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Jake moved out almost a year ago — the day after my birthday. Why we both thought this was a good idea, I have no idea — there was pre-holiday reasoning that seemed perfectly logical at the time, and now escapes me entirely.

I left for work that morning, sat in my car in the school parking lot, and panicked. How will I live in San Francisco on one income — a teacher's income? What if my car breaks down again? Who do I list on my emergency contact information? What if I fall down in the shower and slowly bleed to death?

And then — most overwhelming, forefront in my mind — how on earth do people date?

Dating is supposed to be the thing that's exciting about being single again, right? But I am 32 years old and have never dated. I was with Jake since I was a sophomore in high school.

Everyone else my age has had years of practice: they've had that terrible first date, they know enough about sex to know what's expected awkward and what's let's-not-do-this-again awkward. They have some frame of reference. I feel like I'm 15 again — and I don't know anyone who had a good time at 15.

Honestly, all the concerns about income, emergencies, and spider-killing pale in comparison to the idea of navigating the dating world. I've seen movies. I have an idea of what I'm in for, and it's not pretty.

I also cling to this: if I can figure this out, I can figure it all out. If I can navigate this world, I can take care of myself. I can kill my own spiders. I can survive.

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