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Choosing a different path

13 Jul

woods

A dear friend once told me that every time he asked how I had been since the last time we spoke, I would always begin by telling him if I were dating anyone. He said I defined myself by my relationship status, and it seemed to be the most important thing for me to discuss when I was asked about myself.

Since that day, I have worked very hard not to begin a description of myself, or the answer to your question about what’s new with me, by telling you if I am currently single or otherwise. The fact remains, however, that the search for a partner has been a central focus for most of my life. I have often said that finding a partner was the greatest desire of my heart, and everyone who knows me knows this about me.


But for a while now, I have been standing at a crossroads looking back down the path I’ve worn bare and considering that perhaps the other path–the one less traveled–is the right one for me.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

From The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost


What if it’s possible that some of us are not meant to be with a partner? Or what if we are meant to love many people and not just one special soulmate? I’ve been considering these questions and thinking that maybe, just maybe, traditional partnership is not my thing.


I like being single and I’m good at it, and I have a rewarding and beautiful life! But from time to time I miss having someone to hold my hand or snuggle me during a movie or sit with me on the patio and ask about my day while we sip fruity drinks. Would it be possible for me to remain “single,” whatever that means, but find a way to fulfill those needs for companionship or intimacy with friends who love and care about me?


Maybe you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal Wendi?” To me, it’s a monumental change in the way I see myself, the way I operate in the world, and in the focus of my intentions. Sure, perhaps I’m overthinking it. It’s a big deal to me, and I’ve devoted a lot of thought to it, and I’m still not 100% sure which path to take.

Celebrating my birthday

19 Jun

For as long as I can remember, I have absolutely and positively loved my birthday. When Cancer is doing whatever it’s doing, or the sun is in it, or whatever is happening in my houses, I feel on top of the world! I am vibrant and joyful and sexy and smart and funny and exciting and awesome every ding-dang day leading up to my birthday. It is, without question, the best time of my entire year.

Birthday Cake 5

But I never plan a celebration because I know what will happen. As the day of my birth approaches, and we move out of Cancer and into Leo (grrr), I steadily deflate until I become a whimpering blob curled up in the fetal position watching Netflix and drinking kombucha. Well, that hasn’t happened in other years but it is possible this year.

I recall experiencing this pre-birthday slump since the year I turned 40, though it may have occurred before then and I just didn’t notice. Everything is magnified when you’re in your 40s.

The year I turned 40, I had a big party planned, and a couple of days before my birthday I canceled it — without apologies. I was a big baby. I was also a mess. Like, I kind of had a little nervous breakdown despite the fact that I had been out-of-control excited about turning 40 for the 23 or so days of June leading up to the cancellation. So, no party. No cake. No streamers or confetti. No 70s songs or even 80s songs. A month later, I invited some friends out for ice cream to celebrate my birthday. Dumb.

You see, I get depressed because I am not in the place where I think I should be at my age, or where other women I know are. And truly, I mean, thank goodness I am where I am! I could not be happier with my place! I have a job I love, I am near my family and able to see them as often as I like, I have good friends, I’m healthy and strong, and I have everything I need.

It’s what I don’t have — a partner and a family — that makes me feel as though there’s something wrong with me. There isn’t. I’m fine. Life is good. But, you know.

This year, I don’t want to let that happen. I watch way too much Netflix and drink too much kombucha every other day of the year. So I’m going to celebrate for a solid week and kick that pre-birthday letdown right the hell out!

At least I think that is what I am going to do. I have to begin tomorrow, so I’d better make some plans.

Getting picked last

23 May

Last week I had a junior high school flashback, and it was unpleasant. Does anyone have pleasant flashbacks to junior high? I’m sure some people have fond memories of their young teenage years, but for me it was all angst and embarrassment and trying impossibly to figure out how the hell to fit in with a bunch of people who were trying to figure out who the hell they were.

Out of the blue, my coworker said, “I should set you up with my buddy.” He texted his buddy, who replied immediately, “Send pics.” We snapped a picture. I tried to look cute. Since I have not received any follow-up from my coworker, I assume his buddy’s reaction was not favorable. In fact, I imagine he said, “Um, no thanks. She’s ugly.” I am positive he did not say, “Wow! She’s gorgeous! What is her number?” or I would have heard about it by now.

I had, and still have, no idea who this person is. I don’t know what he looks like or what he values. I don’t know what he does in his free time. I don’t know if he even wants to date anyone. While his rejection of me should not matter one tiny little bit, it does. It stings. Why? Because being picked last — or not being picked at all — hurts, no matter how old you are.

In junior high I had a terrible crush on a boy one grade above me. I wrote out the lyrics to Lionel Richie’s Hello and put them in his locker. If he told his pals about it, and I have completely blocked the memory if he did, I’m sure they all stood around and laughed at how gross and weird I was. Clearly, I still feel foolish and mortified by it, which is ridiculous because it happened 30 years ago.

do-you-like-me-lg

I also got picked last all the time in junior high. Last for kickball and softball and dodge ball and anything that required height or agility or speed. If we had smarts contests or spelling bees, I would be picked second (after the smartest girl in the class), but I don’t recall that we had a lot of smarts contests in my school. So that, combined with the fact that I wrote out song lyrics in an attempt to win the hearts of boys made me a bit of a loser. And I also loved Classical music more than 80s pop. 

So much of my life has been defined by the search for a partner and the rejection of hundreds (am I exaggerating?) of people. Of course I have had (a few successful) relationships! Of course there are seemingly well adjusted, normalish people who have liked me and wanted to kiss me! Lately, however, the people who are interested in going on a date with me are 1) married, 2) scammers who I assume live in a foreign country and are waiting for the right time to ask me to wire money, 3) sporting gold-capped teeth, or 4) located hundreds of miles away from my town.

I have a full, wonderful life. I am healthy and happy. I am surrounded by friends and family who love me and care about my well-being. But I really and truly want to be in love with a partner who loves me. Just one time, maybe for the only time, I want to be picked first. I want to pass that boy a note and have him return it with this message: Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?

Fuck junior high, man.

Going out by myself

9 Mar

Single Woman’s 30-day Blog Challenge, Day 9: Your favorite “weird/funny single behavior” – Anything you do that is uniquely YOU and that living alone allows you to do

This is not weird or funny (as far as I know) but my favorite “single” behavior is that I am not at all afraid or uncomfortable going out by myself.

I have met people who say, “I could never ____ by myself.” Typically it’s travel, go out for dinner, or attend a movie. For me, that is not a problem, and I’m pretty sure it never has been. I don’t feel strange or worry that anyone is making fun of me. I’ve just become accustomed to being alone and I’m good at it.

Here’s what is possibly weird though: when I see an older woman or man dining alone, it makes me SO, SO sad. I assume they don’t want to be by themselves, and I feel sorry for them. I suppose I also worry that one day I’ll be alone and old and some sweet, young lady will feel sad for me.

Going out by myself is not uniquely me, but I enjoy it. Of course I’d like to have a travel, dining, and entertainment partner, but until I meet someone (or invite my friends, which is what I should do) I’m fine being my own companion.

Identifying my mate

7 Mar

Single Woman’s 30-day Blog Challenge, Day 8: Five things that are most important to you in a future mate.

I’d like to put the same thing for all five, but that’s no fun.

  1. Honesty. Here’s the deal, you can’t always tell someone is dishonest. I’ve been burned so badly by a sociopath that I tend to distrust most men I meet online, especially the ones who use flowery language and who say they’re currently serving overseas but are willing to move to North Dakota. No one is willing to move to North Dakota. I’ve had more than my fair share of dishonest partners, so I’m way overdue to fall in love with an honest man.
  2. Time. When you get to be my age, you meet a lot of men who don’t have time to date but say they want to date. They don’t have time (I mean more than two times a month to spend with someone) because they either have legitimate and reasonable family and work obligations or because they’ve overscheduled themselves so they don’t have time to be lonely. So if every other weekend is the only time he has, and one of those weekends is a fishing trip, we should probably not meet.
  3. Alcohol and drugs. No, I do not want my future partner to supply alcohol and drugs. Rather, I want someone who does not use drugs at all and who drinks moderately to almost-never. If a guy often drinks to excess or feels like he can’t have a good time without alcohol or drugs, we are not a good match.
  4. Active lifestyle. When men find out I am a marathon runner and a personal trainer, they think one or more of the following: I will provide the motivation they need to get in shape (I will not), I want them to run with me (I do not), I am super toned and fit and I exercise all the time (I am not and do not). I’d like to find a partner who has an active lifestyle and will share some of the activities I enjoy as well as introduce me to activities I have not tried before.
  5. Snuggling. “Hate” is a strong word, but I am inclined to say that I hate the question, “Do you like snuggling?” Why do men ask that when they are interviewing you? Who would ever say no to that? I actually enjoy being close to someone I care about, but I very very very much dislike being asked if I like snuggling by a person who doesn’t even know my last name yet. So whoever asks me that is out.

You might think I’m too picky and I should lower my expectations. If you have been on as many first dates as I have, I’m willing to accept your counsel. If you have not, how about hooking me up with your honest, active friend who doesn’t drink and who dislikes the word “snuggle”?

Imagining where I would be

6 Mar

Single Woman’s 30-day Blog Challenge, Day 7: Where you are in your life vs. where you thought you would be at this point

futureview

When people ask me, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I always want to say, “I have no $^&(%#*\ idea.” I don’t even know where I see myself tomorrow, let alone years from now, and I don’t know if I ever have.

Sure, I used to daydream about my wedding day and write out the first and middle names of all of the children I was going to have with my imaginary husband, but that was years ago. I mean, more than ten years ago.

For much of my life, however, I could not imagine my future because I didn’t want to have one — I wanted to die. It wasn’t until age 36 when I decided to stop drinking and entered a program of recovery that I was able to consider what the future might hold for me, and then I started living my life one day at a time.

I’ll tell you what: I never imagined I would be 45 and living in a small apartment in North Dakota with an antisocial cat (and no spouse or children). I never imagined I would have a job in a car dealership. I also never thought I would be running marathons or working part-time as a personal fitness coach. And I never considered the possibility that I would feel better and be happier and healthier at age 45 than at age 25.

I never thought I’d be where I am now, but I sure am glad I got here.

Sounding off

5 Mar

Single Woman’s 30-day Blog Challenge, Day 6: Sound off on the quote “Every woman has the exact love life she wants”

If this means what I think it means, I’m probably going to need some therapy after I finish posting.

I’ve thought about the idea that I am choosing exactly what I want for some time regarding my most recent relationships. We have established that I do not make very good decisions on my own behalf when it comes to men because I’ve chosen some very awful people as partners, namely liars, sociopaths, addicts. These men have one thing in common: I fell hard and fast for each one of them.

I knew going into my last relationship that my partner had serious issues, and I did not for one second believe he could or would change because of me or for me. What I hoped, foolishly, is that he would feel safe enough with me to get better on his own. Ultimately that was not the case.

With him, I often wondered what it was in me that needed to be with a person like him. I mean, I knew exactly who he was and I chose to be with him. Did I think I could be a savior? Did I believe no one else would want me so I had to settle for him? I hope not, but I may hold such a belief and act on it to my detriment.

I don’t think I want a love life with a partner who frightens me or is dishonest with me, yet I have welcomed men into my life who do just that. Why have I repeated this pattern in my life, and how do I stop it? Perhaps I should meditate on the exact love life I want so I can manifest that guy into my life.

For now, I think I can rest in the fact that nobody wants to date me, with the possible exception of one libidinous oil field worker in Western North Dakota who is overly interested in my undergarments, and at least I can be relieved that I rejected him.