Soap Operas, Harlequin Romances, and Heavy Drugs

daysofliveslogo There are some things that have never been a draw for me.  Soap operas, Harlequin romance novels and heavy drugs (or even really mild ones, for that matter) have never posed any particular temptation for me.  Even so, I remember the words from one of the soaps my mother, or maybe it was the babysitter, used to watch: “As sands through the hour glass, so are the Days of Our Lives”. 

Sand, hours, days, lives, soaps, romances and heavy drugs.  It’s an impressive lineup don’t you think? 

Heavy Drugs

Most of my childhood occurred during the seventies when there was a real emphasis on educating children about the dangers of drug use.  Fat lot of good that did any of us!  Sadly, all that well intentioned tax money was wasted on me.  I had, after all, the very best, real life, hands on drug awareness experience a child could have.  I had someone in my own home overdose, get hauled out on a stretcher (yes, picture three wide-eyed children under the age of eight, two bewildered and alarmed parents, large medical emergency vehicles with lights flashing, watching the live-in babysitter get hauled off on a stretcher).  Take one wild guess which of those three children was tasked with trying to awaken the body that had already slipped into a drug induced coma.  That’d be me. 

j0308903 No. Drugs, even in an effort to satiate my deep seated need to be accepted, approved of, and mostly to belong, never ever posed even the slightest temptation to me. 

Soap Operas

This is easy.  Force something on a child all the years they are growing up and, well, chances are they will either acquiesce and adopt the thing or they will rebel.  I had soap operas and TV and noise going on all throughout my childhood. I think this had something to do with having an aging father and two other siblings and living in a home where conversation and opinions and even dissension were not only tolerated, but welcomed.  I rebelled against the TV and noise but retained a love for all things passionate and articulate especially if they tend toward the nonconformist.  After leaving home, I never watched an episode of any of the daytime or nighttime soaps, I loathe TV except for the express and planned purpose of vegging out because I am so overwhelmed and just need to turn my mind off. If given the choice to stay in and watch a movie or something on television, I will opt to read a book, do something in the yard, surf the net, the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-by-stieg-larssontake my dog for a walk, invent cryptic status updates to annoy all my friends on Facebook (who haven’t yet hidden me) with, or write.  But, lately, I don’t have time for even that. Lies!  I’ll always make time for the status update messages, because, well, now I has iPhone!

Harlequin Romances?

This is a bit more convoluted because I love romance.  I love the idea of it.  I love the feel of it.  I love the hope and passion it can inspire.  But really?  If you’ve read one Harlequin romance novel, you’ve read them all.  Give me something along the lines of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, or Dumas’ The Man in the Iron Mask, or even the much more recent and sadly deceased, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy and I’m all in, but a Harlequin romance.  Ugh.  Yawn.  Not a draw for me. 

A Rehabilitated Internet Dating Junkie

In posts past, I’ve alluded to the fact, correction, I point blank declared, that I was an internet dating junkie.  I was.  I admit it.  I was successful with it too, if you consider being able to get dates with attractive, intelligent, employed men by merely posting a profile successful.  If the truth be told, I am still meeting and getting to know people that I “met” and began corresponding with online, over two  years ago.  My social calendar is exceptionally full these days and I haven’t had an online profile anywhere for months.  Okay, I lied, I tried out OKCupid.com and Zoosk on Facebook because I have several friends on Facebook that are dating coaches and, well, curiosity killed the cat. They suggested, I bit.  I’m over it now.  I was on each of those for two weeks, met one person in person who is fabulously interesting, but I could quickly ascertain that I neither have the interest or desire or energy to get back into the online dating thing.  Screening profiles, deleting winks, and wading through thousands of misspelled, poorly punctuated and horribly written profiles is, well, a lot like reading a Harlequin romance.  When you’ve read one…

Temptations and Time~Living Life in Face to Face World

ar120347955688524 The days of our lives can slip away from us like sand pouring through the narrowest portion of the hourglass.  The sand at the top appears untouched, but the sand at the bottom is fighting desperately to comply with gravity’s demands. Eventually, the entire lot of it cascades into the bottom portion of the hourglass.  This seems an appropriate analogy for much of life. 

For me, spending time in fantasy land like soap opera world, internet dating, drug use or reading Harlequin’s is just not something I want to do.  The false and superficial have never attracted me.  Give me an authentic disagreement (done respectfully, I hope) over a false veneer of cheery friendship any day.  When it comes to internet anything, it is so easy to hide, to disguise, to pretend, to escape.  This,  I’m learning, is a temptation that can be very deceptive.  After all the internet comfortably keeps people at a distance.  You can connect, without really ever having to connect.  Don’t want to talk to someone, just show up in stealth mode or “unfriend” them.  It’s the convenience of digital relationship.  Besides, who wouldn’t love to recreate themselves (if even for a few minutes) into something that only mildly portends a resemblance to the reality, or disappear into a relationship that holds the promise of the upside (fun, flirty, romantic and non-invasive) of relationship without any of the downside (how the heck are we going to decide which side of the bed you’ll be sleeping on? And why do I have to make room in my closet for you?). 

I’m also learning that this kind of relating, while useful for providing some entertainment value and escapist fun, does not really work for me.  I’m not twenty something anymore.  A few years back, I had to renew my driver’s license.  My picture, is awful, as most of them are.  Mine was especially bad, because as I was going through the renewal process I was crying.  I was aging, caught in a nightmare at that time I felt I could not escape and I truly thought my life was over.  My outlook is so different today. 

I’m still aging.  I can’t do much about that.  I ended the nightmare the best way I could, but I ended it.  The fallout from that has not been easy but life is good.  I’m meeting many fabulous new people through the adventures I’m having with the friends I already know in my face-to-face world.  Some of the digital relationships have bridged the gap from being merely digital to actually tangible, and, while romance isn’t running rampant in my life like weedy vines overtaking my garden, some very valuable and wonderful friendships have developed.  I’m busier than ever with work opportunities in an area where people are struggling to hold onto their homes after losing their jobs.  I’m meeting people in my community that I enjoy spending time with and who, while very different from me, are a source of friendship and camaraderie.  I’m healthier than I was at the start of the year, in every sense of that word, and I like it.  I’m busier than I’ve ever been and yet, less stressed and more content.  I find all of this slightly ironic, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth by over-analyzing it.  

j0179131I’m simply going to ride this horse where ever it will take me.

After all, life is short.  Far too short and far too valuable to allow it to disappear into the meaningless, the shallow, the pain-dulling fantasy escapes that come in so many forms whether, digitally digested, inhaled, injected or imbibed.

Heads Up! Seven Up!

lrg-32-valentine_082I remember it well.  The childhood game where seven children in the class are chosen to go to the front of the room.  On the directive, “Heads down thumbs up”, the seven students travel around the room, one by one touching the thumb of one of their classmates and returning to the front of the room. When all seven are back in their places the invitation, “Heads up, seven up” is issued and those seven students whose thumbs where chosen get to stand and try to guess who picked them.  If guessed accurately, they replace their classmate at the front of the room and then enjoy the privilege of getting to “touch a thumb” during the next round.  If not, the chosen student remains in their seat for another round. In this game, as in many such childhood games, there are the choosers, the chosen and those on the sidelines. 

As a teacher, I am amazed at how much kids still really enjoy this game.  As an adult, I am intrigued with the parallels which exist between this childhood game and life, particularly the life of those who find themselves, for whatever reason, single after 40. 

In Heads Up, Seven Up there are the choosers, the chosen and those who get sidelined.  The choosers in life, as in this childhood game, have the most fun or so it seems.  They are up front, making choices, determining by their decisions who gets to play and who does not.  The chosen, are given an opportunity to get in the game, but if they don’t make an effective choice, a perceptive determination, they remain as chosen or worse, they can be sidelined during the next round of play.  The sideliners are those un-chosen ones deemed by their peers as those who will not participate during a round of play. 

During the dating process, we all play each of these parts.  We can be the chooser, determining who we will select or who we won’t.  We invite some to play and sideline others.  We are confident.  We are in control.  We are choosing and shaping our destinies.  Most of us like this place.

Bikes and babes 3There are times in our lives, however, when the choices of others sideline us.  The partner who goes back on a commitment, the infidelity of a spouse, the unreliability or abandonment of the person you planned to spend the rest of your life with but who ended up choosing someone or something else instead of you.  Being served divorce papers, the death of a spouse, the pain of that precious connection going silent without explanation or, worse, just fizzling.  At these times, we find ourselves sidelined, inactive, unable to play, maybe by our own choice…for a time.  Often because of the choices of others or another who simply did not choose us.

Love and Relationship is one game everyone wants to play.  It is the one game that we all want to be involved in either as the chooser or the chosen.  We all dread the sidelines in the game of Love and Relationship.  We want someone to touch our emotional thumb and say, “I pick you!”  WeImage_0023 want someone to tell us they noticed us.  They noticed those things about us that make us special.  They appreciated those unique qualities in us enough to want to be around us and interact with us more often than not.  We want the opportunity to choose and be chosen.  When the words “Heads up, seven up” are called in the game of love we all hope we get to stand at least during one round of play. We hope our guess is right and that we can aptly match the feel of the touch to the owner of the hand.

None of us like the sideline position where we simply watch others play the game that we so deeply desire to be part of ourselves.  This sideline position can be a healthy respite for a time, as we heal from an especially disappointing round of play, but as a permanent state of existence it is simply not ideal.  For some it is even painful. 

Just as in the game Heads Up! Seven Up!  everyone eventually gets to play at least once, so it seems is the case for most people in The Game Of Love.  How long each of us play or how often varies, but it seems that at one time or another we all get the chance to stand on cue and take a whack at making a choice. 

Where are you these days? 

  • Are you in the place of choosing? 
  • Are you there with your head down and your thumb up, hoping you will be tapped for the next romantic encounter?
  • Have you by your choice or the choices of others been sidelined? 
  • Where are you?  How do you feel about it?
  • If you don’t like your current place in the game, what, if anything, will you do to place yourself so that you are happier with your level of participation?

Sucks to Be Single in Over 40 Land

It sucks to be single in Over 40 Land.  Here’s why:

I don’t know how to change the light fixtures.

I can’t get the rest of the leaves blown and bagged and I’d rather be blowing and bagging other things and I can’t do that either. (Gads did I actually just write that?)

I had to hang my outside Christmas lights all by myself.  I’d like to have somebody else hanging my lights and turning them on!  (Did I just write that too?) 

I have to keep the fire burning…alone…oh wait, I already did that before anyway.  And, wait, what fire are we talking about because there’s one fire that’s completely non-existent these days. 

I have to clean out the fireplace…alone…oh wait, I already did that myself before too.

I have no one to fight with over the covers at night.

I have no one to keep me warm at night except my kids and they kick me and flail.

I have no one to criticize the way I decorated the tree. 

I have to attend all the kids’ events alone and act like I’m okay with it.  I was okay with it…at first…I am now getting sick of it. 

I hate going to Christmas parties by myself.  Hmmm, maybe I should hire an escort…like that’s EVER going to happen!  I can’t even hire a housekeeper anymore or lawn maintenance.  Gasp! 

I really don’t like sitting in my hot tub alone, although, I do it on occasion.

I have no one to call bullsh*t on me when I’m completely out to lunch.  Well, okay, my kids do this occasionally, but c’mon, they’re my kids.

I don’t have anyone who will show me how to use the chainsaw, pour cement for the front walks and help me  rebuild the destroyed inground sprinkler system.  (How it got destroyed is topic of another blog many years from now.) Looks like I’ll be Googling how to pour a cement walkway and doing it myself.  I do everything myself.

I have no one to go grocery shopping with who will pack out the huge dog food bag so I either do it myself or call for help.  I hate that.  I’m convinced Mr. Right will not appear while I’m wandering the aisles at the local grocery store.  Even if he did, what’s he going to do, chase me down, get my license plate number and then call me?  Get real!

I have no one to check that dark stain on the driveway under my car and tell me something is up AGAIN with my car. And, of course, I have no one to fix it.  

I have no one to sit nicely and encouragingly through my attempts at cooking while I try to get better.  My kids DO NOT help with that.  When they are gone, well, it’s just no fun cooking a meal for one.  However, it can sometimes be fun drinking a bottle of wine for two all by yourself.  A small bottle…

I have no one to dream with.

I have no one to play with…and…you know what I mean…

It’s just me these days.  And, sometimes, quite frankly, it just sucks.

Not always though.  Next post might be about all the things I really like about being alone.

Into Every Autumn Some Leaves Must Fall…Somewhere…In My Case Everywhere!

Ahhh, the beauty of autumn.  It is truly my favorite time of year.  Alright, the fact that I’m writing this just about two weeks before Thanksgiving might qualify this time of year as winter…for many…but for me…it is still autumn. Besides that, I think winter doesn’t officially begin until sometime in December anyway according to the calendar…but…who cares? It was definitely the perfect autumn day in my small town the day I pulled out my new leaf blower.

It was the perfect day to try out the blower I purchased for 25 bucks at the local Wal Mart.  The blower proved to be much better and more powerful than the one I had before, which gave up the ghost several months before.

I had a blast, until I realized that I had purchased a blower that had a much smaller blowing capacity than the two feet deep leaf cover I had going in my backyard.  Okay, even after that realization, I still had fun…even though it took me three hours to blow the leaves and clean them up.

The next day, just as many leaves had fallen.  The following week brought heavy rains and a great deal of fog ot our valley…and the leaves continued to drop.  The backyard now looks just as it did before I blew the leaves last Saturday.

I don’t even care.  I love trees and I love my new blower.  There’s just something about a good power tool!   Guess what I’ll be doing this Saturday, that is, if it isn’t raining?  That’s right. Blowing my yard clean of leaves. Why?  Because it’s just weirdly fun to have a clean yard that’s why…plus I just like the idea of blowing leaves around all day.