Early Morning Coffee

Beautiful Woman Enjoys Coffee This is a special time of year in spite of all its hectic pace, congested traffic, brawls over parking spaces, and time spent waiting in line to have gift wrapping done so you can support your child’s extracurricular organization. In spite of the added awkwardness and possibly uncomfortable and painful moments that arise when children spend their lives in two homes instead of one, this time of year is still something to be relished, cherished, savored, experienced. 

At this time of year, just like every other season throughout the year, I begin my day with my early morning coffee.  In fact, especially at this time of year it is a creature comfort of mine to wake early without the aid of alarm clock, while the house is still dark, pad barefooted out to the living room and turn on the Christmas lights.  All of them.  The lights on the tree, the lights under the tree, the lights on on the speaker, the lights above the piano, the lights on the bookcase and on the sofa table (which is not behind the sofa).

After turning on the lights, I stumble through the kitchen to the garage to let the dog out to the back yard; to her side of the back yard so she can do her morning business.  It is then that I get down to the important business of brewing my morning coffee.  While waiting for the coffee to brew (a task that seemingly takes forever), I start the fire.

There is nothing more wonderful, more peaceful and more serene than sitting on my couch looking at the serene glow of a festively decorated Christmas tree, coffee mug in hand, while the fire crackles and snaps warmly, reassuringly, comfortingly in the fireplace.  Surely, come what may, everything will be okay.

j0430486 In these early morning weekend hours, I build kingdoms, establish a million possible futures, rewrite my past mistakes while retaining all the lessons learned and never, ever do I write the kids out of the picture.  In these early morning hours, I consider how things were just two short years ago when I had to go begging food at the local church food pantries in order to keep food in my progeny’s bellies while paying off, what seemed an overwhelming and insurmountable mountain of debt; most of which wasn’t even mine. In these early morning hours, I reflect on how slowly but surely things have improved.  I appreciate the strength I’ve mustered from somewhere deep within to prune back all to the bare bones, to re-evaluate my life and adapt, adjust, reinvent when needed but mostly to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, one burned meal on the table after another and to simply show up and be counted in the world one more time for one more day, often, when I wished I didn’t have to.

I know I am not alone.  Not in my enjoyment of early morning coffee; not in my surviving divorce and the crushing financial realities that often follow. 

And, so, you see…the moments of this season that are lit with the shining light of gratitude, appreciation and mostly hope are to be treasured above all and enjoyed in quietness and solitude with an early morning cup of the dark, liquid brew we all know as coffee. 

j0441005 Plenty of time for the traffic jams, the long lines, the noise and the piped in holiday music that triggers my gag reflexes better than sticking my finger down my throat.  For now, it is me time.  It is the height of the holiday season here in my quiet little living room, fire warming the house, tree aglow and coffee warmth in my hands and on my tongue.  I’m thinking how bad it was and how far I’ve come. 

I’ve survived.  Till the next big thing anyway, but I’ve survived thus far.  If I can, you can too.  Just keep getting up every morning.  Just keep going to work.  Just keep doing the daily stuff.  Pretty soon it stacks up and things do get better.  They always change.  Misery and pain are never permanent.

Even though I can’t afford even the best deal on a new HDTV or the latest in iPhone technology, even if I can’t afford the latest killer deal on the surround sound theatre system or the family package trip to Mexico for the holidays, even if I’m going to have to continue watching every expenditure like the proverbial hawk for a few more years…I am grateful. 

And in spite of my inability to enter into the spending fray of the season with abandon, I’m still celebrating.  I’m still joyous and maybe even more so because I can’t “spend” on material things.  This situation I’ve found myself in has, as my mother would have once informed me, been a “blessing in disguise”.  I’ve learned to be so much more appreciative of what I have.  I value the little things so much more. 

The little things.  Like a red ornament hanging on a fake tree that was purchased without using a credit card or overdrawing the bank account. The little things like two siblings who usually tear each other down in sibling squabbles playing a board game together with me for hours without one demeaning comment. 

The little things, like a warm cup of coffee on a cold wintery morning with a warm fire blazing.  Coffee, mug and firewood all paid for. Little things.

The joy in my life and the contentment in my heart and my hopeful outlook about the future…not such little things. 

******

j0406570 Coffee Drinker’s Prayer?

Caffeine is my comfort; I shall not doze.
It maketh me to wake on early mornings:
It leadeth me beyond to get up and go to work.
It restoreth my energy:
It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the weary, overworked and under rested,
I will fear no Equal™ or other sugar substitute:
For thou art with me; thy creamer and thy stir stick, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a 20 oz. venti with an extra shot before me in the presence of  Starbucks:
Thou anointest my day with clarity, at least more than I would have had without you; my mug runneth over.
Surely aroma, flavor and warmth shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the Mocha Mansion forever.

Kicking Off The Holiday Season

j0422837 I have a friend who firmly believes that Halloween is the holiday that officially kicks off “The Holiday Season”.  Being a person who really knows how to entertain and, yes, even cook very fine meals, she is all about celebrating.  And she is good at it.  Whether you agree with my friend or not, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, followed immediately by the day now known as “Black Friday”  (only in America and when did that happen anyway?), it is clear The Holiday Season is well underway. 

The Problem

In years past, I was all about Christmas and decorating and making everything festive and, like my friend, I enjoyed celebrating in the company of family and friends.  But somewhere along the line things went horribly wrong and suddenly, The Holidays, have lost their appeal to me.  Or maybe I’ve just become very, very confused about does and does not matter when creating those memorable holiday moments.

Okay, things didn’t really go “horribly wrong”, at least, not all in one big life changing moment.  It was more like a gradual decline and I think I did it to myself.  Too much pressure, expectations for myself and those of others (mostly in-laws), the demands of being a new mom, starting a new demanding career at the same time (oh, yes, I do wish I’d played Solitudethat card differently), and the gradual erosion and decline of a marriage.  Along the way, The Holidays lost their charm.  They became something to be endured; a source of pain, frustration and immense exhaustion.

After the second divorce, I tried the best I could to make Christmas memorable for my children.  This wasn’t easy, since I was now in the place so many people find themselves in after divorce:  broke…if not bankrupt. I was definitely the former, scrambling to avoid the latter.  Looking back, I don’t even know how I survived that first Christmas because child support hadn’t even kicked in.  The second Christmas was also pulled off with meager finances and the third Christmas, last year, was the first Christmas my children spent away from me.  That was tough! 

  Yes, I am fully aware that in spite of the pretty lights, the happy smiles on people’s faces, the advertisements that boast loving couples, happy families, and joyous, grateful children with lavishly decorated homes where trees are standing amidst a treasure trove of gifts, the cost of which might easily feed a small third world nation somewhere for a year, The Holiday Season for many, is a season of pain, regret, disappointment, sadness and deep loneliness. Many of us, especially those of us who are Singles in a World of Couples dread the advent of the holidays because it means we will be attending yet another office party alone, waking up Christmas morning alone while the kids wake up and open presents elsewhere, eating alone with no one to greet us in the morning or drink a toast with us in the evening.  That awareness can gnaw at us and deprive us of joy, energy, and contentment.

A Solution:

Now, if I let it, that could depress me.  I could spend my time regretting the misused past.  I could spend my time fretting that I am now unable to provide my children with what I’d always wanted and hoped to be able to provide them materially. I could feel badly that I don’t have significant other to share the joys and sorrows (or my hot tub!) with.  I could get weepy that things are not exactly what I wanted or how I planned or imagined.  I could despair that things are not better than they are.  Sometimes I do.  Not for long.  Maybe only about two hours a month…if that.

Solution:  I don’t let it.  I’ve learned to enjoy what I have and be grateful that I have it.  I’ve also learned that things can always be worse.  After all, as one friend recently said to me, “You have a roof over your head, a good job, you are paying your bills haven’t had to foreclose on your home or file bankruptcy, you and your kids are healthy and you have food on the table.  It could be so much worse, so chin up!”

I’ve learned over the last three years to think differently about many things.  I now think differently about my holidays.  I think very differently about the holidays on those years when my kids will be away for Christmas Day.  I’m not so hesitant anymore to ask out that guy friend to my office Christmas Party.  I just make sure it is someone who understands that this is not a Friends With Benefits situation or that I have any illusions about us as a couple.j0444098  I’ve given myself permission to be single and to enjoy it.  I’ve given myself permission to take full advantage of the times when the kids are away.  I’ve met enough people and have plenty of friends that if I want a date to an event I can have one.  If I’m sitting home alone on a weekend night it is because I have chosen it, not because I have no other choice.  I’ve learned to be at peace with myself.

I no longer feel that I’m missing life if I stay home…alone…curled up on my couch in my lounge pants and t-shirt…in front of the fire.  Would it be fun to be using my couch differently?  Of course, but I’m not desperately hoping that will happen or thinking that it must happen in order for me to feel validated and alive.

Mostly, I’ve learned that the off times, those times when the kids are away at their other homes is a great time for me to work on the many home improvement tasks I have lined up.  I don’t have to worry about kids wanting to help with the painting or spreading the mess throughout the house. I don’t have to stop mid project to fix a meal and clean it up.  It’s also a wonderful opportunity to catch up with some j0438433of my adult friends that I have a more difficult time connecting with when the kids are around. It’s a great opportunity to get caught up on laundry and if all else fails…

…it is a wonderful time to try to learn to cook a new dish! 

Yeah, like that’ll happen anytime soon!

I do have questions though for those of you out there who, like me, have a shared custody or a parenting plan that means your children will be away from you some or all of the holiday season. 

How do you handle the holiday season when you don’t have your children with you to celebrate?

How has divorce changed how you celebrate the holidays?

 

 

Making It Through In Spite of the Flu

Just a short note tonight.  I’m tired.  It’s been a long day.  I have another fairly long day tomorrow and I was sick this weekend.  Flat out, on my back, slept for nearly 24 hours straight except to get up and get drinks of water and go to the bathroom.  Yeah, that kind of sick.  The kind of sick that you hope will pass quickly because to have so many things you need to be doing.  The kind of sick that you worry might never pass because, really?, the common cold does not feel this bad.  Or does it?

After Booty Texter dismissed me in his frustration at my being unwilling to lower my standards and subject myself to his selfish motivations, I went to bed (Friday night) .  For all intents and purposes, I did not awaken and like it, until sometime Sunday morning in the wee hours of the morning.  Oh, I awoke, but only to go to the bathroom and get a drink.  Over 24 hours sick.  Yeah.

I’m grateful that I was well enough to work a 13 hour day today and not keel over. 

I’m grateful that I’m now home and people decades younger than me who didn’t spend the whole weekend flat on their back sick as a dog, and who have fewer children to go home and deal with than I are just as tired as I am if not more so.  This means nothing other than I’m feeling better, my health is certainly not horrible and I am so very glad for that.  One’s health is so important.  In fact, in my list of things I’m grateful for my health tops the list. 

How would you finish this statement?

“If it weren’t for my health I’d _____________________________________________.”

or how about this statement…

“Because of my health I _____________________________________________”.

As for me, it is great to be making it through.  The knowledge that people many years younger than I are experiencing the same, if not more, fatigue is encouraging to me.  Not that I wish them ill, I don’t.  It just means this contraption I call a body isn’t doing so badly after all, and, to me, that is enough to be grateful for.

Consulting: Famine or Feast?

It’s feast or famine isn’t it?  Nothing is more true for anyone than the self-employed freelancer or consultant.  I knew this from others’ reports.  This week, I’m finding it out first hand for myself. 

No, I haven’t quit my day job. I can’t do that quite yet.  But some good stuff is happening to The Wild Mind in this arena this month. 

I just picked up three additional speaking engagements this last week.  All three of them strategically significant for me and two of them paying gigs.  The nice little caveat is that throughout the course of the week, I also found out that I’m being requested for 15 additional engagements during this school year.  Those 15 come with additional opportunities to train additional staff to work with me.  It also is compensated at a rate much nicer than my current day job pays.  And…I don’t have to quit my day job to do any of this either.

As most know who have tried to make the self-employed  consultant switch at some time or another, there can be a time when you have to work two careers until the income from the one is steady and substantial enough to supplant the other.  This can be exceptionally demanding and strenuous depending upon the nature of the work involved and the duration of the transition.   Well, unless you are able to take out loads of money in small business loans, which I can’t do or unless you have loads of extra resources to put to the venture, which I do not  have.  Nope, I simply have to buck up and do it the hard way.  The gradual transition way.  The take-every-speaking-gig-I-can way.  The learn-as-you-go way.  The these-are-the-days-I’ll-look-back-on-fondly way. 

It’s been a tough couple of weeks and I’ve gotten a real taste of what this could be like.  Moving in spurts instead of the steady day in and day out thing.  The income will also move in spurts and that takes a bit of getting used to, I’m told.  Then there are the times, like this evening, when I should be curled up on the couch watching a movie with my littlest munchkin but instead, here I am.  Putting the finishing touches on a reworked presentation, making sure my notes are in order, my presentations, documents and screenprints are aligned, and that my outfit is clean, ironed and perfectly coordinated. 

Instead, I’m going to take a break right now after posting this and chill in the hot tub with The Peanut Munchkin.  Then I’ll cuddle up with her, let her fall asleep to a movie of her choice on the couch in front of the fire with her kittens curled up next to her, get up and return to my fine tuning of tomorrow morning’s presentation.  Tomorrow afternoon and evening are all hers!  And that’s how I suppose it will likely be.  That’s what I’ve been told. That’s how it seems to be shaking down. 

Spurts, seasons, ebbs, flow, famine and feast…life!

Authenticity vs. Cosmetic Surgery: Which One Wins Out in the Battle for Real Love and Lasting Relationship?

I was over at one of my favorite bloggy friends homesites today checking up on what she was thinking about things and she wrote a bit about cosmetic surgery and a better sex life.  Okay, I wanted to comment…but I totally didn’t want to take center stage with it.  Instead, I left some smart ass tongue-in-cheek comment that, hopefully, made people think but didn’t take over the conversation. My response as posted was:

Geez,
All those 80-year-old people in the retirement homes who are getting married these days are sunk without plastic surgery. How can they possibly have a fulfilling, rewarding sex life if they simply just don’t look the part of our plastic, superficial, Hollywood driven, hedonistic, entertainment oriented culture? Sucks to be them I guess!


I was responding more to the other commenters than to BigLittleWolf’s post.  My friend, BigLittleWolf, has some great things to say…and she’s way more diplomatic than I am. She said some really important things here and posed some great questions…in a far more diplomatic way that I would have.  I so wanted to call bullshit on some of the people leaving comments. You’ll just have to go there and read her post and make your own decision.   Her post clearly touched a few nerves with me because here I am, posting a response.

First off the issue of visual stimulation being a male phenomenon was presented.  I wanted to call bullshit on that because nothing could be further from the truth.  I can’t tell you the number of times my panties have gotten wet because the fireman on duty down at Fire Station #4 a block away decided to flex his muscle during a presentation to the school children.  Men don’t have a corner on the visual stimulation market.  They just have better marketing and a bigger market share at this time. Women get turned on my a guy’s good looks too.  If you want me to do the research I can, but, seriously, you can do your own and come to the same conclusions.

Second, the reason women don’t have the reputation for getting turned on by the visual in quite the same way that men do is because it simply takes a bit more for us to jizz in our pants than a pretty smile, some big biceps and a bulging set of boxer briefs. We are, after all, the ones being penetrated and encroached upon.  A deposit is often left and sometimes that deposit develops into an account that requires regular deposits and close supervision until it matures. If Mr. Bulging Boxer Brief decides to take his leave of what is now not just me but us, then who’s going to be left taking the responsibility for this new account?  She is. It behooves us to be extremely picky about those we allow to make deposits in our bank.  Looks simply can’t be the be all end all in relationship…for a woman. We need more than just a nice “vision” to make sex the best it can be.  (Note: how many men are getting penis extensions these days?) We need old school things like trust, connection, intellect, respect, loyalty and responsibility in order to feel safe enough to give up our most vunerable self to another for the long haul.

Finally, the entire cosmetic surgery and the whole recreate yourself from the outside out  trend is conspiring to undo authenticity and relationship in our country. Nothing is real anymore and most of us don’t even have our original teeth let alone our original body parts. This preoccupation with how things appear at the expense of seeing things and people as they really are concerns me.  After all, I still believe what my mama told me, “Beauty is only skin deep.”  I don’t care how big the price tag that beauty has on it.  Ten  years after those implants have been implanted and I’m going to have to be looking at further surgery am I going to be any better person for it?  Will my relationships be better because I have size 38 DD boobs in spite of the fact that I abuse my lover and mistreat the waitresses when we go out?  Will my life be greatly improved over the long haul because my muffin top over my size 3 pants is less that it would be hanging over a size 10 pair of American Eagle jeans?  Do I really need to have that reconstructive foot surgery to make my feet a size 6 from their original size 9.5 just because little feet are prettier?  Really?  Are my smaller feet going to make me more sensual, more considerate, more giving and more kind in bed or anywhere else? 

I don’t know.  The whole preoccupation with our physical appearance at the expense of becoming really quality people worth knowing bothers me just a bit.

Can you tell?  

Giving Up

Seriously?  Sometimes I feel like just throwing in the towel.  Misunderstandings, offenses, you know.  Things intended to affirm actually offend and the next thing you know something like World War 3 is underway. 

Yeah.  I give.

Won’t do…say…that any more.

My Own Personal Nirvana

kicking up heelsI have a secret time of the week that is all my own.  No one can touch it.  No one can invade it.  It is impossible to ruin. It is the very best part of the weeked for me.  It is my own personal holiday in a busy life. This is the time right after I’ve dropped my bags by the door, kicked off the work shoes, hugged and kissed the little one and said “Good-bye, have fun and be safe!” to her for the every other weekend that she goes to be with her dad.  It is the time right before I head out for evening festivities to blow off steam from a stressful week with other adults who’ve also had a stressful week and need some adult time as well.  I might not even go out.  I might stay in and simply revel in the silence (except for the stereo, always the stereo!) and enjoy the blissful solitude of not having to answer to anyone, of not having to be completely cheery,animated and confident when I really feel exhausted,  frazzled, uncertain and unprepared.  I don’t have to try to carry a conversation, diagnose a learning problem or strategize or organize anything. I don’t have the constant buzz of young voices in the background. I don’t have to be “on”.  I don’t have to be anything.  It is that time of the week that I do not have to do anything I do not want to do.  I don’t have to show up…or I can.  It is my choice. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of choice lately.  We all want it. In the U.S., it is an inalienable right. Some enjoy it more than others.  We have it and yet we don’t.  We make choices and those choices completely remove certain other choices from our plate of options.  Sometimes we make choices and the results of those choices take us down roads where we end up completely without any options whatsoever.  Being without options is not necessarily a bad thing either, but mostly, being without options in many cases and for many people translates as “trapped”, “caught”, “stuck”.  It can happen when choosing living arrangements, universities or vocational schools, relational partners, careers or geographical areas to settle in.  The tough thing about choice is that you can’t always tell whether the choice you make today will end you up in your own personal prison years down the road.

femalesillouetteOne thing I’ve noticed about myself  lately, and by lately I mean over the last couple of years, not just the last few weeks, is that more and more I want to create my own hoops to jump through.  I’m less inclined to want to jump through someone else’s hoops.  For example, when considering whether or not to return to grad school for that prized doctorate, I decided that I really just don’t want to go back to school (at least right now) in order to jump through someone else’s hoops to get a piece of paper that says I can now put a few additional letters behind my name. The degree wouldn’t necessarily give me many more options than I have now and it might even be one of those choices that lands me in the place where I feel very “trapped”, “caught”, “stuck”.  I decided to wait on the PhD. 

On the other hand, I enjoy jumping through certain hoops. My job for example is one area where I will jump through hoops.  I do this because I like the reward of the paycheck every month for doing so and I also like this because right now the idea of jumping through my own hoops in a self-employed sort of way presents far too much choice for me and far too much instability.  Choice, in that way, is not desirable to me.

Being trapped or caught or stuck by our choices can be an incredibly rewarding experience as in the context of relationship, for example.  Consider that rare relationship where you and your partner fit so amazingly well together in more ways than just the physical.  There is the right amount of closeness, intimacy and connection perfectly balanced with the exact amount of respect for each others’ differences and individual preferences and need for solitude or separateness. You can see doing life with this person and it is an exciting vision not an  uncertain venture.  In this case, the choice made leads to being limited in ways that are fulfilling and rewarding. The reality is, you are in a place that you are, to some degree, very limited in the range of certain kinds of choices you can make while certain other options have been completely eliminated.  Being without options in this scenario is not necessarily a bad thing.

Choice.  How to spend our money.  How to spend our time.  How to spend our lives.  Choice. 

Freedom.  Freedom from having to make choices.  Freedom to make choices.  Freedom to freefall.  Those are Friday afternoons for me.

Friday afternoon: those moments after the breakneck speed of a whirlwind week and right before the weekend is officially underway.  The entire weekend stretches before me filled with free choice and choosing my own hobluerayops to jump through in the order in which I choose to jump them.  No schedules to keep except those I implement.  No obligations to fulfill except ones I’ve chosen.  On Friday afternoon the weekend looms large and I don’t have to commit to any of it just yet. 

Choice and freedom.

To do…or not…as I choose.

This is my own personal Nirvana.

Single Parenting and No Regrets?

“Never regret.  If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.”  ~Victoria Holt

regretsNever regret.  Those words on the surface sound like a great way to live.  Live life so that you have no regrets.  The idea is great, the reality non-existent, I suspect.  I don’t think it is possible to live a life completely without regret.  I don’t think one needs to wallow in and torture oneself with regret either.  We can learn from our mistakes and our past, and move on but still be saddened by the way our past plays out in our present.  I for one, never wanted to be in my forties parenting four children alone.  Here I am and doing well, but it is not what I would have chosen.  I would have chosen a loving marriage that worked over single parenting any day. 

 A Nice Idea

When it comes to love, marriage, divorce and single parenting there’s an entire galaxy of regret to be realized. Regrets of time and emotion wasted, of poor choices, of insufficient self knowledge, of the realities that now face the person tasked with parenting a child or children alone without the help of a loving, supportive, participatory partner in a marriage that worked. Regrets of diminished financial resources and not being able to now provide the childhood experiences that you once hoped you could, not to mention the increased demands on the dwindling time and energyof the single parent.  Granted, this isn’t everyone’s single parent reality.  It is the reality for many, however.  Specifically, on many levels, it has been mine.  I don’t think I’m alone here.  When it comes to life after divorce, especially if that life now involves single parenting, the idea of living with no regrets is simply that: a nice idea.

Mixed Feelings About Single Parenting

I’ve recently come across a fellow blogger who seems to be a kindred spirit.  She’s walked the single parent road for much longer than I.  Her tour of duty in Single Parent World is just two years from being over, while I have a decade of duty left.  Her recent article titled, “Single Parenthood: How Do You Really Feel?” resonated with me.  I, too, am proud of what I’ve accomplished in the last few years, the stability and safety I’ve fought for and aquired for my children and I, and the slow, arduous climb back from financial disaster.  These are accomplishments I celebrate, but with every celebration there is that cloud of regret that hovers over the silver lining.  It’s a mixed bag.  On one hand I’d never go back to the nightmare I was living before.  At the same time, I prefer that I’d made better choices, known myself better, behaved better myself so that I could have avoided being in this place now.singleparenting

The regret is that while I am content in my life as a single parent it would have been far better for us all to be part of an intact family with a marriage that worked for us all than not.  Single parenting, while far superior to my previous reality, is not what I ever wanted for myself or my children and it isn’t the existence I’d choose even now had I any other choice, most particularly, that of sharing with a partner who fit us, who was loving and supportive and personally competent. 

Things Are Forever Different Now

 Things are different for the single parent.  For most of us, financial resources are much more limited, especially early on.  This reality hit me hard when I realized that I was not going to be able to put my children in piano lessons, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics or any other of the many activities they previously enjoyed. Not only was I not going to be able to put them in all the activities they previously enjoyed, I couldn’t put any of them in even one of the activities.  Do the math.  Even in my small community where things are less expensive than they would be in a larger city, the cost of dance lessons runs about $40 a month.  That alone is almost my garbage  bill. Multiply that amount by four. Add to that the increased time and fuel expenses involved in driving the children to their activities and the reality of making this happen on my own, without the financial assistance from the ex or transportation help from the same makes this an impossibilty for those of us saddled with the financial responsibilities of home ownership, debt repayment and without the assistance of large incomes or public assistance.  When I’m rationing milk to make it to the next payday, paying for piano lessons is not going to happen.  Things are forever different now.
 
 Traveling The Path
 
I’ve been a single parent for two years now and I have about 10 years before my youngest is launched, five years before I’m down to just one child.  I’m a good parent, not prone to allowing my home to deteriorate to disaster with food,dishes, dirty laundry and trash strewn everywhere.  My kids do chores, have their friends over on occasion, spend the night elsewhere on occasion and are involved in scMoving onhool activities and sports. I have a career that pays the bills and allows me time off with my kids most of the time that they are not in school.  Because of my parenting arrangements with my ex’s (yep, that was plural), I have regular time to myself with no kids.  For me, life in Single Parent World is far better than for most.  I can’t complain, and most of the time I don’t because I know, as with anything, it could be so much worse.
I deal with the same issues of fatigue, inability to have any kind of time to put together a decent meal that isn’t microwaved in some part, trying to spread limited finances, time, and energy among four (now three, one is at college, I remember now) other people and still have something left for myself.   My life, my children’s lives, are moving on.  Most of the time it is simply a matter of doing what I know I must and can do today.  The future is too overwhelming to contemplate, the past still too painful at points.  I often don’t feel as though I’m doing anything right and sometimes, for a few brief moments, I feel as though things couldn’t  be better.  Most of the time it is trial and error, guess and check as I find my way in this strange new world.  It is a way that while bumpy and steep, at first, seems to be smoothing out somewhat.  The path has leveled off, the terrain more appealing, the walk not so cumbersome, the weather far more mild most of the time.  Even so, it is not a path I travel without passing by brief moments of profound regret for what I would have preferred over this. 

Questions?

Why is it that some people can so easily find “a relationship” and for others it is the ultimately elusive thing?

Why is it that stupid women can find handsome intelligent men but beautiful intelligent women have a far more difficult time getting past the first date?

Why do mature adult people (supposedly given their chronological age) run off to Vegas to get married after only knowing someone for about six weeks? 

I have a friend who is young, gorgeous, together and intelligent and single.  WTF is up with that? She should not even be single for two seconds.  What is wrong with male America these days?

Why is it that some people make it last the first go round and others of us can’t help but screw it up from the get go?

Why is it that the ones that make it last aren’t even all that put together either…I mean…what?

Why is it that the good looking guys are stupid…mostly… and the ones who are good looking with a brain are married to stupid women…I mean, really, they are married to posts most of the time. 

At what point do you just throw in the towel on love and figure you’re just too old for that shit?

At what point do you just throw in the towel on ever  achieving your dreams because a.) you have too many kids to deal with for too much longer, b.) achieving your dreams would require the energy, optimism and fearlessness of a 20-year-old and you’re simply not 20 any more and have so many obligations to so many…I mean really…at what point does chasing that youthful dream become like the woman in her 50’s who tries to dress like she’s in high school.  Hmmmm….

I have more questions, but if you can answer these  then you’ll be doing well.

Bonus Question:  Why can’t I meet someone and run off to Vegas and get married after knowing them for six weeks and actually have the damn thing work out?  (I already know the answer to this one and, yes, it has something to do with birth order and, well, I’ll just leave it at that!)

Take your pot shots…go ahead!  I dare ya! 

Oh, and don’t give me all this positive attitude crap. If you’ve been single, divorced or any of that for any length of time the inconsistencies and seeming inequities of life have crossed your mind in question form as well.  And the biggest question and the most unanswerable one is “Why?”

Positive is great and I’m all for it.  I’m a recovering “glass half empty” kinda girl.  I want the glass totally freakin’ full so whether it is half empty or half fricken full doesn’t matter….it isn’t where I want it to be and that is just sometimes not good enough.  Playing little mental games doesn’t really convince me that things are better…or worse…than they are.  They simply, currently are not what I want them to be…YET.

Big word, that word, “yet”. 

Bigger question:  When to let go of the “yet” and figure it ain’t ever gonna happen.  I really need to hear from someone in their 80’s or 90’s on this one because seriously, at 40-something, sometimes I’m so deep in the quagmire I can’t even see the map!  And in 40+ world the scales seems weighted to my disadvantage as a female.  Maybe, it’s my own myopic vision that is creating distortion.  What I do know is this:  as you age, especially if you are female, people stop looking at you.  They not only stop admiring you physically, they stop seeing you completely.  This is the demise of the elderly in our country.  They become disrespected, invisibile liabilities.  I’m not there yet.  Just today I had a perfectly red blooded male friend tell me that my jeans totally worked for me and this is a person who would have no problem letting me know he thought I looked like shit, so it was a valid compliment.  But that time of being invisible and unseen is not far away for me and it is certain for us all. I just am not sure I want to be one of those banging my head against an impossible wall if the liklihood and realities of love and dreams are long past.  Maybe at that point, it is time to shift focus and create new, different dreams.  I don’t know. 

Ahhhh!  Life!  Ain’t it great?  It’s the only test you can’t study for and you get only one shot at it.  Sometimes to be honest, I feel like I’m blowing my shot at it. 

Just sayin’.

Bang Head Here!

bangheadheresignYep!  I have this sign posted in a visible place where I will see it daily.  Most people find it amusing.  Some want it for themselves because they find it humorous.  I personally think it is a sad statement about me that the sign is not a joke for me…I actually use this sign and lately more so than usual.  It’s back-to-school time again and with it comes the usual transition from lazy (or at least very relaxed and unscheduled) days to a lifestyle that moves at warp speed. 

Add to this, that I’ve just sent my first child off to college which is both a blessing and a hindrance all of which equates to one big adjustment for the family.  As if we haven’t been through enough adjustments in the last few years.

I guess the statement, “The only constant is change” really is more true than not.  I should after all this time be getting used to it.

The reality?  I haven’t written as often nor as well as I’d like here of late. 

Currently, I’m working on a piece about the significance of phallic symbols in post modern society.  I know.  I know.  People think I’m crazy, but while the ancient Egyptians were quite open and unreserved about phallic symbols, we as a more evolved culture are less so or so it seems.  I have some theories about this.  I don’t think we are less interested in them.  In fact, I think, if we just look phallic symbols are everywhere.  But then maybe that’s just me…

Stay tuned.  When I get through this next week and I get time to really research this topic, I’ll let you know what I discovered.  In the meantime, if you’re so inspired and you have any information you’d like to add as I develop my thoughts, don’t hesitate to share your insights in a comment here.