Andshelaughs · Canadian Writers · dating · Dating Advice · Dating Advice for Men · Dating Advice for Women · Dating Over 40 · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Inspiration · Life · Living · Love · Lovers · Marriage · Motivation · Psychology · Relationships · Sexual Health · Sexuality

The Reveal: Who What Where When & Why

gladimetyouIt doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to impress a new colleague or lover. What you choose to reveal about yourself is carefully meted out and how you do it is often just as important.

In the age of social media, choosing how and what you reveal about yourself is tricky business. It’s a classic example of the uncomfortable overlap of persona; professional, personal and intimate.

Sometimes it feels akin to  panties twisted under your well-fitted jeans when you stand up to leave the table; you know it doesn’t look right, but there’s just not a damn thing you can do about it now.

I must admit that revealing myself in the professional arena is something that I find relatively easy. At a certain age your need to be respected by your peers over-rides your need for camaraderie outside the office. In other words; you’ve got all the friends you need, so why muddy the professional water?

Friends, well, friendship at a certain age become easy and more frightening all at the same time. Spending time with a new group of people doesn’t feel much different from when you were the new kid on the playground. You tend to revert; class clown, shy kid, or leader.

Lovers and intimate relationships on the other hand require more savvy, and are likely the most manipulated of all.

Good lovers are hard to find, and if you have the opportunity to reacquaint yourself with one, two, or even a handful (don’t judge me) from your past, it’s a sticky web to navigate without getting your signals crossed. That is, if you can figure out what signal it is you’re hoping to be received on the other end in the first place. This may take some time and hard self-analysis.

Years pass with all of the sunshine and storms life dishes out. Sometimes what once were smooth waters now require careful consideration as the landscape has changed and hard edges hide just beneath the surface. It takes a bloodied up scrape or two before you learn you don’t know what you thought you did, and that the person you once knew so well has changed. It’s odd how shocking the obvious can be.

Then there are other relationships. The keepers, the head-over-heels-make-me-feel-like-a-teenager-again fresh, new and yet uncharted.  That’s where we all lose our minds a little bit. In these cases, you should always, without fail or hesitation be yourself, be vulnerable, and allow yourself to be loved. Trust me, I know from experience, it’s easy to say and hard to do.

Vulnerability. Hmm…it’s something I struggle with, and in the past had great disdain for. But more and more now, I’m recognizing it for the treasure that it is. To be vulnerable with another human being is to open yourself up to the possibility of deep and lasting fulfillment.

It may or may not have been a personal experience that I had the good fortune of re-connecting (and I do mean reconnecting) with someone I’ve known for a long time but haven’t connected with for a couple of years. Our last little tryst wasn’t what either of us would refer to as a success.

This time, as we toasted our grand wisdom of planning some private time together with champagne, I noticed that his hand shook just the tiniest bit, betraying a confident exterior. A very sexy, confident exterior.

In the past I would have been turned off. There are very few things I can sexualize more than a confident man. But I guess I’ve changed too, because this time, I thought it was sweet and vulnerable, and facing your fears  a-la-mode in the boudoir, takes guts.

Just remember, whatever type of relationship you’re navigating, we all just want to be accepted. It’s not only you in the relationship, it’s the other, and they’re as terrified as you about earning their sea-legs on this ship of love. Take your time revealing yourselves to one another so you can enjoy the many faceted beauty of being beloved and lover.

Andshelaughs · Columns · dating · Dating Advice · Dating Over 40 · Girls Stuff · Guy Stuff · Life · Living · Love · Men's Issues · Psychology · Relationships · Romance · Sexual Health · Sexuality · Singles · Women's Issues

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.

Advice · andsehalaughs · dating · Dating Advice · Dating Over 40 · Girls Stuff · Lean In · Life · Living · Love · Meaning of Life · Men's Issues · Psychology · Relationships · Women's Issues

Middle-Aged & Single: Doing Whatever The Hell You Please

Man and Woman's Feet and ShoesTonight, as I sipped wine at a black-tie affair my mind politely wandered above the charitable small talk that chokes like  fog during such appearances.

My dinner companion and I spoke quietly to one another about a recent trip he had taken to a land far, far away from our little corner of urban Canadiana.

When we met just over a couple of years ago, we made fast friends. Not friends who go out together on the weekend, but kindred-spirit-friends. In each other we found camaraderie in our joint distain over anything unremarkable, and our unapologetic preference for the finer things in life; men, food and wine.

He understood when I told him about deeply scarring loss because he too had severed the ties of his youth and began a new life on his own. He has a pretty good idea where my mind travels off to when the music slows, and I’m emotionally and physically exhausted because I’ve worked too many hours.

So it was to him I confessed my middle-age anxiety about the true meaning of life, and plan to figure it out in the most fun, frisky and fickle ways.

“Go for it,” he said as his cuff-linked arm reached across to fill my wine glass…again.

Remaining single throughout life has not been an easy road, but he understands why I have chosen to remain so. He knows the impact of professional trauma, he’s lived in the same rural claustrophobia that I was suckled on, he knows what it’s like to be hurt and heal,  cover up the scars with designer suits and smile like he’s known nothing but joy his entire life.

When you meet someone like this, they are like a mooring ball in a sheltered harbor, safe from the storm. They are the diving bell you cling to when you stretch to make other human connections.

And so it was tonight, as we talked, I considered what exactly it means to re-connect with someone from my past who was pivotal in choosing the road I travelled in life and in love.

Is it another turning point? Is this where I swing wide the doors of my perception and take a path I’ve had a hunger for, for a very long time?

I’ve been very lucky to have had some wonderful lovers. I’ve been very free to do as I choose, and have adventures that none of my coupled friends would ever dream of having.  I do believe that taking and having lovers is highly under-rated.

We’ve defined this before my darlings. A lover is someone who adores you. They send you letters and flowers and thoughtful gifts. He serenades you at the baby-grand piano at his beach house while you sip champers on the picnic blanket he’s spread out for you on the floor, complete with fresh seafood, drawn butter, and pillows ready to cushion your head when he makes love to you on the floor..

Oh, and I do mean make love!  The lightest brush against a lovers lips should set your entire body on the edge of bursting.

A lover leaves a trail of rose petals to the bathtub where he has thoughtfully lit candles, purchased your favourite lemon-scented triple-milled soap and has the music of a classic jazz crooner playing.

Perhaps he has thoughtfully left a cold glass of freshly squeezed juice and two painkillers beside the bed to help the red-wine headache he knew you would have the morning after the night before and is currently down the hall in the kitchen preparing your very favourite hangover-breakfast, including salted tomatoes which he had to go to the store to buy while you continued to slumber undisturbed.

I suppose the point of all this is that at a certain age, a single woman realizes she is not going to have the love that lasts a lifetime. She realizes that all there is, is now, in this moment, and she’d better grab on with both hands and love the hell out of .

We all know that true love finds us where we least expect to be found; in the raw state of being human which so few people recognize.

So here’s to taking lovers, and living every precious moment with fearlessness and passion.

Art · Artists · Buddhism · Business · Business Advice · Creativity · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Lean In · Life · Living · Meaning of Life · Musicians · Philosophy · Professional Women · Psychology · Women's Issues · Writers · Writing

Thresholds

The truth can be seen from many doorways.
The truth can be seen from many doorways.

During recent months, I have come to some sort of peace, having I suppose, learned a lesson or two during my prolonged and regular attendance at the famed, School of Hard Knocks.

Go figure. Who knew that it would eventually pay off?

I’m kind of famous for being chatty, friendly, and a little folksy from my country-upbringing. I like to think of it as my own personal brand of charm. What most people fail to observe behind my bubbliness is that I do a lot of observing. Ironic, but true.

Some of the ‘isms’ I spout have been appropriate as of late. It’s almost as if there is a theme running in my life, and I’ve yet to learn the full lesson.

Recurring themes seem to be;

1) Just because I’m kind, does not mean I’m stupid.

2) You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

3) The truth can be seen from many doorways.

Quite often we meet one another at a threshold; our interactions are a constant balancing act of give and take, talk and listen, lover and beloved.

Thresholds happen to be the place where  most conflict is likely to happen. Thresholds are also the most likely place of transformation and personal growth.

Think about it, the last time you had a tiff with a loved one, you were likely at a doorway, or trying your hardest to get there.Thresholds offer the promise of escape and of safety. They can also be scary and crossing over one means you’re stepping into that frightening abyss of the unknown.

thinkingEach day we bring our selves to the world, and meet everyone we interact with at their threshold.

Think about that one for a while. Let it marinate in your lovely heart.

I’ve come to the conclusion that our personalities can be bright lights promising a welcome, comfortable place to interact as human beings, whether it’s the conversation you have at the grocery store checkout, or  part of a meeting with professionals.

We can also offer a threshold that is ever dark, foreboding, and menacing to approach. Of course there’s always the middle way as well, sometimes light and sometimes dark.

In work and in life I have often been criticized because I like to see the potential in everything, but after living with myself for so long, I’ve decided I’m ok with that.

I’m nobody’s fool, and I’d much rather swing wide the door of my compassion to the world, than barricade it with iron.

Decorate your thresholds accordingly my lovelies, you never know who may be seeking shelter.

P.S. Bringing a bottle of wine doesn’t hurt when you’re knocking…

Advice · Andshelaughs · Careers · Columns · dating · Friendship · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Lean In · Learning · Living · Love · Meaning of Life · Philosophy · Professional Women · Psychology · Relationships · Romance · Spiritual Living · Spirituality · Working Women

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are: Reflecting on the Past to Enhance Your Future

dreamscometrueI know a thing or two about grief. More often than not as of late, it’s been an exasperating, Charlie-Brown-sigh of, “Good grief”! This followed of course by in-my-own-mind muttering and long hot baths serenaded by my favourite crooners with copious amounts of wine. Admittedly, extreme levels of got-her-Ire-up call for tea as the hot Irish blood runs quick through these old veins.

Grief often makes people think of death, dying and final good-byes, but the reality is different the majority of the time. Loss without a death is more common and treated with less respect. Often it’s not recognized at all.

Sometimes it’s a loss of a relationship, and all of the hopes and dreams you had of your future together; partner, child, or career. Hmm…let that loll in your wee little mind for a while. It can be loss of all the wonderful things your body used to do but will no longer let you, or a lifestyle that no longer meets your needs, perhaps it’s even an aspect of your personality that got lost somewhere in adult-responsibility-land. Only you will know for sure.

When I followed my heart and chose a vocation rather than a job, the first career transition was traumatic. I suffered a deep depression. Everything that I had planned and dreamed of seemed to die right along with my resignation letter.

abetteroneWhen my marriage ended I was up to my neck in life; new motherhood, major losses through death and estrangement, and in order to get my life on track, I did not have the luxury of time to grieve any of that. I had to buck up and move on, but the need to grieve never left until I did the work of grieving years and years later.

Other relationships of all kinds have sparked and fizzled, and with each of them I learned and developed a deeper awareness of who I am, what I need and more importantly, what I am capable of giving. The wonderful thing about being human is that none of this remains constant throughout life. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something changes, and you adapt.

With each new beginning it’s natural to take a look back.

neverlookbakYes darlings, that’s right, it’s perfectly  normal, and likely a healthy view via the rearview mirror of life, so long as you’re not distracted from where you’re going.

Despite the pithy sayings about never looking back, and what’s in the past is best left in the past, it’s also important to reprocess experience as we age. I used to freak out thinking of my last relationship so much that it interfered with the one that I presently was in. Check that, it affected me so much that I would not enter into anything more serious than something that ended prior to 3 a.m.

At this delicious stage of life, I’ve allowed myself the space and time to reflect, reprocess and re-dream. Sure, life has not been like I had thought it would be like. If you told my 20 year old self all of the things I would have done in this lifetime up until this age, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Sometimes things really do fall apart so that the right things can come together.

If you don’t believe that in this moment, maybe you have to be more gentle with yourself and allow whichever loss you are grieving to crawl out from underneath the weight of all of your trying. Silence and solitude can be frightening when you don’t know what’s tangled up in the dark corners of your psyche. Trust me, whatever it is won’t bite, it just needs a little more of your attention and love.

Andshelaughs · Art · dating · Hollywood Bowl · John Mayer · Life · Live Music · Living · Love Songs · Lyrics · Music · Perspective · Poetry · Relationships · Writing

Edge of Desire

"...maybe this mattress will spin on it's axis and find me on yours..." ~John Mayer~
“…maybe this mattress will spin on it’s axis and find me on yours…”
~John Mayer~

I know, I know, I post this once or twice a year, but I love it.

It makes me think of you, and miss you, and feel nostalgic for the pain of loving you.

Sleep well, and if you love someone….

Advice · Andshelaughs · Columns · Creative Writing · Creativity · dating · Dating Over 40 · Education · Entertainment · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Health · Humor · Humour · Inspiration · Lean In · Life · Love · Meaning of Life · Men's Issues · Motivation · Opinion · Perspective · Relationships · Sexuality · Singles

The One That Got Away – VD Advice

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” ~Albert Einstein~
“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”
~Albert Einstein~

I’ve gone from English Lit snob to chick-lit/flick junkie. Yes, at this age, I’m pretty sure I know what the real world has going on, and more than that, certain that I know nothing at all when it comes to love. There are  movies that other women think that single women (of all ages) need to watch. These gems include Pretty Woman (still haven’t watched the entire movie from start to finish), Sex in the City (Seen it, seen it again, and again), and He’s Just Not that Into You (which I finally watched this week). What I learned from watching that movie is; no one, men or women have a clue what is going on when it comes to matters of the heart. Even a lady with as much experience as myself has no clue when it comes to love. Romantic love. Nope, nada, zip. In retrospect, the most insight I have is that I let a wonderful man go whilst trying to make a miserable relationship work. Instead of heading off into the sunset with a fellow whom I happen to know is a good man, I stuck in a relationship with a doofus. What can I say? I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Now Mr. Good Stuff is engaged to be married to someone else, and I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking. All I know for sure is; you don’t known unless you try, and trust someone’s actions not empty promises. So as VD creeps up on us once again, put yourself out there and let yourself be vulnerable to love.