Stirred and Shaken

Almaden Quicksilver Park Trail
Almaden Quicksilver Park Trail ©
I just cancelled a hiking date, and now I feel so much better.

I like taking long walks in cities or in parks, alone or with friends, so this event made sense. It was a Stir event, which means that it was set up to introduce subscribers to each other. It was a good idea. Stir events complement the online dating process by having people in the same age group participate in a social activity. It’s probably a much more effective way of meeting a like-minded person than is reading online profiles.

When I signed up, I was quite keen on the opportunity. Then, after I had paid my $30 fee to walk in a park I could walk in for free, I started to have misgivings. There was nothing I could put my finger on as causing my insecurity–just a general feeling of discomfort.

I started to wonder about what I would wear, if it would be raining, whether or not I should take my hiking pole, how long it would take to get there, how steep would be the climb, whether I would hold up the group by being too slow, and so on. What if some of the participants were men whom I had chosen not to date? Worse, what if I had already met them and had decided that a second date was not on the cards?

Yesterday, out of the blue, I got an email saying that Match had to change the venue. If that meant I was no longer interested, I would get my money back. This was my “Get Out of Jail Free” card, and I suddenly felt relieved. That feeling took me by surprise. I realized that up until then I had been anxious.

Recently, someone who works at the place where I volunteer said that she found herself feeling anxious a lot lately, and I had a moment of self-recognition. It was disturbing to realize this about myself, and at the same time comforting to know that I am not alone. These days I can get anxious about events and activities that I would not have given a second thought only a couple of years ago. Is this an aging thing, or does it come about when one has been single for a long time, or both?

Now I’m wondering about anxiety in general, what causes it, what changes it, what reduces it, what cures it. If I have to give up coffee, that will really annoy me. If the solution is drinking red wine and eating chocolate, I’m all set.


  1. The minute I made a decision to not give a flip about what anyone thought of me, I found an abundance of inner peace and way less anxiety. Here’s the real kicker! Right when I didn’t care…that’s when it seemed I had eliminated the folks who didn’t like me. If I did something like hold up a group they said things like…”Oh good, I don’t feel so bad”.

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