How a Bachelor contestant inspired me to quit Tinder, get a life and start a blog

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For so long, I had this awful obsession with finding “the one”. Wherever I went, I’d constantly be on the lookout for the guy who would complete me, the guy who’d be my adventure buddy and travel the world with me. The guy who’d comfort me after a long day at work. If I am being perfectly honest with you, I was starting to reach all low points of desperation. If I went to the supermarket and saw a guy shopping alone, I’d wonder if he was single. If I saw a guy on the train, I’d also wonder if he was single. The guy in the elevator at work in the mornings. The guy in his truck waiting at the traffic lights.

I also had a heavy dependency on online dating. I signed up to every single online dating app and site you could think of: Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, Match.com, Zoosk, RSVP, eHarmony and of course… Tinder.

Now Tinder truly finished me off. I had been using it on and off for a good 2 or so years and it wasn’t all bad. I met a (very) few wonderful guys, but the vast majority generally landed in the following categories:

  • Ghosts: These are the ones that say they had a wonderful time with you but you never hear from them again for unknown reasons (you can read the story of one such ghost here).
  • Boys-only-after-one-thing: pretty self-explanatory. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but I’d rather you were straight up about your intentions in the first place. I’m sure there are girls out there who are only after one thing too, go seek them out!
  • Penpals: these are generally bored FIFO workers feeling isolated in the desert and want someone to entertain them.

During my 10th and final attempt at Tindering I managed to match with a guy who got offended when I asked him if he was from Australia (he had a European name and all sorts of countries listed on his profile!) and insisted I had issues with men – kind of sad coming from someone who said he was into meditation and yoga but there you go. I also matched with a guy who couldn’t stop pronouncing his love for his dog and his car and decided to really go for gold and make fun of my stance in a photo I had of me practicing Muay Thai. And then I matched with god knows how many guys who would try to win me over with awful dad jokes and then run out of things to say once I was over the jokes.

Needless to say I was very, very drained. So it was like a sign from above when I came across a column written by former NZ Bachelor contestant Chrystal Chenery: Sex Mis-Education: Meaningless Sex is for whose benefit?

To be honest, the title doesn’t do the piece justice at all. It was the most inspiring read I’ve come across in a while and there was a lot more to it than just talking about sex.

Now before you start getting concerned for my sanity, I can assure you that I have never been a Bachelor fan. In fact I think I may have watched maybe one episode from the first Aussie season.

But this article resonated with me so much I deleted Tinder off my phone once and for all and told my friends all about this article and to hold me accountable. Then about 20 minutes later after staring out the window in a trance, the idea crept into my head of writing a blog about quitting the dating scene for a wild, cutting out all obsession with finding him and start building my own life and having my own adventures instead. And that my friends, brings us up to an entire month since The Heart Less Travelled was launched!

Feel free to read the whole article. Some things you may or may not agree with, but I think everyone can take something away from Chrystal’s letter to her younger self. For me, these were some of the points that really hit home to me and things I still try to keep in mind on a daily basis:

“Understand you become the people you surround yourself with – so choose them very wisely.”

This piece of advice goes for anyone in your life – the people you date, your friends, colleagues, even family. Choose to be around people who inspire you, who lift you up, who challenge you to be the best version of yourself. Choose to be around people who in turn want you to inspire and challenge them as well.

Don’t invest your time and energy in people who will only drain you, people who put yourself or others down, people who are constantly negative. Life is too short for that sort of carry on!

Moving to Perth, I am pretty damn thankful I’ve been able to surround myself with some amazing friends full of character, strength, beauty, intelligence, independence and sass – qualities I aspire to build within myself.

Hiking Mt Batur as part of a girls holiday in Bali, Indonesia.
Cool kids in Bali: Me with some of my best girlfriends – Anji and Mel.

“Don’t continue to live as a victim, learn, evolve, grow and raise the bar on the behaviour you accept from everyone – if you accept it, it changes you and becomes you.”

This is certainly something I’ve struggled with throughout my life. I’ve always had this victim mentality where I’d blame everything and everyone around me for life not being the magical, perfect thing I expected it to be. But I wouldn’t really take the time to just step back and take a good hard look at myself.

Additionally, I no longer tolerate the things the 23 year old me would have put up with. Things like flakiness. I am a lot more straight up with people about my intentions and expectations. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t make an excuse to be polite. I just say I don’t want to do it. And if people can’t handle that, quite frankly that is their problem.

“No one is going to swoop in and save you. So make a life for yourself. Not just a career, a career won’t define you… be clear about who you are, what your values are, and live by them, every damn day.”

“Making a life for yourself” in particular is one of the key messages I aspire to get across with this blog. As Chrystal writes, this is about being really clear about who you are, the values you will live by and the things you will not tolerate from others or yourself.

To me, it’s also about being independent, achieving your own goals and building a strong foundation, which you can raise yourself on to.

This is where the whole thing around values comes into play. One of my favourite sayings is, “If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.” For example, I choose to stand for living a life of purpose and adventure. I choose to stand for being someone who is engaged and present, someone who will do the right thing even when it’s easier not to, someone with integrity, someone who is authentic.

So what will you stand for?

“Don’t fantasise, romanticise or create illusions around men and the role they can play in your life. No man you just meet is every going to be the one. You must learn to be whole on your own.

While this is clearly targeted at women, it can also be applied to men. Basically it means that the only person that can make you whole is you. The only person who can ever really truly, unconditionally love every little bit of you is you.

A partner should complement you and add to what should already be a life full of love and strength. A partner is not going to help you find happiness or inner peace. Only you can do that.

Being silly at Auckland Museum, 2010
Who needs a man when you’ve got a little sculpture to hang out with?

“Take back your energy and put it somewhere else, into drawing, painting, taking photos, spending quality time with other girls, creating moments, going on holiday. Bring back flirting, all night phone conversations, sleeping under the stars. We as women are more than a Tinder match on an app or a ‘one night stand’.”

Again this is relevant for the boys too. Instead of investing so much energy into other people (especially the wrong people) or into the idea that you have to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, channel your energy into things that inspire and lift you up instead. Find things that make your heart sing whether that’s building, surfing, writing, photography, yoga, travelling, poetry, volunteer work.

Focus on the relationships you already have with your friends and family. Guys I’ve dated have come and gone over the last few years, but my friends have always been there through thick and thin. They certainly deserve much more of my time and energy.

Practice gratitude and enjoy life’s little moments – going out dancing all night with your best friends, watching sunrises and sunsets, eating chicken nuggets while sitting on a pavement in Paris with your best friend and a hundred French students chanting like crazy (true story), the wind in your hair, the sand in your toes. Life is so damn beautiful, guys!

And yes, we are all so much more than a Tinder match. We are way more than our relationships status – don’t ever let this define you. You are your own person with so much to contribute to this world.

Cinque Terre, Italy - one of my favourite travel memories
Cinque Terre, Italy – loads of fond memories, good time with friends, beautiful wine and food and clearly one of my favourite places in the world.

Reflecting back on the month since I started blogging, I am absolutely blown away by how far I’ve already come. From taking the bull by its horns and going to a rugby game all by myself to continuing to believe in my writing and not give up even on days when I don’t get many views. From finding the courage to introduce myself to new people, to appreciating my friends and family a lot more.

I’m not so obsessed with finding him anymore. If he comes along, he comes along. But quite frankly I’m enjoying building my own life too much to worry about him. Needless to say I am very excited about what the coming months have both for myself and this blog.

And a lot of it I have to thank Chrystal Chenery for. So Chrystal, if you ever read this – from the bottom of my heart, I would like to give you a huge THANK YOU!

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