“Remember when we were young?” Sounds like the beginning of a Pink Floyd song (bonus points if you know the song). Part of being a young adult was going out on dates. Now, I am 53 years old, married with children in college and my last “official” date that I asked a girl to go with me became my wife. BC, as in before children, we used to go out frequently, with friends, for dinners, for parties or just to the movies. AC, after children, we went out less frequently in general. Yes, we did have babysitters, but there was now an additional cost to going out. Going out could be an expensive night out; in fact, there was a time all we could afford was the babysitter, so we would hang out at my brother’s house. And as our children got older, to be 100% honest, we enjoyed doing things more as a family; for we knew that the day would come when we would reach the EN, empty nest, part of our lives. We have friends, we have gone out, but rarely refer to this as a “date night.”
We went out with a group of friends a few weeks ago to a local show and dessert after. The week before, we went out to dinner with a different group of friends. At this point in my life, I need to redefine what a date is, as I am no longer a young adult trying to woo some fair young damsel (I will leave it at that and up to your individual imaginations). At that point in my life, there was a level of excitement, maybe even a giddiness to asking out someone you barely knew, or being asked to go on a date. There was something fresh about meeting someone new and getting to know them. I have known Debbie coming up on 27 years, or put differently, we have reached the point where we have been together longer than the time before we knew each other. I still owe some excitement to my wife, even though we know almost everything about each other.
BC was learning about each other and enjoying the time with just the two of us. AC was time spent raising children and being a family. EN is still new and an adjustment to our lives. So then how do I approach redefining “date night”? Maybe it is just a chance to take a break from the week, check our brains at the front door and enjoy time together in a more social environment. We definitely have our weekday routines, our weekend routines and our holiday routines. Maybe, “date night” is a chance to mix things up, an opportunity to try out new things together (I do not know what that is), revisit something we had done years ago when we were younger (going to a utensil-less dinner) or an old fashioned dinner and a movie.
Since I started this article, I have gone and asked my date, Debbie, if she wanted to go out for dinner and a movie. The following night, we went out for dinner and a few drinks. After all of this time together, it still felt like asking someone on a first date. I went through the old thinking – “Will I sound stupid?”, “What if she says no?”, “What if she says yes.” Of course, she said yes. It was exciting, and we went to a new restaurant and had a great evening. I realized that “date night”, for now, is just a label for spending time together with someone I love, doing something we can enjoy together and sharing experiences. For the first time in many years, I have to be honest, probably since BC, I am looking forward to Valentine’s Day, and have made some fun plans. Bottom line – Spend time together with the one you love, it does not necessarily mean spending money on them, but something of real value…your time.