Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number … Until it Isn’t

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I don’t go below 35. That’s been one of my dating rules as of late. Not sure why I came up with that specific number, but it just felt right. A nice even cutoff.

I’m in my late thirties and 40 is not far off beloved. I can see it clear quite clearly. In fact 40 is like that one neighbor that you see outside or in the hallway who never speaks. They just stare. That’s when I usually yell out “Praise the Lord,” really loud and whistle the Andy Griffith Show theme song on the way to my car (I’m from North Carolina).

See one of the many magical things about being a black woman is having all this marvelous melanin. It makes me look younger than I really am #Blackdontcrack. That combined with plenty of water, sleep and minding my business have all served me well. While I’m grateful, sometimes it can be a bit of a double-edged sword.

Lately, I’ve been attracting the attention of younger men who are well below my 35 threshold. I’m talking barely thirty or just a few years past it. I’m not sure if I should feel flattered (your girl still pullin’ em’) or slightly concerned.

After one rather flirtatious encounter in Whole Foods I sought the advice of my friend *Michelle. Michelle enjoys living a filter-less life and has no problem spittin’ hard truths. Michelle is the type of friend to give it to you straight. So you best buckle up buttercup when you ask for her opinion.

Sidenote: Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons are prime time hours for seeing and meeting cuties in the aisles of your local grocery store … at least in the DC Maryland area. I believe you can always tell a lot about somebody by the food they have in their baskets. Boo, if I don’t see any fruits or vegetables in your basket, that’s a red flag and we can’t kick it. BTW … Whole Foods guy had a pineapple and a bag of kale in his. So I told Michelle.

This isn’t Whole Foods Guy … I just thought the pic was dope. Shout out to Terry Robinson on Unsplash

Me: He’s 33 years old.

Michelle: And?

Me: My cutoff is 35. He’s 2 years below.

Michelle: Girl, you single right? So shut up.

Me: I don’t wanna be a cougar though

Michelle: Too late. Just embrace your destiny. Go out and have a little fun. Be sure to text me with the tea when you get back Cougar. *Makes cat noise*

Whole Foods guy and I went out, drank several cups of expensive coffee but nothing more ever came of it.

The last man I dated was three years younger than me and it wasn’t a problem. In fact, it never came up. We were in love … until we weren’t. Afterwards, it took me a minute to get back in the game and come off the bench.

Maybe it’s the getting older and turning 40 thing. I’m pretty set in my ways and I am who I am. Some of those ways include staying home and watching HGTV or Chicago PD, going to bed early, brunching and napping, carrying snacks in my purse and wearing comfortable shoes. Gone are the days when I felt the need to tear the club up or be at every event around town.

Photo by Matty Adame on Unsplash

Most (not all) of the men I’ve encountered in their early thirties are just not there yet and I can’t be mad. But I can be cautious. There are differences in emotional and spiritual maturity between men and women as we age. Some good. Some bad. Yet there are couples that find a way to make it work in spite of their age differences. I’ve also heard some horror stories from girlfriends who weren’t so lucky.

There are times when I go back and forth on this whole 35 thing. What if I miss out on “a real one” because he doesn’t fall in my age bracket? Who am I to put limits on God and the universe. What if the real issue is fear? Fear of never finding love again or being loved again in that way. Fear of wasting my time with someone who just ain’t ready. I know all too well that love cannot flourish to its fullest expression when constrained by fear.

I’m incredibly fortunate to have a dope tribe, great family and community. I’m in a space where I feel whole, healthy and healed and it feels good. Like extremely good.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Being in a relationship is not the end all be all for me. It’s more like icing on the cake, but in all honesty, I just thought my cake would be iced by now with a few little cupcakes on the side.

I’m reminded of another piece of advice Michelle dropped into my spirit during one of our conversations:

“Sometimes you just have to breath and be. Be who you are and be where you are. No excuses and no apologies. The right one will recognize and respond.”

Indeed.

Do you have an age limit for the men or women that you date?

I’m a writer and professional introvert who can still rock the party. Lover of books, well-groomed beards & Golden Girls episodes. #Godsquad #Christcreative.