share ideas and practices that can bring peace and understanding is all it takes.
Anyway, at the Sunday service after New Year's, we did a "white stone ceremony". After a brief meditation, on a small rectangular stone we each wrote a word or two that we felt could be our touchstone for the year. What did I want to focus on, to come back to, in my daily life? The minister related how she used "centered" as her touchstone last year. I closed my eyes, and thought about all I have, and all I want for myself in the new year. I am really so fortunate in all aspects of my life, barring the rather significantly unfortunate event of losing a spouse. "Abundance" came to me as I sat; abundance in all I have, and abundance in the love that I hope to find waiting for me at some point in the future. This year I will remind myself often of how abundance shows up in my life, in ways large and small, and be on the look-out for experiences that can be interpreted as expressions of abundance.
That was last Sunday. And what do you think happened in the days immediately following? I put out a few match dot com and e harmony dot com feelers, and by Thursday I was starting a 3-day, 4-coffee-date string of meeting new men. Abundance! It's not like I didn't spend time on those sites last year, but for all the effort I put in then (which was admittedly not that much, but still), the only result was a single meeting and an attempted (but not completed) phone conversation. Obviously, I wasn't ready then, and I am now, and the vibe I sent out says as much. Fascinating!
So how did it go? The two men who contacted me were nice, but I didn't feel any real connection. The two where I initiated were more interesting to me, and I'll be seeing each of them again. How fun! Even if nothing comes of it, it's a reminder that there are plenty of fish in the sea, a few of whom might even be interested in a closing-in-on-50 mom of a young child, with the emotional baggage of the loss of a spouse and an inferiority complex when it comes to her desirability as date material. (It's funny -- I don't doubt my ability to be a great wife. It's just in the more superficial world of dating, online or otherwise, I have never felt like I can successfully compete with cuter, more flirty, more effective-at-playing-the-game women. And I'm afraid that my young daughter makes me less desirable to men of my age, while my age makes me less desirable to younger men who might want to raise a young child.)
I can't help but compare each of the two interesting men to T, but rather than judging them on the results, I'm trying to use the information to gain an understanding of what's going on with me. For example, one guy seems quite gentle and sensitive. T, not so much. Finding someone who is better at communicating, more comfortable sharing his feelings and listening to me talk about mine, is very important to me. The other guy seems to be wittier, and have a dry and maybe even slightly sarcastic sense of humor. Sort of like T. And though I like them both, I admit to feeling more comfortable with, more of a romantic spark with, the second guy. Plus, he is tall, slim, and bearded, just like T was. I don't think I'm trying to replace T, and T himself was attractive to me initially because he was tall, slim and bearded. (What can I say? I like beards. As a taller woman, I like how they make me feel more feminine.) But I will be keeping an eye on my expectations and assumptions about who these guys really are, always trying to see them as themselves, and not who I imagine them to be, or who I wish T could have been. And above all, I plan to have fun getting to know some new people!