After being married for 30 years, divorced for almost 3 years, I am considering dating websites. I tried them when I first got divorced but thankfully realized facing rejection from thousands of men wasn’t a good idea.
I’ve read up on what makes a good profile and it seems everyone has a different opinion. I tend to agree with the folks that say photos are the most important along with a good headline. I know if I am not attracted to the photo I don’t read the profile. The challenge is remembering I am not that twenty something girl looking for a date. I read a dating expert say that we look at profiles with our young minds. So women see old men who look like their dads and grandpas and men see old women who look like their moms and grandmas. I admit that is true for me. And then add the additional challenge that men can date down in age, economics and education more easily than women. Now before you lecture me that age is a state of mind and older women date younger men, I am talking about relationships. I am not talking about friendships or a sexual affair even though things are necessary to a good relationship but many times we experience them individually.
I read something in a novel by Louise Penny which I want to use in my profile when I do get brave enough and strong enough to try dating again. This is paraphrased from The Long Way Home by Louise Penny.
She wasn’t made for a Paris runway but for good meals and books by the fire and laughter. She was constructed from and for happiness. She helps you discover how very attractive a heart and mind can be.
How many of us choose our destiny? We definitely play a role in our lives and what happens, but so much is out of our control.
Would I be different if my parents had never moved me at the age of 9 from Oklahoma to Minnesota therefore preventing the teasing which tore at my sense of value? I still hear the laughter ringing out as a recording of my voice is played back to the class and my distinctly southern accent stood in contrast the nasal, clipped sound of the north.
Would I be different if at 11.5 I wasn’t moved from Minnesota to Colorado with six weeks left of sixth grade. Not enough time to make friends and settle in, so a summer spent alone. Which meant having to begin 7th grade just a few months later at an entirely different school. Doing my best to figure out where I fit and finally finding my place to be moved again.
Midway in 9th grade a move to Las Vegas and a high school that was nothing like the one from which I had come. Sitting at lunch in the car with my mom for the first week so I wouldn’t cry and try to walk home. Spending another semester and summer alone to begin a new year once more with no friends.
Would I be different if I hadn’t desperately wanted to leave Las Vegas and ended up marrying a man a hardly knew? Spending 30 years of my life with him first in Iowa and then in Texas?
Would I be different if I had stayed in the place I had called home since 1986 rather than moving a mere 30 minutes away where it was convenient for my friends to forget me? If I had stayed would they still have forgotten me?
Would I be different if I hadn’t taken 3 months and gone to France to try and learn French and experience life from a different perspective? Staying in the security of the familiar?
Would I be different if I had made the choice not to leave Dallas-Fort Worth rather than taking a chance on a better life in a new place and all the struggles building a new life entails?
Of course there is no way to know. Our lives are shaped by so many things and places are but one. We are the sum of our experiences but until we die our life equation is never complete. There is always something more to add, subtract, multiply or divide in our lives.
“We read to know we’re not alone.” -William Nicholson, Shadowlands
I read everyday. It’s not unusual for me to read one book in two days. I read because I am alone. I am always alone. Except for the group I meet with three times a week, I see no one and I talk to no one.
Isolation is not a good thing but it is an addictive thing. It creeps up on you unexpectedly. One day turns to two and two turns into three and before you know it a week, a month goes by.
I never intended to be in this place of loneliness. This deep, dark well of drowning sadness. Someone born without a soul stole mine. And I won’t steal someone’s soul because I no longer have one. That is cruel and evil.
Everyday gets more difficult. Everyday is longer than the last. Everyday I think it will be my last.
I never thought we would be apart for so many years. It seems like only yesterday we were young mothers raising our children. Struggling to make ends meet. Somehow we always managed to find the fun and humor in every day. But where have the years gone? When I look at you I see the same, sparkling young woman I met almost 30 years ago. You have the same spirit, creativity and joy for life. Now you are securely planted with a family of one husband, five children, four in-laws, nine grandchildren, a variety of pets and two spectacular homes. There is no one I’ve ever met that deserves happiness more than you do.
Me you ask? My life took an entirely different path than your own. I do have two lovely children and one son-in-law but I’ve lost everything else. My husband left me. I lost my home. I lost my friends. I lost my community. I lost all security. I even lost my faith for awhile. I lost my desire to see another day.
Why didn’t you know? Because you never asked. I don’t blame you. When a life is as full and rich as your’s is, time goes by quickly, like a flash of lightening. When life is broken and empty as mine is, time feels like a loud ticking clock. With each movement of the hand, it reminds you life is passing by and you don’t get a second chance. I don’t know if I don’t reach in for life enough or if when I do life spits me out. Honestly it feels like the second one.
I hope dear friend that we don’t go years without talking or seeing each other. I love you and always will.
A hand gripped her heart, squeezing, refusing to let go. Her only choice was to grab the bottle of Xanax. It would be the only way she would be able to get through this evening. An evening surround by her old life, her old friends with the reminder this would never be hers again.
The bride a woman who was taking a step down that unknown path of marriage. All this woman could see is the red headed baby girl she helped welcome into the world. Escorted down the aisle by her parents, the parents who were friends but had abandon this lonely guest when the divorce happened.
The reception. The unexpected on slaught of faces which she doesn’t remember. Wondering how after all this time they could remember her, her name but their faces, their names held no place in her memory. Having to explain that no she was no longer married and seeing faces full of pity and shock when she said her ex was an alcoholic and sexual predator, which left her with no option but divorce. Explaining homelessness was just months away.
Left alone at the table as happy couples dance, a stabbing reminder she is on the outside. An untouchable now, no longer part of any plans for the future. No happiness or joy in her future.
The wine, followed by more wine mingling with the Xanax to create a sense of who gives a damn, certainly not this unloved woman. Faces across the room she longed to see, to speak to but knew the importance of remaining in her seat. They had the need to shield themselves from the truth of her pain and their failure to be there when she needed them.
The casual promises to stay in touch, knowing they were empty words. Feeling the emptiness in a room full of people, full of love and full of life. How can someone be so alone when surrounded by so many? A mirage, nothing but the timeless illusion couples go through only to find life isn’t a happily ever after tale. It’s a path full of road blocks, potholes, turns and yes sometimes unexpected joy or unexpected heart break.
The wedding. The people. The love. The emptiness. The mirage. Life.
“We envy a man for something he has and yet the truth may be he hasn’t got it after all and we have.” Francis Poldark PBS
We live in a world where the message is what you have isn’t enough. We are taught we need to be ambitious, make more money, attain a higher status, just get more. But does stuff and more money make us happy? Does it make us envy our friends and neighbors more or less? Do we ever reach a point when we’ve reached the pinnacle of success and feel satisfied or are we on some endless road?
I think the character Francis Poldark from the Winston Graham book series Poldark’s worcs ring just as true now as when Mr. Graham wrote them and also when Francis was supposed to have said them in the late 1700s. People don’t change. Status whether it’s brought by money, a beautiful wife, a big house or a successful business is a temporary fix for what we all desire on a deeper level.
Things are temporary. Jobs are temporary. Relationships can be shallow. Money comes and goes. But what if while we are so busy acquiring and envying others we miss the joy we already have in our lives? Studies have proven money doesn’t make us happy. It makes us comfortable and offers security on one level. I understand how devastating it can be to lose financial security. I’ve lost all the financial security I had when I divorced. I understand how devastating job loss and loss of a relationship can be. I was married for 30 years only to be tossed aside. It hurt. It still does. I see my friends’ lives and the security they still have. I feel envious. I feel cheated. I feel angry that my ex could discard me and our daughters like yesterday’s trash.
But what I’ve realized is that if I spend my time envying the life I had, the lives of my friends then I cheat myself out of recognizing the blessings and joys that I have in my life now. I have close and loving relationships with my daughters and son-in-law. I’ve learned who my true friends are and that the appearance of happiness doesn’t mean they are happy. I have peace of mind. I no longer wonder in what new way my ex husband was going to betray me and hurt me. I’ve learned I’m strong.
So Francis is right. We’ve had it all along.
How do you know that one choice can change your life?
Will it be a choice that leads to happiness?
Or will it bring heartache and sorrow?
One choice only to realize you discarded 999 others.
999 other choices which would lead you to a different life.
A better life?
A happier life?
A life without pain and grief?
A life filled with loved ones who love you in return?
Another choice may not give you your precious daughters.
Another choice might not give you loving friends.
Another choice may be full of poverty
Poverty of the mind, heart and soul.
one made each day
always leading us where we go
and 999 other left unexplored
Opening and closing doors.
“All we know is this moment, and this moment, Ross, we are alive! We are. We are. The past is over, it’s gone. What is to come doesn’t exist yet. That’s tomorrow! It’s only now that can ever be, at any one moment. And at this moment, now, we are alive – and together. We can’t ask more. There isn’t anymore to ask.” Demelza Poldark in The Angry Tide by Winston Graham.
I find myself returning again and again to the book series by Winston Graham. Each character has so much wisdom and insight, even the characters who are not so likable.
While I am not in a relationship now, the wisdom in Demelza’s words are powerful. She is right that we only have this moment to live. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is yet to be. We plan our lives. It’s what we are taught to do. Make a plan. Follow the rules. Love God. Love your neighbor. Unfortunately too many of us think this is some protection from future harm and sadness when it’s not. While a plan may prevent small things from going wrong, ultimately we have no guarantees in this life.
The best planning can not prevent tragedy from touching us. Some are lucky and go through life without so much as a hiccup but I wonder if ultimately having a life with no waves, no bumps, no mountains to climb makes for a shallow, less meaningful life. Because I believe it is our struggles and perseverance through those challenges that create the richness of life. The only way to see the the beautiful valley is to climb to the peak and that is never easy.
Demelza stumbles, as does Ross through life but their lives become deep, colorful, memorable and woven tightly together. Whether it’s a marriage, a familial relationship or a friendship it’s our shared struggles that strengthen the ties that bind us.
As I have said in my earlier posts, I’ve become a recluse. I have begun to worry if I am developing agoraphobia (the fear of public places). It’s so easy to stay in my apartment and the more I do it, the easier it becomes. I have made the first step towards to shutting the door or should I say opening the door to prevent that from happening.
I have signed up for three weeks of sewing classes at Stitch Labs in Austin. I have been sewing for more than 40 years, but didn’t want to take a class that would be so frustrating I would end up feeling like a failure. So I selected a beginner II class. We will make a pillow with piping and a zipper the first week. The following two weeks we will make a book style bag. I hope to brush up my skills and then possibly take a more advance class.
One of my most cherished memories are the dresses I made for my daughters and all the Halloweens I made costumes for them and then later on for my neighbors’ children. The photos bring back such happy memories. With this class, I hope to take the first step towards making happy memories again.
According to the internet there are six billion texts and 100 billions emails sent every day. Personal, handwritten letters are almost extinct. When I searched online for how many letters are sent everyday all I could find were estimates from several years ago and it was for total pieces of mail. The number was about 700 million which would include advertisements, bills and just general junk mail. So there is no definitive answer to how many personal letters are sent daily.
Should it matter how you communicate as long as you communicate with those you love? Speed would be the primary argument in favor of a text. You write it. You hit send. And the message is almost instantaneously received on the other end. Argument for e-mail is that it allows a time trail of communication with each email sent being time and date stamped. So aren’t those methods the best? Don’t they make the most sense?
If you are trying to send a simple message, then yes, those methods work. But I was thinking about the importance of a handwritten note or letter and why it has so much more significance. First it takes time and effort to hand write a note, then address an envelope, stamp it and mail it. So just the very act of doing it says to the receiver you care. Second meaning can be carried in the handwriting itself. Handwriting is personal. Everyone has a slightly different style. And over time a recipient can see changes in the writing. Does your mother’s hand look weaker than normal? Is your friend stressing certain words differently? Next, a note or letter can carry the scent of the person who wrote it. We’ve all heard of the perfume scented letter but what about one that has the scent of smoked wood, or vanilla or anything that leaves a personal mark. It creates a sense of being closer when you are aware of the scent of the sender. And if we only communicate by text and email, when we are gone from this world what will remain of us? How will future generations know we loved our family and friends? What written evidence will be left? Certainly not our texts and emails.
So take a chance. Go buy some inexpensive note cards (they usually don’t allow a lot of room for writing so the sender doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the need to fill the page), buy some stamps, compile a list of five friends or family members and write them a short note. Make it a habit. When I receive a note or letter in my mailbox among the bills or junk, it completely brightens my day and all for under $1.