Friday, 2 November 2012

Lessons From Sam

Excerpts from conversations between Sam (S) and Me (M):

Lesson 1: Volunteering for causes you know little about so that the cool kids will like you = bad idea.
S: Remind me why you volunteered for this committee at work?
M: I like the people on it, and I want them to be my friends.
S: But you've been stresing out about the article you need to write for days now.
M: I need to submit it this week.
S: It's a volunteer committee - it's supposed to be fun.
M: I know.
S: That's it. It's getting late. Turn off the computer and go to bed. Tomorrow, you get in touch with these people and tell them you just don't have time for this right now. Which, let's be honest, is true. This is getting ridiculous. You've been up late three nights in a row spazzing out about your volunteer work. These people will like you even if you don't join their stupid committee.
(This actually turned out to be true. They invited me to their party tomorrow.)

Lesson 2: Starting a new job + getting divorced = you can't be there for everyone, all the time, everywhere.
S: You can't do it.
M: She needs me.
S: This is obviously stressing you out.
M: I know. But, you don't get it. I have to do this.
S: No, you don't.
M: Yes, I do.
S: Look, you are working the equivalent of two full-time jobs and dealing with a divorce. This is going to have to be one of those times that someone else plays the role of supportive friend.
M: Seriously. You really don't get it. I have to do this. You just don't understand.
S: No, I DO understand. You are running yourself ragged. You have enough on your plate. This is too much.
M: Look, clearly you don't get it. I don't want to talk about this anymore.
(Then, in the middle of the night, I had my first - and hopefully last - anxiety attack. Score: Sam 2, Me 0.)

Lesson 3: I am attractive (Ok, I know that sounds so arrogant, but I'm still going to leave it there.)
S: That guy we just walked past was totally checking you out.
M: No, he wasn't.
S: Yes, he was. Do you think he was turning his head to get a second look at me?
M: Fair enough. He could be gay though.
S: Well, I was with a girl, so he probably figured out that I'm not gay.
M: Point taken.
S: You're a beautiful girl, you know.
M: That's nice of you to say.
S: I'm not just trying to be nice. It's true.
M: I already said you're not spending the night.
S: This is not about sleeping at your apartment. However, if you change your mind, let me know. Anyways, you're very attractive, and you should know that.
(After the trauma of the breakdown of my marriage and the divorce proceedings, 'attractive' is hardly how I felt. I think I will always have a special place in my heart for Sam for reminding me that even in my brokenness, I can still be seen as attractive.)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Welcome to November!

Hello dear readers! Welcome to a new month in blogland. November is slated to be a month focused on relationships.

As you know, I recently inadvertently started casually seeing someone. I had not planned to start dating again until January (which, handily enough, coincides with the blog month themed 'New Beginnings'). But, sometimes life throws you a curve ball. So, I'm sure that navigating this crazy new world of romance will provide ample entertaining blog fodder. However, what I am surprised to be discovering is how much I am learning about myself and life in general through my budding pseudo-relationship (if you can call it that). Sam is someone who went through some major life upset about a year before I did. To his great credit, he used to the opportunity to do some serious introspection and personal growth. Now, he regularly doles out pearls of wisdom when I am being a spaz (which, let's be fair, is pretty often these days). In the weeks to come, I will pass along some of these gems to you.

Other relationship types I intend to touch on this month (ie. beyond relationship with self, with romantic partner) will be the concept of friendship and family.

So, lofty goals considering last month I fell off the blogosphere and only produced a handful of entries, but things at work are calmer and should allow for more personal time.

As usual, feedback welcome. I always love receiving emails and reading comments.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Single Girl Snippet: How You Know You Have Good Friends

Excerpt from telephone conversation between close friend (C) and me (M):
C: Hey, you got a second?
M: Yeah, for sure.
C: So, your new guy...
M: Yeah?
C: Ok, so he seems really nice and all. But..
M: Mmmhmmm?
C: I Googled him.
M: Oh.
C: Look, obviously what you do is up to you. I just wanted to make sure you were aware.
M: Thanks.

And this is how you know you have good friends.

It would be a easier to not call up your friend in another city after Google-stalking the guy she is casually seeing. However, that's not what my friend did. And for that, I am very grateful. It means she cares. It also means that there are people looking out for me to help prevent a second round of "I married a knucklehead."

Naturally, I had to do my own Google stalking. Then, I had to have a serious heart-to-heart with Sam. All I will say on the issue is that sometimes Google doesn't give you the whole story. That said, Sam is aware that I see the issue in question as a bit of a red flag. So, we've agreed to spend a bit of time getting to know each other, and plan to revisit the issue should things move in the direction of an actual relationship. Conversely, he doesn't need to know all the gory details of my marriage and divorce (which, thank God, are not available via Google) at this time either. Everyone has their baggage.

Monday, 29 October 2012

How to Inadvertently Start Dating Again

First, I apologize for the lack of blog posts this month. I had intended on spending the month simplifying my life, but I actually made it more complex. In the midst of the complexity and chaos, something had to give. Unfortunately, it was the blog. However, that said, I realized I miss blogging. The exercise forces me to reflect on my personal growth journey and move forward, rather than stagnate or spin my wheels in anxious circles. So, I'll try to update things more frequently in the future.

So, the question on everyone's mind, it seems (based on all the emails and texts I have been receiving), is where have I been this month. The answer is twofold. First, I have been clocking in an ungodly number of hours at my job. Second - and, to be frank, the real reason blogging got the boot for a few weeks - I met a boy.

This is the story of how I inadvertently started dating again.

You all remember Sam, I'm sure (the Sam stories are apparently some of the most popular posts on this blog). In case you don't, the story in a nutshell is that my coworker's roommate hit on me at a party over the summer. More recently, my coworker reintroduced us on the pretext that we both wanted to learn to dance and should therefore take lessons together. I told Sam I didn't want to date anybody, was getting divorced, blah, blah, blah... He said that was fine and suggested we be friends.

THEN, I had a super crappy day at work. Like the kind of bad day that at the end of my career I will look back on and be all like "Whoa, now THAT was a bad day!" I got home from work much later than expected. It just happened that this was the evening Sam was supposed to drop by for tea to discuss dance lessons. Sam offered to postpone when he realized I was running so late. I said I was really busy that week, so better just to leave our plans as they were (Confession: in my head, I was thinking "I don't want to give up another weeknight over this"). I walk in the door, change into yoga pants, a camouflage workout shirt, and a hoodie. In my head, this was not a date. I was tired and grumpy. I was in my own apartment. I like yoga pants and hoodies.

Sam came later than I had said was the minimum time I needed to wolf down some dinner before he arrived ("I wanted to make sure you were comfortable," he later said). Now, unlike yours truly, Sam arrived freshly showered, nicely dressed, smelling really nice, and had a bottle of wine in hand. Dance lessons never came up in the ensuing conversation, and the evening didn't entirely end on a platonic note. Ok, I just realized that sounds way more suggestive than what actually happened. He kissed me. That's it. And you know what, it had been a long time since someone had kissed me. It was nice. We agreed to see each again.

The next couple of weeks established a pattern of evening visits involving tea at my apartment with me in yoga pants and a sweatshirt, and him nicely dressed and freshly showered. He eventually told me that he was willing to tolerate the yoga pants, but that the camouflage workout shirt had to be reserved for workouts only. I guess this is fair.

And so, it's been about a month now. I don't think this is my Mr. Right, but he really has been a gift in my life as a Mr. Right Now. I'll write more about lessons from Sam in weeks to come.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Single Girl Snippet: Pinch Hitting for the Husband

As some of you may remember, when I moved into my current apartment this summer, I went on a fierce independent furniture-assembling spree. There were shelves, coffee tables, a bed, and a rather large sofa.

Excerpt from a conversation between a male neighbour (N) and me (M) the other day:
N: Is your couch from Ikea, too?
M: Yup. I quite like it, actually. A little tough to put together because the pieces were so big and heavy though.
N: You put it together by yourself?!
M: Obviously. What else was I supposed to do? There was nowhere to sit in my apartment.
N: Why didn't you call me?
M: We had only met once at that point, and it seemed kind of weird to then invite you over to assemble my furniture.
N: You should have called.

One of the many challenges in navigating the transition from 'wife' to 'single girl' are these moments in time when life would just be so much easier if someone with a muscle mass bigger than my own were around. Being fairly stubborn, I generally figure out a way to get around the problem. But, the conversation with my neighbour the other day made reflect on how a) I am prone to making life more complicated than it really needs to be, and b) I am actually surrounded by people who would be happy to pinch hit for the various roles in my life my husband played. The reality is just that in my new life, my best friend, confidant, muscles, shoulder to cry on, advice giver, etc are no longer all the same person. Though it's a bit of a mental gear shift, I'm very grateful to be as well supported as I am.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

More Meditation

October is the month of simplifying and living in the moment. Seems like a good time to learn to meditate. Becoming a bona fide meditator remains an elusive quest. Some of you may remember my first uncomfortable foray into the world of meditation classes. My do-it-yourself approach to meditation at home was also an epic fail - I've been on the same page of Jon Kabat-Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living for over a month. Recently, I went back to the meditation classes down the street. Last class, all I needed to do was stare at a candle and then share my reflection (initially, we were told the sharing was optional, but then the entire group shared and looked expectantly at me. I'm not sure that my whole "I'm new to this and had a hard time quieting my mind" was what they were hoping for. I thought that sounded better than "I'm going to have stir-fry for dinner" which is what I was really thinking about.) Anyhow, the candle staring was bearable. In fact, I was encouraged that maybe I could learn to even like the exercise. Tonight's class, however, was another dose of radical meditation:

Excerpt from the teacher's instructions (T) and my inner dialogue (I):
T: Ok, everyone come and form a circle with your legs out in front of you.
I: Everyone else here seems to be BFF's. I don't know about this snuggle up in close stuff.
T: Alright, really, come in close. We are trying to form a circle.
I: That was definitely directed at me. Who knew that lightbulb shape wasn't close enough to circle for a pass. Better scoot in a bit.
T: Now look around. Be comfortable seeing your peers. Be comfortable being seen.
I: This is a little too up close and personal. I wonder if anyone would notice if I just stare at the candle instead of making eye contact with all these strangers.
T: Now, close your eyes...
I: Oh, thank God! Finally some relief from all that soul gazing.
T:...And grab the hands of the people sitting next to you while keeping your eyes closed.
I: Ooookay, so we are all snuggled in tight here reaching for each others hands. This could go verrrry wrong.
T: Now REALLY feel the other person's hands...

After the pseudo-hand massages, we all breathed out loudly while chanting a loud Ahhhh. I'm kind of glad I go to these things alone because I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face otherwise.

Anyhow, in spite of the craziness and the uncomfortable feelings, I felt unusually calm and relaxed walking home from meditation class. Maybe this is just the medicine I need.

Anyone out there have experience with meditation? What helped you learn to quiet your mind?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Looks Like It's 10/12/12

If you were waiting with bated breath after October 12th's post, here is the answer as to whether October 12th would manifest my Mr. Right: nope. In spite of the heels, makeup, and a cute dress, the Universe did not provide.

So, ladies and gentlemen, apparently December 10th, 2012 is going to be the magic day. I'll have to put it in my planner. ;-)

Let's all keep our fingers crossed!

Photo Source

Friday, 12 October 2012

12/10/12 vs 10/12/12

A few weeks after separating from my soon-to-be ex-husband, I read The Soulmate Secret. Some of you may recall the collage I created as a result of this book.

Another exercise recommended was to close my eyes and visualize the date I was going to meet Mr. Right. This is what I saw (yes, in big, bold red numbers just like these):






The first two numbers kept switching places. Now, this was back in January. Both October 12th AND December 10th seemed like a lifetime away. However, here we are: October 12th, 2012 is upon us.

Probably a good day to wear heels and makeup. ;-)