Not Just Another Auld Lang Syne

New Years Eve 004How does one look back on a year such as mine?  Three years ago, I ventured out into one of the scariest places I think I’ve ever been.  Post divorce, 40-something, straddled with debt that wasn’t all mine, looking forward to fewer years to earn back the losses than I had behind me.  While many would say I look good for my age, the fact that they had to add the phrase “for my age” said it all.  I was divorced, single with more children than most, struggling to avoid bankruptcy, and wondering how I was going to pay the bills and put food on the table.  I was frightened.  I was destitute. I was humiliated and ashamed.  I was alone.  To make things better, I blew an engine on one car, and dropped the rear differential out of another.  I had no credit, no cash, no clue what an engine or a rear differential was, and nowhere to turn.  I was terrified.  I wondered, often, how and if I was going to survive.  I was also 40-something and it was only a matter of time before the aging process we all must eventually succumb to, became no longer disguisable. Further, I still had children at home, lots of them, and would probably retire (if that was still even a possibility for me) with them at home.  Not exactly the formula for finding someone to spend your golden years with before you actually get to your golden years. Continue reading

Dating and Deception-That’s What She Said

j0402640 Yesterday’s post dealt with truth in dating. While much of what I described happens to both men and women in dating, yesterday’s post was decidedly from the female perspective and slanted pretty heavily toward men and the deceptions they tend to employ, if they employ them, when dating. However, I’ll be the first to admit, that men face their share of unhappy experiences and boatloads of deceptive practices when dating too. I know this because they tell me so or they have, when I dated them. Seems that when it comes to dating and deception, it’s an equal opportunity venture.

Women are just as guilty as men of deception. They just deceive differently. For example, there’s the very common practice of fudging on the number of years we’ve actually roamed the earth. Early on in my Post-40 World dating experience I corresponded with an individual who told me that he actually met a woman who said her age was somewhere in the 40’s but when they met, it was evident to him that she hadn’t seen 40 anything for a few decades.  He ended the date instantaneously and (the best part) she seemed stunned.  And this is only one of many, many experiences I’ve heard that men encounter when dating online.

Personally, the day I feel tempted to lie about my age is the day I hang it all up for good.  I just can’t do that.  It is unfair and dishonest.

Do women who do this honestly think that the men they meet are going to be totally impressed when they finally see that they’ve been lied to all along? Further, what kind of foundation does this build for any kind of meaningful authentic relationship?  My guess is, and please, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but my guess is it erodes relationship before it even begins.

j0422266I’ve been told that women lie about their weight, but personally, I don’t get that because I know weight doesn’t tell you much of anything and can give you a really bad impression.  Most guys would die if they knew that that cute hottie they are pursuing online actually sports a 145 on the scale instead of a 119, but fits nicely into a size 8.   But if she cropped her pic so it just revealed her face and then touted the number 145, what the heck do you think the response would be? Yeah, on the other hand, the fact that a woman even looks like a size 8 online is probably guarantee enough that no guy is asking that woman what she weighs.  It becomes an insult to ask what a woman weighs.  After all that’s not on the dating questionnaires.

While women are less inclined to lie about their marital status (I think, I don’t know this for sure), this doesn’t mean women are exempt from misrepresenting themselves.  On one hand it is understandable.  We all want to present ourselves in the best light possible.  After all, isn’t that what make up, hair products, deodorant and designer jeans are all about? But when we step over the line of presenting ourselves in the best possible light to recreating a fictional imaginary self, then this is, in my mind, crossing a line.

Personally, I’m all about full disclosure.

j0422190 In fact, I recently, even as I was writing this was called upon to disclose some very awkward and deeply humiliating aspects of my own personal past. It is a past that I am  ashamed of and will never be able to erase.  It is a past I regret and will spend the rest of my days trying to help people avoid in their own lives.  While full disclosure was not comfortable for me (I totally would have loved to have not had a conscience and been able to justify minimizing or reinventing my past), I told the truth and all of it.  It totally sucked.  I might never hear from this person again and this is a person I completely respect and admire.  But I am committed to being different than I was and I am committed to being vulnerable, transparent, with nothing to hide.  It might cost me any number of friendships or romantic interests to come and my past, quite frankly might eliminate me from the experience of any real lasting, meaningful, connected relationship with the opposite sex, but at least I can go to sleep at night knowing that the other person made a decision about me based on fact and not on supposition and not on an inadequate amount of data.  

And that, quite frankly, is how I prefer to do life, because in the end, I’m never going to enjoy quality relationship where the foundation is based on misrepresentation and inadequate data.  If the entire point in dating is to get to know people in hopes of someday developing a relationship based on intimacy then full disclosure (at the right time and in the right manner to the right people) becomes important.

I want the real deal.  I want authentic, meaningful, connected relationship when trust is the foundation and transparency and vulnerability the cornerstones.  If that can’t be had then give me the single life.  It is much more convenient anyway.

I’m the Original! I’m One-Of-A-Kind! Are You?

HowManyOfMe.com
Logo There is
1
person with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

It’s a long and tedious narrative as to how I stumbled upon this site.  I’ll cut to the chase. (Not!)  Since I’m home from work with a sick 8-year-old, I have all the time in the world, between grading papers, doing laundry and washing dishes, to be a tedious blowhard.  After all, the kid’s sleeping and I can’t think of anything else to write anyway, so why the heck not?

I  belong to a social networking site and an anonymous person from the other side of the country asked to add me as his friend.  Before accepting his invitation, I checked out his profile.  This is my standard procedure whenever any one sends me a friend request.  The thing I like about this particular social networking site is the fact that it is a.) intended for people over 40 and b.) not a dating site.  There are married people on there too.  The site is based around discussion groups of particular interests.  People join in on the discussion threads and comment back and forth.  Anyway, it’s an interesting little site.  I drop in there about once every couple of months to clear out my inbox and review all the friend requests that have accumulated during the time.  This time, I believe I had 48 waiting for me to respond.  I guess I hadn’t checked in since before the holidays.  While  checking out the soon-to-be friend’s profile, I noted that he was a reference librarian and had a blog of his own.  Blogomaniac that I am I had to check it out.  I’m glad I did.  It was a link from his blog that led me to the How Many of Me? site.  If you go there, you can find out how many other people in the country share your first and last name. 

I am pleased to announce that I am the only one in the nation that shares my first and last name.  My first name, however, is the 99th most popular first name and my last name is the 58,869th most popular last name.  Only 428 people in the nation share my last name, which really isn’t my name by birth, but mine by marriage. Even though the marriage didn’t last, I figured the name sounded cool, especially when paired with my first name, so I kept it.  This irritated the ex to no end and was far more convenient for me than reverting back to an earlier version of myself, something I am loathe to do.

Go check the site out then come back and tell me….

Are you an original?

 

Seedling Stories in Good Company

Ack!  What I really want to do is take my time.  I want jot the words down quickly then go back through slowly to edit and rewrite choosing each word carefully.  I want to think about ways to creatively portray the events and capture the sights, sounds, scents, emotions of the experiences of the last week.  There have been many. 

Last night out with friends listening to a local live band was one.  Hearing updates from both Mexico Friend and Chrismas Friend were others.  Another story is poking its way into my gray matter like a small bean sprout working its way out of the earth.  I don’t know whether to refer to this friend as the Bag Lady or Roadkill Jill?  I’m stumped on that one. Maybe she gets to be both.

But what I really don’t want to do is delay this wonderful day anymore.  I haven’t time this morning to meander here.  I’ve got plans.  I’ve usually got plans but these plans are going to absorb most of the next two days and I won’t be able to multitask like I do with housecleaning, laundry and home maintenance.  I’m going wine tasting and will have a wonderful dinner which I do not have to prepare for myself. There will be a movie and breakfast and who knows what else? Most importantly I will be in great company.

You know, the kind of company where the other person actually shows up and talks.  The kind of company where the either of you can begin the conversation and it can go any direction and there’s never a dull moment.  The kind of company where the humorous, dorky and silly moves seamlessly to deep, thoughtful, reflective and back again without so much as a break in the conversatonal tempo.  The kind of company you’ve known for a short while but feel so at ease with that it is as though you’ve known them for years.  The kind of company that makes you wonder why you didn’t meet earlier.

Yeah, that kind of company.

The where and what about my weekend isn’t so significant as the how…and I’m looking forward to it all. 

So, I can’t even edit this piece (I’ll have to do that later) nor can I savor the process of plunking out the new Friendship Stories bursting forth in the soil of my muddy mind. The stories can wait.  Company’s coming, and you don’t meet this kind of company every day.  After all, that could, quite possibly, be the most interesting story of all, well, at least to me.

The Wild Mind and her seedling stories will be in Good Company today!

Sleepovers and Re-Gifting: Fundamentals of a Good Marriage

My friend was in the kitchen last night finishing the last preparations for her kids’ lunches the next day.  Her husband walked in, smiled mischievously and asked, “Want to have a sleepover?”

“A sleepover?”  After 20 years of marriage and three children, she knew enough to be wary when he approached her in the kitchen. 

“Yeah, a sleepover,” he grinned, “You know.  You sleep over on my side of the bed.”

She laughed and rolled her eyes at him.

“I even have a gift for you,” he continued with his devilish grin.

Without missing a beat, she zinged this next comment his direction, “Oh, I’ve had that gift before!”  She paused for effect, looked at him in the eyes and said, “I think that’s called re-gifting.” 

Stunned at her smooth return of his banter and somewhat crestfallen he shrugged, “Well, okay then.” 

It’s just too bad we weren’t there to see the look on his face as his wife of twenty years lobbed the creative flirty serve back to him without missing a beat. She did that in style.  She put him in his place without insult or recrimination.  She stepped it up to his level, and matched him stride for stride in his fun antics.  I’m guessing they sleptover and regifted and enjoyed every minute of it.  She didn’t tell me that…but she didn’t have to…I’m smart that way you know.

 

Ahhh, tis the season!  Sleepovers and re-gifting.  The stuff marriages are made of.

 

As I watched this same friend interact with her husband last week when they stopped by my classroom during conference, I was struck with the same impression after hearing this story: these two have a great marriage.  They’ve been through some stuff, it hasn’t always been easy, they don’t always get along, sometimes they can’t stand to be in the same room together and they have all the experiences of married people who’ve been together since youth, built careers, birthed and brought up children together and are now in their 40’s.  The new, giddy fairy tale honeymoon bliss is long gone from their relationship or at least it has dimmed signifcantly.  But they have a great marriage. They have a marriage I dreamed of having when I was a girl but somehow wasn’t able to experience yet as an adult. They still laugh and joke together, they still communicate, they still respect each other, they are still working shoulder to shoulder together in the thing they are building called their family, their marriage and their home.  In her own words she says, “After all the garbage and stress of life is done, when we can finally be alone, we really like it.  We still really enjoy being together.”

 

Now that’s a fairy tale ending that doesn’t get any better. I am envious.  In a good way.  I am so happy for them and their children.  I long for that for myself.  And I am ever so grateful to know these two people because they crystallize for me certain aspects of what I am looking for in a long term committed (yes, it is insane) relationship. They remind me never to settle…never…ever!  I love having these two in my life, because in the very short time I’ve known them, they’ve showed me that what I suspected could happen between a man and a woman in love, does happen, it does last and it is not simply wishful thinking on my part.  They inspire me.  In all their middle aged responsible duties to each other, the kids the community, the new house, they just simply inspire me.  They give me hope.  

 

If I were to say what I think makes their marriage so good, it is that they still enjoy being together and they enjoy being together…alone.  They probably still enjoy it because they still make time for each other.  They haven’t ditched out on each other emotionally nor have they chosen any number of escapes that people can and often do choose when they grow apart from each other.  They are both still in it, working on it and respecting each other for their part in the project.  They can play and laugh and flirt in the kitchen during the most mundane tasks.  They still have fun on a “connection” level not merely on an activity level.  I think this is probably a vital element in the success of their marriage.  They have the “happily ever after”.  Not the perfectly ever after, but the happily ever after.  There’s a difference and these two get it.  

They keep their marriage fun by having sleepovers and re-gifting. 

 

Someday, someday…I will eagerly accept the invitation to sleepover on my man’s side of the bed and I will just love whatever regifting he has to offer.  Until then, it is so encouraging to know, in this day and age where over 50% of marriages fail and even more remarriages fail, that happily ever after does exist.