After being married for nearly 16 years, entering the dating world was foreign, terrifying and overwhelming. And, my trust meter was sputtering on empty, emitting nauseating fumes!!
Dating after marriage sucked!!
It was rough. Weirdly, I felt like I was cheating on my husband, even though I was the one dumped!
My brain was fried!
I didn’t know what to expect when I was 41 years old and starting over.
Coming out the gate; was akin to a newborn calf standing up for the first time. The last thing I needed was anyone trying to change or fix me. LOL! There wasn’t a band-aid big enough for this gaping hole.
I had to go through the arduous process of healing from the inside out. On my terms.
No thanks, I’m good
The first guy I dated was nice, funny and caring, but, he had a big problem with me.
It was a moment that caught me by surprise. The words spit out like spinach from a toddler’s mouth,
“You laugh too loud. It’s not ladylike,” he said. I was offended. Ladylike? Kicked out of the gender pool, because of a volume infraction?
For the love of God, my belly laugh was being assassinated! I mean really, it’s not like I sounded like a pack of wild hyenas.
But, nonetheless, this man hated it. Who says things like this? The nerve!! My laugh is part of my personality; it’s imprinted in my DNA. It’s who I am.
And, besides that, I like it. Unbridled, I open my mouth very wide, show all my molars and let it rip. I don’t care what it looks or sounds like. And, I wasn’t ready to adopt a faux, demure giggle. Truthfully speaking, I didn’t like the way his teeth ground when he chewed his food, but, I didn’t ask him to stop eating or have his teeth yanked out of his head!
No surprise; we didn’t make it! He, also, didn’t like the way I loaded his dishwasher, ” all the forks should be together, not thrown with the spoons and knives.” Can we say, OCD??? LOL!
I ran like a teacher out of school for summer break!! I didn’t need this!
What I’ve leaned over the years, is that people say stupid things regularly; and if we don’t pay close attention we may forget who we really are and believe them.
Intangible things I never want to lose… my list of untouchables!!!
1. The ability to be amused, delighted, excited and surprised
I will never forget how I felt when my girlfriends and family knocked my socks off, when they surprised me, four years ago, with a beautiful bridal shower. The ruse worked. I, was totally clueless! I went to a hotel to meet several girlfriends for cocktails, so I thought!! LOL!
I was beyond happy; the tears flowed and I could hardly breathe; so appreciative of all the love, thoughtfulness, beautiful gifts and well wishes from folks I cherish. I felt so incredibly special! It ranks up there being one of the best days of my life!! Ever!!!
Allow yourself the permission to be vulnerable! Be present in moments!
2. The audacity to feel; observe; reflect and have an opinion about everything
I don’t want to float through life or sit idly on the back row, watching the circus go by and complaining about how miserable I am. I want to live and participate in it. Unapologetic fun is on the roster! Too many folks take themselves too seriously, all the doggone time. Stop trying to impress the world!
I get bored, easily. So, experiencing new adventures and meeting cool people wakes my soul up.
Nature, too, has a starring role. I want to smell the salty ocean air; allow snow to fall softly on my face; walk in the rain and lay on the beach and get sun kissed. I am connected to my emotions; good and bad. Growth is a great by-product of reflection; if we allow ourselves the space and patience to do it.
Allow yourself the courage to listen to your own voice and gut, even when you’re shaking in your boots!
3. The significance of ordinary
There’s major joy in situations that we take for granted or cast off as no big deals. Random situations that don’t cost an arm and leg; cheap thrills, as I like to call them. Little things that make us extremely happy.
Last week I snatched up a funny memoir by actress and comedian, Mindy Kaling at the library for $.75. They were having a paperback sidewalk sale and I was at the right place at the right time. Sometimes, the universe gives us gifts to remind us of gratitude.
I also get a tingly feeling whenever I go to Trader Joe’s. That place is filled with ordinary foods presented in extraordinary ways. I picked up a bag of broccoli rice; first time trying it, so yummy. I toss it with my spring mix, tomatoes, golden raisins and shredded carrots for a party in my salad. LOL! Trader Joe’s, also, has the most decadent fudge chocolate cake; it beats pricey ones at the bakery. And, the variety of sexy chocolate candies, at the check-out, that you don’t normally see at your grocery store, is amazing.
Finally, if you car is filthy and you can’t take it anymore; go to the car wash; the one where you sit in the car while it goes through. Pure heaven, I tell ya. The pretty lights blinking and the sloshing of the water against the windshield is very therapeutic. The only thing missing is a mirror ball and Donna Summer singing, “Bad Girls.” LOL!
Allow yourself the pleasure of simplicity!
4. The desire to love and like and expect good outcomes
Long before I was mocked unmercifully by my husband, Quentin; sister, Karla and best friend, Brenda, I realized I say “I love you,” ”I love her,” ”I love him,” “I love that,” or “I love it,” a whole lot. It’s probably because I am a passionate person and when I love something or someone, I REALLY do.
I have probably said those three words more times that were deserved, but, that’s okay. A person really has to do something pretty dirty for me to despise and hate them. However, I will turn on a dime for disloyalty. That type of negative energy eats up healthy brain cells. I’d rather keep a positive mindset to connect with human beings who are doing all they can to be their best selves in this crazy world!
Allow yourself the time to love even if you’ve been kicked in the teeth!
5. Earned wisdom
Encourage others to fly and touch the treetops! Celebrate wins even when your life is a wreck or you just crawled into the rabbit hole. Actually listen, instead of talking so much! Being jealous or envious isn’t a good look. And, it’s petty. Karma is just sitting on a bench waiting to feed the pigeons. LOL!
That’s the beauty of getting older, I really don’t care much anymore. Well, I do care, but, not when I’m a sacrificial lamb. I don’t intentionally set out to hurt feelings or make enemies, but, I just say what I feel without biting my nails. It’s incredibly liberating!
Sharing experiences with my adult children– so they avoid some mistakes I made along life’s journey– makes me feel like a big earring wearing, iced-coffee sipping sage! LOL
So……be the person you are meant to be. Not a fake! And, if you hear an obnoxious, loud, cackle while you’re grocery shopping, it just might be me in the cookie aisle yukking it up with a friend.