Single, 35, and Panicking

“Everything is always working out for me,” I chant into the mirror while doing my makeup every morning, downing a huge glass of celery juice which I hope will fix all of the problems in my life.  This is a mantra I have adopted from Abraham Hicks, one of the trailblazers of the “Law of Attraction” philosophy, that I use every single time something happens in my life that doesn’t go in my favor or in a different direction than I had planned. Which is, a lot. 

And boy, am I a planner. As a severely type A person I am a slave to my daily routines and habits. Which is a good thing I guess. But if we’re being honest, “planner” is just another way of saying “control freak,” which has much more negative connotations. I want and need to always be in control and the idea of not having that sends my entire body into an anxiety spiral. But over the last couple of years I’ve had to find a calming mantra in order to placate the thoughts surrounding the one thing I can’t and never will be able to control: my love life. 

I never expected to be single and alone at thirty-five. No woman does I guess, but I thought I would at the very least be living it up in the city, happy, carefree, sleeping with tons of hot dudes and thriving in my career, a la a west coast Carrie Bradshaw. But I’m not really doing that. Most of the time I’m feeling lonely and isolated and absolutely baffled as to how to meet quality men. And speaking of Sex and the City, that show has certainly provided some comfort to women like me who might feel behind their peers who already have houses and husbands and children. But at this point I’ve already matched Carrie’s age by season four. So, not only are the shows’ themes starting to pass me up but I’m getting angrier and angrier with every rerun I watch knowing my life isn’t even close to being as vibrant and exciting as the characters’ are. 

Thirty-five is a panic age. It’s the age where women say to themselves, “well shit, I better hurry up and find a mate before I get too old to have kids!” Because if you do the math, and everything goes to plan (which, as we’ve established before when it comes to these things, it never does) your earliest chance of realistically procreating is thirty-seven. Because you have to meet your perfect match, which lets say takes a year, and then you have to date and get to know each other for at least another year (and hoping that in that year you’ll get a ring), which has you marrying at thirty-seven and getting knocked up in that same year. Unrealistic, to be honest. And I’m already halfway through thirty-five so we can go ahead and jack my earliest age up to thirty-eight. And then what happens if we’re reproductively challenged and it takes a while to actually get pregnant? Ugh, I need to stop before my anxiety gets out of control. 

There’s that word again: control. It’s probably why I’m single. No one wants to date the control freak! No man in the history of the world has ever said, “oh man, I am so turned on by that girl with the anxious panic behind her eyes!” And I think men generally get squirrely around any woman in her 30s who expresses interest in kids. He suddenly feels too much pressure and expectation and doesn’t know if he is ready for that. Men exist out there who desperately want children too and are worried about being old dads, but they also want that circumstance to be off the table while they get to know you and see if they even want to be locked together with you for a minimum of eighteen years. Because of the time limit put on women’s fertility we can sometimes be blinded to the man and just see a sign with blinking lights over his head that says “sperm donor.” 

There isn’t really that much societal pressure put on women to “procreate or be damned to hell” anymore and not having kids sometimes seems like a really sweet deal. My body won’t get ruined, I’ll have all the sleep I want, a double income household, more traveling, the list literally goes on and on. Not to mention it would soothe a lot of the panic, at least concerning timelines. And I honestly never thought I wanted kids. But thirty-five somehow brings about the panic! What if I decide in ten years that I really want them and then it’s too late!? Suddenly the idea of NOT having them made me start rethinking my entire existence. How could I possibly miss out on that phase of life? How could my conceited ass pass up the opportunity to have a mini me around with fifty percent of my likeness and personality that could carry on my legacy? 

“Everything is always working out for me,” I chant while meditating, something that would definitely go out the window if I had a screaming baby to take care of. Do I even really want them? I have to fucking figure it out RIGHT NOW honestly because all of my potential suitors in the future will need to know straight up. I will need to know myself because if they’re on the fence too and I get two years in and they give a hard no while I’m thinking hard yes, then that places me at thirty-seven, the age I needed to be at the end of this life plan process! 

Every single day that I look into the mirror and see fine lines forming and under-eye circles darkening I am reminded of my time limit concerning motherhood. Women can potentially have children well into their 40s, but the likelihood lessens. Every birthday I have is a reminder that the last train to babytown is coming. And youth is so celebrated, especially in a place like LA where I live, and if a man wants to have children, and lots of them, his first pick isn’t going to be the woman in her late 30s. 

Not that I’m even facing that dilemma anyway. Good, quality men who I even want to procreate with are becoming fewer and farther between. And the ones I do find are damaged beyond repair or have sixteen suitcases of baggage that I don’t know if I can unpack. Where is the good, loyal, dad material guy that I deserve? I’ve learned all of the lessons I need to at this point, thank you very much. My last relationship was so toxic it required an exorcism. Why does the universe insist on delaying the connection to my soulmate longer?

My aunt Sue used to be such a legend to me and all of the female cousins in my family because she got married at thirty-six and then went on to have three children, one of which was when she was forty-two. And I have regurgitated her story to everyone, including myself, for years whenever a small hint of the panic would start to creep up. But I can no longer tell that story as any sort of inspiration since I am frighteningly close to passing that goal line. 

I always have an understandable excuse that I give to members of my family when they wonder about why I am still free balling life at this mature age. My career aspirations made my love life take a backseat. And while that is noble and commendable, since I am still working at a restaurant to keep my bills paid and a roof over my head, I am not living my dreams to their fullest potential yet. So if my career isn’t in order AND my love life is nonexistent I might as well move back to Indiana to find a nice corn fed divorcee who owns a house and would take care of me so I can just relax and write books and mommy blogs while I walk around barefoot on the screened in front porch waiting for the stew I made for dinner to finish simmering on the stove. 

I’m not gonna do that. Also, I can’t cook for shit. But in an alternate reality, and if my family had any say in the matter, that would be a really good move. However, after eleven years in a big bustling city with opportunity and everything I could ever want within a two mile radius I sure as hell am not going to give that up in exchange for the possibility that I might get a kid or two out of the arrangement. I think I’ll take my chances here. I made a deal with the devil eleven years ago. I decided to roll the dice on a risky career choice and now I’m well into my 30s without the success I want yet OR the husband and family. I must’ve rolled snake eyes. 

“EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS WORKING OUT FOR ME!” I scream in my head over and over again when I find myself faced with the reality of yet another failed relationship. You were SO CLOSE, I hear echoing in my brain. Who cares if it was the wrong person? I could’ve had the family thing and never had to feel insecurity or panic ever again. I wouldn’t have to be jealous of proposal announcements on Instagram anymore. I could’ve at least had one piece of the adult puzzle put into place. But nah, instead I have to accept that I am thirty-five and single again. 

Timelines are bullshit but they are real when you have to factor in biology. Sure I could adopt at forty-five and become a mother that way, and “everything is always working out for me” so if that’s what ends up happening then GREAT. I will celebrate my modern family in whatever form it takes. It’s completely out of my control and I’m just now starting to accept that. Maybe I’m not meant to have children. Maybe I’m not meant to get married until I hit forty and REALLY give up all of the control. Maybe the universe has bigger plans for me and my career is literally weeks away from huge success. I’ll keep repeating my mantra until my face turns blue and hope for the best! 

3 Years Later

It felt easy. Almost too easy. 

3 years and all it took was one conversation, one phrase, “I don’t see a future with you” to stop it all dead in its tracks. 

How could I have spent 3 years with someone knowing that “no future” reality right from the beginning. Why would I put myself through that? Because I fell in love, I thought he would change blah, blah, blah. 

But you know the breakup is real and that it will stick this time when it’s easy. Because you have no more fight left in you. You’ve already cried all the tears. You’ve had all the arguments. You already gave all the fucks you had. And now it’s all dried up. Your gas tank is on empty. You don’t want to do it anymore. This time, the reality has been accepted. 

We had already done the hard breakup. The one with all the sobbing. The one where I told him as he left to “have a nice life.” The one where I cut off all communication because I was so fucking disappointed and hurt. But this one wasn’t like that. This one was the simple conversation that was met with a simple response of “ok” and an agreement to stay in communication and friendly with each other for life. 

“I’m sorry,” he said. Sorry for what? Wasting my time? I wasted my OWN time. I knew all along that he could never give me all the things that I wanted. I don’t regret any of that time, but why do I keep choosing wrong? Why am I willingly putting myself through pain?

Maybe I wasn’t ready then for a lasting thing. Maybe I’m ready now. I just hope I choose right this time. But how is it possible to fall so deeply in love with someone knowing that there is a clear expiration date. I don’t know that I can judge my instincts anymore. 

Maybe this long, 3 year relationship was necessary in order to know exactly what it is that I want. To clear up any kind of confusion or hesitancy. Now I can commit to the vision that’s been in my head. The vision that caused me to end things with him. 

I know that guys still exist out there that want to settle down and get married, or at least live together and share a dog. And that’s really all I’ve ever wanted. So why has it been so hard to find that? I must’ve been giving off the wrong vibes, or at best, confusing vibes. 

But I will say that I feel closer than I’ve ever been to getting what I want. My pattern of adult relationships has been as follows: emotionally unavailable guy who wanted to date me but couldn’t commit, emotionally unavailable friend with benefits who couldn’t commit, and finally, emotionally available guy who couldn’t commit. So I’ve apparently finally conquered the first part. The next part is what is tripping me up.  

Won’t commit, won’t commit, won’t commit. What the fuck does it take to get a guy to commit these days?! 

Maybe it’s just LA. Maybe this is where all the broken people go. The people who were too good for their hometowns. The people who were running away from something. The people who prioritize career over love. 

After any failed relationship the brain goes through all kinds of levels of cynicism, disappointment, and, frankly, disbelief. Duped again, we tell ourselves. Won’t happen again, we say. But I’m pretty sure I also said that after the previous failed relationship. 

3 months in to our relationship, as I was headed to my brother’s wedding in Michigan, he told me that he never wanted to marry again. I replied with, “then we don’t have a future together,” and yet there I was 3 years later saying the same thing as if it was some kind of new revelation. 

Why do we do this as women? Why do we always think they’re gonna change? When people tell you who they are, BELIEVE THEM. I might tattoo that on my forehead as a reminder. 

I have this friend who has said on numerous occasions that I could “keep having relationships like this that don’t last and it doesn’t really matter because (I) don’t want kids.” As if not wanting kids means that I don’t give a shit about a lasting commitment. As if kids is the only thing keeping couples together. 

Maybe she’s right! I mean, a lot of men, especially in LA, won’t marry a woman unless they’ve knocked her up. First comes baby, then comes marriage. I’ve seen it more times than I can count. 

I didn’t even think that I wanted to get married until getting married was completely off the table. I did a pretty good job of convincing myself for a while that I was cool without it, because I didn’t want to lose him. I was gonna change who I was for him. But we never really stop wanting what we want do we? 

3 years later and I am no closer to having that lasting commitment. I’ve just added more baggage. 

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Hey guys! I’m back! I’ve been writing a book so I’ve been off the grid for a while. Thanks for sticking with me! I’ll be posting much more often now! AND I’ve just added a new writing Instagram handle if you want to follow me there @lonelyloverlo.

xx

Soulmates

Soulmates can manifest themselves in any kind of physical being. It can be a friend, an intimate partner, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a pet, a parent, or a sibling. I just finished reading a book for my book club called “Many Lives, Many Masters” by Brian L. Weiss (read it right now, it’s amazing) and it has me thinking that a soulmate might be someone showing up from a past life that had a large role in your previous life. Because how else do you explain that immediate connection, familiarity, comfort, and intensity that you feel with only a handful of people and not with others. What is it about them that makes them so special to you?

And this is where it gets super complicated and you might need to hit a bong once or twice to even let your mind go to this place, but if a soulmate is someone from our past life, do they carry over difficulties that you experienced with them in that previous life? Because I don’t know about you, but I find that the people that are my soulmates are also the people I have the most dramatic and challenging relationships with. Right from the jump. They almost feel like people who I have to keep at an arms length distance because they make me feel SO high but also SO low. I love them more than anyone else, but I also fight with them more. I feel closer to them but I also want to kill them.

I’ve probably just explained most romantic relationships, and to be honest, if your relationship isn’t like that, it probably isn’t worth having. Or is it?

Maybe we aren’t supposed to be with our soulmates because of how turbulent and intense those relationships can be. Maybe we really are supposed to be with some vanilla partner who will “make a good father” or who “is very loyal and stable” or who “treats me well” but doesn’t necessarily stimulate me mentally and always keeps my emotions at an even level.

Because when you think about all of the turns that life can take, don’t you want to make sure that, at the very least, your life partner doesn’t have the ability to make you feel borderline homicidal? When children come into the mix or when a parent gets sick or one partner loses his job our has to relocate for the job it seems like you can only get through that with someone who doesn’t set your brain/mind/heart/body on fire with how they respond?

My ex had (and has) the ability to completely change the course of my day with one text. One single text can cause me to come completely unglued and not be able to focus for the rest of the day. This person who I shared two precious years of my life with can affect me THAT much with one text. He knows it and I know it’s the same on his end too which is why we’ve chosen to reach out so sparingly.

It feels like a drug. I need more. I want more. Once I get a taste of even the slightest bit I become obsessed with the idea of giving up everything I worked so hard to repair just for one day, one night, one kiss.

I hate that he has that much control over the stability of my emotions. And that’s why it feels so dangerous to even entertain the idea of reconciliation. How can I possibly spend the rest of my life with someone who knows that with a couple words tossed out without restraint can ruin me?

A relationship with a soulmate is never going to be easy. It’s going to be a constant, daily exercise of treading lightly and holding oneself back. Because everything between you two is on fire. Passionate, burning, hot, beautiful fire. To survive the day to day it requires putting all that desire aside just to function.

But why then do we have the ability to experience this kind of deep relationship with someone who we aren’t meant to be with? It seems like a cruel joke the universe is playing on us. Because any relationship we have that is less than that will feel unfulfilling, even if it is with someone who is MORE stable and MORE supportive and MORE caring.

I guess the obvious answer is that they are just there to teach us the lessons. Maybe that’s why they show up from the past life. The lessons still haven’t been learned even across lifetimes. But what a dope setup it could be to be with someone who you learn and grow with and also have a stable, healthy relationship with! Is that not a thing? Maybe it is a thing just for a short period of time and then you move on. And you mate and procreate with the one who will be like a faithful dog. Unconditionally loving you and making you feel at peace no matter what.

Or…OR…you and the soulmate are too underdeveloped and unrefined to make a relationship work at this time. But at some point in the near future it can be SO good. Once the fire turns into a deep desire to make things work with the one who makes your heart sing. It might be painful sometimes but it will be more beautiful than any other experience you have had across ALL lifetimes.

No Daddy Issues Here!

“Every girl has daddy issues,” my co-worker stated in the middle of Whole Foods, where we had gone to grab Kombucha while on break.

“I don’t,” I said.

He looked at me as if I was a freak. How could he understand me and my issues and sensitivities if he couldn’t automatically attribute them to my dad. It made me laugh.

Guys are silly. Not every girl has a complicated relationship with her dad or didn’t get enough love and affection from him. In fact, some of us have such an esteemed view of our dads that most men pale in comparison. They will never live up to the man who shaped my childhood and treated me like a princess. So I guess if you want to call that daddy issues then I guess I DO have them.The issue is that my dad is too amazing.

My dad was the first example I had of how a man should behave. What his responsibilities were, how he should treat women, his work ethic, and most importantly, how he should raise his kids. I wish everyone had been raised by someone like my dad because we would probably have a lot less pain and suffering in the world. He never raised his voice, not once. When my siblings and I were behaving badly we received a stern word or two, but most of the time we just never misbehaved around him because we respected him too much.

My dad is the original Don Draper, minus the drinking problem and emotional unavailability. He got up everyday at 7am to shower and put on a clean white undershirt. His hair was perfectly parted on the side and had been in the same style for so long that he no longer needed to comb it into place, but he still did, of course. Every morning he shaved his face. I’ve never seen him have a 5 o’clock shadow in my entire life. He wore a full suit everyday, and wore perfectly shined shoes which he used a shoe horn to get into. Then he would have his coffee (never more than 2 cups) and read the newspaper. I would sit and watch his routine on days when I didn’t have school. It was fascinating. This is how a real man starts his day.

On the weekends he would mow the lawn/rake the leaves/shovel the snow depending on the season, fix the screen door, change the oil in one of the cars, or throw a baseball back and forth with one of his sons. He came to all of my games, recitals, gymnastics meets, and plays. He never missed anything, which is crazy considering he has 5 children. If I had a track meet out of town that lasted until nighttime, he would be there at the school waiting for me when the bus got back. He would go outside and warm up the car for me and scrape my windshield in the wintertime before high school.

As his only daughter I was his favorite. He couldn’t have been more proud of me, no matter what my interests and talents were. One time, in 8th grade, I was in the running to be the best high jumper in the city of Indianapolis at the final meet of the season. When it was between me and two other girls, I saw my dad out of the corner of my eye pacing the bleachers back and forth in a secluded area where no other spectators were sitting. He could barely watch, because he wanted so badly for me to win. One girl scratched, and then the next girl scratched. It was my turn. I made it over. I won! My dad would never scream or yell or jump up and down, it just wasn’t his style, but I could tell he was so proud of me. They raised the bar another inch. It was just me alone, in a competition with myself to catch the city record. I scratched all three jumps. I was a little disappointed in myself, but still happy that I won. For the next week or so, my dad kept showing me on his measuring tape how close in inches I had come to the record. “You were only off by this much,” he would say as he showed me the 2 inches that would’ve made the difference. He wasn’t telling me how just a little more would’ve broken the record, he was showing me how good I was and how close I had become to being the best.

My dad is probably worried on some level about the career choice that I made, the challenging city I live in, and the fact that I am not following the same model of adulthood that he and my mom did. Most dads worry about the protection and finances of their children, and especially their daughters, well into adulthood. But even though it’s probably not the stable life he had imagined for me, he has never once been negative or unsupportive about it. He may not understand my dreams, but he appreciates that I’ve had the courage to follow them.

My dad taught me how to ride a bike, how to fish, how to skate, and how to chew with my mouth closed. When I was first starting to drive, and before Google Maps, Mapquest, and Garmins, my dad would draw detailed maps for me to help me get to where I was going. He read bedtime stories to my brothers and me every single night. He and I would go on bike rides through our neighborhood together and watch new episodes of Seinfeld every Thursday. Just him and me. He would even take me on “dates” when I was a little girl. Out to dinner and the movies. There wasn’t a moment where I didn’t feel special.

At age 33, I still need my dad’s help. If I have car trouble, apartment issues, questions about my taxes etc., he is the first person I call. When my car broke down in the middle of the 101 freeway in the middle of the day, I called him before I even called AAA. Even though we don’t talk every single day, I know he will drop everything he’s doing to help me if I need him.

My dad is blind as a bat. Literally legally blind. He wears contacts until they irritate his eyes, and then he switches to the most ridiculous coke bottle, magnifying glasses. He passed that amazing gene onto me, the only child who also has blue eyes like he does. What gift that has been, Dad. Thanks!

My dad loves bananas and peanut butter, Jim Beam and Diet Coke, and The 3 Stooges. He loves to BBQ, watch Indiana sports teams play, play softball/baseball, run, talk about the weather, and most importantly, he loves to hang out with his kids.

No daddy issues here. My issues can be attributed to everything BUT that. My only issue is that I don’t get to see him as often as I would like.

Thanks, Dad, for being my role model, supporter, friend, and hero. I wouldn’t trade you for anything.