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Carpe Diem for Daters

Today is the day to mount a daring expedition in search of romance.

Nothing symbolizes the breathless thrill of falling in love quite like sparkling diamonds and rubies, or the glint of gold. That’s because we treasure genuine romance as something rare and priceless. Yet many people set out to find it like shoppers headed to the mall. They expect, in a couple of hours, to stroll into a jewelry store, leisurely try on a few options, and then take home the perfect fit, an heirloom that will satisfy them for a lifetime—all within their budget, of course. 

The truth is, real romance is not a souvenir. The prize doesn’t go to pampered consumers—but to plucky people who think like prospectors. All that glitters began its journey in the hands of hellbent adventurers, people who are not afraid to risk failure and disappointment, to look like a mad fool at times, and to keep digging no matter what. It’s true: “Thar’s gold in them thar hills!”—for anyone willing to go get it, that is.

If you are tired of “bling” that wears off as soon as you get it home, perhaps it is time to seize the day, and paint “Romance or Bust” on your wagon. If that’s the life for you, here are five pointers that can help you get started:     

Know what you want. No miner ever set out looking for “I don’t know, something shiny, I guess.” But many people in search of a new relationship claim to want “someone to make me happy,” whatever that means. To mount a successful expedition, you must know precisely what you are looking for. Make a detailed list of the qualities you must have in a partner and those you can’t stand—then stick to it. 

Know where to look. If you rip up the floorboards under the couch in your living room, you could dig to the center of the earth and never hit pay dirt. Don’t leave the search to chance. Go where the treasure is—at ballroom dancing lessons, among other volunteers at the food bank, a lively church group, and so on. Of course, we think the site you’re visiting right now is one of the best places to search for—and find—the love of your life. 

Gather the right tools. Get in shape. Brush up your skills. Put down the video game controller and pick up a book. Map the terrain ahead by studying what makes your dream lover tick. Courageously assess your strengths and weaknesses, and account for them in your plan. Setting off half-cocked is a sure way to come back broke and bedraggled.

Go a little crazy. You’re going to need a box of dynamite and the wild-eyed determination to use it. The explosives are for clearing away stubborn obstacles and demolishing self-defeating habits and beliefs. The mother lode waits for those who are nuts enough to light the fuse.

Never give up. So you planted your shovel in a promising spot and came up empty. So what? Move to the next hillside and try again. And again and again. “Carpe diem” is not just an upbeat, rousing slogan; it’s a demanding and rewarding way of life, a romantic treasure hunt for the serious adventurer—you.