I remember it like it was yesterday...

I remember it like it was yesterday...

It was another beautiful Sunday morning in 2011.

But on this particular morning, I did something different – I decided to change my daily regimen and go to the gym early.

Nothing unusual when I walked through the door, or when I went to the locker room to stash my stuff.

It wasn’t until I entered the gigantic workout area and headed to the free weights that it happened.

She was there…

Across the room, on one of the treadmills…

Her hair pulled back into a ponytail…

Gazing into space…

Listening to her earbuds.

I had thought I’d never see her again.

It had been at least a year.

Before that, I’d spot her every afternoon.

We’d be on the machines across from each, exchanging glances and smiles…

Fun little games of cat and mouse…

I was so attracted to her.

I’d get excited at just the idea of going to the gym so I could see her again...

She was the kind of girl that you see and you just know she’s something special.

But I never spoke to her.

Not once.

I simply knew that I’d never be able to have someone that special.

I just wasn’t the kind of guy she’d want to be with.

You know the guy I’m talking about…

Fun Loving Guy...

Life-of-the-party Guy…

Super social… tons of friends…

Cool.

I USED to be that guy…

But then I got sober.

And that just wasn’t me anymore.

So all I could ever do was just smile at her… and wish.

This went on for years.

And then one day…

She disappeared.

She just stopped coming to the gym.

And I knew I’d missed my chance…

And I’d never see her again.

Until now.

Now here she was.

And this time, it was going to be different.

I had 4 years of sobriety behind me.

I was feeling better about myself.

And I wasn’t going to miss my chance again.

I was going to talk to her.

I was going to ask her out!

And as soon as I realized that, I started getting scared.

You see, in the 4 years since I'd been sober, I’d never dated.

Well actually, that's not true. 

I'd been on quite a few dates…

I would ask a girl out… someone I had no interest in any kind of sustained relationship with.

We’d grab a bite … maybe hang out some after that …

Maybe even go out once or twice after that…

And that would be the end of it.

So I didn't think of them as “dates.”

To me, they were like practice.

At least that’s what I told myself.

But today… seeing her in the gym…

I knew today was going to be different…

I could feel it!

Today was the day I would make it happen!

So as proceeded with my workout, I made sure she saw me.

She smiled…

I smiled back…

And it was just like old times.

But today she was in for a big surprise…

As I waited for my chance, I kept getting more and more excited…

And more and more nervous...

Until I saw her heading for the front door…

That’s when I walked up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder.

She jumped and then turned around. She looked surprised to see it was me.

I didn't want to say some ridiculous line so I said what I’d been rehearsing all morning…

“Hey, do you want to do something sometime?”

And as soon as I said it she blushed.

I didn't expect that.

Maybe she was nervous about talking to me too.

“Well what do you want to do?” she asked.

Damn. I hadn't thought this far ahead.

“I don't know… uh… go get something to eat…uh… grab a coffee?”

Now she was getting redder by the second. 

This was very unnerving…

I started getting embarrassed for her because I’d put her on the spot.

And the redder she got, the more anxious I got.

It was brutal.

But then it happened … she gave me her phone number!

And then she was gone.

After she left, I felt awesome!

When I got home, I was still feeling great!

In fact, it felt so good that I started getting scared…

This is too good to be true…

She was just being nice to me… 

If I call, she won’t return my call…

Hell, she probably won’t even answer her phone…

I should just enjoy my victory and leave it at that.

After several days of this nonsense, I finally decided to pick up the phone and call her…

And she answered…

And we talked…and we talked… for like 6 hours!

It was like we were in Middle School.

We immediately connected!

It was fun.

It felt free.

It was so nice.

And that Friday we had our first date.

After we sat down at ordered our sushi, we started talking, and I got a little more relaxed.

And then she looked me straight in the eye…

“Why did you wait so long to say hi to me?”

You probably think I stuttered and stammered and dodged the question.

But the face is, I felt so comfortable and honest with her, a answered immediately…

“I was afraid.

“I figured I knew what kind of guy you wanted to be with and I’m not that guy.

“You know – the fun-loving party guy.”

She paused a minute.

“You mean the I-want-to-get-you-drunk-and-get-in-your-pants-guy.”

“That’s the last guy I want to be spending time with.

“The guy I want to be spending time with is you.

“Someone who is open and honest and treats me like a person.

“Someone who will have an actual conversation with me.”

I couldn't believe it…

Everything I had been thinking about myself was wrong….

This reality I had created for myself was nothing more than some make believe illusion.

And everything I had been doing was framed through that false reality.

I thought to myself, this sobriety thing is pretty cool.

I was just myself tonight…

And that was good enough.

When I finally got up the nerve to talk to her…

She liked me just for me.

But even now I think about how many times I’ve done the same thing I did back then.

How many times have I stopped myself from going after something I really wanted because I didn’t think I was “the right kind of guy?”

How many times have I stopped myself from taking a risk because I thought I was inadequate, or that I didn’t belong there?

And I wonder how many times might YOU have let the picture you have of yourself stop you from going after the things you really want?

Maybe it’s time to shift your reality…

And start accepting yourself just for who you are.

Oh, and about that first date…

The next day I called her up and asked her out again.

And she said yes.