LOST

For now, I am in a sort of slump and don’t know which way to go.  I need a life GPS that would direct me to the location I am seeking.  I just feel I am getting nowhere.  I have misplaced my serene center and am focusing too much on affirmation from external sources.

For now, I am taking a break from connecting with new strangers online.   I have had some good times, and hope to continue seeing the men I have met.  But when the phone doesn’t ring, I feel like I must have done something wrong.  I expect every male to fall in love with me. Self-centered? Totally, but the truth.

In the past I met men(not online) and we formed instant connections-microwave attachments and a relationship began and lasted for years.  Now, everything has changed in the dating dance of technology.  Men(and even I) want to get close with no promise of a future date or even a call or text.  I am unaccustomed to this style of non-mating.

The dates I have gone on have been fun and I felt special, but the half-life of this good mood is short and fades quickly as the days add up with no further contact.

A man asked me to meet for coffee, and after an initial affirmative response, I changed my mind.  I can’t converse with strangers and have my hopes and fantasies dashed when the connection evaporates and I am left wondering why.  Too much stress for me right now.

In another arena, I have become too focused on how many people read my blog, instead of sensing the joy of having an outlet for my feelings and enjoying the writing process.  Once again, I am seeking outward approval, not content with my own.

Where to look to find myself?  Right where I am, I suppose, happy not to be depressed and not letting the actions(or inactions) of others ruin my day.

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SISTERS

Today would be my sister Pats birthday, if she were alive.  But, she died in May 2016, in Lisbon, Portugal.  We were estranged and I learned of her passing online.  Sad, but true.

Pat was two and one-half years older than me, and at least I had that advantage.  But being a younger sister came with problems.  She was in the family first, and I always felt like a runner-up in a contest.  She, pretty much ruled the household and ordered me around.

I got no support from my parents in standing up for myself, so I stayed in second place.  In day camp, decades ago, I was having a good time, but Pat was not.  She told me to tell my Mom that I, too, hated camp and not to be bribed to stay with candy.  I am a pushover with sweets.

But, I complied, and that was  the end  of day camp.  Why did I let her push me around?  I was just a little girl and I idolized my big sister without reason.  I could continue to list the injustices I remember, but it is her birthday, she is deceased and therefore I will let her rest in peace.

As we grew older, a rift developed, and I was equally culpable.  After college, she married and moved to California-San Francisco, then San Diego.  I was jealous that she fled  the confines of Baltimore, and often resented her absence.  The distance became more than miles.

She had always wanted to live abroad, and realized her dream when she headed to Europe and settled in Portugal after trying some other cities.  She was happy there, but now we were too far apart to sustain a familial relationship.

Pat was happy in Portugal, speaking the language and teaching English to locals.  I was back near Baltimore resenting her absence, especially when our mother was ill.  I was the sole surviving sister, and felt pressure to do more for Mom.  But who was or am I to say how and where she should live her life?  I was still envious of her escape.

I never visited her in Cascais, the seaside area she called home, and our phone calls were brief and unsatisfactory.  I wish we had maintained some sort of connection, but it was not to be.  I don’t have any regrets.  We both tried until we stopped trying.

Her friend/executor sent me a parcel of her belongings, and I have yet to open it.  What don’t I want to know?  That she was successful, or am I just unwilling to accept her death?

The past is over, and I am now the sole surviving member of my family.  That feels sort of strange, but not unfamiliar.  I had relationship issues with my father, also.

So, Happy Birthday, Patricia, and know that I am thinking of you.

SINGLES’ OLYMPICS

You don’t have to wait every four or even two years for this occurrence.  You don’t even have to travel to Korea, Japan or Brazil. It is ongoing, with dreams of winning, and the reality of losing for participants, but it is always present as long as people are seeking love-usually online.  I have broken the “games” into several categories, just like the real thing.  Since I am single, I include myself in the competition.

Events that garner lots of interest:

1 Dodging Commitment

This usually takes the form of just looking for a friendship or making no promises about potential meetings.  Coming up with excuses why they can’t make firm or definite plans,  teasing about a future with no intention of following through and are rarely available.  Gold Medal-Unlisted phone number.

2 Running from Responsibility

Another favorite is not being able to show up on time, not calling when promised, and always having a good excuse for being unreliable.  Extra points for not showing up at time of date.  Gold Medal-Thesaures with new words for being unavailable.

3 Speed Abandonment

A real crowd pleaser for many men.  Obvious by its name, this event includes cutting the date short, never calling again, and showing no response to questioning emails.  Gold Medal-Running Shoes.

4 Distraction Demeanor

A most annoying habit of men-looking at every woman in sight and ignoring   present date.  Making it obvious that the other women are more important.  Shows little interest in current companion.  Gold Medal-Binoculars.

5 Forward Thrust

Coming on very strong in the beginning with words of love, and maybe even flowers(I am still waiting for mine.)  Declarations of finally finding a soul mate and knowing it was meant to be.  Gold Medal-muzzle.

6 Rapid Disappearing

See Speed Abandonment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOING NOWHERE

This morning, I was running(really fast walking) on the treadmill in the gym at my condo.  The machine shows how far I am traveling, and what my speed is.  I had to force myself to do the time, but earlier sunrises make it easier to get going.  At the end of my twenty minutes, I was still on the treadmill and had not gone anywhere.  Let’s hope my thighs are responsive to the effort.

When I was younger, I was a runner.  I participated in one 10K race and spent the rest of my jogging time circling a track at a local high school.  running away from home without really leaving.  It was fun, and so long ago that women’s running shoes were not readily available.  I used to have to call New Balance in New England to get my foot gear.

I think that the jogging helped me deal with life situations, and a feeling of accomplishment.  Unfortunately, it also led to profound nerve damage in both feet, major surgery, and casts on both legs.  I consulted ten doctors, who all had no idea what the problem was and offered no remedy.

Finally, I consulted a podiatrist who diagnosed me with tarsal tunnel syndrome and told me he knew how to help me.  I was so relieved that I cried.

What followed , even after the operation, was pain for one year limited choices for footwear.  Suddenly, I could only walk in cowboy boots and running shoes.  At my daughter’s wedding, I wore heels only for my walk down the aisle and then switched to socks.  So did the rest of the wedding party.

After many years, i still can’t wear high heels(no great loss) and depend on orthotics in my shoes.  But then life became easier when I discovered Vionic shoes.  They are the best for me and are designed for just my problem.  I am not a paid spokesperson, bit I could be.

So, after running around the track and walking fast on the treadmill,  I may not have gotten anywhere far from home, but I have learned to handle problems more easily.  Thank you, endorphins

VALENTINE’S DAY

I don’t have an official valentine this year, so, no flowers, heart-shaped boxes of candy or romantic cards for me.  I have memories of past love-day celebrations and  suitors who treated me kindly.  I guess I will have to be content to stay on the journey of learning to love myself.

Here are things I love:my daughter and her family, Cuddle Duds, Vionic shoes, owls, poodles, end of an exercise class, warm gloves, home, flying, chocolate,  naps, you who read my blog.

I wish I had more to write about romantic love, but it has eluded me for years, and maybe I just forgot what it is like.  I have had two wonderful relationships since my divorce decades ago.

I picked up one blonde, handsome six-footer at a nice bar back in the 1980s when coupling seemed safer.  I asked if he was having a good time, and we were together for eight years.  What a wonderful man he is.  Recently widowed when we met, he was never bitter-sad, yes, but not angry.  He was the kindest man I have ever encountered. We never made it official, but I am grateful for our time together.

The next stop on my romantic map was answering an ad in Baltimore Magazine.  Pre-Internet, personals ads in the back of city publications were the way to go.  We met for drinks and were a couple for over ten years.  He worked at NSA and I learned about spying and the code-breakers of WW II.  He was attentive to my daughter and me.  The end wasn’t pretty, but not horrible either.

Since then, I have dated sporadically, seeking chemistry and kindness and connection.  No luck so far.  So, on this Valentine’s Day, I will count my blessings and be thankful for  family and the love I have had.

FALLING STOCKS AND FAMILY BONDS

When the Dow Jones average plummeted on Monday, I felt panicky(like everyone else.)  In truth, the downslide was not even in the top twenty of daily market plunges percentage wise.  But the numbers were frightening.

My father, a prominent stockbroker, used to reassure me about market fluctuations and I felt safe while he was alive.  But he died in 2005, and now that he is gone, I have to be my  own self calmer.

Not alone in this endeavor, I have some financial people who I can talk to about what is going on and they never seem to get rattled.  During the crash of 2008, I called them asking advice on how to proceed as the downturn was historic.  Their advice, “turn off the television.”  So, I did and left the portfolio alone.  In retrospect, a good move.

But the hysteria from the media is contagious, and I hesitate looking at the daily rises and falls of the market out of fear.  My family has been generous and I feel responsible for maintaining the money to leave to my daughter.  I am solely the custodian of the funds, I feel, not the owner.

My grandfather was also a stockbroker in Baltimore, after selling liquor from a wagon in St. Joseph, Missouri.  Because of these family ties, I assume I should know what to do about economic problems, but I don’t.  Usually, I follow the advice to buy good stocks and hold them.  When I don’t know what to do, I do nothing.

I like to buy into companies I am familiar with-Coca-Cola(love to drink it,) Reebok(the only shoe I could wear when I busted the nerves in my feet from running,)  and QVC(I knew there were other lazy shoppers like me.)  I skipped the tech enthusiasm of the 1970s.

My dad told me that bulls and bears make money on Wall Street, but not hogs.  So, I am not interested in the latest hot tip, nor in getting the perfect return on my money.

I just hope the volatility settles down in the right direction, and that I have the patience to remain calm when it does not.