“Five, four, three, two, one…
I gently pushed my friend out of the booth we were sitting in and quickly walked up to him. It was all a blur. Did I take 4 steps or 20? Did I walk slowly, or did I run? Did I look like a crazy drunk college girl or a graceful supermodel with her hair blowing in the wind? I don’t know the answers to those questions. I’m pretty sure I blacked out—call it alcohol or call it nerves, your choice. What I do know is that those 5 seconds, where zero thinking occurred, drastically changed the course of my life.
You could say I created the 5 Second Rule before Mel Robbins created the 5 Second Rule. Or you could say I experienced the 5 Second Rule before I knew it had a name. Regardless, there I was: a college grad student, sitting at the bar, googly eyed over a boy…a typical love story. He was tall, dark, handsome, big biceps, a huge beautiful smile, wearing a baby blue t-shirt. It was 11 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
For two hours I saw him, but he never saw me. He played pool the entire time and with a girl as his partner for some of the night. I figured there was no chance for me; she was probably his girlfriend. Regardless, I wasn’t giving up that easy. My back was towards the pool tables, so I constantly turned around to make sure he was still in place. I was working up the nerve to approach him when, or if, he walked away from his friends. I tried that whole ‘act like you have to go to the bathroom’ thing to see if I could bump into him or if he would notice me, but the only thing that happened was that I relieved my bladder.
And then it happened…
He was leaving!!! With two of his friends cashing out their tabs about to take 10 steps and be out of the doors to never be seen again. ‘Oh my god, what do I do? What if he’s the one? What if I never see him again? What if…’ I took a breath…Five, four, three, two, one. ‘MOVE!’ I gently (I think) pushed my friend, planted my feet, and began the walk up to him.
‘Hi, my name is Danielle!’ I said, offering a handshake. I mean if that’s not the best pickup line you’ve ever heard, what is? But seriously, what the heck was I doing? Thankfully it stayed a blur, so I didn’t have time to think. Truthfully, I have no idea what words filled those 30 seconds of standing face to face with the guy I had awkwardly stared at for 2 hours, whom I thought had a girlfriend, and clearly never even saw me at the bar.
‘Do you want my number?’ And then I realized this was not me! I would never approach a dude (no matter how feminist I claim to be) and ask him to take my number! HE should be begging for MY number! But here we are, just a girl looking into the eyes of a dude who she would probably never hear from again. He took my number and left.
I walked back towards the booth with a pep in my step, my head held high, filled with more confidence than I had in years. So, naturally I was also confused because nothing had even happened yet. He could talk crap about me to his friends in the car, he could throw away my number, or he could think I’m super weird and have zero interest. But confidence is what I felt because I had made a move!
I went after what I wanted. I took action. I didn’t let an opportunity pass me by. I found courage and strength, even for just 30 seconds, to do something I never imagined I would do and that felt really good! I was genuinely happy with the choices I made that night. My life, my choices, my rules. My number one rule from that day forward was to make choices that bring me happiness and are right for me!
Let’s fast-forward to today.
It’s the 11-year anniversary of that night at the bar with the cute boy in the blue t-shirt. I’m 33 years old. Not engaged or married. No children. I’ve since graduated with my Master’s degree, taught Sociology at a community college, worked full-time at Ohio State University, traveled the world, started my own business, moved to Seattle and back to Columbus, bought and sold a house, and wear the ‘dog mom’ title proudly.
Most importantly, I am happy. I am genuinely happier than I ever thought I could be. And my choices, just like that night in the bar, make me happy.
To the outside world, I should have been married 9 years ago and my time to have children is running out. A lot of people doubt and question my choices. They don’t get my ‘patience’ or my priorities. They think that something must be wrong with us. They think that deep down inside, I have to be unhappy because society values and celebrates a woman based on her marital status and the ability to produce children. I don’t conform.
But I am HAPPY.
Because you know that cute guy in the bar that made my ability to think for 30 seconds go away? It’s been 11 years and he’s right here next to me, playing with the dogs, as we discuss what’s going to happen on Big Brother tonight. We aren’t married. We have no children.
But we ARE happy.
Without a ring on my finger, I roll over every morning, look at him, and feel pure happiness. Without a ring on my finger, I smile every day when he gets home from work. Without a ring on my finger, I feel so loved and cherished and respected.
Because HAPPINESS is the goal for me. Happiness is the choice I make for me. I don’t need a piece of paper or a piece of jewelry to make me happy; I get to give myself happiness. And every day I choose to be with the man I love.
That night in the bar I walked with more confidence than I ever had. I made a decision I was proud of and I showed myself how to take control and make choices right for me, regardless of the outcome or the outside judgment. We only get one life to live, we better make sure we live it the way WE want to.
I will continue to choose my own happiness even if it makes other people uncomfortable. I will continue to base my relationship off love, not expectations. I will continue to be bold and brave with my choices of waiting to have children, regardless of other’s opinions. Because confidence is what I felt that night in the bar when I made choices right for me and I never want to give that up. Happiness is the goal and I’ll continue making MY choices based on a simple question I ask myself ‘does this bring me happiness?’
So, what do YOU need to push out of the way? What do YOU need to do using five, four, three, two, one…MOVE!? Are you making choices to conform to expectations and pressure, or are you making choices because you genuinely believe in them and they make you happy? Are you HAPPY? If not, what are you going to do about it?
That night in the bar wasn’t about finding a lifelong partner that brings me happiness, it was about finding myself and taking control of my choices to make myself happy. A man won’t make me happy. A marriage won’t make me happy. Only I can make me happy, the rest are added bonuses.
My hope is that all women will find their confidence and happiness. I hope they’ll take on the 5 Second Rule and surprise themselves. I hope they’ll live a life that makes them happy. I hope they’ll realize that their worth is not just based on their marital and motherhood status.
Because at the end of the day, we only get one life to live, so we better live it in a way that brings us joy! So, let’s start living our lives like that girl in the bar that saw the cute boy playing pool…confident, excited, unapologetic, bold, and brave! Five, four, three, two, one, GO!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Danielle Hogle. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Danielle:
‘I was typing on a friend’s Facebook, ‘You’re so P-R-E-T…’ when I realized I was part of the problem. When did ‘pretty’ become the best compliment I could give?’: Woman urges ‘remind your friend she’s bold, brave, and inspiring’
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