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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Things that I learned in 2013

So-I have decided that instead of making resolutions (which I will do for the New Year), I will reflect back on things that I learned over the past year.

I make resolutions-frequently.  Usually when things turn out badly or when I suspect that I need to change my behavior in order to accomplish or gain something.  This year-lots of turmoil, lots of bad karma and it is time to turn this around. 

My 2013 education consists of the following lessons and yes, resolutions for 2014:

1. Do not settle for something sorely lacking in what you want.  I did this in a relationship and although I thought it offered me something I needed - it ended badly and I was quite distressed.  I would like to think that in the future that I will pay more attention to the little things (or the seemingly little things that do not quite measure up).  I am good at picking up the big things-like when I am in relationships or friendships where I feel criticized or chided, and I successfully have ended those in the past.  I am not so good at the subtle things-but as I have learned-those things too can do damage over time.

2. Set realistic goals.  I think that often I set my sights on something that I may never have and become a bit too future oriented.  I am going to try and take some small steps.  I am going to try and concentrate on the immediate future and let the long term dreams take shape as they will.

3. Be kind to myself, and leave the ego behind.  Is it enough to try hard and not succeed?  Sometimes it is.  I would like to try and put this in perspective.  How badly do I want to succeed at any one task?  Whose goal is it?  Again, small steps and try not to let context determine my worth.

4. Be moderate, and keep track.  Finances are an issue-so I need to be more discerning about need vs. want.

5. Get a handle on the stuff-get rid of things that no longer have the meaning they once had.  Do I really need to keep all of Bruce's Hawaiian shirts?  No.  Time for these to find new homes.

Well, my list of what I learned has surprisingly turned to a list of resolutions.  But ducks are in the oven and I need to turn them and pierce the skin.  I will give this more thought tomorrow.

Happy New Year?  I hope and will work to make it happen.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Men behaving badly, part 2

Okay so when I reread my blog it did not scream to me the "men behaving badly" theme enough so I thought I would elaborate.  Since I have been dating, 2 of the men on my "boyfriend" list told me that "they were men" in an effort to provide an excuse for their behavior.  While my husband and I frequently discussed gender issues, he never used his maleness as an excuse to get out of something.  It is both frustrating and interesting to me that I have heard this twice in the past year.  It was said as an excuse for not thinking about my feelings or as a way to explain why deep thoughts are not evident.  Really??? 
In general, men behaving badly is about narcissism.  It is me, me, me.  The men that I have known to behave badly (and this includes the latest feeds from the media), do what they want without regard for anyone else's feelings.  Sometimes the stakes are small, like the hurt feelings that resulted when my man friend informed me that he could not spend time with me because he would miss his cats too much.  But other times they are big big deals-and men behave badly with some severe consequences:
a president's transgressions with an intern, or the ending of a relationship with a long term love.
And so I ask myself-why does this occur?  Aren't men raised by women?  I raised a son and hope that in the future, he won't use the "man card" to get out of something or to do something he wants without regard for anyone else.  Maybe it is time to alert the other side that behaving badly is not to be tolerated.

And on that note-maybe women need to swing the other way-maybe I need to behave badly sometimes too.  Not necessarily to disregard someone else's feelings-but to assert my own needs and wants in the light of another's company.  I usually acquiesce-cause do I really care about which movie I see or what restaurant I eat at?  But I should and I will.......

Let's see what this does for me in the New Year.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Men behaving badly

In the past, when I contemplated being on my own-it was fine.  There was some romantic English feminist woman image of me looking out the window at the Moors.  I tackled everything with confidence-ready to take on everything without a man.  So I was judgmental about women who dated or who seemed to "need" a man to carry on.  And then I was alone, and I finally got it.  I missed having an intimate partner, really really missed it.  I wanted a person to share my life with, someone to wake up next to, someone to share strange newspaper stories with, someone who would derive pleasure from my silly anecdotes, and who occasionally would be annoyed.  I wanted someone who I could be number 1 with.

And I worked hard to have it.  I understood that I would not meet anyone sitting on my couch (my couch my new best friend with the TV remote)-watching Law and Order reruns.  I also finally knew that there would be no neon sign on the door announcing my availability so that I would have to beat men off with a stick.  I knew no single men and the married ones were not necessarily my type (JOKE).
I attacked the mission with a vengeance-went "on-line", emailed countless men and yes, some of them were not even remotely attractive.  My plan was to set up a coffee date weekly.  I liked coffee-why not combine my coffee habit with an hour long meet and look over.

I ended up with a number of "boyfriends" - although I cannot say that they were really boys chronologically.  I was extremely adolescent about it-experiencing actual dating for the first time in like forever.  I was married at 19-so never had the chance to experience the single scene.  Each man-friend was "sweet"-at least that is the way I described them although to be quite honest, they weren't.   My first "relationship" was a 2 week one with a widower who was ready to sell his house and whisk me away to the Grand Canyon.  He was politically conservative and expected me to cook and tend to his needs.  After 2 weeks I realized this and called it quits.  The next one lasted longer, 3 months with a man who was still bitter about his divorce and sour about his life.  He taught me to ride a bicycle and after 2 trips away with him-I could find nothing to say to him.  So I said goodbye to him and moved on.  After a couple of coffee dates and exciting trysts, I finally found a man who seemed to be funny and intelligent and affectionate.  We were together 14 months-although even this relationship was also flawed.  We saw each other 2 days a week and he seemed to find that enough and when I was not with him - he seemed fine with that too.  I knew the relationship had issues and maybe would have ended it myself after I finally got that he was happier alone.  But he ended it before I had a chance-and took me by surprise.  He told me he never loved me - and was waiting for it to happen but it never did.  He felt trapped, and had felt that way for the past year.  I was stunned, and hurt and angry.

Why do men behave badly?  Was it necessary for him to taint the whole relationship by looking back?  Before he broke it off, he called me daily, seemed delighted by me and even told me he loved me and reassured me even the week before he broke it off.  So, did he lie for a year?, when did he decide to call it quits?  How could he pretend and how could I be so blind to it?  Even now, I want to wonder if he misses me and then I realize that he is probably relieved.  And I am still hurting. 

I have been told that the first "real relationship" post widowhood is very painful-it brings back the loss of your spouse and is compounded by the loss of a new partner.  And I wonder if I will find a man who has integrity and all the other qualities that I long for......

One thing is for sure.  I will start looking again.  I have to believe that I have qualities that would appeal to some one and that some one will also appeal to me. 

Well time to get the tissues and do some crying.  Yes, eventually I will stop and pull myself out of the dark hole that I seem to have inhabited.   

And time to look on to a New Year.  2014, here I come.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Reflections on 2013

2013, a year of promise and disappointments.

So the year is coming to a close.  Lots of things happened this past year.  I had a horrible injury, requiring 2 surgeries, physical therapy, and a medical leave.  I had a man friend, and had a great time with him in San Francisco, Colorado, and at home.  I realized that I could not catch up or keep up with work demands, and so am going to call it quits at the end of the summer.  I enjoyed my family, my grandson (just 2 years old), my children (the ones that I gave birth to and the ones that were married in), my mom, my aunt, my cousins etc...... I had lots of laughs with my friends.  I suffered my first big loss when my man friend abruptly said goodbye, and then the deaths of friends and family. 

All in all-as I look back, I am struck by how tumultuous life was.  I am sad that I am alone again after a 14 month relationship - only a reminder of what I lost when Bruce died.  I am hoping that 2014 will bring some joy.  Of course the joy has got to be orchestrated by me.  After I am done feeling sad-I will get back on line, setting up coffee dates weekly.  I will plan the second career that I need to have in order to keep up with expenses, and try and find some pleasure in the work that I take on.  It is time to rebuild, construct a life that minimizes the disappointments and capitalizes on the promise.

On to the New Year

Friday, December 13, 2013

Under Construction

It has been a hard month so far with the holidays approaching and the complete cut off from the new man in my life.  Almost a divorce.  Amazing how easily it brought me to the devastating loss of my husband and the hopelessness I feel when I gaze into the future.

And yes, I am getting every kind of help that is out there short of electric shock therapy (and I have considered that too).  All of the help keeps me from jumping off a bridge - but does little to take away all of the sadness.  On a completely rationally sane day, I acknowledge the drama queen in me and know that this too shall pass.  At night though, when I am in bed, I let myself feel the sad feelings.  I can cry and be done with it after a series of sniffles and sobs, and then turn over and go to sleep.  The sleep is of poor quality and this pattern too has taken up residence since Bruce died.  I wake every few hours and contemplate the universe and then go back to sleep.

Many of the widows that I have met, categorize their life as a re-invention post loss.  It is not so much a reinvention for me-but a site that is under construction.  I guess there are phases where we stand still and look at our place in the world-who we are, where we are and who we want to be.  It happens as a young adult-when our life is about to be written, and it happens when our children leave us and we are no longer primarily the "mom" and it happens with any gigantic life change as with divorce, illness or death.  I can rewrite the pages or start a new chapter.  Whatever the analogy, it is up to me - in some ways a freedom that is afforded us at times.  Is that good?  I guess that if I think of life as full of possibilities it is….. But (and of course there is a but), that moment is also full of anxieties and despair and not much energy to be creative and eager as we contemplate starting a new life.

So this page and I are under construction.  I will get back to you as the process continues.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

a solitary life

I have been wallowing.  Licking my wounds and totally feeling sad for myself.  I know that I need to stop and move forward.  I want to close my eyes and shut all of this out.  Too many traumas, too many decisions and too much work to do.  Is there hope for the future? Hard for me to see it now.

But I do know that there will be good to come.  Maybe not everything I want, but perhaps something good is around the corner.  I want to be hopeful, I want to believe that my luck will change, that my karma will start being positive.

Holidays ahead and the solitude.  I have got to hang on.