Second Chances? I Saw It In The Movies

Very rarely in life do you get the opportunity to write an alternate ending. Those kinds of fairy tale-like occurrences are usually reserved for romance novels and Hollywood movies. And, of course, in our occasional flights of fantasies unfettered by common sense.

In the real world, Cary Grant-as-Nickie continues to misunderstand Deborah Kerr-as-Terry’s distance, and he never gives her the second chance to prove her love like he does in An Affair to Remember.

James Darcy would wind up marrying the snotty Natasha thinking that Bridget Jones has sided with the cad Daniel Cleaver, and Bridget would be left alone wondering if maybe the loathsome Daniel is better than no man at all.

Src: gotsole.wordpress.com

The lovelorn Gigi having fallen for her wingman Alex, who has seemingly been giving her mixed messages, would have easily scared him away by her desperation and her broad assumptions. Alex would have ignored the light bulb going off in his head that Gigi had unwittingly endeared herself to him, and he would keep going through women like a bull through Pamplona, making Gigi believe once and for all that “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

Even when it seems like the door has been closed to a romance, when it seems as if you really have to mourn the loss of what you truly believed was the flowering of new love, there are times when deep inside your gut you can’t stamp out that flicker of hope.

Reason tells you to just give up, to move on. So you try. You get back out in the dating world. You fill your days and nights as much as possible to decrease those moments of weakness when you shed some tears for the precious possibilities left behind. You wonder what all that beauty and joy was for just to have it pulled out from under you without any warning at all, but what else is there to do but look ahead.

And yet…days pass. You meditate and have epiphanies about yourself, “us” and life in general that you feel only he would understand. Emails begin to pass back and forth. He surprises you by calling again, so eager to see your face on FaceTime and smile at every expression and show of excitement you share.

You mention a big event you are hosting in a few weeks, and he asks when and where. “Can I come?” he asks. Your first temptation is to fire back, “Why?” but you nod your assent. He asks if you’ll sing one of his favorite songs, “I Will Always Love You.”

He talks about how much he wishes he could make the drive to see you that weekend if he didn’t have to cram full days of work throughout.

The still cynical side of me says, Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it.

When you begin talking about looking for jobs in big cities again, he asks if they are closer to where he lives, which is an hour and a half away. You admit that they are not. He suggests that you consider looking in his big city. “There are publishing companies here too,” he says.

Then, maybe three weeks after you thought it was over forever—though it’s felt interminably longer than that—you get a text message from him that says:  “Do you have plans tonight?” After I respond that I don’t, I see the following on the screen of my phone:

I am leaving here in an hour to come to Connecticut…that is if you want to see me.

Well, slap my cheeks and call me Sally. I definitely couldn’t have predicted that one coming. I rushed to clean up my house and myself, running on autopilot, my head still reeling in disbelief. People were talking to me as they were leaving for the airport, friends were calling, and I was barely paying attention to what they were saying.

src: filmsquish.com

When he finally arrived, I opened the door and was immediately swept up in the biggest, longest hug. Ah, I missed this more than I realized, I thought to myself. We let him drop his bags and take off his coat, and then we resumed our embrace.

Our visit was full of talks, dream building, hugs, laughter, food, film, meditation and more. It felt like no time had passed at all since we’d last been together, yet something was quite different. “You seem so free and open with me,” he noted. “I like it. I want you to share everything with me. What you like, what you don’t like. How you feel.”

My first temptation was to protest that I was always open with him, but he was right. I had changed in the weeks we’d been apart. I had allowed myself to become more in touch with myself again, more grounded and centered, less fearful of being exactly who I am. And I wasn’t afraid to share any of it with him, no matter how he did or did not respond.

As he left almost 24 hours later, heading back to the lab and work, we hugged for what felt like a half hour, and he once again urged me to apply to jobs in his city. I said nothing, made no false promises that neither of us would keep, but just held on to him tight.

I knew this visit was conditional. It might very well be a single moment before he once again changed his mind about us. But. It. Didn’t. Matter. I was living in the present and enjoying every second of it, every look, touch and word shared.

Tossing Out the Ticking Time Clock

Couple in Love by fajridet

They call me SingleInMy30s, and I am a serial monogamist.

It boggles my mind to think that I have spent 13 of the last 16 years of my life in a serious, committed relationship. Beyond that, for one year I mourned the loss of the four-year relationship. And the remaining two years of my adult romantic life (if we start at age 17 ½), I spent dating and searching for the partner who would stick.

I have been looking for that best friend and passionate lover and tender partner who would stick by my side through thick and thin, through the ups and downs of the rollercoaster of life. Stick with us through courtship and marriage, family shenanigans and creating a family of our own and supporting each other through the inevitable transitions we each would go through over the course of life.

At times, I have been so busy looking for that, I have sacrificed looking to find my own self. I believe I know who I am, what I stand for and what I believe. However, years of dating man-boys with domineering personalities sometimes threatened to extinguish the spark that was the unique spitfire of me. In a way, being sick and single while I am forced to make my recovery has been my salvation.

I read whatever I want to read—be it serious literary fiction or young adult graphic novels, critical commentary on the Western food diet or books on how to have a strong spiritual life—for as long as I want. I can explore all these interests without anyone batting an eye. I can stay up until 3 a.m. in the morning reading without anyone complaining. I can write my missives on whatever topic strikes my fancy at whatever hour it pops into my head.

I can watch political documentaries in the middle of the day and blog about them in the afternoon without someone saying, “Are you getting paid for that?” I can watch marathons of entire seasons of Brothers & Sisters, Parenthood, Game of Thrones and Small Ideas for a Big Planet. If I get hungry in the middle of the night, I grab food to snarf in bed.

If I were not on leave from work, I’d have all the time in the world to cover the bevy of cool events that occur over the weekend—events I always missed spending my entire weekend at a boyfriend’s house.

I can talk to my friends and see them when my body allows, without feeling like I am stealing any of my time away from my boyfriend—with limited energy for many years, I constantly had to make choices about who to squeeze into the few blocks of time when I was able to be out and about and social. Inevitably, someone was always being left out.

Now, I have plenty of time with my family, and I can appreciate them more as individuals instead of “characters” to complain about in a story to other people. I can find time to support my friend as she embarks as laughter yoga instructor. I can go over my musician friend’s house and jam with her and other female musicians—once I am feeling stronger.

There’s time. So much time. Maybe too much time. My mind is always thinking, plotting. What am I going to do with the next stage of my life? I’m not tied down anymore. As I begin to heal, I want to go back for my master’s. But there are steps to take before then, but how will I go about doing them? Where will I do it?  Which program is best for me?

I’m a 33-years-old single woman. Probably the most single I’ve been in a very long time. I know that I might not be 100 percent healthy in my lifetime. I recognize I will probably have challenges having children. I realize the clock is ticking for certain things.

Or maybe, if I am brave enough I will have the courage to just take the batteries out of the clock, and look at the journey in a completely different light. It’s a bit terrifying, but also incredibly exciting. I can’t help feeling a sense of exhilaration thinking, What’s next?

Turning Over a New Leaf

Contrary to what some of you may have feared, I have not fallen off the face of the blogosphere. In the last few weeks, I have accepted a new job, weathered a break-up that still has its dramatic aftermath, gone on a week-long vacation, had two days of training in a whirlwind trip to NYC, and then started putting in ridiculous hours for my new job because I actually love it that much.

Putney, VT

It’s exhausting and stressful in the the way my spirit loves–as my rheumatologist said to me in my appointment today, “You look a thousand times better today than you did when I last saw you in August.” My father has been hinting that he’s seen a miraculous transformation in me over the last week. And the drive up to Vermont this past Saturday reminded me that this is the perfect season for me to be turning over a new leaf.

With trees beginning to change into fiery reds, burnt oranges and golden yellows and the air getting crisp, my favorite season has arrived. I can zip up my fleece hoodies, snuggle under the quilt at night, and my best buddy Alexei joins me far more frequently for cuddles.

Alexei, the bengal

Sometimes he cuddles up under the covers at bedtime, but what I enjoy even more is when I am at my desk working, and he provides some much needed tension-relief with some purrs, finger-kisses, and the warmth of his n-shaped body around mine as I type away at the keyboard. Ever since the day he came home with me four years ago, my cat has been a playmate, a caregiver, a stress-reliever, a buddy, and a source of great joy in my life. When the world seems to come crashing down around me, a nudge from this little guy has always encouraged me that things are going to get better…and they do.

Men may come and go, but Alexei doesn’t. He’s been there through the worst and the best of my health situations in the last four years. He’s known when to be rough and tumble to inspire me to be active, and he’s known when to be tender and gentle when I just need a body to center me and bring me comfort. He’s even been my litmus test for men. If I can tell he legitimately loves a man in my life and that the man legitimately loves Alexei, then the man is worth keeping around for a while.

My new leaf this autumn also includes being single again. I am not dating. I am too busy to meet and try out new people. I’ve completely kicked to the curb the “friends” who’ve only really wanted a booty call. I don’t need it, and I don’t want it. I want meaningful connections and relationships in my life right now, romantic and otherwise. I cherish those people who’ve been there for me through thick and thin, like the V-Man, even when I haven’t been the best friend to them at times.

the start of my office space

The V-Man was awesome to me last week as I was working to transform my front bedroom into an office. I had gradually allowed my main bedroom to become my sleeping space/recovery room/writing area/home office, and in turn, it had become a huge mess that left me completely disorganized and discombobulated in all areas of my life. I needed a fresh start in my work space big time. So I dragged V-Man around with me to get much needed organizers, some new things for my wardrobe (he has the patience of Job when it comes to clothes shopping with me and my impossible-to-find-anything-to-fit-me-right body), and later, my dad grabbed the new desk and built it for me.

Each day, I’m adding something new to make it feel more like a workable office space befitting an online editor (yoga mat and all)–who just happens to work out of her home.  Thanks to the V-Man and my own troubleshooting, I’m learning how to use my new tech toys. Mom is helping me get rid of the clutter in my own bedroom. Both parents and my brother have agreed to train as some of the members of my street team to help me do business listings that need to be done before my site can launch. Getting me back on my feet is a family project, and there’s no better team I can have.

Each day I’m starting to believe more and more in myself that I am fully capable of doing this job for which I was hired, and that my body can withstand and endure the temporary punishment I give it as we attempt to put out a launch date a full month earlier than expected. I am so excited to have this new focus in my life, to have this career that finally feels like a perfect fit for me and all the talents and skills I bring to the table. I’m actually looking forward to the challenges and to the learning curve–imagine that.

After launch, I can focus more on the other aspects of my life. I can focus even more on finding balance. Maybe I can even explore a relationship that feels like home. However, right now, for the first time in a long time, that isn’t my number one priority, and I think that is a healthy place for me to be. I am the number one priority, not a man or a romantic relationship. It feels really good.