Well, my first blog post didn’t go viral, but I guess I’ll keep writing……
It’s Valentine’s Day, which makes me think about LOVE, which makes me notice that I’m not in it, at the moment. Not for lack of trying, mind you. I try a lot. In fact, it has recently been pointed out to me that it seems like when I have a LOT of Seriously Important Shit (“SIS”) to do — like, ummmm, making major life decisions, finding a job, taking care of myself, writing a brief, paying bills, cleaning my house — I tend to ignore that stuff and focus my energy on finding LOVE, or at least a date.
Note that I have done a staggering amount of “work” on my “self” — counselling, journalling, groups, retreats, psychic consultations, etc., so you would think that this pattern would have been revealed through that work, and, to be honest, it probably (for sure) was. But I “forgot” about it until my mother pointed it out to me. Again.
Wait! One thing you need to know (cuz I’m sure it will come up again) is that my mom, who is a fabulous, creative, sparkly genius type person with great hair, absolutely hates men. She denies it, but even she cannot keep a straight face through her denial. It’s not that she hates men so much (but she does hate them – except my brother, and my son, and, for now, my brother-in-law) but she really hates relationships between men and women. I’m always amazed that her friends come to her for relationship advice — her response/advice is pretty predictable: “GET OUT”. Ladies, she said that about your last boyfriend, and she will say it about the next one…trust me…. But I digress…… My point is that, due to her predisposition, it is pretty easy for me to brush off anything she says to me about men/relationships.
This time, however, she is right.
I’ve been un-married for, like, ten years (which means, if you’ve been paying attention, that I was married and divorced 2.5 times between the ages of 25 and, like, 37-ish….yeah, interesting, huh?) and I’ve been totally single for at least half that time. Given my history, you can understand that I felt like it might be a good idea to be single for a while, figure stuff out, get to know myself, blah blah blah. Anyway, all that stuff can get boring. And co-parenting, practicing law and, well, every day life, can get uber-stressful. So, historically, when life got boring and/or uber-stressful I found myself thinking, “hmmmmmmm, what can I do to shake things up around here, add a little stress/excitement (note how I have grouped those words together like they are synonomous…not good) to take my mind off the SIS I’m supposed to be doing?” The answer was: ONLINE DATING.
Oh yes, I’m the Queen of Online Dating. I’ve been on Yahoo Personals, kiss.com, eharmony, smartsingles, chemistry, plenty of fish, perfectmatch and I have an honorary lifetime membership at Match.com. Not really, but if they offered one, I think I might qualify. Anyway, don’t get me started about online dating — I could go on and on and on. My point is that I have used online dating not so much to find love, but as an evasion tactic. “Hmmmmm, my Supreme Court brief is due tomorrow and I still haven’t figured out why that last relationship failed….yesterday, I think I’ll see if anyone viewed my profile today!” or, more recently, “Ok, so, I can’t keep practicing law, I need to figure out how to support myself (and my son, who starts college next year!), I’m living with my mom, who is battling ovarian cancer, I’m 46, which is practically 50 and I’m kind of a mess about that, I’m having epiphany after epiphany (seriously!) about me, my life, my brilliant writing career, etc. and I’m freakin’ exhausted by it all — seems like a good time to put up a profile on Match.com!”
I would like to think I’m not the only one who does absurd crap like this.
The good news is that I write awesome profiles. Seriously. Everyone says so. And it is exciting to be noticed. The bad news is that it takes a lot of time and energy obsessively searching for men with interesting profiles, exchanging witty e-mails, engaging in snappy banter over the phone and then going out only to discover he is: [insert one or more] 1. married, 2. a rabid right-winger, 3. 5″ shorter than he said he was, or, 4. completely not interested in me. I guess I got kind of addicted to the thrill of the “chase” or maybe I liked the rollercoaster of emotions….”He’s not interested? What is wrong with me? I’ll never love again. Mom is right, men suck!” to “OMG! I got 4 messages today, and most of them are NOT from 70-year-old men who live in Wyoming!!! I totally rock! Life is good.” What’s not to like, right?! Whatever it was, I definitely sought it out whenever I felt the need to escape my real life, i.e., ME.
The “funny” thing is that I spent so much time over the past decade dating and/or trying to date, instead of getting my shit together, that I’m now no fun to actually date. Well, I’m super-fun in the beginning, when things are clicking and we can’t wait to jump in bed together and everything is sparkly and yummy…but it doesn’t take long for me to become less fun. Heavy sigh. Apparently, I went through the motions, did the counselling and all the other stuff, but never actually did the work. I invested my time and energy into the search for love (and a few short-term relationships) instead of investing in becoming someone who is really ready for love. Looking for someone with an interesting life instead of building my own. Scouring the earth (read: the Metro Denver and Front Range Area) to find someone who will fall in love with me, instead of falling in love with myself.
That sucks. But one of my recent epiphanies is that, seriously, it’s all good. In the super huge macro picture, it really is all good. I didn’t “waste” that decade. I lived it. I have some great stories to tell. Now I’m ready to live differently. My past doesn’t control my future! Furthermore, as my mom keeps telling me, “it is never too late to be who you might have been.” (She’s quoting George Eliot – whoever that is.) Anyway, I finally understand what that means for me. So, in order to support myself and my fabulous future, beginning today, February 14, 2011, I’m enacting a one-year (or maybe six months?)(oh, alright, one-year….) moratorium on searching for love from anyone but me. Wish me luck.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
p.s. i haven’t worked out all the rules for this moratorium yet — it could mean i’m not having, ummmm, “relations”, for a year. i don’t know if i’m ready to commit to that…. and what if mr. right shows up in real life? but could he even be mr. right if i’m not “ready”? food for thought….