All posts by Stifle Me Not

Coffee?

One day, just days after breaking up with 3-month boyfriend, I went grocery shopping. This wasn’t any shopping trip. This was a grocery shopping trip with my beloved children whom I had already taken back-to-school shopping earlier in the day. I usually never take them with me to get groceries. I time it so they are with their father when I go, or I’ll order groceries online and pick them up. The stress of ensuring they are alive at the end of a shopping trip and managing to get everything I need is just too much.

My daughter is a quiet, but needy 12-year old. Upon entering any store, she suddenly has every “need” imaginable – from special foods and drinks to expensive beauty products… it is exhausting and mind-numbing to process each request. My 6-year old son always has a lot of energy and is usually talkative, but for some reason walking into a store turns him into a wild animal. He turns into a literal high-powered testosterone-filled superhero that suddenly wants to touch everything imaginable and run through the aisles at a high speed.

It was a Sunday evening and we had just visited grandma and grandpa. On the way home I was passing the store, and I realized we had no decent meals for the week. If my kids don’t eat well most of a week, well, there are always consequences, a whole other story. So against my better judgement, after a long day of being out and about already, I decided to go in.

We barely get through the produce section, and I’m already regretting my decision. I’m trying to calm my nerves as my son darts around people’s shopping carts and I dodge my daughter’s never-ending list of preteen demands. I was already exhausted and just wanting to get through the mental list I had for the week.

I noticed two things. The store wasn’t too busy (for that I was thankful) and I also noticed that there were a lot of single men shopping with their baskets. I admit the thought crossed my mind that this would be a place to scope out a single dad. To be clear, scope out, not ask out.

You know how you can end up with the same people as you make your way through a store, and then you end up at the check-out with the same people? That was me, and I was getting in all these people’s ways as I rushed through the trip, because I was in multi-tasking mom mode.

Fast forward, I’m in the meat section. I’m trying to pick out some beef tips (of all things in the whole store, beef tips). My daughter is right next to me saying something I don’t comprehend, (because 12 year olds mumble, a lot). As I turn around, my son is in my peripheral vision jumping around, my daughter is right by my face mumbling, and a guy I don’t know is right behind me saying (in what feels like slow motion) “Excuse me…would you like to go to coffee sometime?”

UhhhhhWTF?

I make eye contact. I am stunned. My daughter squeals and runs away down the snack aisle with her brother (bro thinks its a game). I am out in the open, in front of other people, in the beef section, getting asked out by a guy who maybe, just maybe, watched too many RomComs recently. I knew my answer, but all I could immediately think was I just broke up with my boyfriend, how did he know? Do I have an “I’m newly single” sign on my forehead?

I’m not married so of course I don’t wear a wedding ring, but my kids were with me, I was wearing a baggy sweatshirt and jeans, and I was not making flirty eyes with anyone. If anything, my head was down and I was just getting through it, man, I was in survival mode. What possessed this poor guy to ask me that question? And in the meat section of the supermarket?

This guy was on the short side (nothing against shorter guys! My personal preference is just taller), he had a head full of messy dirty-brownish hair, and a big messy beard. I couldn’t tell how old he was because he was covered in hair – maybe 35, but he could’ve been up to 45. I couldn’t even tell if he was attractive because of all the hair, and I was too shocked by it all.

I just blurted out “Ohhh thank youuuuu… but no thank youuuu.” And I smiled nervously as he bolted. I mean the dude whipped his cart around and bolted like lightening down the closest aisle toward the check out area. I stood there grinning sheepishly as my daughter bounced back to me, laughing hysterically and texting her friends that her mom just got hit on in the meat section. My son was laughing too, but he didn’t know what was going on, he just thought were were all having a great time.

I made it through the rest of the supermarket, trying to remember what else I needed. I was equal parts flattered and horrified. My daughter said “Mama, you got game!” Haha, sure kid.

Life is so weird. I’ve been considering my next move (if there is one) in the dating world. Online dating is frightening, but I’m not sure having a complete stranger walk up to you in public to ask you out (before asking for your name) is much better. It’s not like we even had a run-in and joked about broccoli first. It was just bam, wanna go out?

I’m trying to keep an open mind about it all. Bless his brave heart for trying. I hope he finds the girl of his dreams soon. For now, it’ll just be me, myself, and my own coffee.

Stifle Me Not

Ripped the Band-Aid

I did it. I broke up with the 3-month boyfriend.

I’m not gonna lie – it was a little rough. I think he was blind-sided, but not oblivious. I voiced my concern about how he was envisioning us as more long-term than I was. He didn’t disagree. He was mostly quiet. He said he understood, and he thanked me for being honest. I spewed all the break up words in less than 5 minutes, trying to be conscious of not using the cliché one-liners, like “it’s not you, it’s me”, even though it was quite a bit of the truth.

He was a good match, but he wasn’t my match.

Once I ripped the band-aid, it felt like a butterfly lifted from my stomach and flew away. I drove home in relief. Yes I was sad, but I was sad because I made him sad, not sad for myself. I was proud of myself. 10 years, 5 years, 2 years or even 1 year ago, I wouldn’t have done this. I would have stayed. I would’ve made excuses as to why he was so great, and I wouldn’t have considered my own happiness and how I was really feeling. I would have covered up my real thoughts and feelings with my mask – the one I can wear so well in a relationship, because I had a lot of practice with that mask before. It would’ve been a significant comfort to do that again.

But I can’t cover up anything anymore. I am supposed to be in an airport right now, sitting next to him, getting ready to board a flight for vacation. But instead I’m working, and I’m not sad that I’m not going on vacation with him. Because the vacation would just be a giant cover up for what I was really feeling.

I broke up with him on a Friday and I was a little down the rest of the weekend. I kept waiting for the regret to set in. It didn’t. I went through my regular work routine that week – little things would remind me of him. Was this regret? No, it was a quick memory. I reflected on how I was feeling after a full week of not being with him or talking or texting with him. I was still relieved.

My friends and family looked at me wide-eyed and shocked when I told them I broke it off, and of course reacted with “Why?????” When I explained my reasoning, everyone seemed to understand and responded with a thoughtful look . They all understood, they all supported me fully. I think they saw what I saw after I articulated it, but they had fallen in the trap too. He had all of these magical unicorn qualities that I should want, so they didn’t focus on anything else…

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

This relationship was short-lived but it helped me with two things: 1) Learn that I can trust myself about how I’m feeling and 2) I’m a little more clear on what I want/need in a relationship.

When you live half your life denying your instinctual feelings, it’s hard to unlearn what you’ve become accustomed to doing. I’ve discovered that growing up, and in later relationships, I’ve been conditioned to suppress my original feelings if it conflicts with another person’s feelings. I’m not all “whoa is me, I’m so damaged” because of all of these misguided relationships in my life — I haven’t been abused all my life — it’s just how I learned best to cope with conflict. I don’t like conflict, and apparently so much so that I complete disguise my feelings so that I don’t disrupt another’s life to a point where I’m completely misrepresenting my own. Well that’s not healthy. So I’m not doing that anymore. Check.

As for the second thing I learned, that was a little harder. I knew I wasn’t a fan of conflict and had some work to do, but I was not clear at all about what I needed or wanted in a new relationship, except that I didn’t want what I already knew with my ex. Well, if you’re used to peanut butter and jelly for most of your life and then someone asks you what other sandwich you want, but you’ve never had ham, or salami, or tuna or whatever, how in the hell are you gonna know what to pick? You’re not. And I didn’t. So I ended up with a guy who was the complete opposite of my ex, and he was good, but he wasn’t the best for me. And I realized I don’t need the exact opposite of my ex. The ex had some good qualities (as much as I hate to admit it), otherwise we wouldn’t have originally ended up together. So now I know a little more about what I like and don’t like in a relationship. Check.

So what now? I’m not really sure, but that doesn’t bother me. I feel like I just passed a challenging level in the game of life. So I’m going to relax, work out, clean, water my flowers and figure out what I fancy next. The universe is recharging for my next level.

Stifle Me Not

That Was Fun, But I’ve Had Enough

My current relationship status is about to go from dating to single. Quite simply, I don’t want to be in a committed relationship right now. I’ve made up my mind and have all but ripped the band aid. That will be happening in the very near future. I’m just trying to muster up the right words to disconnect from him officially. The truth is, I’m tired. There was no beating, or cheating, or disrespect. There were no harsh words or big frustrations. I’m just not ready to have something long term, and I can tell that he is. It’s not fair for me to be a maybe lady.

After being with him, I’m drained. My time off without my kids is valuable – it’s when I get stuff done, and when I enjoy my personal peace… He is not a bad person, but he is not a peaceful person. He is disrupting my personal peace without realizing it. I find that he’s becoming more of an obligation than a compliment to my current life. No one wants to be an obligation.

I guess this is why you date, huh? To find out who fits in your life and who does not. I can’t say enough good things about this guy. If there was a such thing as an Excellent boyfriend resume, he would be it – the looks, the career, the money, the personality, etc. But my life doesn’t want each box checked that society wants checked. My life wants peace and ease as the priority, and everything else is a sprinkle on top.

Wish me luck. I’ll be fine.

Stifle Me Not

Boundaries and Benevolence

The guy I met in April is still around. It’s been… an experience. We’ve moved on to using the awkward relationship titles –> boyfriend and girlfriend. When you’re in your 40s, it just feels weird to have to label each other.

It’s like I’m skipping down a lit pathway (so it isn’t scary), but there are a lot of sudden turns, so I get caught off guard every so often by different, um, surprises. We’re finally getting comfortable with each other, but continuing to discover new quirks about each other. I remembered this phase happens, it’s just that it was 20 years ago.

So far, he’s been great to be around. We have fun. There are times when there is a lot of conversation, and there are times where we just lay on the couch and stare at the TV in silence. I don’t mind either way, and he doesn’t seem to mind either. We’ve met each other’s families and kids. Everyone seems nice and amicable on both sides.

I’ve had moments where I couldn’t tell if he was being annoying, or if I was being oversensitive…or maybe a little of both. I tend to be a people pleaser, so I’ve had to stop in my tracks and tell him specifically when I don’t like something. But I can also let things annoy me that may not annoy others — okay, okay, I can be moody. So I’m careful not to overreact when I know he’s just being a human. But I’m trying to speak up when I need to, and I’m really really trying not to compare him to everything with my ex, but it gets hard because that’s the only experience I have in mind.

I have to say that the last three months have had way more positives than negatives. Anytime something doesn’t feel right, I just try to process it the best I can and then to see if it “feels” right when I’m with him again. Every time I’ve gotten overanxious about our relationship, it’s seems to auto-correct itself. It’s weird. I’m used to my past, where I tried entirely too hard… until I was completely drained of all energy. Now I’m trying to, well, not try.

Being yourself and having boundaries works wonders for a relationship. If only someone had shared this secret sooner in my life. LOL. Not funny, but funny.

What I’ve been overthinking quite a bit is that I haven’t gone out with anyone else other than him. I like him, so why not? But is this too easy? I’m pretty sure the grass isn’t much greener elsewhere, and it’s not like I want to “play the field” as a single mom of two kids. It’s just that 1) I thought dating would be harder 2) I thought I’d be on several different dates before finding someone I actually wanted to spend time with and 3) I just didn’t expect to like anyone at all… ever again.

What he’s really up against is my alone time, which is priceless. I’d rather have some much-needed peace and quiet than be with someone that disturbs my peace.

I feel like my new guy is a little gift from the universe – like a “good job with dumping your slut husband and moving on with an honest life”.

Don’t get me wrong, this guy isn’t perfect. I can see why he’s had his own personal struggles, but I can also see that he’s learned from mistakes and tried to be a better person. That is what I wanted out of someone.

I guess I’ll see what the next 3 months bring… it can only go one of two ways because I’m too young to settle, but too old to waste any time with being unhappy – I’d rather be alone than unhappy. It’s a strange but good spot to be in. Boundaries are needed, but so is having some faith that others can bring good into my life without causing me grief. Boundaries and Benevolence.

To be continued …

Stifle Me Not

Let the Dating Chapter Begin…

The dating chapter has begun.

In mid-April, I flipped the switch on a dating app and by the next weekend I was out on a first date. To my surprise, that first date has led to many other dates with the same guy. I already deleted the dating app, and so has he. And this is all so very eerily… comfortable? I thought I’d either end up on a dating spree, or I’d have one or two bad dates, get discouraged, and take a break from the app immediately. I did take a break from the app, but not for the reasons I thought I would.

This guy is very normal, and kind, and attractive, and hard-working. He is ALL the things I’d list out if I had to. I actually really like him. And he likes me. And it all seems so…dare I say, easy? My mind has been in overdrive “what’s-the-catch” mode for weeks now. I’m beginning to realize that maybe there is no catch. I’ve put in the self-work and so has he. We’ve both had our ups and downs (and down downs), and we’ve learned and grown. Now we’re getting to know each other. And it’s refreshingly nice to just get to know someone and not be afraid of their expectations of me.

I tip-toed on eggshells for so long with my ex, that being around a nice man (who isn’t intent on manipulating me) is a strange (but good) place for me to be in.

I didn’t realize what a dark place I was in until I arrived to this lighter place in my life. I didn’t fathom someone would like me just for me and not just for what I could do for them. It’s all so sad really. I’ve left the dark place, but it still haunts me. I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to be anxious about it. I’m trying to just enjoy the here and now.

There’s no guarantees with how this new relationship will turn out, but for it now it feels like a nice change from the last three and a half years. I’m curious about the journey, and look forward to it.

Stifle Me Not

Change for the Better

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted anything. Life has been one thing after another, but overall it’s been mostly good days with little spurts of some crap days in between. The bad days make all of the other days look like sunshine.

My outlook and perspective on the world has changed so drastically in the past year. The pandemic caused me to stop watching mainstream media, avoid fear-based everything, and not believe everything I see and hear. My political beliefs have done a literal 180. I went down a rabbit hole of questioning many things, and came out the other end wondering where the hell I’ve been for this entire lifetime. I’ve become more selective and critical about what I experience these days, whether it be people, work, music, social media … the list is endless. We’re not on this earth for very long, so I choose not to live a life I’m not loving.

Over the last year I’ve gotten to know the ins and outs and quirks about my house. It isn’t that old, but it’s on the first phase of needing extra attention after 25 years. I’ve had to call a plumber and electrician here and there. I’m finally familiar with what plants are growing in my flower beds, I’ve sprayed for spiders regularly, I have a routine for mowing the lawn, and I’m now familiar with the regular noises of my home. I’ve painted many of the rooms and tried to make it as cozy as I can. I even had a new kitchen floor installed. The next phase is a kitchen cabinet/counter top makeover along with new appliances, but I’m hoarding my money until I’m sure about what I want.

I have a good routine going with work and having two kids in school. I cook a “real” meal about twice a week and we survive on leftovers or PB&J the other days. The kids are in good spirits about regular visits with their dad. He is still the “fun” one, while I’m the one who ensures their safety and well being above all else… but I’ve become more fun as I’m no longer plagued by anxieties of my past life. I’m learning to enjoy my quiet time when they’re away and not just using all \that time to prepare for their return. In fact, they are going on vacation with their dad during Spring Break, and I’ve scheduled my own little Spring Break vacation with my sister.

I’ve started eating healthier, walking at lunch time when I’m at work, and doing yoga. Last year the pandemic started near Easter … which meant chocolate peanut butter eggs were in the house. That phase lasted through the Christmas Cookie phase at Christmas. I then saw my max weight before my eyes one morning and my inner health nut woke up.

I’ve finally acquired all of the necessary health providers – primary doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. I have a regular place to take my car for an oil change. And I no longer need to put on the GPS when I’m going to a store or restaurant. This area was once my home long ago has now become my home again.

Last, but not least, after more than 3 years, I feel like I’ve come full circle with the terms of being single – “single working mom with two kids”. I am enjoying who I am and doing what I want, but I’m slowly becoming open to the possibility of dating.

I don’t want to do serial dating to find “the one”. This is no longer a race of the biological clock ticking like it was in my 20s. This is a selective marathon to enjoy someone who runs my pace, is trustworthy to be around my kids, and will be considerate of my time and efforts. I’m not foolish enough to think that someone will truly put me first, because I likely won’t do the same. By the time you’re over 40, the baggage is there whether we like it or not. The question is not who can I find without lots of baggage, but rather who will support me while I carry mine? And who is worth it for me to return the favor?

I logged into WordPress to cancel my account because I haven’t written anything in so long. And somehow I just magically started typing. I don’t know what I’ll do next, but I’m sure it will be good – likely a change for the better.

Stifle Me Not

Racking Up the Mom Points

Today is Mother’s Day.

Today was hard. Challenging.

I hadn’t had my kids for about a week because their dad had some vacation time. So for a week I went to work, ate what I wanted, did what I wanted when I wanted, and got used to silence. I unknowingly became used to a calm and quiet house. I certainly missed them, but I relished the quiet. I also do not sleep well when they are away, so I did not like the quiet at night when I was laying in bed. Even if they are sound asleep, there is still a sound of quiet breathing that can’t be heard when they’re not here.

I missed them. And they returned. And the first day with them back is always great. I hang onto every word and expression that they make. I take in their every emotion and eat up their stories. By day 3, which was today, I apparently missed the silence. A few things added up to break me down today.

  1. I was trying to talk to my own mom, and both of my children would not stop interrupting. I rarely talk to my mom. Having a conversation with her is valuable these days, and my kids were taking that away from me. I started out with patience and landed with complete annoyance with the by the end of the phone call. Even after trying to let them talk to her, I was just irritated by the lack of privacy.
  2. The end of my phone call was caused by a call by my ex husband. I took the call because he was trying to schedule what time to pick them up today. As I’m talking to him about how bad our 4 year old has been lately (and trying to come up with some realistic solutions), he says that his girlfriend wants to talk to me. UH, what the fuck? And before I know it she’s on the phone wishing me happy fucking mother’s day. I was nice to her. I wished her happy mother’s day back, but it quickly turned to awkward silence and he took the phone back.
  3. I finally decided to start cleaning. And in an effort to occupy my very energetic son, I asked him to help me clean. The kid was in heaven getting to vacuum and dust. He loved it. He even stopped mid-way through to go potty (instead of poop his pants). Mom win! And he continued to help and be excited. As I finished up cleaning, I heard his sister ask him to play. I was so excited that I could have little “break” just to clean in silence while they played. Nope. Before I knew it he was in “annoying little brother” mode and she was yelling at him to get out of her room. He really was being unreasonable, so I had to physically pick him up and put him in his room while he kicked and screamed and cried. After a couple of minutes he calmed down, and I tried to talk to him. He was distracted by playing with some toys in his room. I left him alone and finished up my cleaning. I heard a small noise, but didn’t think anything of it. Next thing I know he’s crying and coming down the stairs with blood everywhere. He had a bloody face and hands, blood dripping on his shirt and all over the wooden steps. It took me a minute to comprehend the scene and start helping him. I got him up to the bathroom as he wailed and cleaned him up. I feared the worst – that he had jacked up something inside his mouth and hurt his gum or teeth. After cleaning him up I realized he had just busted his lip and it was just continuously bleeding. I consoled him, cleaned him up, and took him downstairs for a cold popsicle. I put on the TV for him and he spaced out. Okay then.
  4. After the commotion was over, I put his bloody clothes and mattress cover in the washing machine. Now there’s a little quirk with our washer – it has an error code almost every time it is started. It beeps within 5 to 10 minutes of starting it, and it won’t stop until you go repress Start on it. So as I am helping son, my daughter appears and says “why didn’t the washer drain the water?” Huh? Well, when the washer is done washing, it also beeps. She thought it was done, even though it had only been on for 5 minutes, and she put the soaking wet soapy load into the dryer and then wondered why it was so “wet”. There was water everywhere – floor, dryer, still in washer…. lord. I lost my mind. I just started yelling about how she KNOWS about the error code and the DAMN STORES JUST AREN’T OPEN YET FROM THE PANDEMIC TO ORDER A DAMN NEW WASHER YET. I was shaking, yelling, freaking out. I’d had it. It wasn’t a fun mother’s day. Today sucked. Then my daughter, after cleaning up the water and restarting the washer, comes out the living room where I’m sitting, and looks me square in the eyes and says “Why do you have to overreact and cry mother” … she proceeds to tell me that “Daddy will be in here in half an hour.”

For fucks sake.

Their dad showed up and away they went. And I still miss them. I miss them terribly. It is now dark and their little beds are dark and I will be able to hear every noise again tonight when I try to fall asleep. Sure, I got to eat dinner in peace and quiet, talk to some family members, and drink some wine, but miss them. I miss the good and the bad and just want them to be safe and healthy and loved, no matter what a pain in the ass they are.

I feel like I earned more points on my mom card today. I get them back tomorrow. No time to get used to the silence. We’ll see how I’m doing this time next week.

Stifle Me Not.

Little Shards of Glass Everywhere

I have been going with the flow on this whole pandemic. I used to be of the variety of people that had anxiety about everything I couldn’t control. Thanks to a divorce, an unplanned career change, and being temporarily homeless, I feel like I can handle staying home, working at home, ordering groceries online, and washing my hands frequently. Sounds quite simple compared to the last few years actually.

With that being said, I’m grateful and thankful, and everything in between. In times like these, I’m so happy to be working in a much-needed department for an essential business. I’m working remotely. I am getting a paycheck and staying busy while the rest of the world is becoming unemployed and losing their minds.

On that topic, working at home with two kids is a bit challenging. My 11 year old daughter is the impromptu interrupter, like right when I’m starting a web conference call. And my 4 year old wakes up soaked in his on pee while I’m on a work call, then proceeds to shart himself three times throughout the morning while I try to answer emails and calls,  wipe kid butt, clean shitty underwear, do laundry, and wash my hands 500 million times so I can simultaneously avoid coronavirus and rubbing poop in my eye.

But I’m employed, I like my job, and I love my kids. I am very lucky to be in this situation.

After a full day of multitasking today, my kids were entertaining themselves while I started dinner. I was planning to make some breaded chicken tenders. I heated up the oven, prepped the breadcrumbs, and then decided I should also prepare the rice. I got out a glass Pyrex dish right after turning on a burner to heat the water for the rice. I placed the Pyrex dish on the stove, purposely on the cool burner.

The next thing I knew, the 9 x 13 glass Pyrex dish exploded all over my entire kitchen. I screamed one of those stupid delayed horror movie screams. I realized what had happened, but my adrenaline wasn’t aware of that. My daughter tromped down the stairs to see “‘who died?” and my son, in his socks, tried to make his way into the kitchen to see what was happening. Everyone got yelled out to just “GO AWAY!” as I sadly realized that I had turned on the wrong burner for the rice. Instead, the burner was on that I placed the glass dish on, causing it to explode.

My heart was racing. My brain was on overload, And I was mad that I had just lost one of my favorite dishes, wasted food (because most of it now had shards of glass in it), and the clean up effort was going to take some time.

And that it did. It took me about 45 minutes to throw way the big pieces of glass, sweep, vacuum, vacuum again, clean off the counter tops and stove top, wipe everything down, clean dirty dishes and pans barely used because they’d been filled with pieces of glass, and then I had to continuously use a wet paper towel on the floor to attempt to pick up any remaining shards of glass.

And all I could think was that this process is how eliminating coronavirus could be. No matter how hard and long we try, there may always be that one lingering shard of glass that can catch your bare foot when you least expect it. And that always causes the most unexpected bloody mess.

Let’s hope I got every shard. I damn well tried. And let’s pray that this virus only has to last long enough to teach us a lesson; change our mindset on our appreciation for life and each other. But let’s pray it doesn’t break us. Each of us must try. Every shard counts.

Stifle Me Not

Adapting to the Change

The world has quite literally changed for me, and the rest of the world, in the last month.

I moved into my new house on March 5th. Everything went smoothly. I’ve been enjoying every last drop, from unpacking boxes to buying little odds and ends for the house to getting rooms painted. Then there was the experience of  sleeping here the first night. That’s always an adjustment – new home noises. It took me a few nights to realize what was the refrigerator vs. the furnace vs. the siding being rattled a little by the wind outside. I’m enjoying each noise as they become more familiar.

What I never expected (nor did anyone else), was that I’d move into my new house and within ten days would be part of a global pandemic.

Although this is a horrible situation, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere better than in my own at this time.

I physically went into the office to work up until schools closed.  That first Monday of school closing, I worked remotely with my kids at home. It was hard, but I couldn’t bring myself to take my son to day care even though it was open. And my daughter wasn’t feeling well. She actually had me worried because she had flu-like symptoms, but she’s been improving throughout the week. The kids both went with their dad on Tuesday. I went to work on Tuesday and Wednesday, and finally decided it was best to work at home going forward. No one disagreed and so I’ve been pretty much social distancing myself from the world as much as possible.

I’ve been ordering my groceries online and trying not to watch too much news. I ordered my lawnmower and hedge trimmer online. That was delivered the other day. I have a feeling I’m going to be in my yard a lot this spring and summer. Might as well have the right tools to take care of it. I’m trying keep busy during the day. It’s easy when I’m working because I can just focus on my work, but I was a bit of a slug this Saturday morning and finally gave myself a little kick start so I don’t just sit here and atrophy into the crevices of my sofa.

I went on about a mile walk around the neighborhood. I painted some primer in my first floor half bath. And then I started peeling some wallpaper in my kitchen, so I’m ready to paint it when the rest of the world is open for business again.

When the rest of the world is open…

I feel so calm. I feel like this is all happening for a reason. I feel like it’s about damn time life is about caring about others. This is all horrible, but I do think there’s a reason. It’s like everyone just woke up after 20 years of being in an individualistic me-me-me reality, hiding behind smart phones and make up. The sad part it all of the death. Hopefully everyone begins to realize, sooner than later, that each person’s actions and lack of action, impact others. There is an inevitable chain reaction. Hopefully everyone begins to care.

And so, when the world is open again, as this new normal is upon us, I will go back out into the world, and be grateful to still be here and for those around me.

Stifle Me Not

 

Breathing a New Life

It’s been seven days since I’ve put an offer on a house. Luckily I’ve worked in the mortgage industry, and recently sold a house, so nothing was a shock when I went through the inspection process. In fact, it all made complete sense to me. I expected a few small challenges, and oh, there were some. We’re still working through them. I don’t have a scheduled closing date yet, but I know it’s right around the corner.

Now the seller was a little more than shocked. She’s been living in the same house for the past 25 years. She wasn’t prepared for the roller coaster ride like I was. My life has been nothing but a series of ups and downs the past two years, so this is just a another few pages in a very long chapter to me.

Today was a productive day. I got an oil change for my car, got my taxes done, and did a little furniture shopping. I’m in full force moving prep mode. As soon as I get that closing date scheduled, I’m going to get everything lined up — new carpet, new furniture, calling all utility companies, and get movers scheduled.

I’m feeling good about this place in my life right now. When I was getting my taxes done, the tax lady was asking me the tax standard questions. I explained to her that I’m divorced and the agreement for claiming dependents was that I claim one child and my ex claims the other. She continued to do her job, but she was visibly bothered by the “D” word. A little bit further into the tax prep, she asks more questions, where she comes to the realization that I’m newly divorced. I say yes, it was last year.  Her face looked sad and hopeless for me. I simply responded that everything is good. With concerned eyes, she asked me if he hurt me.

That was a very real and loaded question that I was not expecting. I just smiled at her and said “no, not physically.” She asked if it was all better now. Ha! Two loaded questions in a row… it took me a a few seconds to respond as it was occurring to me that the tax lady was caring about a little more than just the taxes. I said “yes, things are working out well.”

And things are working out well. Maybe not as quickly as I’d like, but I’m sure there’s a reason for that.

I look back to when I was moving all of my crap out of my old house, and all I wanted was out. All I wanted was a new start. My new start has taken so long, but it has been a necessary healing process. There is no beginning or end. It’s been a process. No one tells you that about life. There are all of these expectations about starting and ending. But the in between is where you get stuff done. The in between is what makes or breaks you. The in between is the challenge that transforms you to get to the end. And the end is just a new start, not a true end.

What a damn game of figuring shit out this has all been. Realizing that I can’t have everything I want NOW because other things about to happen first for good reasons – to grow my mindset, to develop my patience, to adjust my perspective, to transform me into someone I could never be without the challenge – has been one of the greatest lessons.

And now I all I see around me in others are many people in a pre-now-me state. I want to help them, but I can’t. It has to be done on your own. Like breathing.

Stifle Me Not