Let’s face it, I’m getting older, my body knows that, and it’s finally time I start taking this dreaded search process seriously. I don’t want to rush into anything too quickly. It's not that I’m afraid of commitment—I just don’t want to start something that’s not right for me. I’ve been grabbing coffee with a lot of different people to keep my options open. Of course, they don’t know that. I know I’m kind of scheming, but it’s not like I’m cheating. I certainly don’t owe anyone anything. Plus, they’re all definitely looking around and meeting other people too.

I can get a good sense of whether we’re compatible from the first interaction. I can tell by the way they look at me if they are serious or if they only want one thing: long hours. Of course, I don’t want them to be too eager either—that’s a real turn-off and makes me think I am probably out of their league and can do better.

I’m putting my best foot forward with everyone—dressing up a little nicer than usual and always keeping mints on hand (you never know). I have been trying my best to strike a balance between talking and asking questions to show that I'm a good contributor and listener.

I was hesitant at first, but I’ve decided to put myself out there online. I just updated my profile and listed a few hobbies to show that I am in fact fun. I thought connecting like this would feel contrived, but it’s opened the realm of possibilities. I just have to make sure I don’t get catfished and end up talking to someone who actually has no relevant experience.

I always make sure to find out about their track record. Why would I waste my time if they always end things badly? Someone telling me out of the blue that I have to pack up my things and go by the end of the week would be heartbreaking. I want stability.

Maintaining a healthy balance is also super important to me. I need to have alone time and time to hang out with friends. Weekends can not be absorbed entirely by them. The last thing I want late on a Saturday night is an email saying, “You up?” and “Do you mind swinging by for a little bit?” No, I am asleep and will not come in to model for you.

I am considering going back to what I had last summer. It only lasted for eight weeks because I had to go back to college, but I feel like we got to know each other so well. The idea of starting over is stressful, but I also don’t want to just settle for what feels comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, the summer was a great experience—long walks to lunch, meaningful conversations about goals, staying up all night to see the sunrise—but I know it’s easy to fall in love during summer when everything is more laid back. Even if these past few months end up just being a one-time thing, I don’t regret it. I learned so much, and it felt amazing to be wanted like that.

The more I explore, the more I’m figuring out what I like. A solid reputation and a high salary are non-negotiables, but I also want to feel happy and inspired. I want to wake up every morning, cuddled up in bed, knowing there is nowhere I would rather be than sitting at my desk for the next 12 hours.

It could take weeks or even months until I find the right fit. I know the process can be disappointing and frustrating, but it’s worth it. This choice will determine how I spend the majority of my time throughout the next several years of my life.

And sure, I know none of this is binding—I can get out of it any time if it’s not working. But who knows, maybe the next one will be it.