For the first six months of 2014, life was a bit mundane. I did my everyday things that kept me structured and content, and I had nothing to complain about. But something was missing. I was content, but I was waiting for more. During this monotonous stage, I occasionally looked to Tinder for someone to spend time with. As anyone who's familiar with online dating sites knows, there is no one particular thing that most people are looking for. I wasn't on there for a hookup, nor was I naïve enough to be on there hoping to find the love of my life. Fortunately, outside of what most women will experience, I never had a significant problem with men being pigs to me because I got pretty good at siphoning out who I would exchange messages with. This also meant that I got even better at choosing who I would actually go out with.
Some months after joining Tinder, my search for... whatever it was I was searching for on there slowed and I began a conscious effort to focus on my work and career, to nurture current friendships and relationships, to workout more, eat healthier, and to be more present in the now. I didn't delete my Tinder profile or any of the other three profiles I had on dating sites, but I was significantly less active, responding only to messages that "popped." No matter how lackadaisically, it was important to me that I remained "out there" so that I could say I tried. Eventually, I got a message that led to a phone number exchange, to a week of text messaging, and finally, to a first date with someone I knew I wanted to have in my life on a longterm basis, romantically or otherwise.
That someone and I began dating from casually to regularly, but during which I continued to remain attuned to the things I had been pursuing outside of a romantic endeavor. Life started happening in lots of ways outside of a search for companionship, and the second half of 2014 drop-kicked the first half right in the face. I lost 20 pounds, my social media company began signing longterm clients, I started blogging for The Huffington Post (gasp!), I signed my first book deal, and then, as the cliché would have it told, just when I thought things couldn't get any better, I fell in love.
Ultimately, along with meeting "him," I went out with and remain friends with a good number of men I met via Tinder. They are men who, for all intents and purposes, have no glaring flaws and who I would consider great catches. They just weren't meant to be caught by me, nor I by them. (Ladies, don't hesitate to set up a profile now... several of them are still single and all of them are still worth knowing.)
The title of this article is deceptive because it's less about Tinder than it is about my year. The topics I discussed are deceptive because they come across as "humble brags" when they're really about the consequences of presenting yourself to the world with an open heart. The reason I signed longterm clients to my company was because I began cold-calling to no end for new clients who would find the value in using my services in perpetuity. The reason I started writing for HuffPost is because I wrote a candid blog about my struggle with depression and shared it publicly. The reason I signed a book deal is because I reached out to an author I admire to ask how I could begin the process of seeking to be published. And finally, the reason I found love is because I didn't delete that Tinder profile, no matter how many dates I went on with people who just weren't quite what I was looking for.
There's not a thing in this world you'll attain by being stagnant. Find the bravery, the resilience, and the ethic to put yourself out there. Put it all out when you can, and leave it out there even when you can't contribute all of yourself to it at every given moment. I got back so much more than I ever could have expected in all of these circumstances but the core of all of it was that none of it came without effort -- even the most mundane of efforts, like leaving your rarely used dating profile online. You can't shut down shop and expect the doors to open on their own. So to clarify the premise of what I'm sharing, I'll tell you now that this message is about effort, and the dreams that can come true as a result. And it's a bit about Tinder and how even a dating site notorious for hookups can lead you on a path that makes you feel like Tinderella.