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Archive for the category “How We Relate”

Just Somebody I Used To Know

I was about 18 years old and madly in love…with a young man who was NOT in love with me. One day while I was sitting at my job looking sad, likely just finishing my daily cry, one of my friends who was quite handsome himself, came to me and asked what was wrong. I told him of my lament. He sweetly told me, all you have to do is stop letting him have the power to hurt you, all you have to do is let him go. While that sounds like it is almost too simple to work, it was good advice. He was right. That’s another story, however it sets the tone for this piece.

In the wake of political decisions that seemingly are hurling us into our backward pasts, our friends, family, associates are polarized and vocal. It is happening in places and with individuals you could never imagine. Mine occurred in a subtle, innocent conversation with somebody I used to know. What started off and was, I believe was intended to be a casual, friendly talk and possible meet-up/reconnect became an eye-opening startle. The arrogance and entitlement came blustering through. I guess he thought he was being funny and cute. He may not even be aware that he was coming off offensive to me, for it was the undertones that came blaring out at me, even though he was not exactly directing his smug thinking at me.

Perhaps he had a bad day, maybe it was a direct encounter that prompted the talk. He could have been coming to someone he felt was close enough to in order feel something other than what he conveyed…end result is he unwittingly, unknowingly showed me something that made me feel quite happy we were no longer involved, and our contact was sporadic. Furthermore, he made me know that we cannot be ANYTHING even on the most miniscule level. I don’t even want to be in the same room with him. In my “eyes” he is a cretin. He disguised himself well, but the truth is any one of us can behave ourselves for a short period of time. What I find so ironic is that he did not consider the consequences of him revealing himself to me or affecting me in such a way that was not positive. Therefore, he had no reason to think I would not want to be in his presence. He clearly sees nothing wrong with what he said and that makes “us” having interaction even more ridiculous.

I thought maybe being around me, my ways, my points of view made him consider things outside his norm. There did not seem to be any communication issues, we talked a lot. However, once we were no longer involved, he was allowed/forced back to what was his comfort zone, the small narrowminded spaces he occupied along with the same type of people overtook him and returned him to something he had considered venturing away from.

I wish I was a big enough person to want to “pull his coat-tail”, I wish I could get beyond my being offended to try to inform and enlighten a once seemingly good person. I am not, all I want him to do is go back where he came from, no longer invade my space and allow me to forget I ever met such a human. Then if I ever by chance run into and cannot avoid him completely, I can tell myself he is somebody I used to know, with a question-mark.

Translation…”I Don’t Care”

I’m not jealous or insecure… You can tell me anything…” Has anyone ever uttered those words to you? How did you react, what did you think? Let’s explore some possibilities here.

The era of no-contact everything is here. Touchless entries, download the app to expedite BLANK, keep at least this much distance between yourself and others, and mask according to CDC and local guidelines. However, this is not about protection from the pandemic, this is about protecting your heart, mind, soul, and bank accounts.

As we navigated the terrane of this thing called dating, we found a common ground. We communicated in the traditional fashion. We decided to keep moving forward in spite of the obstacle of distance. In all due honesty I am NOT a fan of long distant relationships. I do personally know of a successful one. I just KNOW that I am far too…whatever. I require time and attention, no matter how I try to downplay it, sooner or later my unwillingness and/or inability to tone that down shows up and shows out.

Of late more individuals have appeared and have been checking off the boxes. I began feeling hopeful. Then in he walked (not literally). I did not believe he was real at first and truthfully until later when he walked into the restaurant, I was still skeptical. Great time, great conversation, great guy… great possibilities???? Well, no not really. There were plenty of red flags, they did not matter because I was certain he would disappear and be placed in the “round file” as so many others have been. Now be clear his red flags were simple; I do not believe his intentions were anything really dubious. He was merely exercising his options and he could do that safely without vesting much of anything into our contact.

See you don’t get to be given priority and treated special, yet I continue of occupy the “cheap seats”. What had to happen was for me to recognize that this was exactly what was happening. Remember I am steadily being blinded by those blasted checked-off boxes! I never took myself off the market, if-you-will. Now that the smoke has cleared, I dusted off my brain and there it was, I saw it clearly. I did not want to admit to it but, I had to pull back or be sucked-in and filled full of regret. This way we can part ways civil, he will either not notice or try to feign NOT understanding. in either case I know that we are here, at this place because he does not care…or let’s say he does not care enough.

You Romantic Fool You

Once upon a time we used to pick up the phone and call individuals we cared about. We enjoyed things like hearing their voices. The sound made us aware of their mood, what kind of day they were having, if they were annoyed, and if they were glad that we called.

Now we exist in a communication “black hole” everything is text or some silly form of social media. What type of catastrophe has to occur for one to actually let another hear their voice?

Dating in the early autumn of your life is an enigma, one that really would be better served if it stayed that way. Honestly, it is scary to think what some of the answers might be. I wish I could forget what the norm was the last time I found myself in the land of “single ready to mingle( and YES I know that phrase dates me”). It is difficult to know how to formulate a plan when the ultimate goal is in a constant state of revision.

In our youth we were looking to have some fun and eventually settle down. However, as our autumn leaves continue to turn, one finds themselves in the crux of urgency. In a society and culture where being a couple is ranked in a higher status than being an individual, we are tossed in an arena that tells us we are or should be on the road to finding that ONE suited for YOU. No one wants to feel like their choices are limited, but one does have to be realistic…time is not necessarily on our side. So how much of it do we care to devote to games. Yes games, the things everyone SAYS they do not have time for, yet they ALL participate in, one way or another.

Truthfully, it is not anyone’s fault that we ended up here…honesty, intentions, goals are all subjective. Meaning the fact that any and all can change from moment to moment is no surprise. One of my personal issues was I continued to expect something wonderful and fantastic to come along, because something pretty damn fantastic and wonderful was taken from me. It made perfect sense that I would get a reasonable facsimile of a “replacement (no matter how impossible this is for one being can NEVER replace another)”. I guess by virtue of exposure to the generations of entitlement that mindset had worn off on me, in spite of the fact that I did not belong to said generations… EXPOSURE to that thing called entitlement had/has affected me.

I found myself gravitating toward that Disney fairy-tale romance filled land the moment I ran into a guy who met a few of the standard that I set. Standards that I knew were high but NOT impossible to attain. Plus, we must remember time is NOT a commodity we have an abundance of. Disappointment after disappointment, failure after failure has slowed my enthusiasm down but it has not brought it to a complete halt. Why one might ask, well the answer is simple. I AM that romantic fool.

Perfect For Me

Okay the universe has jokes. I am quite serious here and furthermore it’s sense of humor is in poor taste!

One minute you are moving along ready to finish a good night’s sleep, when you are awakened to find yourself in the throes of a nightmare…a nightmare that you cannot awake from. Spiraling and spiraling until finally you do wake only it is to an existence you have no knowledge or recollection of.

In this new place you are beginning to pull yourself together, you have been successful in dodging the new obstacles put in your path. Now you are at a point where there is “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” and in he walks.

He is simply, more of everything you think you want. How is that possible? You go from not truly believing he actually exists, to thoughts of “how nice it is going to be to settle down…at least for a night or two. Here it comes another obstacle, the perpetual curve ball. You now get to watch him slowly walk away and disappear into the same light you thought signaled an end to the bleak and sad places you occupy.

It is one thing to experience the disappointment in finding out what you thought and believed you want/need in a mate is a step away from a sheer “fairytale”, it is quite another to come face to face with it in human form virtually inches from your grasp. The truth is both scenarios yield the very same results, and it is not a “happy ending” for you.

We spent hours eating and then just talking. The lunch menu changed to the dinner menu. He must have left a generous tip because we were only met with an occasional glance as folks lined up outside awaiting a table and we occupied one that would accommodate a group of 5 or more people. Unable to get beyond this encounter and wondering could it be possible the universe was at last going to allow things to be righted for me. This is where I get to convey it felt like it went well, but common sense told me this would never happen. for the obstacles were REAL.

All in all, I had met a nice guy, a new friend but still I was to be plagued with the “what if’s”. What if I had never moved, what if he lived closer, what if we had met before I moved, what if I move back… the possibilities were endless. I daydreamed about this being the one I longed and wanted for. I also shook myself back into the realm of reality… the other state felt so much better.

Driving back home I thought of song lyrics…”a taste of honey is worse than none at all”. I was happy and sad this had not gone farther with the one who checked all of my boxes. Barring the really important one.

I’m So Empty I Could Burst

It occurred to me a few nights ago. As the holiday rapidly approaches, those who are happy only get happier. The others, the ones like me, vacillate between hoping it will come and go versus it not coming. This challenge is one I prepare for in recent times but never have been able to get it quite right, at least NOT to my satisfaction.

As someone who has lived through decades of holidays, one’s memory carries one through. Traveling back and forth through the milestones, only stopping at the ones that bring about the sense of being overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with happy, overwhelmed with anticipation, overwhelmed with sorrow. The others fly by like pages of an open book on a windy day. Yet you need something, you need to feel some little thing.

It seems possible to recreate the good, we will fix that same favorite meal, we will play those old familiar songs and we will give way to the memories that brought us this immense joy then with hopes we can sample that same joy today.

Reliving the sorrow is seemingly an effortless act, you simply need to BE. That moment when it happened, the pain in your heart, and of course what the source of this unhappiness was. Ideally you want to come away from this place, but it is NOT so easy. There is a mark on your heart, and it is NOT fading.

Numb and lifeless, but startled back into the now you go along, you perform as though everything IS alright. No one around seems to be the wiser, but in actuality they are choosing to believe you are strong, strong enough to withstand all. You play your role; because they like you, need to be able see that which they believe. There you sit in a room full of others, but you are isolated and no one even notices.

These empty feelings, this sense of being alone, give you a vastness that overtakes your soul. The emptiness is like air in a balloon as it fills up, becoming tighter until it can take no more and then it bursts.

Happy Endings

Are there such things? What does the title say to you? I think to figure the endings out we must start with the beginnings. In the spirit of where many of us are let’s address this as a result verses a consequence. On the road to connecting with a partner/ companion/ love interest we encounter many obstacles.

Our age group being a huge factor. We can lie to ourselves and say, “age aint nuthin but a number” but in actuality age is far more than a number. With one’s time on the planet we gain certain things by virtue of mere exposure. Some of these things we keep, cherish and utilize. Others we carry like heavy baggage waiting to be unloaded.

For me treading these “murky waters” of senior dating clearly (forgive the pun) there have been far more failures than successes. I am being kind; for the plain truth is they have all been failures. This is not a blame game either. I do believe they have been simple mismatches, well at least the majority of them. Yet with that in mind, it is still not easy to tell someone This is NOT working. People take that statement personally in the most negative of ways and that is NOT always the case.

Like I said earlier we need to examine the beginnings. I have experienced some seemingly great starts. Good conversationalists, intelligent, attractive, tall… most of the ones that have not worked out, I am thankful have ended in very early stages. Not a lot of time, effort, or emotion vested. With this particular “relationship” type things usually just drop off, the calls become less and less until there are none, you look up and months have gone by, and soon you realize YOU have gone on. Then there are the “ghostings” a bit more of a sensitive subject and covered briefly in prior piece. I will again state sometimes there is just nothing to say, no case to be made, but when it happens the party being ghosted does not understand. Why not just take it as… if this is all they have for me there truly is nothing that needs to be said. However, we are human; rejection does not sit well with most of us, we are curious and sensitive. There IS the need to know “why”. This writer is challenged by this very thing as well. I have to say I should follow my own advice in these cases. I am certain there will be more not-so-pleasant breaks. I also feel like we have to be subjective in the way we view what a happy ending if. Sometimes you are lucky you get the one you want, and everything is good. Other times you do not walk away with the intended party and that too is a good thing. Just a couple of brief examples and in either case, the respective endings can still be happy.

Because I Live Here

On the heels of Earth Day, one may find themselves in activist mode. It certainly seems that way for me. I look around the community, my street and I see signs of folks that are selfish and unconcerned. That distresses and annoys me. I remember a time, not-so-long ago when the airways were flooded with warnings and pleas for US/Americans NOT to litter. While in many places I travel to as well as where I live littering is NOT a huge problem one has to be aware that it wouldn’t take much for the scales to tip the other way.

Why should one take time out to concern themselves with such a matter? I will tell you as I tell strangers and neighbors alike when they see me picking up trash “out and about“; simply, “Because I live here.” Look I do NOT enjoy picking up after others, but the flip side would be to let the trash and debris sit there or blow around. It takes away from the aesthetic of the area and it sends other offenders the message it is okay to toss their trash out in this area too. Thus, the problem becomes unsightly and unbearable, when one can provide a quickfix. We have to feel responsible for the place we live in, not just our small little space on a street, but in the grand scheme of things, for the planet. My hope is not just to get others involved in the clean-up but that the perpetrators will simply stop adding to the breakdown of civil awareness and civic duty. They will see first-hand that someone does actually care even if they don’t. The human subconscious is a peculiar thing, guilt, remorse and responsibility can work together in order to produce the desired effect and/or being. Now this may not work everywhere, it may not be for everyone, but so far it is doing what I want to do for now.

One cannot be sporadic or easily discouraged, this is a battle which will not be won overnight. However, the cause is worthy, and everyone benefits. Be it your neighborhood, the office you work at, or a public park; these places are ALL a part of the community of the planet Earth, and after it is all said and done, we live here too.

But If I’m Honest

His head dropped when he saw her now. She seemed unaffected and indifferent. However, not so long ago he looked forward to the chance encounters, even though he timed her moves. But if honesty can enter this discussion, he’d have to admit she really had not changed. The only thing that changed was they actually had a conversation and they knew each other’s names.

It is not always received well, one insinuating themself into the life/space of another. I think it is easier accepted if there is a not-so-nice interaction, but if one is in the most remote fashion civil, there are individuals who basically take the kindnesses and run. What I mean is all they need is a crack in an open door and they proceed with not sense of caution. These are the same individuals who will look/be butthurt when they are stopped in their tracks.

Many of us were taught as children to be respectful and polite. Then there are the others. Unpolished and unrefined their experience is often self-taught; this does NOT always translate well. Truth is there are people you should just leave alone. That is not saying they are bad/stand-offish/mean. That only says you have to make informed decisions about who and how you approach. There are people who are just EXTROVERTS. They enjoy people and interacting with. What one has to do is NOT mistake a polite greeting as an invitation in. Extroverts attract us; their magnetic personalities make all of us feel like it is not so bad to just be out there, because what comes easy to them, they manage to make appear easy to us. The INTROVERTS may not have the outward appearance of being shy but read the body language. If they turn away rather than speak, the folded arms. They do NOT want you in their space, if they did/do they WILL invite you in. This is by-no-means a clear, concise character study, just things I have seen.

Personally, I am neither an introvert nor an extrovert, defined. I believe I can and do come off a bit (we will call it this for arguments sake) distant. I also believe I do not send mixed messages. I speak and keep moving. In my mind, in my world, that is an example of what my dad characterized so many decades ago by saying Even two dogs on the street have the decency to bark when they see one another… a greeting should be a given. I do not want you to be upset with me by what YOU perceive as implied. I do want you embrace the obvious. Here is where the honesty comes in. If you pay attention and read the signs, you will get an idea of who you are approaching. You will be able to determine how to approach…or not. Finally, you will begin to realize if you had taken a moment or two more and paid attention, you would have made a better/different decision. If you are honest, you will see who is to blame for that butthurt.

Do You Think We’re Sexy?

Remember that song by Rod Stewart…”Do You Think I’m Sexy?” How many of us danced to, sang aloud, whispered the lyrics into the ears of a lover and even laughed at the idea certain individuals would even suggest the mere idea came to their head? Let’s be honest here sexy is not just a look, it IS a state of mind. Back in 1978 many of us were teens and young adults; we were in our most perfect forms and at the height of our sexuality…of course we thought we were sexy!

I recall having a discussion with a “sister/friend about a Human Sexuality class she was taking in college. I remember being absolutely repulsed when she described a film/video the class watched in which seniors were interviewed. Plus, they not only discussed sex at their age, but there were also visuals. I could not imagine why people that age would want to have sex. My immature mind could NOT wrap around the idea of folks with their particular type bodies would want to see one another naked, let alone be aroused by such a sight. Keep in mind I had seen a grand total of ZERO naked seniors. My opinions were solely based on what I could see in their respective faces and therefore I figured the bodies had to have a similar look.

Fast Forward: here I am now that person that I imitated throwing up at the thought of, facing the question of sexuality. We must couple the idea of physical beauty, with physical limitations. Pregnancy has gone from being covered up like a nun (which was in direct contrast to the condition) to painted and bared bellies. Perhaps a better question for “US” would be… Do you think we’re sexual? The answer is as varied as we are, but once again our numbers draw attention to us. Senior dating sites are as prevalent as ones focusing on the young. Why is that you may think…short answer is because we as human beings still want to connect and to be connected. As life progresses things happen, spouses/partners leave us either through death or through divorce. Then we are left to do what our very nature tells us we must do…find a mate/companion/love.

Sex is everywhere on one level or another and that is NOTHING new. Yet as we move forward and evolve, we cannot help noticing the changes in ourselves, our contemporaries, our environment and society’s attitudes. I have said this time and again as I have written in this blog we “baby-boomers” are a group that none of the likes have been seen, we are trendsetters by virtue of existence. Our numbers alone call for recognition as we draw attention to what it looks like to live, grow up, and age in a modern society with instant access to record and catalog it all. Have we changed our minds about sex and being sexy? I say,” YES absolutely”. When you see a muscular young man at the gym or a toned young woman at the beach in a skimpy swim suit, do you judge them or do you fondly recall when that was YOU or someone you would set your sights on? Don’t be creepy or forgetful, it can be easy to fall into those pigeon-holes. Do you think we’re sexy…HELL YEAH WE ARE!

Redefined

Things aren’t like they used to be. No surprises in that statement but making that statement and NOT truly recognizing what is being said sets one up for a bit of confusion. At one time or another one may find themselves in what used to be a familiar situation, and although one might be compelled into thinking the same strategy, plan, method would still work, you must resist that train of thought. Instead, you must embrace the idea that change has likely taken place and you must approach from a different angle.

It was an innocent looking encounter, if you were not paying attention. When we are in close proximity to one another and couple that with the fact human beings are social, there is nothing extraordinary about a chance meeting on a bench. What isn’t so innocent is when one gets too close too quickly. Everyone is not easy to get to know. One must be mindful of this, or one could “scare” the other individual away. I am a people watcher just by nature and I was given a unique opportunity to see the failed attempt to become familiar unfold. I was not privy to the conversation itself; I saw body language and facial expression. I do not believe anything inappropriate was said or done. I summed the entire episode up as one individual simply not wanting to be bothered. In this situation as the other person persisted it then became more personal and now took on the tone of, she was NOT interested in talking to this man specifically. Sometimes you have to know when to stop, sometimes you have to know when to simply move on. Cut your losses, live to fight another day…but it was clear this fellow was applying methods that worked a long time ago. He was lucky, from my vantage point, that he did not get an old-fashioned slap. The fatal blow to what was left of his ego. Yet, I do believe because his intended target was not flat out mean, he will try again.

Don’t get me wrong here, there is something to be said for persistence. The only thing I can say is the desired effect was NOT achieved. How much time do you invest in the tried and true? When do you come to grips with this is not working…? Some goals are unattainable, we must learn that “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” does NOT have to be our mantra. Instead shoot for, “I’ll try something new”. Hit the gym, don’t cut your long hair, take that painting class…. Our advancing years do not always indicate we are increasingly limited. Make this your venture into becoming…REDEFINED

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