on dating – intentionally.

i’ve had this post in drafts for a long time. half a year at least. i held off, let it marinate, wanted to make sure my feelings wouldn’t change.

they haven’t.

societally, i think we go about dating all wrong. people need to be self aware of who they are, what they stand for, and what, in their deepest heart of hearts, they want. and front load it. early. intense early.

anyway, here are my thoughts. i’ve got another post on intentional career paths and work/life balance in drafts, too, that i anticipate will be ready when i return to the work force in a couple months.

so i’ve got a new philosophy on dating.

i reflected on all of my past relationships. why did i fall for the people i did? why did the relationships not work?

and what i realized is that i (we?) do this dating thing all backward.

why: feel attracted to someone. go on a first date and learn their favorite cocktail. go on a second date and learn their favorite food. go on a third date and share a new experience… go on a sixth date and admit to catching feels. go on a seventh date and meet the best friends… go on a twentieth date and meet the parents…

and then end up, six months or six years later down the line, realizing you disagree on something fundamental that didn’t come up in conversation sooner? or, rewinding back a little, find out that your best friends and/or family hate the person you’ve been dating for weeks, months, years?

it’s setting yourself up for failure. you get attached to someone who is not the best fit.

why do it?

why focus on the little things – and date, and get attached – without first vetting a person objectively – and rigorously – to see if they’d make for an optimal partner?

it makes no. fucking. sense.

because then you find yourself in a difficult position. you need to make the hard decision of compromising or changing something you would not have wanted to in any other situation. making excuses for your partner to yourself. trying way too hard to make something work. staying with someone who isn’t the best match. or breaking heart(s).

so i’ve decided to do a social experiment.

i’m going to flip my script. i’m going to front load heavy topics.

on a first date, i will now absolutely ask: what relationship status you’re looking for – hookup or hopeful. if you want to raise your children with religion. your stance on politics. what your love languages are. how you approach finances. what your ambitions are. where you want to settle down.

in turn, i will tell you my flaws, all of the worst ones, and be completely, unapologetically myself. on a first date. fresh out the gates. if that doesn’t have you running, i’ll introduce you to my friends and family. early on. they need to be part of the vetting process. they know me better than i know myself, and if i choose you, they’re stuck with you.

moving forward, i want to be very intentional about this – front loading the important stuff. introducing the important people early.

crazy? just a little. hyper intense? absolutely.

will i scare people away? i hope so!! they’re the wrong ones.

and wishy washy answers? not going to cut it.

moving forward, there’s going to be a deadline. there will be expectations. i’ll read the situation. and if things aren’t working out, i’ll walk.

i’m getting too old for bullshit. honestly, any age is too old for bullshit. let’s all work together to eliminate some of it.

i’ve always believed that love can overcome almost anything. i still believe this.

if it’s the right person.

in the meantime – i’m going to be really fucking picky.


intentionally shawna

approaching social events intentionally.

everyone who knows me, knows i love my social life.

so, reorganizing my calendar has totally become a thing in the new year as i’ve worked on approaching life with intention.

there are a few different factors i’ve started to ask myself when taking events into consideration:

how much am i spending? (does attending this make sense financially? should i have to spend money every time i want to see this group of friends? is this a shallow friendship?)

who am i surrounding myself with? (do i even like these people? did this event yield valuable connections? could i have been a better version of myself in the presence of someone else?)

how am i investing my time and energy? (what is the opportunity cost to be at this event? am i expending energy in a healthy way, like in an exercise class outdoors, or am i finding my energy cramped in dark bar corners?)

am i learning anything new? (am i seeing a new play, am i listening to music from a new band, am i visiting a new art gallery, am i trying a new type of wine? am i learning about new tech, am i speaking different languages, am i trying a new hobby?)

how do i feel at the end of the event? (did these people or this event lift me up? was it worth it to go? haha and often – did i really need to drink that much???)

i’ve found that with this thought process, i’m starting to say no to certain events, locations, and people rather easily. i’m therefore clearing space and time to be more receptive to new experiences, places, and connections that i actively and intentionally want to pursue moving forward.

i’m also drinking less, shopping less – actually, spending less in general – while reading more, cooking more, sleeping more, and overall, maintaining the same level of deep connection with most of my existing relationships. would you look at that!

so if you think i’ve dropped off the planet – maybe i’ve just dropped off of yours. 🙂

what does that mean, i wonder…


intentionally shawna

fail, fail, fail again.

a little over a month into this experiment, and it seems like a good time to list some of my failures in intentional living thus far.

i know, i know, there’s no such thing as failing. there are challenges, steps forward, and setbacks.

well. that’s what i tell myself. and that’s what i’ll let you tell me, too!

but there’s the exorbitant (we’re talking double digits) number of drinks i had at 80’s prom last weekend, even though overall i’ve been seriously cutting back on booze. there’s that order i placed for more than a few pairs of shoes (ok, more than a handful) when i succumbed to one of those “additional percent off” post-holidays sales, even though i’ve been so much more careful with my spending in the new year. there’s the standing weekly plan to watch the bachelor, when i could be investing my brain cells in something so much more worthy. there’s the fact that although i have managed to exercise at least once a week, it’s usually been the sneaky byproduct of some sort of party-associated good time (biking – to a vineyard to wine taste, doing yoga – at a brewery with a free tasting included, walking close to 10,000 steps – down ventura blvd to find the perfect 80s outfits), not intentionally for my health, although if you know me, any exercise is next to miraculous.

i’m trying to remind myself that this is a process. there’s a period of adjustment. it’s rare to quit cold turkey without falling back into old habits. be gentle with myself. affirmations. every positive step is a step in the right direction. every negative step has a silver lining in the form of a learning experience and opportunity for reflection.

i’m constantly trying to pay attention to areas i’m conquering (eating habits are totally better in the last month!) and areas i can improve (the new budget i’m creating will be a great step in the right direction).

in the meantime, though… i’ll be enjoying my new shoes and doing a liver detox.


intentionally shawna