Category Archives: Uncategorized

Energy Reset

I underestimated the amount of time it takes to recover energy back from someone else absorbing it.

It took me years to want to date after getting divorced. I was fully depleted of any energy to do more than basic life things — eat, sleep, work, take care of my children. Even exercise was not part of my equation for a long time. I’ve slowly integrated that back into my routine in the last year or so. After getting divorced, it made sense that it would take years to actually want to date.

When I dated a guy earlier this year for about 3 months, it took me about 2 months to want to date again after that. The guy I most recently dated only lasted about 3 weeks, and it has taken me about 2 weeks to get through that post-dating slump. And it’s not like I’m this emotional crying wreck that is sad and desperately missing the guy. I don’t mope around, I’m just energetically drained and lack motivation after a break-up. I’m crystal clear that I don’t want anything more to do with these guys, yet somehow it exhausts spirit. I need to reset my energy every single time.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I wanted to date in the first place if I don’t even regularly hang out with friends? There are the obvious reasons of course (like the initial rush of attraction, etc.), but why do I truly want to spend my precious time and energy finding another person that I don’t know so that they may or may not work out?

I don’t want to be so negative, but the recovery period after dating someone is so exhausting. It knocks the wind out of me. And I don’t go into each relationship thinking it’s doomed or is going to last forever. I feel like I’m pretty realistic about being flexible with my expectations.

I don’t think dating is very good for me. I think it’s bad for me.

I’m not sure it’s worth it. I think people often date “just to have fun” or “as a distraction until meeting the one”… but aren’t they so tired? And I’m not sure there is a “the ONE”. I think there are lots of people you could be compatible if you crossed paths. If someone is going to exhaust me, stay off of my path please.

I’m focusing on my peace.

Stifle Me Not

When You Least Expect It

Since August I’ve been doing my own thing, being free from the dating world. It’s been on my mind, but I didn’t take any action until the calendar flipped to October 1st. Why that day, I have no idea, but I signed up on another dating site. Last time I had instant results, so I guess my expectations were high going in.

Ugh.

By the third week of October I was ready to throw in the towel. I’d bought a month’s subscription and planned to get through the month and see what happened. Well, I’ll tell you what happened. I got plenty of interest, but having someone initially engage with you is not the hard part. It’s actually having a meaningful conversation with any of them. Holy crap, the level of effort that men in my age range put into their initial communication is piss poor at best. I’m in HR, so I naturally ask questions to get to know people, so I know not everyone is super comfortable at first, but gosh, the lack of motivation was astounding.

By the third weekend, I’d had it. I was trying to engage with a man that had the personality of a coconut. I woke up on Monday morning in a bad mood and gave myself a pep talk that I could take a break, pause the service, and come back another day. But by lunch time I was furious at how annoying my last conversation was. I went to the park to go for my afternoon lunch walk. Before I got out my car, I got a ping on the dating app that someone new had “liked” my profile. I looked at it with no excitement. None. He was attractive, and clearly fit, bald, and it looked like had had some meaningful hobby. I was like Okay, seriously, this must be just another meathead and I don’t have time for this. I went for my walk and pouted, and decided I’d delete the app after lunch.

After my walk, before going back to the office, I looked through the guy’s profile that had just liked mine. I looked a little closer at his pictures and it sparked my curiosity. I just really wanted to know what the hell he was doing in one of his photos so I could click the X and move on. So I sent him a conversation and asked him my questions. He responded pretty quickly. We went back and forth like that for a little bit. I went back to the office. The conversation continued.

Oh my GOD, I found one with a brain!

We ended up talking on the phone that night. He grilled me with questions. He wanted to know just as much about me as I wanted to know about him. How refreshing.

We chatted throughout the week and he asked me out on a real date. Last weekend we went out to dinner and spent a long time talking and laughing and getting to know each other. We ended up hanging out the next night too.

Wow, this guy was fun, and thoughtful, and serious about dating. This is dating.

I haven’t seen him in over a week now because I’ve had my kids nonstop, but we have an ongoing text conversation going on throughout each day and into the evening. Talking to him is always the best. And we have another date planned in a few days.

I like this one. I really really like this one. Maybe he won’t be around forever, or maybe he will, but one thing I know for sure is he’s better than the last one. And this is why I trusted my gut – the last one had to go, because I needed someone who engaged and communicated better with me. I deserved more of what I didn’t know I needed.

To be continued… I hope!

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

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.

Falling Forward

And just like the wheel is turning forward again. More baby steps into the great unknown…

I gave myself until November 1st to have a down payment ready for a house. After saving my butt off for the past two months, and venting to my sister that I can’t wait for time to speed up one night, she graciously offered me a “gift” of the rest of my down payment (and that I can pay her back as it makes sense).

Uh, what? Just like that my little sis is ready to write me a check. I would have never asked her for money like that ever. She’s the little sister. I’m the big sister. I hinted at it to my mom, and to my dad, but they didn’t bite…but I was simply whining to her, not asking for a hand out.

I took it, with full intention of continuing to save my butt off so that I can pay her back sooner than later. And just like that I was pre-approved this weekend to buy my own adult house.

The house hunting has yet to begin. That likely starts this weekend. I’m full of all kinds of emotions – excited for sure, a little scared (I’ve never owned a home on my own), and just a tiny bit anxious about the market and the pressure and the stress. I’m in a good place with my stress level in life. I want this to be good stress. I don’t want to settle. I want to make a good decision for me and my kids. I’ve been “homeless” (okay, a 40-year old living with her parents) for the past 1 year and 1 month. The time has come.

I’ve come so far. I can’t give up now. “Life’s a journey, not a destination”… yea yea, I know, but getting a nice cozy comfortable home where I can be me (and my kids can be them) is somewhat of a destination for me. It’s a destination of a new beginning. It’ll be proof to myself that I broke the cycle of bad decisions (or lack thereof) and that I’ll be living for myself, finally.

It’s the first day of fall, and I’m falling forward… It’s my own movement that will take me to where I need to be.

Stifle Me Not

Setting Myself Free…Again

I’m so tired of being stuck in other people’s lives. I want my own life.

In high school, I was naive and of course always wanted to be who I wasn’t and who I couldn’t be. I wanted to be like miss popular her or her or her. People liked me just fine for who I was so I just blame that on being young and dumb.

In college, I desperately wanted to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do when I grew up. I settled. I figured out what I didn’t like and settled for what wasn’t terrible to me just so I was comfortable. I didn’t push for what I really wanted.

After college, I moved home with the parents for one year. I spent every weekend an hour away with my then-boyfriend (now-ex). After a year, I moved 5 minutes away from my then-boyfriend (now ex). I have literally been making major life decisions and living my life around his every since then. The night that I kicked him out, I set myself free, and entered a world of uncertainty for the first time because it was all about me and what I wanted.

Or so I thought.

When I moved in with my parents last summer to make sure my kids had a decent roof over their heads and a consistent daily lifestyle, that’s what I got. As well as being inundated with all of their beliefs and habits and patterns. They mean well, but after all of their years on earth, they aren’t about to change now. They know what they like and don’t like. And I try to respect their routines and wishes since I’ve overstayed my welcome here.

But it’s getting old. I went from living one person’s life to living another’s. This is what I was trying to get away from when I moved away the first time. And somehow I managed to do a 360. Right back to the start of the circle. Everything from how I load the dishwasher to how quiet or loud I am when I walk up the stairs is affected by others right now and I just want to be free in my own space and my own skin.

I feel like I’m in therapy with myself. I start to make a decision, and then I overthink it because my perspective of what this person or that person will think overwhelms me. And I keep having to pause and remind myself that I get to choose what I want. I’m 40 years old damnit, I know what I want.

What I want.

I’m trying to move up the plan for starting my house-hunting journey. Wish me luck.

Stifle Me Not

Expectations Low, Hopes High

My laptop has a funny smell. And sometimes it overheats. I’ve had it for a few years now. It’s well past its warranty. I’ve even had it repaired once at a PC shop. They did a good job. But all good things must come to an end. I’m pretty certain it won’t last too much longer, but I’ll guess I’ll keep typing and just expect the unexpected. Normally I’d be happy that I’d have an excuse to buy a new electronic toy because an older one was done, but money isn’t endless these days, so I hope something works out in my favor.

I’ve learned to approach life that way these days. There’s an ideal in my head usually, but I’ve learned not to get too bent out of shape if things don’t go as planned, or imagined. Many times we may not admit that we have an idea in our heads of what we expect out of a person, situation, or just life in general. In almost 40 years, I’ve learned that the unexpected is inevitable, no matter how well we plan or control anything.

I have an aloe vera plant that I bought last summer. I bought one for my sister and ended up getting one for myself too because it was cheap. I don’t usually do well with plants, but I figured I could keep something related to the cactus family alive. When I moved, I forgot about it and it started to go a little brown and the soil really dried out. Great, only I could kill an aloe vera plant. Well, despite the look of it, I watered it and put it near a window. I’ve been slowly take care of it week by week and month by month. Today I noticed that it looks pretty good. It’s green and seems to be actually growing.

I feel like that plant – like a dried out lonely little brown plant, but I’m slowly improving day by day, week by week, and month by month. i keep taking care of myself and reassuring myself and turning negative thoughts around. I’m not sure what the future holds. All I know is that I’m okay today, I have a green plant, and tomorrow doesn’t look too shabby. Maybe if my laptop dies I’ll have money for a bright shiny new one. Or maybe not, but I’ll keep going.

Stifle Me Not

Withdrawal from My Old Motivation

It’s like I was super hooked on a drug and I’m still having withdrawal. I don’t even want the drug anymore, I was just used to it. It was my way of living. It became who I am, and so I just accepted my life that way. Now I’m lost and confused and lonely, and even though I don’t want that drug anymore, I’m not quite sure what else to do.

I’ve never been on drugs before, but I know reason for dependency on a substance is to go after the feeling that the drug gives you.

At first, I was going to make this analogy about my almost ex-husband. Then I realized it applies to my career. But I really think it applies overall to the way I’ve been feeling, or wanting to feel, for the last 15 years.

I have been a hooked on a feeling. A fleeting feeling.

I am driven not by who I am, or what I really want, but what I can do for people. I have been caught up in the stress of imbalance between doing what is best for myself and using that energy to make others happy – in my marriage, in my career, and even when I was a little kid.

I have been hooked on doing well in life to help others, to make others happy and proud. I went to college, I acquired skills, and I have always done well at nearly everything that I do in my career. The same thing in my marriage. I paid attention and strove to be the best wife I knew how to be for my husband (no matter how much he’ll say that I did not). If he wasn’t happy, I’d overcompensate or corrected my behavior the best I knew how. We wouldn’t fail, we would prevail despite the bills and the stress of raising a family. I could make this work. “I”.

I am of the “pleaser” variety. I get honest joy out of making others happy. It’s not bullshit, I’m not making it up. I didn’t fully realize the extent to which I like this until it was too late and I had served so many others in spite of myself.

I have served others in spite of myself.

And I lacked the boundaries to look out for my own well-being.

Others do not question it. Why shouldn’t they? They aren’t responsible for my boundaries. I am nice. Nice, and smart, and oh wait, I’m pretty too. I’m “perfect”. I take these compliments and I accept them because I like feeling like I did something good and I helped someone else. I like the approval, even if it doesn’t last long.

It feels strange getting to know this person that I am in this 39-year old body. I start to have regrets about what I could’ve done, should’ve done, would’ve done in my 20s or early 30s… but I’m recognizing the same “mistakes” in others as I’ve made. Who’s to say it’s a mistake? I’m the only one saying that. I’m trying not to beat myself up and label everything I did or didn’t do that led me to this place as a mistake… because at the end of the day, I’m learning from it.

If you learn from it, it’s not a mistake. It’s a lesson. Learn, move on, and do something different the next time is what I keep telling myself.

So here I am, having an eerily similar feeling to when I was 18 and first on my own at college. I didn’t know who I was – I was just out in the world trying to “make it”. However I’ve learned that if you don’t recognize your own wants and needs, your own purpose, you can wander aimlessly and stumble into serving the purposes of others instead of your own. That happened to me. I let that happen.

I’ve been cautiously taking each step like its the first time. I’m paying attention to my feelings. MY feelings. I’m trying not to discount the reason for my feelings – that is what they are for. If I begin to feel similar to before and don’t like it (fearful, anxious, unhappy, etc.), I’m trying to take a new direction… set a boundary – even if that means straying from the comfort of known territory. What I once was is no more – I can’t be that person anymore or I will be miserable. I can’t use those drugs, the happiness of pleasing others can’t be my reason for existence. I have to find what makes me want to live on my own without pleasing others as my primary motivation.

I’m searching for my new motivation. I buried it within me long ago and it’s just taking time to emerge. I suppose it will surface when I’m ready.

Stifle Me Not

 

The Irony of Life

So my last post was a bit of a plea for a break. I was so “whoa is me”. It turns out that my daughter being sick drove up the demand on my house. Such an ironic little twist of fate.

On Sunday, I e-cried to you all via this blog about how I helped my poor puking girl all night long. It was a rough next day as I tried to entertain my 3-year old son and wait on my sick daughter in bed. Around Noon, I took my son outside to play. All showings had been canceled so I thought nothing of hanging out in the driveway. Then I see a realtor car and another car pull in the driveway. Clearly they didn’t get the memo.

I greeted them and let them know I had canceled all showings due to my sick daughter. They didn’t go away. I was annoyed. Of course I wanted to sell my house, but I had a mama bear attitude. They both parked their cars and walked up. They started surveying the outside and asked if they could see the backyard. My son started being chatty with them. I told them they could take a peek at the first floor and basement but they couldn’t go upstairs. They respected my request. I told them to please come back and see the rest in a day or so.

Later that day, my realtor calls to tell me they put an offer at asking price contingent on seeing the upstairs. I almost died. Asking price? Without seeing the upstairs? I never thought we would get that for it. It was priced it where it was because we wanted cushion if we had to drop the price.

So today there were multiple showings for people that had to reschedule from the day before. We got another offer, just above asking price. Like what?

Tomorrow afternoon is the cut off and then we decide on the best offer. This is amazing to me. I asked, and I’m receiving. I know its not over yet, but my bad night turned into something good. If my daughter hadn’t been sick for me to cancel the showings, the demand wouldn’t have been so high. Maybe it would have, but I don’t know, I like to think things happen for a reason.

Stifle Me Not

May 1st Lesson: I Need My Son to Nap More Than He Needs to Nap

Today started out with the typical routine of fighting with little man to wake up, nagging my sassy girl to get ready, and then dropping her off at school. Then little man and I watched cartoons until it warmed up a little outside to go play. Thank goodness it was warm and sunny today because I don’t know if we could take one more episode of anything on the Disney Channel.

Little man enjoyed every second outside. He lives for being outside. I talked and played with him in between cleaning out the sun room and doing a little yard work. By the time lunch was over, he was more than whiny and my nerves were frayed. I love my son to the moon and back, but he is a handful – he is 2 years old. It had been a nice morning with him, but it was nap time and his whining was proof.

Let me be clear about how much I dread nap time and night-night time: I hate it. For some reason, my son thinks he has to cry before going to bed. The thing is though is that he actually likes sleeping.

Me: Buddy, it’s time for a nap.

Little Man: Noooooooooooooooooooo (sobs and sobs and sobs) – sobs all the way up the stairs to his room

I give him a few ounces of milk, rock him, and he says he wants his doggie in his bed. Great! I tuck him in, and tell him I’ll see him in a little bit.

Typically he falls asleep for 2 hours. Today, all was quiet and still – until it wasn’t. He never napped. I could hear him talking nonstop through the monitor. I left him up there for awhile – until he got impatient.

I am an introvert. I require a lot of me time to recharge. Tonight at 10 pm is the first that I’m getting that time. Even when I’m working I get me time when I’m just at my desk working. Being unemployed and an overnight stay at home mom is infringing on my me time! I miss me. I’m not a lonely person; I don’t mind being alone.

Lesson learned: I need my son to nap more than he actually needs the nap. I need recharge time.