I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
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I’m having a bit of a crisis over my New Year’s Resolutions. You see, I’m not really one for making lists of resolutions at New Year’s, but this morning, as I was still lying in bed…has anyone else noticed how freaking DARK it still is at seven in the morning? Maybe it’s just Seattle. Anyway, I’m lying there in the dark, checking my emails on my phone, and I already have emails from three other bloggers about New Year’s resolutions. Ok, so two of them are on the East Coast and have a bit of a jump on me, but I wasn’t even planning on writing about resolutions. I felt conflicted.
Oh the peer pressure.
It started last night with this article from Spark People on The Worst New Year’s Resolutions You Can Make. I already feel guilty about my calorie intake throughout December, and like a lot of folks, I’m ready to get back on track, but this was the first feeling I had that maybe I should make some resolutions.
Then, early this morning, I had a post from Kat Richter of Fieldwork in Stilettos, who didn’t write about resolutions at all but, instead, about the Ice Wars that erupt within her family on New Year’s. While I agree with her dad, The Chauffeur, about the importance of bubble-free, cloud-free rocks in your cocktails, I don’t usually say these things out loud. God forbid; that might reveal my tendency to be a little
obsessive-compulsive detail-oriented. Check out his comment after the post, pretty funny. The whole bunch may be certifiable, but I would love to be there for the Ice Wars of 2012. Cheers to the Richter family!
Again, I felt I should probably get my lazy ass out of bed and write something, anything, about the New Year.
Then, I received The Byronic Man’s post over at A Clown on Fire. When it comes to blogging resolutions, The Byronic Man is actually an overachiever. This is his second post on resolutions in the last four days…that we know of…he may be traveling around the internet writing resolution in other places still yet to be discovered. He first list of resolutions can be found here.
2013 Conflict Resolution #1: The Byronic Man is my hero. Despite my lack of motivation, I will write a blog post today. It will contain New Year’s resolutions. (They say the hardest part is getting started.)
I hadn’t even finished reading The Byronic Man’s post before I received the next set of resolutions from Dan Rockwell, The Leadership Freak. These are less tongue-in-cheek and more inspiring, but I especially liked when he said,
“The people closest to you determine the heights you reach.”
2013 Conflict Resolution #2: Meet with at least one friend per week who inspires me. This, of course, conflicts with my tendency to be introverted, but I’m told that hanging out, watching movies with Thor, does not count as networking.
I was reminded of the importance of being around people who inspire me the other night when my MBA study team, Big Purple Chicken–there’s a long story behind the name, can’t get into it here–got together for a team “meeting.” We hadn’t been together as a group since our graduation in June, and it was great to see everyone. I haven’t laughed that hard in ages, and it feels so good to be around people who are striving to make their lives and the lives of others around them better.
Ok, that started to sound pretty sappy, but I love the people in Big Purple Chicken.
Finally, there was a new post from YumUniverse, which, unlike the others, told me NOT to make resolutions, but to THINK BIGGER! What?? I wasn’t even out of bed yet. Can I get my coffee first? Oh wait, YumUniverse would probably want me to down a green smoothie instead of coffee…
…ok, well, Thor needed to pee anyway. I decided I better get up and take him outside.
So, now here I sit with my coffee…
2013 Conflict Resolution #3:
Buy ingredients to make green smoothies. (I actually have Italian black kale in my refrigerator right now, but I’d rather sauté it in olive oil with garlic and a little sea salt.) Learn to like green smoothies. Ok, wait, revise, edit…2013 Conflict Resolution #3: Make and test two recipes for green smoothies per month until I find one I like or until I confirm, for certain, that I do not like green smoothies. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
One of the most important things to remember about resolutions is to make them specific. I have made it no secret here that I need to lose weight. If I simply say I’m going to lose weight in 2013, that will never work. My goals have to be specific and measurable.
Last winter, for example, I created a goal to “get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.” This might seem like a funny goal to some, but my reasoning was twofold. First, my doctor told me I was in adrenal fatigue. “You’re in fight or flight all the time,” she said. Second, cortisol is known to affect weight gain and belly fat, which is also affected by sleep. Rather than try to tackle the whole host of factors contributing to my weight, I chose to focus on one and do it really well. It was normal for me to stay up until midnight or 1 a.m. and then get up at six in the morning. It was no wonder I was biting off people’s heads and punting small children…
…no…no…for the record, I never did that. Those were just disturbing visions in my head cause by sleep deprivation.
Anyway, I didn’t just say I was going to “get more sleep.” I said how much sleep I intended to get. I logged my sleep hours into a calendar and tallied and reviewed them each week. I posted a goal on stickk.com. Using the book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, I also implemented changes around my house that would change my environment and my habits. I put a timer on the lamp in my living room and set it to turn off at 10 p.m. every night. I have a programmable thermostat, and I programmed it to go down to 56° F at 10 p.m. Yeah, that’s cold, but as the temperature started to drop it encouraged me to get in bed under my nice, warm comforter. Anyway, it worked. I’ve actually kept it up, and I’m actually a much nicer person with two extra hours of sleep per night.
So, here’s the thing. I don’t feel like I can make too many resolutions, because, well, to be quite frank, I should probably concentrate on the conflicts and projects I already have underway. So here are the rest of my conflict resolutions for 2013:
2013 Conflict Resolution #4: Continue working out at least three days per week. I just learned last night that Experience Fitness has closed its doors. My trainer, Zach, says he can still train me, but he’ll be doing it at a gym downtown. I don’t think that’s going to be feasible, but I’m still working this out. Accountability for me is key. I downloaded the Nike Training Club app last night, but I still haven’t exercised yet today. I’m kind of freaking out about this one, but the conflict resolution needs to encourage me to continue working out.
2013 Conflict Resolution #5: Shut the bastards down! You may have noticed that I’ve been blogging a lot of bullshit lately, and I’ll tell you why. I recently discovered my content is being skimmed and reposted on another website. The assholes even had the nerve to copy the Christmas picture of Thor and me. I have filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act report. Keep your fingers crossed. With any luck, I can get their website, or at least my posts, taken down, but you can see why I’m hesitant to post anything worthwhile until I have this issue resolved. I’m pissed off enough about this to start kicking people again…
…wait, I never actually did that.
2013 Conflict Resolution #6: Finally, once and for all, determine whether I am a serial dater, a serial entrepreneur, or just a serial optimist. I keep telling myself that getting laid off two years ago was the best thing that ever happened to me. My friend, Samantha, calls me a “woman un-cubed,” but I’ve had a tough time getting things off the ground. I’ve cobbled freelance and contract work together with other part-time gigs to try to maintain my happiness and independence, but it’s hard.
In early 2013, you’ll see a Kickstarter campaign for My Dating Prescription. I’ve found a videographer, Indy, who I want to work with, and we’re set to film the Kickstarter video next weekend. Let’s face it; the only way I’ll be able to cover publishing costs to turn My Dating Prescription into a book is if I get people to help me. Crowd-funding is my only hope. Like all Kickstarter campaigns, my MDP campaign will have different contribution levels linked to various rewards. This will all be explained in more detail very soon.
2013 Conflict Resolution #7: Publish My Dating Prescription. Hopefully, someone likes my writing.
Ok, that’s enough for one year. Obviously, I have stuff to do, so I better get to it.
Happy New Year! I’m wishing you all the best in 2013!
Copyright 2011-13. My Dating Prescription blog. All Rights Reserved.
I’m sitting in the waiting room at my therapist’s office. There’s this bubbling, gurgling Japanese water fountain in the corner. I think it’s supposed to make me feel more peaceful. On the end table, between two of the waiting room chairs, there’s a miniature Japanese Zen garden. You know the ones, those little square sandboxes with the miniature rake. It’s supposed to be calming to rake the sand around in different patterns. All I can think is that I want to draw obscene pictures. Maybe it’s some sort of Asian Rorschach test and my therapist will realize that I’m some kind of twisted. I decide to leave it alone.
I settle for the latest New Yorker instead. I don’t know why I always make this choice. I can never get through an entire article before my therapist calls me into his office, but I always choose The New Yorker. What can I say? I like the writing.
My therapist is funny, and by funny, I mean funny weird. You can have your shoes on in the waiting area, but you have to take them off before you enter his office. The other thing that he does is he always asks me, “what’s new and good?” It pisses me off. Every time I go to see him I have to figure out what’s new and good. I figure it’s just one of his methods for making the weight of his job a little less dreary. I mean imagine having to listen to everybody’s problems all day long. It irritates me though, because sometimes, like today, it’s a real struggle for me to come up with something.
The angry couple I heard behind the wall leaves and it’s my turn. My Jewish doctor/Zen master calls me into his office. I slip off my sandals at the door and take my spot on the sofa.
“So, what’s new and good,” he asks.
Here we go.
“Um, I wore slip-on shoes today?”
“No, there must be something. Come on. What’s new and good?” he says. He’ll embrace my inner child but not my inner smart ass.
I don’t fucking know. I’d been wracking my brain all the way over to his office in my car, and I couldn’t come up with anything. Now, he waits. He sits there and waits. He’ll wait at $120 an hour until I come up with something, which is why I usually try to come up with something acceptable in the car.
Oh for fuck sake.
“Um, I’ve made it to all of my personal training appointments, three times a week, for the past three months?”
“Great! How does that make you feel?”
“Strong. Strong and still fat.”
“Strong is good.”
I can tell he’s trying to work with me here.
“I’m stronger than I was in my twenties.”
“That’s good, especially considering where you were last year.”
It’s true. A year ago, I was still broken, physically broken from a bicycling accident and emotionally broken from my divorce. I had done the right thing. I got a trainer for my body and a therapist for my mind. Things were looking up.
“What else is going on?”
“Well, I think I’m obsessing.”
“Well, there’s this guy I’ve been corresponding with through email…”
I start to tell him about My Stalker/Super Fan. I tell him how he’s charming, funny, intelligent, and…a complete mystery.
“He says he’s #100.”
“Do YOU think he’s #100? What does #100 mean for you at this point?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything about him. He could turn out to be a hairy troll beating off in a basement for all I know. The scary part is that I find myself looking forward to his emails and thinking about him during the day…and I don’t even know what he looks like! It’s ridiculous!”
“What is it that you like about him?”
“He’s hilarious. I laugh out load when I read his emails, and there’s this, sort of, in charge, kind of charisma that seems to come through in his emails. For the most part though, I feel like the rest of it is just one big Cinderella fantasy that I’m making up in my head, like he’s going to come sweeping in at the end of this and whisk me away to live happily ever after or some shit…Mr. 100. Whoo hoo! That shit NEVER happens to me. My life is never a fairy tale. It’s more like tragedy and comedy…or a horror story.”
“I hear a couple of things going on here. First, you need to base your decisions and feelings on reality, not fantasy.”
“I know. I know. I know. I need to reign it in. I know I’m falling into that fairy tale bullshit I was sold as a little girl. You know, the prince comes and saves the princess and they live happily ever after. I have a business degree for crying out loud. I can choose between two separate investments based on their net present value, but I can’t seem to evaluate a good guy from a bad guy. It’s like I’m hoping this guy will be my knight in shining armor or something and it’s bullshit! I know it’s bullshit!”
I can hear myself getting louder, ranting and rambling, and I stop and look at my therapist.
“I’ve just had really rotten luck with men,” I finally admit in defeat.
“I know. You deserve a man who loves you, but that love has to be based on fact, not fiction. Just like any of your other dates, if you’re really interested in this guy, you need to take the time to get to know him. Ask him questions. You’ll have to ask a lot of questions and meet face to face before you decide if what you’re feeling is real or not.”
“Yeah, I know,” I sigh and look out the window.
“But, that brings me to the other thing I was going to say, which is, do you think you could believe that something good could happen to you?”
“Oh,…well,…I don’t know.”
The question floods my mind with thoughts of how in love I had been with STBex and I have to fight back tears. Look how that turned out. How was I going to love again and be able to trust those feelings after I had been so betrayed?
“I hear you building this guy up to be a prince and then, just as quickly, writing him off because you don’t think he’s going to come through for you. What if you took time to get to know him, and he actually turned out to be a good guy?”
“That would be nice for a change.”
“And, that would be a good thing, right?”
“Yeah, it would.”
My therapist goes on to suggest exercises to refocus my attention when my fantasizing about My Stalker/Super Fan gets out of control, and, again, he reminds me to slowly figure out what’s real and what’s fantasy. I realize that waiting to meet My Stalker/Super Fan until date #100 is probably a good thing. You gotta admit: it’s slow. If Man #100 is really going to wait to date me, at the rate my dating is going, it could be another two years before we meet face to face. If My Stalker/Super Fan really believes he’s Man #100, he either has incredible perseverance, is unusually goal driven, or maybe he’s the one who’s fantasizing. There are long odds on Man #100.
I slip my shoes on as I leave my therapist’s office and exit into the sunlight to head to my car. My mind feels more clear…at least for now.