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Being Single; Protecting Your Go-Juice

relaxonbeachIt seems that single people are the great catch-basin of sympathy for those friends negotiating marriages or the equivalent.

Our relationship troubles get us a pat on the head, and the standard, simple advice of, ‘If you don’t like it leave’.

A lot of coupled folks live their courage vicariously through us singletons.  Common platitudes include; You don’t need anyone, you’re independent, it’s time for you to focus on  your career (interchange that with a hobby, parenting, or some other such bullcrap), you don’t need a man/woman.

It’s easy for these folks to casually waive their ringed-fingers in the air and brush away our trite singleton emotional pain when, at the end of a hard day, they have someone to come home to, someone to snuggle up with, and someone to help negotiate the financial waters.

Yah, we get it. Relationships are not easy, and they take work. Why do you think it’s taken us so damn long to find someone we can live with? We understand why your spouse irritates the hell out of you. We really do. That’s why we didn’t marry them. We also understand why you irritate the hell out of them too.

There is an understood law of friendship that unless it is a true emergency, you don’t call after or before certain, civilized hours. Oh wait, that’s for coupled folks only. Single people stay up partying all night and writing their manuscripts. I wish. This long-weekend alone, I have been woken up every single morning with a text or call from a married pal in crisis, been needed (in person) for emergency advice out-of-town, and in my own living room.

Last night, I had a chance to put my feet up and enjoy a simple, quiet evening watching the ball game. By that time, My Go-Juice(you know, the fun energy that keeps you going) had run out, and I was in need of recharge time. I’ve been in need of recharge time for six months, but have neglected it too long.

I’m already counting down to my next holiday, and have narrowed down my escape destination to two options.

During the past few weeks I’ve come to realize just how burnt out,  in need of nurturing and good company I am.

If you are single, and find yourself constantly being asked for energy and time, it may be time to re-evaluate. Are you the one always organizing dinners, lunches or trips? Do your pals give you the brush off when you talk about your relationship struggles, but expect a kind ear when they bitch about their partners lip-smacking appreciation of anyone other than them, their messy habits, inability to communicate, lazy or alternately hyper libido?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then it’s time to recharge and re-fill your Go-Juice.

It’s ok to say no when you have nothing left to offer. God forbid us singletons get so cozy in ourselves that we’re happy handing out the candy-equivalent of peanuts for apathetic advice; If you don’t like it, leave.

It’s not that simple now, is it folks?

No, relationships are complex, fluid, wonderful things. Especially our friendships.

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If Change is as Good as a Rest, I Should be In a Coma

moving forwardSeriously God, universe, or whatever is out there playing with my life. Stop it.

Subtlety has never been my strongest character trait. Nor is gracefulness, although, I believe I have been more studious this year about cultivating grace in my life.

Rigidity, focus and drive are all qualities that I have in abundance.

Maybe that’s what the latest lessons in life have been sent to teach me; relax, let it all just happen, and for the love of all that’s holy, breathe.

Loss has been a theme this year. Yippee, just what every middle-aged woman wants. Loss and more loss.

As a late-night, bourbon-soaked email from a friend reads, “You are nothing if not resilient. It’s a great quality.” It’s hard as hell to cultivate though, and I wonder what price I’ve paid for it, or if I’ve really paid any price at all.

Loss of family, a lover, and now potentially home.

More than anyone else I’ve ever known, I’ve reinvented myself time after time. Earlier this year I decided that should I throw my lot in with the love of my life it would not involve a change of workplace or home. Turns out that was the least of my worries with said gentleman.

Stability doesn’t get the street-cred it deserves. In your 40’s, it’s pretty sexy. Scary too as you realize that it’s taken the place of spontaneity and the potential titillation of surprise.

I’m much more cautious about change than I used to be. In the past, I’ve jumped headlong into change without fear or investigation. I just jumped, giddy for a new experience and the vast potential for what kind of story it would turn into.

So, as I begin to assess the possibility of a move,  I wonder if change would be as good as a rest, or if it would push me over the ever-loving edge of sanity. I wonder if I wonder too much?

so differentJust over a month ago, at the end of a relationship, I read this quote and rolled my eyes thinking, “Nope. Everything is, pathetically, exactly the same.

And then I was offered a new job. Old flames turned old friends reappeared in time to soothe my aching heart, and now the potential change of venue for the place I call home.

Hmmm….

Life does really change like this; unpredictably and always, always, always, faster than we’re comfortable with.

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When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

IMG_6406I wasn’t going to write tonight.

What I wanted to do was to turn out the lights, curl up in a ball and shut out the world.

What I really wanted to do was to turn out the lights, curl up in a ball with my sweetheart, and shut out the world, possibly hearing those magic, fairytale words, “It’s ok”.

I don’t have a sweetheart to curl up with, and I can’t sleep. Right now, it’s not ok.

You see, today, despite always trying to be kind, loving and the world’s greatest promoter of open communication, I was hurt by two people very dear to me.

Call it what you will; lying, omission, whatever.

Being played for a fool, and not being trusted with emotional content is the emotional equivalent to tunneling through my heart with a grapefruit spoon. It’s messy, and it hurts like hell.

When someone  isn’t honest with me, I figure it’s for one of two very basic reasons; They’re afraid of being judged, or they’re an asshole.

Very few people I care about would fall into the latter category. So that makes me think that it’s something that I’ve done wrong. I must make them feel like I’m critical…They must think I’m stupid…They must be ashamed and are afraid to tell me…I’m a terrible person who makes people feel like they can’t talk to me….

And so it goes. I beat myself up and feel like my best just isn’t good enough. I feel like I’ve failed the people whom I care the most about.

Guilt, sadness and feeling inadequate; The trifecta of feeling like crap. There is never any rejoicing in being lied to or taken for a fool.

I practice what I preach when it comes to matters of the heart. I leave it all out there every day. I don’t miss an opportunity to let someone know I’m thinking of them, and I always, always, always tell them I love them.

Life is, by the way, a matter of the heart. Just in case you forgot what being a human being is all about and have mistaken it for a game of who can acquire the most stuff, the quality of your character matters, not the quality of your clothing.

I know that being able to open yourself to love is the cost of being loved. In other words, if you put it all out there, like I do, it’s a risk. But it’s a great risk. If you don’t allow yourself to be seen (in the spiritual sense), you don’t allow yourself to be loved, nurtured, or to grow in the warm light of relationship.

As my humble roots might mutter, “If you half-ass it, you’ll get half-assed results”.

For wearing my heart on my sleeve, I’ve had it beaten up, mocked and treated like hell.  It’s a tough old heart, but it’s just as tender on the inside as it was when I was a school girl with the school girl crush, and that’s the way I plan on keeping it.

After all, if you don’t put it out there, the right people will never be able to capture and care for it.

When your best isn’t good enough, it’s ok to be sad, to cry, to feel alone, and to dig your heels in and battle on in the name of all that you believe to be good and true.

 

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Uncorked

Friday Eve…



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Can’t Get to Paris? Call in the Reserves!

doitlaterThere are days when we reach our limit way before the work day ends.

That’s why as a species, we have developed such civilized alternatives as recreational wine drinking, shopping, spa days and hot, sweaty, life-affirming romps. Can I get an, “AMEN”, ladies?

As I often do during my long, and tedious, urban-gridlock-hell commute home, I called my nearest and dearest relative. Let’s call him Mark for the purposes of our little light reading liaison, shall we?

We chat about everything and anything, and tonight he allowed me to reflect upon my ambivalent take on life. I constantly teeter on the ledge of sensible middle-aged-single-mamma-bear, and the dark, abyss of, you-only-live-once-hell-cat. I’ve very rarely been bored, depressed or lonely when I lean to the hell-cat side.

To jet to Paris this fall for a dream concert, or to play it safe and remain at home, taking my annual December break to bake, wrap and cook so the house feels like Christmas?  I want Paris, but who knows which way it will all play out.

What it boils down to,” I said to Mark as I sped through another intersection-under-construction, “is that at this age, and by my genetic calculations, I’m well past middle age. I mean I see it every day. People think they have all the time in the world to do things, and then, “BAM,” they’re dead.”

We nattered about life, the ups the downs, the good things, the bad things, and various and sundry philosophical ideas that are far beyond the intellectual reach of the average human.

Whether you’re dreaming of Paris, Venice, or a secluded château in the Mediterranean, you really should have a go-to, completely achievable back-up plan that you can call in like the army calls in the reserves.

So tonight I called in the big gun. Pun absolutely, and deliciously intended.

Beyond an afternoon sipping wine in the member’s lounge at the art gallery, an evening sipping Bordeaux with one of your besties, or a jeans-and-sweater beer night with your colleagues, is a serious, hedonistic rendezvous that leaves your legs weak and your body spent.

Always, always, always have a back-up plan ladies, because sometimes what you need is to not think about Paris, or work, or home or your own personal morals values and ethics. Sometimes, if you feel as lost as I do, more than anything, you just need each and every cell in your body to relax, be nurtured, loved and let’s not forget…awakened. Mmm….

Sometimes the best thing to do is call in the reserves, and allow them to give you a thorough and proper love-making session. For those of you with partners, make it special. If you require an explanation or instructions about how to make it special, your partner likely needs a back-up and you need a kick in the ass.

If you are single, or particularly adventurous, you already know what to do, and how to make it ‘special’.

After an-I-lost-track-of-too-many-days-at-the-office, and a whole lot of sadness on my mind, I broke down tonight and called in the back-up, the big-guns, the reserves…

The conversation went a little like this; “Hey.”

Hey..” His voice always purrs.

“You know I wouldn’t call if it wasn’t and emergency..”

….and that was that. The wine is ready to be loosed in our bloodstream. The candles will be lit, the music will be just right, and I will time the end of my very hot, very relaxing bubble bath to coincide with the knock on my door…

It may not be a forever kind of love, but it’s a grand friendship and I’ve been able to count on him for a long time.

Pick up the phone and prepare to execute your battle plan.

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When Nothing Matters, It Matters Most

Toast 1Despite having a career which could easily see me lost day and night in the good and meaningful work I am blessed to be able to do, the energy I have to do that work comes from making time for rejuvenation, shenanigans, and spending time being nurtured by the people who love me.

Stirring honey into my tea today, I overheard a woman exclaim that she was feeling overwhelmed, and complaining that going away for a holiday just made it harder to come back and get up every day to get back to work.

I slipped my wooden stir-stick into the trash and stole a quick peak at her from under my luscious locks. She was a bit younger than me, and clearly, unbalanced.

That’s not a cynical observation.

She looked to be carrying the weight of the world even though she was sipping a gourmet beverage in an upscale coffee shop with a friend willing to listen. “Why is life so difficult“, her high shoulders seemed to be whimpering. I know shoulder language, because more often than not, my own shoulders are tensed right up to my ear lobes, and the margins in my life are tighter than cycling shorts on a man smack dab in the middle of a mid-life crisis.

You read that right. Men in cycling shorts should never happen. Ever.

Anyway…

Balance; the-shoulds-of-a capitalistic-society verses the shoulds of, Deep-down-I-am-a-free-thinking-spiritual-lush. Recently I’ve been up to a little ‘make herself happy’  balance plan.

laughingwomenFood, wine and friendship, the great triumvirate of happiness. Combine those three, and I’m a happy woman.

Before I allowed my joy to be stolen by a grand conspiracy of single-parenthood, economic necessity, and surrender, I was the queen of food, wine and friendship, the duchess of do-it-all-and-then-some, the grand-dame-of-damn-that-woman-can-dance. Oh yah, I lived in and for the moment.

That was long ago and far away, but not an impossible attitude to resurrect.

Trying to be a responsible-adult-woman, the final strike was entering into a relationship with a man who ruined all three for me; food, wine AND friendship.  I carried on in the relationship because that’s what I thought I was supposed to be doing when in fact, I was supposed to be doing whatever the hell I felt like.

Life as I knew it and dreamed it was over when that relationships ended. It was both heartbreaking (there would be no big, happy family or new babies) and emancipating. Turns out, I’m not sure I was ever convinced, other than the apparent security, that a traditional relationship was best for me after so many years of doing everything on my own.

More than a man who needed to lead, it turns out I need a man who values laughter, discovering new food, wine and ways of making sure moments matter even if it’s just sitting in companionable silence. I thought I had  someone like that making a place in my life this summer, but I was mistaken. Must have been the wine.

On my way home from the office I stopped on a whim and picked up a couple of bottles of wine to hold me over until the vintage release this weekend. I found a much coveted Italian varietal, and another which conjures a warm, no.  Wait. Not warm. It conjures memories of an electrically charged, white-hot  and carefree love-affair, aptly birthed in Sonoma, California and named Folies a Deux.

I will take my charming new find to be uncorked at a French restaurant tomorrow evening to share over a meal and wonderful conversation.

Being excited to try new wine, try new recipes, make time for friends, writing, and maybe a little tryst in a land far-far-away means I’ve got the groove back I thought I had lost.

"We all begin as stringers..."  ~ANDSHELAUGHS~
“We all begin as strangers…”
~ANDSHELAUGHS~

What on earth was I thinking? When you’ve got it, you can never lose it.

Get out there and be fabulous darlings. There is exquisite wine held hostage in bottles just waiting to be emancipated. There is savoury food waiting to dance on your palate, and friendships that need rekindling.

I also have a suspicion that there are delectable men who are worthy of wooing us, just waiting for our school-girl hearts to bow to the sage wisdom of serendipity.

 

 

 

 

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