My first date with her (and 7 “me” dates my readers do)

Her kiss left a mark on me.

Literally.

I had some of her brown foundation on the tip of my nose.

As I was walking back home, I kept rubbing my nose trying to clean it up.

Since then, every time I rub it after a kiss, it reminds me of that day — our first date — exactly a year ago.

Her eyes were smiling at me.

Her whole face was smiling.

Only if I knew that she was to bring (my) laughter, (my) positivity, (my) playfulness, and (my) music back to my life.

They say —

When you fall in love, you see the best version of yourself reflected in the eyes of the person in front of you.

I don’t know who said that.

But they are right and that’s exactly what I saw in her eyes.

The best version of myself.

The most courageous. The most intuitive. The most.. me.

It was a sunny, warm April day.

We were sitting at a tiny table in one of the few places in Dublin high enough, so you can see the roofs of all the buildings in town.

I was starving. She had already had breakfast.

It wouldn’t have been a great first date if I was to eat a full meal, while she was just sipping a coffee.

So I ordered some ice cream for us to share.

She found it charming.

They say —

No one can make you happy. The only person to make you happy is you.

She told me about “me” dates and what hers are like.

She used to go to a museum or a gallery. Sometimes she’d go to a cafe and treat herself while reading a book.

Hm, I should put an effort to love myself?

She didn’t stop smiling the whole time.

When the ice cream melted, we went to the park.

I was trying to find the right moment to kiss her.

She told me this was one of her favorite songs —

She asked me who my favorite musicians were.

I had decided to be 100% honest with this person about what I like and what I dislike.

“Beyonce, Alicia Keys, and Usher.”

But cheesy AF, I know.

It turned out she was as cheesy as me, so I didn’t have to be embarrassed about having a poster of naked Usher with his shiny abs on the wall of my dorm room in college.

I did kiss her on that first date.

It was just before she got on her bus.

It felt amazing.

It was a great date, but the kiss was more than that.

It was everything a kiss could be.

It was everything a kiss should be.

Today is one year since that first kiss

She brought sun, laughter, and music back to my life.

But she also showed me why and how to do it on my own.

Through “me” dates.

So when last week 7 of you, my readers, told me about your “me” dates, I thought those 7 should be shared with the rest of the readers.

7 “me” dates my readers do

Maybe it will show you why and how to do a “me” date, if you haven’t tried to love yourself already.

#1 Sridhar Iyengar, serial entrepreneur

Years ago I had a 45 min driving commute, twice a day, every day.
I loved it — total “me” time. Then, I moved closer to the office and only had 7 min commute. Hated it!
Only then I realized that my driving time was, in fact, a “me” date.
It was a mindless highway driving, so not stressful at all.
For the same reason, I started long-distance running.
Between 5–8 miles.. I recently did a half marathon.
I used to listen to music… then switched to podcasts, and now mostly run with no headphones, so I can totally take in the sights and sounds as I run.

#2 Adelina Genova, blogger

I recently realized reading my old poetry gives me a look at a self I had forgotten or just pushed aside somewhere along the way.
While growing, being busy and constantly having things to do, I had left out a part of me.
A part that will make sense even years later.
And I wanted it back.
So this is what I do — read an old poem — out loud (even if it makes me cringe) — and write a new one to be dissected someday in the future.
Not always a pleasant process, but definitely rewarding in terms of memories just waiting to be woken up.

#3 Vicky Lee, coder & tech event organizer

Once in awhile, I would open one of my diaries from when I was a late teen or early 20s.
Laugh, cry as each entry brings me back to the moment why I wrote that entry.
I don’t keep paper diaries anymore, sometimes I update Day One (app), but it’s not the same as flicking through entries and reading my handwritten scribbles.
I still think of one diary I lost, and the one I really want to read and reconnect.
I look for it at least once a year, hopefully, I find it one day.

#4 Irina Atanasova, journalist

I was a very shy child.
Along the way, I managed to learn to hide that feature.
That resulted in me being a well-hidden introvert which often takes its toll and I find myself far-far away from my true core.
Over the years, I’ve had bad falls because of that — depression, anxieties of all sorts.
Nowadays, I try to keep in mind that whilst throwing myself out there is good for me because I don’t get to be too sucked into myself, I also need to stay in contact with that same self.
For me these couple of things help: 
 — tea. A cup of herbal tea helps me ground — the warmth on my lips, in my hands, mouth, throat, stomach, get my senses back and focused, the aroma, the placebo of herbs — everything works for me to get reconnected;
 — driving. Driving requires a lot of your focus and engages whatever limbs you have, also puts back the control back in you — literally;
 — cycling. Pretty much the same reasons plus the benefits of exercise; 
 — travelling by myself. Traveling, on the contrary, takes away the control and you just have to take whatever comes your way. Without the option of planning every single nonsense, you pretty soon come back to your true sense and hence reconnect with your self.

#5 Maria Stanisheva, animation & documentary filmmaker

Cycling is my top pick for switching off and reconnecting with myself.
A great thing about it is that even when you do it with other people, you are alone with your thoughts most of the time.
I often go to a small village near the ocean and the 20km pine-forest bike-trip to the beach and back is the most recharging thing for me — physical and reflective at the same time.
The other thing I love getting when feeling tense and down is a good massage. It always works!

#6 Aneliya Racheva, business analyst

Mostly I try not to lose connection with myself.
But nevertheless, because I don’t have enough time for anything, I really cherish the moments that are only for me. My most favorite moments are when I walk in the Sofia city center with no purpose, just walking.. You know this Bulgarian word — “мотам се”?
I sit on some bench, start gazing at people walking by.
Most of the time I just enjoy the sun and some ice cream, trying to empty myself, not thinking.. Just the feeling of me enjoying life.

#7 Anna Traykova, academic advisor

I find it interesting how my “me” dates have evolved, before and after having kids.
My ideal “me” date now is having the house to myself.
Cooking food I like that does not have to be toddler-friendly.
Playing music I like.
Being able to dance without anyone interrupting me.
Then other times it is just going to a museum or a gallery … or a hotel room with room service.

Sridhar, Adelina, Vicky, Irina, Maria, Aneliya, Anna, and I most sincerely thank you for sharing something so personal!

Did you enjoy reading about the experiences of my readers?

Please let me know — DM me on facebook.

Martin Bonov, thank you for the idea to do a story that changes the focus from my experiences to my readers’ experiences!


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