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Archive for the ‘Life in General’ Category

Wanna be a Rock Star?

I had a surprise visit from my BFF.  She had a job interview in my neck of the woods, so we grabbed a last minute drink.

She insisted on a particular spot — a high-end restaurant she recalled from several years ago.  As we chatted, it began filling with regulars and the bartenders catered to those.  My BFF is back on the prowl for a rich man, but this spot was too old and all couples.

Our conversation was interesting in retrospect.  I was a bit put off by it and felt unsettled both during and afterwards.  My defenses were up as my BFF launched an almost full assault on my current life and choices.

She inquired about my goals, any career growth plans, what growth potential does my current job hold, etc.   Then she segued into my relationship with the Hunter.  Was I going to move back in with him eventually or break it off?  Did I not think I could find a man who would take care of me financially and that I would want to live with?  She had no contentment with my status quo.

This conversation was all done in a seemingly loving friendly way designed to push me forward.  I left our get-together feeling unhappy and unsettled.  The day had started with me dancing nekkid around my apartment and ended with me in a gloomy self-reflection.  Oh, watching that Jeffrey Epstein special did not help.

As I sat back and thought about it, I realized some very key points:

  • All this push for me to achieve is really about my BFF’s perception and definition of success.  She wants to earn $1 million and she is perfectly capable of it.  I don’t.  Just hand me a winning lottery ticket instead.
  • She ties happiness to money.  I no longer believe that lots of money equals happiness.  I believe that a stress-free work environment and a simple lifestyle frees me to be happy,
  • She is still struggling to come to terms with her early workaholic life choices that resulted in no marriage and no kids.  She wanted both.  She is still looking for a marriage to a rich guy who would take care of her.  I get it.  She has spent her entire adulthood being solely responsible for herself.  However, I had the long marriage and kids plus I don’t need nor want a man to take care of me.  I explained that I have zero desire to take care of anything — even a plant is a bit more of a commitment than I am willing to make.

I woke up the next morning and realized that this evening was about her, not me.  She may have thought she was turning the spotlight on me, but it really wasn’t.

When she pushed me on my 2020 goals, I explained that I had no big reaches because I had made so many changes in 2019.  2020 is a coasting year for me. A year to sink into the reality of all my 2019 changes.  Yes, I made a 20 for 2020 list, but there is nothing earth-shattering on it.

My doubts are gone.  She is still looking to be the rock star.  God bless her and I fervently hope she gets there.  I am happy to be in the audience singing along and flicking my lighter.

Not all of us will be rock stars.  The vast majority of us are not and that is perfectly OK.  That may be my biggest lesson of 2019.  You don’t have to be the lead singer.  You don’t even have to be part of a successful band.  You can be in the audience and just as happy with your life.  It’s OK.

So I sit here in my simple apartment with the crockpot brewing my week’s meal prep.  I spent the weekend scrubbing down my little abode, running errands, working on my taxes and bills.  I went to a small art festival with another GF.  Guess what — all of this makes me happy.

In my mind, I am a rock star.  It’s just that my stage is smaller.  That’s all that matters to me.

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Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

 

 

Relationships

Relationships – that is my word for 2020.  I love goals, action/strategic plans and all that stuff.  I hear the groans, but I am a sucker for a good planner.  Plus I don’t actually achieve many of my lofty ambitions, but I like the thought and planning behind it all.  I just happen to suck at the execution.  “To thine own self be true.”  Yep, execution is my Achilles heel.

I have tried this picking a word to be my theme for the year.  In 2019 about midway, I chose “journey” because I was on quite the journey. This year, my word is “relationships”.  The more I have been thinking about this word, the more I like it.  There is so much I need to do with various relationships in my life, but two are first and foremost:  money and food.

I need to improve my relationship with money so I never get myself in dire straits due to my own foolish spendthrift ways.  I would like to say that I am cured, but I am not.  I have bills to pay, savings to create, a retirement looming sooner than I care to admit. My 401k paints a pretty rosy picture if I croak by 84.  I would like to see 90 plus what if the stock market tanks again or I have significant health issues? I need a back-up/margin of error/robust savings.

I started with You Need a Budget.  Shit, it is a mind teaser.  Since I failed Accounting in college and barely scraped by Economics (mostly because I was sleeping with a grad student who tutored me through it), this struggle with YNAB is not too surprising.  But my brain needs to learn new things, so I will push through.  It is encouraging (?) to see folks on the FB page confessing it took them several tries before it clicked.

Next on my relationship list is food.  My relationship with food is improving.  I have never eaten as healthy as I am eating today.  Corinne Crabtree, the weight loss coach, said something so true about my food choices.  She said that if it came from the ground or has eyes, eat that.  That is basically the most diet advice she gives.  This has been what I have been focused on doing lately.  Good, natural food –  no processed meats, reduced meat, no processed foods with additives, preservatives and the like.  I am following along with the Mediterranean Diet guidelines which hopefully will yield results.

I have my sugar addiction (another relationship, but a bad one) tamed for the moment.  I cook virtually all of my food.  Take-out is non-existent with me and dining out is a big, rare treat.  However, like any addict, I know I could lapse easily.

Right now my brain has been telling me to have a drink after work.  It’s a new mind worm from my inner devil.  I rarely drink and my brain is saying, “Have a cosmo and unwind.”  Yeah, that cosmo is full of sugar.  Then it swaps to “then have some red wine because that is on the Mediterranean Diet”.  Yeah, I have a $20 bottle, nothing cheap and I don’t drink enough to make it worthwhile to open it.  I don’t want those extra calories.  Ugh.

Just like any addict, I need to take it one day at a time.  I need to divert my mind from the cravings.  I need to plan, make healthy choices and think calmly about how my stomach feels before and after a meal.  Not too full either way is my goal.

I gained 15 pounds last year due to stress eating.  I have to stop gobbling food and drinking when I am stressed or happy.  I must learn to treat food only as fuel and not my dopamine fix.  That is one of my key relationship goals this year.

Tied to the weigh issue is another relationship for me to improve:  my body/health.  I love my body, no matter how much she weighs.  She has given birth to two beautiful, healthy kids.  She has remained healthy no matter how poorly I have treated her.  I need to treat her better by getting into shape, getting complete physicals and making sure her fuel is top-notch. Otherwise how will I hit 90?

In a moment of inspired insanity, I committed to running a corporate 5k run in April.  I have started training this week.  I want to run with all my colleagues.  My boss is a fitness empress — she’ll run that damn thing in about 10 minutes.  I just want to finish it without paramedics. I am using the None 2 Run program for this insane goal.

Personal relationships fall into my 2020 goals also.  I want to make new friends in my new locale plus maintain the existing ones.  I have a distant cousin nearby that my Aunt recently told me about.  I have her phone number, so I need to call her and see where that leads.  There is a lot to be thought about in personal relationships, so more will come as the year moves forward. The Hunter and I have had some interesting conversations as we feel out this new phase of our relationship. Hey, Love – I am talking about us – LOL.

2019 was a big year of change for me.  I truly want 2020 to be one of re-grouping.  That is why I like my word.  Relationships tie into this re-grouping and re-centering as I settle down into my next chapter.

What is your word?

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Photo by Brittney Burnett on Unsplash

 

The Big 500

I began this blog back in 2014 and have reached 500 posts!  My initial purpose for blogging was to tackle the issues/ thoughts/feelings I was having about being a 50-year old woman facing divorce, dating, sex, more sex, dating, sex, relationships and sex.

However, as I continued to write, this blog became the place I sat down to unpack my feelings, concerns, fears, and happiness about my life.  I find it hard to believe that I am six years away from my divorce.  It seems so long ago and yet so recent all at once.

On this blog, I have dug around and unpacked my anxiety about work and trying to earn a decent living.  That has been my biggest topic of late.

I have also looked at relationships with my kids, my dad and the Hunter.  I might not have been forthcoming about the Hunter recently because the man keeps sneaking on and reading my blog and then getting upset.  Geez, what a vicious cycle. Plus there simply isn’t much to say about us right now.  We simply…are…

My Dear Readers, you who give me a few minutes of your precious time, have provided wise words of advice, encouragement and general comments.  Thank you.

I have no idea what the next 500 posts will be about or if I will even make it to 1,000 posts.  What I do know is that this blog has been far cheaper than a therapist.  It has been an invaluable tool and haven for me.  To be able to reflect and stew is paramount to my mental health.  To be able to go back and read my previous posts gives me clarity on what I was thinking at that time.

I was going to go back and curate a “Best of” list, but guess what — I am too lazy to do that right now.  I just wanted to get this post up to celebrate my amazing accomplishment.  Plus to be honest, my first year or so of blogging is really XXX rated – LOL.  Not that I am a prude, but I am gainfully employed, so I will prudently keep them locked.

Thank you for reading.

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Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

Trust Your Body

I had a jolt of reality today. I get daily industry-specific newsfeeds and one article rocked my world. Back during my job search, I wrote about Queen Bee. This week, an article popped up that she switched firms. WTF? She was a partner in this company. Something big had to have happened.

In an uncanny twist, she had been on my mind. I was thinking about my final interview with the CEO and how my eye decided to swell up with an infection. I was thinking about how this was my body telling me not to take that job. I wasn’t listening to it at the time, but now I recognize that my body was pulling out all the stops to tell me not to pursue that job.

We need to listen to our bodies.  I had only had an eye infection like that once before. It was the strangest thing and it disappeared very quickly after the interview.

Fascinating.  Simply fascinating….

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Photo by Gerax Sotelo on Unsplash

Santa Delivered

I am sitting at the airport patiently waiting for my flight. I got here extra early to miss rush hour and deal with the onslaught of holiday travelers. The airport is packed and hectic. I polished off a large glass of wine and plucked out my contacts, so I am very comfy now. They just announced my flight is delayed. No problem.

My Christmas trip with the kids was amazing. Fun, no pressure, lots of just slow chat time. It was a wonderful reconnection. My son was my wingman as we explored the city. No drama, very relaxing. I had a blast.

On Christmas, Santa delivered. If you read my post questioning my relationship with my dad, you will snort with laughter over his gift. He gave me and the kids exactly the same thing. It was my stepmom’s idea. If you didn’t read my post, go there first. I’ll wait.

OK, did you read it? So what did he give each of us? A check. A check that wipes out all of my remaining debt, half my son’s grad school cost and a sizable chunk of my daughter’s student loans. We were speechless. I am still in shock. My SIL said it best, “Granddad for the win”.

My reset is complete. I am able to move forward. My mind is still trying to wrap itself around this great gift. I am so incredibly blessed and lucky.

There are some loose ends to tie up. Primarily the closing on his house must happen and that’s scheduled (for the third time) to happen before the end of the year, so we need a pause so the funds clear.

My mind has been racing and I am itching to get home to my spreadsheets, so I can run my numbers. I am trying to figure out my next steps for my budget. How quickly can I pay off my car? How quickly can I fully fund my emergency fund? When can I bump up my 401k and HSA? What will my budget look like with this extra money? I am so incredibly happy and thankful.

My son-in-law is right. It was Grandad for the win. Grandad and the Stepmom who doesn’t care for kids… I never saw it coming….

Merry Christmas!

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Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

I am packed and ready to go.  I spent a lovely weekend with the Hunter.   One of my cookie batches was a fail, but I have other goodies to take, so I’ll leave the gooey (still delicious) mess at home.  Taz, my son and I are giddy with excitement about our upcoming visit.

I hope you, Dear Readers, have a peaceful holiday season.  Best and warmest wishes to you all.

With much gratitude,

Maggie

P.S. If you want to read about the type of man I wished for the Christmas before the Hunter and I began dating, read it here.  It’s only a little naughty….

 

Santa

One of my step-aunts shared a photo of my 80+ year old dad in his Santa suit waving to commuters. This has been his holiday tradition for untold years. It is pretty cute, but as his child, I am mildly irritated. Irritated enough to write this post.

First, a little background. My parents divorced when I was 6 and I saw my dad for holidays and two weeks in the summer thereafter. He wrote monthly and made little effort to spend more time with his kids. He quickly married my stepmom, but they had no kids. I always felt that a) she didn’t like me and my brother because we were a reminder of his previous marriage and b) she really doesn’t like kids generally.

This meant that any holidays spent with him were with her family. I liked them, but we were the only kids there. Her three sisters had no kids until the youngest adopted. One has a stepson, but she’s divorced from the father. They had their own holiday traditions and we fit in where it was convenient for them. Suffice it to say, those Christmases were not packed with fond memories. They were what they were.

Back to Santa. To me, my dad’s Santa tradition is an example of how little I know about the man. Did he start this because he missed Christmas with his own kids? I seem to recall he was Santa for a non-profit he volunteered for and things grew from there. But I don’t know for sure. I guess I could have a conversation about this with him.

This man, a pillar of his community, put virtually no effort into parenting. He allowed his wife to delay child support checks and write scathing letters to my mom. He is smart and funny, but I have always said he does much better with young adults rather than kids. He tried harder with my brother who went to live with him when he was 15. That didn’t go particularly well, but he paid for my brother’s college and fraternity which is a lot more than he gave me. I got one year of college paid and $2500 for my wedding.

I am asking myself why is this bitterness emerging? I don’t know. I guess I wish I had a better father, but I could have done far worse. I will take benign neglect over abuse any day. I was lucky my stepfather, who was a horrible person, never physically abused me. Here I am 55 years old with my childhood so far behind me still grappling with the aftermath of my childhood. Interesting.

But I agree with Maya Angelou and wouldn’t take nothing for my journey. And most importantly, I have to remember a quote of hers. “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

So in the spirit of Christmas, I forgive the adults of my childhood. I forgive them for the times when they put their needs before a child’s. I forgive them and I fulfilled my promise to myself. Do better. Be a better parent and a better person. I proudly think I am.

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