Cycling down the scenic Toronto Islands, the skyline emerges even clearer, as do the host of couples driving past me. I wonder if my ‘happily ever after’ too, would squeeze into prickly bicycling gear on an odd August morning for a weekend escape.
All these years, my gaze was like the scattered light of a disco ball. A bit all over the place and ready to be hitched at the first romantic vision of “accidentally bumping” into someone– The ‘One’, for me, to be precise. But dating in your 30s, is all about being a laser-focused beam. You eye your targets and lock eyes with the right prey. And after a much-requested rewatch of Indian Matchmaking, conversations with my family have found a new life of their own. My parents display an unwavering faith in my recently acquired skillset– of rejecting proposals and inventing the most creative red flags to seal their fate. Mismatched socks on the second date? Red. Dislikes animals but furry cats in particular? Red. Stared at my hands for way too long? That’s at least a deep maroon!
After making friends with many palm readers, and eventually myself, I’m now at a point in my life where I know exactly what I’m looking for. The laser beam has narrowed further and I refuse to spend my time on approaches that have no potential. The idea of meeting someone online, conversing, figuring them out and then taking it from there, seems excellent. But personally, this window shopping for dates and introductions had never worked for me. Hence, much like my befitting corporate leap, I was on a journey to optimise for healthy, aligned connections with that much more speed and ease.
Here, my mother’s optimisation tactics deserve a special mention of their own too. Her browser history is replete with searches that could unbolt the darkest of Alibaba’s caves, or summon the witches right back from their stakes. The first tab calls out to the ‘Best Matchmaker in Canada’, and the seventeenth, rather slyly, settles for ‘Canada Matrimony’. Nestled between them are her more rooted visions, for Indian Matrimonial Services and Exclusive NRI Matchmaking. These searches, coupled with her strong desire to see me off as a bride in ammachi’s deep vermillion Kanchivaram silk, call on me to find the promise of that golden fairytale future, someday, in time. Surely, there is a drumroll insert somewhere in here.
But if you’re someone like me, who has had a few failed relationships, and a heavier heart thereafter, know that the peddle can get rough. For the longest hour, a long-term partnership may feel like a pipe dream. For a part of me, it still does. But the more I infuse a positive approach into the wheels of this bus, the negative thinking stops churning around the same self-sabotaging behaviours. When I notice my mind spinning its wheels in the mud of my own past fears, I simply opt for compassion and choose a new thought.
And my baggage here may have helped me qualify for a weightlifting open too. But instead I chose to invest in an emotional muscle or two. I wrote down the names of the last few people I had been with. Right next to each name, I listed the top five things I liked about them and the top five things that I didn’t. I looked for any patterns. Mine was a bold chevron. One that eventually gets overwhelming with each stripe because of my anxious attachment style. Deep breaths, yeah? Then I underlined the qualities that I liked the most. Voila! These qualities are what you should look for in your search for a life partner.
It is an ongoing process. I’m learning, myself, from scratch. But more importantly, I’m living, from abundance. Now when I meet someone new, I give them a fair chance. And no matter how fierce Taylor’s lyrics get, I’m not about to destine myself to a life alone with the cats on a couch, if the first introduction doesn’t work out. Me and my jade roller go to bed each night knowing that I’m doing my best to put forth intentional action. And yet sometimes the thing we are trying to grasp for is being held out of our reach because something better is already heading our way.
I hastily cycle past the rather romantic spots of the lush Toronto parkland, but the thought of returning to this place with better company is not once lost. When the scene is set right, it must not be as straining to lose yourself under the gaze of a gazillion lofty lights. It has taken a while for me to trust my gaze. But now that I do, all that remains is for the stars to align.