"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for the ‘Middle Age’ Category

Boring is Good

This week I have felt bored. Life is ho hum. Then Taz gave me a wake up call. We had a long chat and she was filling me in on news from friends and my Ex’s family. Wow – talk about drama.

This friend’s mom had two heart attacks. The friend is trying to finish school and her fiancé was transferred to an out of state job. Another friend’s grandparent passed leaving behind an autistic son with metastatic lung cancer. The friend’s mom is now nursing her brother while he battles pneumonia and lung cancer. The same friend is dealing with a boyfriend who has accepted a job promotion and transfer.

Then my Ex had some serious drama with his fiancée’s daughters. Long story, I won’t go into it, but I felt bad for the guy. Really bad.

It was just drama, drama, drama. Wow. I have never been so grateful to be ordinary and dull. Thank you, Karma. You won’t hear a peep of complaint from me. Not a single peep. I am ever so grateful for all I have. Now let me drag my ordinary self to bed in my cozy, simple apartment.

Here & Now

What’s missing? That is the feeling that has been rattling around in the back of my mind.  It didn’t materialize until I put pen to paper.  What is missing these days?

The answer for me is social occasions.  Forming new friendships with women in my new town.  That was my top 2020 goal and now a formidable one.

I am not lonely, but I do want to broaden my social circles.  My Zoom Toastmasters helps.  I did a pleasant Zoom Meetup with a women’s group.  We had 5 on the call and it was nice.  I had been seeing the Hunter every weekend. I talk to my kids frequently and check in with my dad and BFF weekly.  Plus I have an office of friendly coworkers for idle chitchat and lunch. I cannot complain.

However, I am looking 10 years out to my retirement.  Holy shit, I only have about 10-14 years to go.  Crap, I am getting old.  What is my retirement going to look like?  Will I move close to Taz to help her with the grandkids?  My dad advocates for that.  I am happy to help.  I would love to do something like help run the marketing for her medical practice or help oversee the management side of things.  That would keep me busy, but that is the future.  What is here and now?

Here and now is no Meetups, no clubs, no concerts, no festivals, no beach, etc.  Here and now is a brilliantly beautiful day with cool air wafting on my bare legs.  Birds chirping, traffic humming past.  Here and now is a delicious cup of coffee.

Instead of searching for the missing, let me have a moment of pure gratitude.  I am so grateful for everything I have:

  • My kids – they are wonderful, accomplished and a source of joy, not grief or angst.
  • My cozy apartment – it’s cute, perfect for me.  It has nice, upgraded appliances,  granite countertops, a nice balcony with a pleasant view.  My apartment is filled with decor and furniture I selected.  It is a trifle eclectic, but very comfortable and I like it.
  • My job and steady paycheck – something I will never take for granted.
  • My health – I am strong, healthy with absolutely no issues other than my weight.  My thyroid may be a bit wonky, but I am taking no medications and feel great.
  • Friends and family – I have people in my life who love me and who I love in return. No drama – what a blessing.

I am so incredibly lucky and blessed.  My only debt is my car, which is very manageable and soon to be paid off.  This time last year I was in such a panic.  I had over $40K of debt and little income.  I was praying night & day that I would get this job because there was nothing else in sight.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  All I know is that today is a blessing and I am happy with all that I have.  I need to remain present and not fret about the future.  I am missing nothing, not a damn thing.

img_8343

 

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 2) 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.

My Beach Read

My beach read for my recent trip was “The Naked Truth” by Leslie Morgan.  That damn bitch wrote my book.  Actually she wrote the Hollywood version of my book.

She’s doing the newly divorced 50ish woman re-discovering her sexuality with a flair that only privileged white women can do.  That’s my snarky side peeking out.

Leslie is a beautiful, fit, successful writer with two homes.  That hussy was living the dream — my dream — in her memoir.  OK, enough of my green-eyed monster.  Give me a minute and let me tuck my monster away….

OK, I’m back.  Leslie was right on point.  Her pain, her honesty, her humor but mostly her blinding candor made this book a great read for me.  It reminds me that women in our 50’s with an empty (or nearly empty) nest really need to spend some time discovering and uncovering ourselves (pun intended).

No spoilers.  If you have a chance to grab the book, you’ll spend some time with someone who automatically feels like a friend.  Here are some of my favorite quotes – no spoilers, I promise.

“I was crazy about men now the way Lyon had loved each of his high school hookups.  Including me.  Each of the men in my life was a chip of self-worth, helping me rebuild myself”

“Ever ask yourself what are you really looking for, honey?  Sometimes it seems like you’re willing to pay an awfully steep price in order to feel loved.  That’s what you always say about your first marriage — that the definition of an abuse victim is someone who pays too high a ransom in exchange for love.”    This one hit home for me.

Sara (this is her therapist) had warned me to be careful.  She cautioned that the first serious relationship following a divorce can be more intense than the marriage itself, because after a divorce, you are raw and broken and filled with hope that the next time, you’re going to find lasting love to make up for the love you lost.”  Damn, did that ring true.

“You know it sounds to me like Jake (her boyfriend) is your burn ointment.  Your sexual healing after years of Marty’s (her Ex) sabotage.  But that doesn’t mean he’s your soul mate.  Each man you date now is a building block for your self-esteem.  Not the foundation.  Don’t confuse the two.”  Damn, I need her therapist.  That woman is worth her weight in gold.

“Withholding emotion is a form of manipulation.”  Yeah, I may be guilty of this…

“Part of this journey was, obviously, that I had to learn and re-learn that the way I allowed men to treat me was up to me, and only me. I had to thread a particularly challenging needle:  to find validation from men in my life without completely giving myself over to them.”  Yep, still working on that.

“You grew up in an alcoholic home.  Fundamentally, this means that the people who loved you, who were supposed to take care of you, didn’t protect you.  It’s why you are so independent, and yet paradoxically susceptible to abuse and manipulation by those closest to you.”   This was a biggie for me.  My family wasn’t necessarily an alcoholic home, but it was dysfunctional.  Something to ponder further.

Anyway, buy Leslie’s book.  We divorced nymphomaniacs need to stick together.

Naked Truth

What Was I Thinking?

I glibly thought that I could transition my career with little to no bumps in the road.  HA! As if life is that simple.  It isn’t.

I had coffee with my GF who has been in the role I am contemplating.  She’s been doing this for her entire career and is very knowledgeable.  She’s also kind and generous.  We sat down to chat and here were my takeaways:

  • She’s never had anyone from my field transition to hers.  Usually it goes the other way.
  • My pay cut would be severe because I would have to start near the bottom.  Sigh.  Transferable skills are not that transferable apparently.

She couldn’t fathom why I would leave what I am doing.  It stumped her, which made me feel foolish.  I talked about collaborating rather than being transactional.  She told me that I’m one of the best in my field.  I’m one of the good guys who does right by her clients.  That my reputation was stellar.

Then why the heck aren’t I making any $$?  I told her the business development was wearing me down and I’m not making the $$ I should be making.  I talked about ageism and gender bias (she is a friend, I felt I could get away with that).  She said I need to go back to a big firm.  She wants me to talk to the regional head (he runs the state).  I don’t know this guy, but she thinks the world of him.  She asked why I’m not on a team.  Good question, I have no fucking idea but it has to do with NEVER being asked.

I got frustrated and a little teary.  It was tough.  I felt so STUCK when I left.  I’m so FRUSTRATED.  I don’t know what the fuck to do.  Part of me said that I should chuck the idea of a career coach, but now I’m reading two of his references and they have compelling stories on how Coach helped.

I have to write my GF a gracious thank you note and send a follow up email so I can meet with the big boss.  She had some other folks for me to talk to that might have the kind of job I want — a mixture of her job and mine.  Those are incredibly hard to find these days, but they are out there.

It’s once again about not what you know, but who you know.  One thing I realized as I left, I need to talk to lots and lots of people.  I need to eat humble pie and tell my truth.  To do that, I need to carefully craft my story so it isn’t too much TMI or tears.  FUCK!

At the end of the day, it is going to be a slog.  There is no other way than to slog through the mud to get to the end.  I don’t have much time left in a “formal” career.  This next jump is probably the last one.  I have to make it count.  Nothing like putting even more pressure on myself.

When I got home, the Hunter gave me his pep talk which was basically, “other people are worse off than we are, so get some perspective.”  I appreciate him trying to boost me out of my foul mood, but that wasn’t doing it.  At that moment and as I write this, I didn’t give a flying fuck about anybody but me.  I ranted to him that nobody wants an aging, overweight professional in my field.  They all want YOUNG.  Shit, one of the senior people I talked to at OppA talked about how they want YOUNG.   You look at the hires my old giant employer has made in the past two years and they are all YOUNG, fit, energetic.  Not the old, steady plow horse that I am.  My industry is full of old farts, so these companies are trying to balance it with a bunch of millennials. I like millennials, don’t get me wrong, but I need to find a place to hang my hat for another decade or so.

Time to go take a walk and clear my head.  Why is it so bloody hard to find a decent job?  How the hell do people leave my profession?  I have to ask some of them….I’ll put them on my list of people to talk to…..

anthony-tran-679123-unsplash

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

 

She F*#king Hates Me

I was driving back from a great meeting and the above song popped up on the radio.  My mind immediately flashed back to my neighbors from about 15 years ago.  They were the beautiful couple on my street.  Young, handsome DINKS in a neighborhood full of traditional families.  He was hot with a fantastic body-building body and she was a gorgeous, tastefully fake-boob hair stylist.  The perfect couple to envy in the middle of boring suburbia.

My Ex and I finally met them when we decided one night to crash one of their many weekend parties.  We came back from dinner, put the kids to bed and said, “What the hell, let’s go meet the neighbors.”  We did, had a blast and went to a bunch of their parties thereafter.

The husband, let’s call him Tony (I can’t remember his name for the life of me), was really cool.  One of his hobbies was playing the bass guitar.  He would open his garage, have a couple of friends over and they would jam.  Highly entertaining.  I would wander over regularly to watch/listen like the pathetic groupie that I am.  His favorite song was “She Hates Me” and it was prophetic.

After a couple of years, Tony moved out.  I got the dirt from another neighbor.  It appears that Tony was having an affair with another neighbor about 2 blocks away.  It was quite scandalous in our boring upper middle class neighborhood.  I forget how his wife found out.  I think the other woman’s husband told her.

By this time, I was the wife’s customer.  I mean why not?  She was great with hair.  I went in for a haircut and the whole story came tumbling out – probably because I didn’t pry.   Plus we enlightened one another on a couple of things.  For one thing, Tony always claimed they weren’t married.  She confirmed they were – she even had wedding photos.  He was always outside on the phone.  She said because the neighbor was apparently only one of many affairs….  she took him to the cleaners….

Happy ending?  For the now Ex-wife, yes.  She went on to meet a great guy and moved out of this crazy state.  As for Tony?  Well, he had some trouble with the IRS, lost his job and had some kind of car accident.  Karma’s a bitch, isn’t she?

She Hates Me

Met a girl, thought she was grand
Fell in love, found out first hand
Went well for a week or two
Then it all came unglued

In a trap trip I can’t grip
Never thought I’d be the one who’d slip
Then I started to realize
I was living one big lie

She fucking hates me
Trust she fucking hates me
La la la love
I tried too hard and she tore my feelings like I had none
And ripped them away

She was queen for about an hour
After that shit got sour
She took all I ever had
No sign of guilt
No feeling of bad, no

In a trapped trip I can’t grip
Never thought I’d be the one who’d slip
Then I started to realize
I was living one big lie

She fucking hates me
Trust she fucking hates me
La la la love
I tried too hard and she tore my feelings like I had none
And ripped them away

That’s my story, as you see
Learned my lesson and so did she
Now it’s over and I’m glad
’cause I’m a fool for all I’ve said

She fucking hates me
Trust she fucking hates me
La la la love
I tried too hard and she tore my feelings like I had none
And ripped them away

La la la la la la la la la love
Trust la la la la la la la la la love
Trust (la la la la la la la la la love) And she tore my feelings like I had none
(Trust la la la la la la la la la love ) She fucking hates me

Puddle of Mud

Protected: Friends

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Good Night’s Sleep?

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Crazy Lives Beside Us

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: I Need a Hobby

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Tag Cloud