If the college experience is supposed to help you figure out who you are and get a handle on your future, then dating in your mid-thirties is where the whole train rolls right off the tracks. You think you know who you are, you think know what you want. Everyone says they do. Absolutely none of us do. That's one of the big reasons there are so many in that situation.
Don't get me wrong, there are certain things we definitely have settled on. In your middle years you generally have figured out what you don't want. You've laminated the list of things that really annoy you, and you've gotten pretty good at painting the picture of who you think you are. Which is generally only about a halfway realistic as your friends will be happy to tell you (provided they've been drinking enough!). What really sucks about this perverted picture we keep of ourselves is that we really get to figure this out on the spot when we are meeting someone and suddenly realize you are expected to explain in lucid detail the ridiculous tale of how the perfectly rational, sane, and amazing person you consider yourself to be, has ended up sans significant other.
So you find yourself smiling your way through your sordid past and wondering exactly what secrets this person across the table has glossed over which have brought them to the same lamentable position. You tell yourself if you're so normal and nice and such a catch, this crazy creature bumbling their way through their own history could certainly be cool, right? And you are both hoping you each might not be as messed up as you know inside you probably are and are poking and prodding and politely smiling to cover that sinking feeling you just can't seem to escape.
Giving up doesn't always mean you are weak; sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go.
It might not always work out. Let's be honest, it is rarely going to even come close to working out. But how else are you going to pass the time? We are human and we are driven by hope. And fear. Hope we might find someone to cuddle with at the movies. Fear we might hate the movie they picked, the way they chew their food, and the very sound of their breathing. It's a delicate balance on a slippery slope.
Wish me luck.