Archive | September, 2013

Being single

23 Sep

This morning, I deleted my account on a free dating site. Though I’ve had the account for quite some time, for some reason I was bombarded¬†yesterday¬†with messages from the men who least represent what I am looking for. I try not to be too judgmental about spelling and punctuation (I DO, but it’s hard!), but most of these men used no punctuation and did not know the difference between “no” and “know.” Two of them were in their early 30s (I’m 42). Almost all of them lived at least 45 miles away from me. Several had pictures of their Harleys or their huge pickup trucks. In my profile I said I really didn’t care about motorcycles or pickups or the fish they caught, but most people don’t read.

One of them started by asking me about how he could become a personal trainer, saying his retirement plan was to work for a big health club. I told him what I knew. Then, after he sent a message, I didn’t respond — there was no need. We were not getting to know each other. He was just making weird conversation. Then he got upset and said I should really put in more effort if I expected to get anywhere on that site. His last message, before I blocked him, was “Typical looser.” Ugh.

If you have never used a dating site, you should consider yourself lucky. I have tried both the expensive ones and the free ones, and the same people are on all of them. The same shirtless, shallow guys who say they are into fitness and workout daily and won’t go out with a woman who is “a few extra pounds.” The same pictures of motorcycles and pickups and fish and men with their kids or with a bunch of women surrounding them or with their ex cropped out of the picture. Of course there are good people, but there are a lot of crazies and weirdos and a few ex-cons. Not that I mind that so much. Some of my best friends are felons.

Well anyway, I deleted the account. And I don’t have another one on a different site.

The greatest desire of my heart is to have a partner. I do not need someone to fix me because I am not broken. I do not need someone to complete my life or fill it up because I have a full, incredible life. I do not need someone to “make me happy” because nobody makes you happy or makes you sad — you make yourself. And despite the occasional freak out about finances or hormone swing, I really am happy with every good and not-so-good thing in my life!

I want someone to share my days and nights. I want someone to go on adventures with me, to run on the trails and have a picnic and pick apples and find treasures at thrift stores. I want to cross the finish line at my next race and see someone waiting for me with a hug and a bottle of chocolate milk. I want someone to send me a “good morning, beautiful!” text message.

I don’t believe, as some people say, that I will find love when I stop looking for it. I don’t expect someone to come into my store and ask me for a date. I don’t expect to run into someone while I’m running and have that person become the love of my life. Maybe I should start expecting that, but then I’d still be “looking,” and most of you say that I shouldn’t be doing that.

I know a lot of people who feel the way I do — really wonderful people who have great self-esteem and great careers and great friends but are missing a partner. A lot of us are afraid to admit how badly we want a partner because people, usually married or partnered people, tell us we shouldn’t. Tell us we don’t need one. Tell us to love ourselves. Tell us to stop looking. That isn’t what we need from you. We need a prayer or a good wish that we will one day find that which we seek.

So I deleted another account. I’ll keep living my life, but I’m lonely out here in the suburbs so I’ll try to make more connections with friends. I’ll look into joining a club or something so I can meet people. I’ll work on not spending so much time by myself.

And I’ll keep believing that I will find a partner, that there is at least one person out there who is meant to be with me.

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Being a suburbanite

9 Sep

mary-tyler-moore-opening-creditsIt is not inaccurate or unfair to say that I used to be (and maybe still am) a city snob. I moved to Minneapolis 15 years ago into an apartment just a couple of blocks from Nicollet Mall, the main street that runs through downtown. I walked to work and took the bus when I needed it. I sort of imagined myself like Mary Tyler Moore — a carefree city girl who was so excited about living in the city that she would throw her hat up in the air and twirl around. I never did that, but once on a beautiful night when the snow was falling softly, I felt like doing it.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are separated by the Mississippi River. At the widest spot in our area, it’s probably less than 1/2 mile across. A car trip from one downtown to the other probably takes 10-15 minutes. Yet, many people who live in one city rarely cross over to the other side, and you often hear people who live in one city say how much they dislike going into the other. “The streets don’t make any sense in St. Paul,” say the Minneapolis residents. “Traffic is terrible in Minneapolis,” say the St. Paul residents. It’s been that way, I’ve heard, since the cities were founded.

Two years ago, I moved from a Minneapolis neighborhood to a small studio apartment in a St. Paul. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with St. Paul. Within a few blocks of my apartment there were restaurants, a Dairy Queen, gift shops, vintage clothing stores, two grocery stores, numerous coffee shops, a hardware store, a cheese shop, a fish market, and (though I didn’t care about these) bars and liquor stores. The river and running paths were 1.6 miles from my front door. The fire station was across a busy street, so there was a lot of noise, but I adored my neighborhood.

Then in May I quit my big-girl job of almost 10 years, and in July I began managing a running store in a suburb south of the city. My commute every day was 43 miles. Because I work in retail and don’t work 8-5, I never had to deal with traffic, but the distance and time and miles were adding up, so I very reluctantly decided to relocate so that I would be closer to work.

I seriously feared that I would lose ALL of my cool city girl points by moving to the suburbs. This is the land of strip malls, chain restaurants, and superstores. I live within walking distance of several gigantic car dealerships, Sears, Target, Olive Garden, and TGIFridays. It seems like everyone here drives an SUV or a huge pickup truck. I have always preferred to support small and independent businesses whenever possible, and in the city that was very easy to do.

But the fact is, there is character and personality to be found in the suburbs — you just have to be willing to look for it. Sometimes, but not always, you have to wander off the beaten path. I’ve discovered beautiful running paths, and I know there are many more to be found. I bought paint and supplies at a small(er) hardware store where the employees were all so helpful and knowledgeable. I saw two deer in the woods outside my back door. I met my neighbor, Lulu, when she had a garage sale on the weekend. “This is a nice neighborhood,” she said. “We take care of each other.”

I’ve only been in my suburban apartment for a little more than a week, so I have plenty more exploring to do. I have to say I miss the city, and I really do hope to get back there at some point. But for now, being a suburbs girl isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be as long as I keep an open mind. You won’t see me throwing my hat in the air and twirling around here though. I am sure the neighbors are watching.