Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Switch It Up!
So I Went Speed Dating The Other Day...

"Switch It Up" is a Cocoa Fly series encouraging women to step out of the box and think out of the box.

Girl there ain't no men out there....

I haven't had that discussion with my girlfriends since........ 5 minutes ago. Why aren't we meeting men? Maybe it's time to Switch It Up and try a different approach to get some lovin'. But first, my disclaimer. I'm not a relationship expert and and I'm single. Hey, a sista had to get over a broken heart and figure out her career goals. My heart is healed and my goals are set. Time to get back in the game. While I'm not in a relationship at the moment I do meet people. Through these posts I'm sharing ways I to get out there and socialize.

I became bored with the same social spots, meeting the same guys with the same lines. "Hey girl, you single?" Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnn. The 10 women:1 man ratio at some of these spots was ridiculous. What were the chances I would meet my fantasy? An LL Cool J lookalike with a college degree who shares my love for ancient Egypt artifacts and watching "Family Guy." Okay, he doesn't have to look like LL Cool J but it doesn't hurt to put that energy out there.

Recently I joined a speed dating group through I love this website and will blog about it later in this series. I didn't think about what my friends, family or peers would think. I just did it. That's the key to switching it up. You can't worry about what other people will think or say. It's your life. Many times those same people who call you crazy for doing something different are the ones at home, bored or haven't had a decent date since "227" was on air. While you're left at home confining yourself in a box to please others. Girl, you've got to live your life.

This weekend, I lost my speed dating virginity so to speak. The event was free and in a park. I went by myself and met about 30 or so guys. Actually, quite a few women come without girlfriends. And guess what? THE MEN OUTNUMBERED THE WOMEN. Have mercy! Occupations of the men ranged from educators to a NASA scientist. Some of the guys were really, really cute (especially the French Canadian with sexy boy-next-door swagger). Most of the guys were average looking. That's fine with me because I don't get caught up in looks. He doesn't have to look like a GQ model but he must treat me right.

We only had 2 1/2 minutes to get to know each other. That was the hard part. How do you size-up someone with 2 1/2 minutes of conversation? I based my decisions on age, chemistry and if he was doing something positive in his life. I figured I'd get to the heavy vetting on a date. If I checked yes on my form for a guy and he checked yes for me it's a match. After the event the organizers collected our paper work. They gave the men our contact info if there was a match. I've been contacted and I'll leave it at that. I can' t tell ya'll all of my business. LOL.

The event lasted two hours. It was fun and refreshing to meet new people. Later on I told my friends and mother about my little adventure. Moms and my friend called me "bold." Look, unless something pops off between you and the UPS man, you're not going to meet anyone staying in the house. As mom says "Life is to be lived!"

Now some of you may not have done this because: I couldn't find a friend "bold" enough to go with me; the event was outside of my community; most of the people there weren't black and the only person I knew there was me. I understand if any of these situations would make you feel uncomfortable. However, I had fun and may be going on a date soon. That could be you.

How I Switched It Up:
--Stepped out of my comfort zone by attending an event located outside of my community
--Didn't allow what others may think stop me.
--Opened my mind.

So tell me have you gone speed dating? Did you like it? If you haven't gone speed dating would you do it? Why?


  1. This is amazing! I am sure ATL has that same thing....I'm going to have to check that out!

  2. is in ATL, we have an event there this Thursday Aug 27, normally $50USD i'll put you on the list for free if you life to try it out, email

  3. is a great site Cocoafly!!
    I use it all the time to conect with people in my are with similiar interest raging from sports to politics.
    I give you much respect for thinking outside the box!! I wish more people were this open, brave and bold. I have never been on one of these but it does sound interesting even if it is just for the experince!

    Hugo (Juice)

  4. @ Mocha Peach-Girl you better jump on that free offer.

    @ Hugo--Thanks for give me my props ;)

  5. Hey Jenee,
    I know this is late, but better late than never. I actually went twice. The first time, went with a good friend, but since we were sitting right next to each other, it got distracting for me. I was really nervous for some reason.

    The second time, I went alone, and had a much better time. I felt more relaxed and more open to the experience. I was matched and we'll leave it at that :)

  6. @ Maya-It's never too late to comment on Cocoa Fly. I've noticed that sometimes when you're by yourself that's when you meet men. When I'm at a party or mixer w/ friends I wander around on my for a bit to mingle. Men don't like coming up to women when we're in groups. I hope that match had a happy ending :)


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