Finding THE TREE in a Forest…

So I was talking with Easton* about how I was long overdue for my follow up blog.

He (being an avid reader) said “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if you wrote a scathing blog about our second date? Told everyone how I painted like a child and wouldn’t talk to anyone.”

We both laughed. It would be funny because we’ve had many dates since that first date and all of them have been really good.

The second date was one of those wine and painting activities. I had found one that was painting wine bottles into Starry Night. I love those classes and always love turning it into something that is perfect for me. Mine ended up being a night time woodland forest scene with animals for my nieces.

He did a wonderful abstract version of the Starry Night scene. More like high school and less like elementary school. He also did the perfect amount of chatting.

We have had other great dates too. We hiked in 95 degree weather. Total sweatfest for the day and we were both pouring sea water from our folds. Nothing grosser and more personal than giving a hug when both people are sweaty from something other than sex.

Plus dinner dates are always hours spent at a table having insightful conversations and new learning a lot. He’s very smart and can discuss a lot of topics very thoroughly.

Great dates and great guy.

The one thing that I will tell you there is something different about this time of dating. That difference is me.

Typically by date six I am wondering:

  • Where are we going?
  • What are we doing?
  • Who else are you dating?
  • How do I fit in with those women?
  • Am I number 1 on his list?
  • Could I marry this guy?

And most of all….

Is he THE ONE?

All completely unrealistic questions to feel like I have solved by a few months in. I have experienced the feeling of thinking he’s “the one” on a first date. Then all the ups and downs of trying to train yourself that he’s not. So I purposefully have learned that I cannot go there.

Instead this round my anxiety with Easton is things like:

  • You’re really sure that you are okay with me dating other people?
  • Will you get mad if we end up moving on if I do date someone else during this time?
  • You’re not at the place where we need to move to the next level, right? I’m not there and need to make sure you aren’t either.

I have realized I’m just not ready to date exclusively at all right now. I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow, of course. But I still have things I’m working through and honestly I really enjoy where we are.

When I panic and ask him the questions above he just says calmly and says “We are completely on the same page. I understand anxiety and realize you may ask me multiple times. That’s okay. I can answer.”

That answer calms me down immediately. The way he answers and the follow up context is with such compassion and understanding it helps me remember how kind people can be.

A few weeks ago Easton and I had a date planned where he was going to come to my house to pick me up. Instead of just kind of getting ready… I spent the hour putting on make up and doing my hair. Then I was cleaning the house in a hurry. Although he had already seen the messy version before. He didn’t even notice.

As I was busy and in a fury of activity I stopped and thought “Oh I’m digging this guy. I actually care what he thinks.”

Of course this was the date after the sweaty date where I looked just lovely… Sarcasm. That may have been part of it.

So for right now I’m going on dates with Easton. But I am still talking to other guys and will go on other dates with other guys. I of course will tell you guys all about them.

I figure I’ll know when the time is right for me with Easton or someone else to make that move to next. For now I’m just enjoying the adventure.

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Yes And…

So as I had said in my last blog my dating account has been pretty busy. One of the guys I was talking to is a really cute guy named Easton. He is in the tech world and is also taking improv classes.

After a few days of messaging on the app we started texting. I was really impressed with his messages both on the app and on the phone. There wasn’t a single just “throw away” message. Each one was thoughtful and complete. I kept thinking “Dang this guy is super nice.”

No the “nice guy” line isn’t a death to a chance of a future relationship. I actually want that and all the guys I’ve gone on more than two dates with have been just that. As a matter of fact, the guys that have told me that women aren’t attracted to them because they are “nice” are typically just annoying. Most of the time it is because of their negative victim mentality on their dating and frankly non dating life.

Too whiny… Not too nice

So back to Easton. He and I planned on meeting at a Mexican restaurant midway between our cities. I can say once again… I was incredibly nervous. It is so funny how I used to be so confident and now my stomach is filled with June bugs. These are on my mind because they are swarming my front door this year for some reason…. Gross.

Anyway, I pulled into the restaurant, took a few breaths and walked in.

Easton looked just like his profile pics. He stood up and we did the awkward first meeting hug and sat down. The conversation started off with improv, the obvious choice. As this was something we had in common and had a mutual love for. The conversation was easy and while I enjoyed talking to him I just didn’t feel the spark.

After about an hour, the waitress brought the check. I told the waitress to split it because I’d pay for myself. Not a good sign based on my previous blog.

He was a great guy and all but I just wasn’t feeling it. I filled out the receipt and kept talking thinking we were going to leave. Then…. I asked him a very direct question about a previous relationship. He paused, thought about it and answered in a way that blew me away.

The conversation was then pure fire for two more hours. I don’t think I have met a man that was so open and thoughtful about his answers. He clearly was introspective, takes an appropriate amount of accountability, and has a very mature positive outlook on life. I knew that this was a man I wanted in my life now, whether we date or not.

We walked to the car and instead of the awkward hug or high five that I normally give… Easton went in for the kiss. We promised to go out again soon!

The other man that is on my radar is High School Crush guy. I’m telling you guys everytime I talk to him I swoon….Ahh!

We had a conversation a few days ago where we talked about what we were looking for right now in dating.

Let’s just say he and I are looking for two compeletely different things. He may as well said he wanted kale and I wanted donuts.

The thing is our interactions are going to diminish in the next couple of weeks. As a matter of fact they may be limited to messaging, which is almost always one sided. (My side of course)

So while I’m bummed about the “summer vacation” away I’m not going to be mad as I move on. He has been the perfect guy to swoon over but I realize I have to grow out of high school crushes sometime.

I’m ready to get out there and have fun and actually date again. I’m starting with more dates with Easton (of course) but who knows where I’ll end up?

I just know this time I’m taking it slow and steady… After all that’s I’m going to win this race. ๐Ÿ˜˜

Back in the Game

It is amazing how the universe works. I had the epiphany I mentioned in my previous blog post and then my Bumble account started blowing up with matches. I hadn’t done anything different and yet now I’m getting replies! Within a few days I even had a date planned.

The guy was really good looking with a nice smile. He worked out a lot, which I was a little hesitant about. I have been in that relationship before and it didn’t end well. I am not going to start lifting weights or running marathons anytime soon. But, he seemed really nice and asked me on a date very shortly after texting.

I actually appreciate the quick date ask. I spend way too long messaging with guys that I meet and am like eh… Get my hopes up and then zero chemistry. I don’t really do friends with guys so it becomes pretty much a waste of time and effort.

The guy lived in the city that I work out of a couple days a week. It is between 1 hour 15 and 2 hours away (depending on traffic). We agreed to meet after work on a Friday for a quick drink. I was looking forward to it. Not as much as meeting him in particular but getting back out there. I needed the fresh dating air.

I had planned on looking really cute but ran into work late. So I was diving back into the dating with a hoodie, jeans, and a ponytail. This is my normal Friday and weekend gear but definitely not a date look. I chatted with him briefly throughout the day and warned him of my appearance. He replied with “you’re fine! You do you!” Which I appreciated

We had talked about meeting at 5:15, so I wasn’t out too late. Then around 3:30 he asked if I could push it out until 6. I struggled with the reply. I had a really long and stressful week and getting home even later was not on my radar. I told him no I couldn’t. I could tell he was pissed and he kept pushing it.

I know I sound flaky. Afterall it was only 45 minutes. I had my kid that night, the timing would have hit busier times at bars, and I was DONE with the week already. Maybe if I chatted with the guy more and was more excited I would’ve waited… Pluses and minuses to that quick date approach I guess.

So I tried to explain… He got annoyed… I deleted his contact info and haven’t heard from him since.

I did go home and sleep for 3 hours that night. Literally the minute I walked in the door. Probably wasn’t going to be good company anyway. So my first date option wasn’t a match.

Oh well! I have a few guys I’m chatting with right now that seem promising.

Hopefully they hit a few of my dating guy goals.

6. Will go to Disney with Me

I’m not saying he must love Disney… But I don’t want a relationship where holding hands in front of the magic castle isn’t part of my future! If he is willing to wear his and her matching t-shirts I would make sure it was a magical trip ๐Ÿ˜‰

7. Doesn’t Try to Make me Compete

This is something I’m finding that I am attracted to. Really hot guys that chat with multiple women at the same time. Not in a normal dating way but the kind of guys that get off on female attention. This is a pattern I’m going to break with the right guy.

8. Doesn’t Get Offended Easily

Oh my…this goes back to my humor. I know sometimes I cross the line and really feel bad when I do. But if I’m constantly crossing a line with a guy he is probably not for me. Just because I’ll always feel bad and so will he. Some lines you don’t cross and it takes time to find those but if those are all over the place… Again not for me.

The good news is that I can take it just as much as I give it out. That’s hard to come by.

This meme is funny but nothing I’d actually say… I do have limits.

9. Enjoys a Netflix Binge (every so often)

Can you really beat a rainy day in with snacks, snuggles and Netflix?! If he loves and can quote The Office… I’m in for sure.

10. Loves to Take a Hike

Oh my do I love to hike! There is a part of me that is completely at peace in the quiet of nature. I have even started going by myself. I only go on somewhat busy paths to avoid getting murdered or more likely lost.

Turning the Page…

So the last week has been a slow realization… Bear with me while I walk you though where I am at in my process.

So my last blog I mentioned the inspiring speaker that I had listened to the night before. It was Jon Gordon the author of The Energy Bus and a lot of other positive books.

It was a last minute gift from one of my dear friends. She had missed a connecting flight and here I was. Great seats and twitterapted for inspiration.

Jon told of great anecdotes, chill moments and ah ha pings. However the one thing that hit me like a ton of bricks was when he said (something like):

We spend a lot of time listening to what our mind is thinking. However, we should spend more time telling our mind what to think.

So it hit me hard. I hadn’t thought about what practical application I would be able up use such a mind F… But I knew it was big! At least my arm hairs told me it was.

Then that next day I wrote my blog. Let me tell you all now…I HEAR YOU LOUD AND CLEAR!

I have several people I love… who don’t know eachother and they all agree on one thing… I need to move on and now. It was such a moment of reconsideration. So I realized… Ah ha I need to TELL my mind what to think. Practical application to an inspirational thought.

This may get a little hokey for some of you but I’ve always laid it on the line. (feel free to move down a paragraph or two).

I was thinking about Jack and how everytime I thought of him I’d get a little smile and a little sadness. I thought about him like a book. I had a whole story in there… A beginning, a middle, and an end. I could literally imagine the book of Jack in my hands. It lit up and I felt all the emotions I do when I think of him. Then I imagined I was closing the book. I legit saw lights of love and gratitude explode on the cover. Then I put it away on a shelf.

It was then that I realized I have other pain and “books” I needed to put away as well. I repeated the thought with other lessons in love.

I had done the thinking, learned the lessons and needed to move on. I was becoming comfortable in the stall of my love life.

Then over the last few days I had another ah ha moment. The remaining guys I have on my radar also don’t match what I need right now. I need to start over. Truly a clean slate.

I have always heard that in order to end a bad habit (focusing on guys that aren’t into me) I should focus on a new habit.

So I replaced the focu on what I DO want in a man. I had told you before that I was going to write 100 things I’m looking for in a future husband.

So here are the first couple of thoughts. These are not the most important ones just the first 5, there are 95 more where I can hit some one the other bigger and sillier ones. Also they are not all deal breakers… More like guidelines ๐Ÿ˜‰

1. Must Love Dogs

I have three dogs. Yes three dogs. I spent a lot of time being worried about this and the idea of a being labeled a “crazy dog” lady or having too much baggage. However, I’ve grown to realize each dog comes with its own personality and place in my family.

2. Must Enjoy his Job

(or being doing something to change it)

I LOVE my job! I love the people I work with and the work I do. I’ve worked hard to get where I am and I have chosen where I work. I would challenge most people that they also make that choice.

Enjoying what I do adds a level of fun (and of course sometimes stress) to my day. I want someone that makes some fun in their everyday as well.

3. Must Not be Easily Embarrassed

I try to make fun in almost everything I do. This includes sometimes dancing while I’m walking. Doing silly voices. Making a comment to make someone laugh.

My daughter today said, “Mom you always make at least one person laugh wherever you go.” This made me smile and proud. She’s not afraid of the awkward moment.

4. Must be Heading to Hell for their Sense of Humor

I’ll need a partner down there for coal shoveling and other tasks.

5. Must Understand My Anxiety

(or be open to learn)

When I ask for confirmation for the thirtieth time it is not because I didn’t hear you.

When I say I’m having a panic moment, just listen and take control if needed.

When I’ve thought about something all night and ask 100 questions… just explain what you were thinking honestly. Don’t panic, tell me I’m over thinking, or skirt your answer. I always prefer knowing what I’m working with so be honest.

Looking in the Magic Mirror

So I was so excited and renewed coming back from Disney! My perspective was clear and I was enjoying the cloud nine feeling.

While I was driving the llllooooonnnngggg way home I got a text from Jack*. It was an unprompted picture of a jar of jalapeรฑo stuffed olives. I was shocked. I took a few minutes and I replied back. Before I knew it, we were a couple of hours texting and then the full day. He was contributing just as much as I was. During this he asked me when my next improv show because he wanted to see me. That day of texting felt like no time had passed at all and it made the drive time fly by.

I went to sleep early that morning and woke up feeling completely energized. I wouldn’t let myself go to “What does this mean?” or think about us being back together. Although, I’ll be honest, inspite of my feeble attempts the thoughts did creep in. Then I would smile and continue to clean and do laundry. You could have filmed me with a few birds helping me with socks and you would’ve thought I was still at Disney.

It was a Disney high mixed with a Jack boost.

Jack texted me that morning “Nice driving” and then silence. Yes silence. At first I took it as “Oh he’s busy” and then after a few days with no replies I realized… It is over. That revisited connection was just a moment. Nothing more. I can’t continue to think about him and think about what if. Clearly he still thinks of me and wanted to revisit our connection. But it was a realization that’s all it will end up being…a memory.

So I moved on. More than I have before. That feeling is really nice but I’m not going to say I’m not a little disappointed. As I said before, it is tough to to truly think someone was “the one” and be wrong.

So I have started picking up my online dating game and trying to put more effort in it. So far, no dates. I don’t know why but online dating has felt different lately. No real connections, some funny banter, and then disinterest. From me or them. It is a weird feeling but I’m trying to figure it out.

A few nights ago I saw the “high school crush” guy . It was a good chat. I felt like a sophomore about to pass a football style note.

I had said before the feeling is one sided, but having a hot friend is never a bad thing. Plus I like talking to him. I feel inspired and think about things differently. I trust his opinion. It was a great night then at the end turned odd. Not by him but just odd because of some circumstances. I don’t go into it because it is awkward and will give things away.

I was driving home that night and had a moment that I’m sure many single women and men have had. For a brief moment I thought about giving up on dating. I had a very rare moment of self pity. I’m more of a boot straps kind of woman.

Of course this feeling wasn’t because of this guy. We don’t know eachother like that. It was just the needle on top of a mountain that tips it over. I cried for about 5 minutes. Gave myself some pity tears and why me thoughts. Then I walked in my door, turned up music and sang in the kitchen.

I woke up this morning with a renewed hope. I listened to a great speaker about vision and goals last night. I’m going to take some time to reflect on how to become the best version of me. It is always an ongoing process ๐Ÿ’œ

Determining my happily ever after…

This week I’m at the happiest place on earth… Disney World ๐Ÿฐ

I first came here when I was 27. My husband and I decided to “go all out” that year because we would not be back. “There are so many places to visit in the world… We cannot just go to one place.”

With three pairs of hands (including our daughter) in a circle, on the plane to Florida, we agreed “We will not become ‘those’ people.”

I cried the first time I saw the castle. For me this was bigger than just a vacation. As a kid I never even dreamed about going to Disney. There was no use in wanting to go. Money was way too tight and I would have been disappointed. I have always kept to the dreams I can accomplish. Yet add an adult, there I was standing in front of THE CASTLE, with my Minnie ears, and holding the hands of the people I love. This was a moment.

By the end of the trip I was hooked and have been back many times. I still tear up when I see those white pillars.

This year when I was planning our trip, I decided to make it a road trip. Single mom budget does not account for two flights or the fancy hotel of the past. My daughter is too young to drive so I would be single pair of hands behind the wheel for 14+ hours.

Believe it or not… I was actually excited! Quality time chatting with my fave and busting out our dance moves. What I hadn’t expected was the down time to think and the realizations that come with it. I was driving into the last part of a very adventure filled drive to Florida, inclusive of a wicked snow storm and a spin out that stopped the highway, and had a mom moment. I realized that I was perfectly happy just being her and I.

The truth is I have been focused on dating for the past three years. Yet, I’m not sure that I’m any closer to finding the one. When I was going through my divorce the one idea that kept me going was “maybe I can get remarried someday and have another baby.” Another baby was a major point of contention in my previous marriage. I thought this was my chance.

However, I’m 35 years old. Time isn’t really on my side. For most of my single life this idea would panic me. However, now it a calm option. I am happy with my family being me and my sassy teenager. It rids me of the intense pressure of my loudly clicking time clock.

In my dating life right now everything is up in the air. My dating apps are busy but not substantial. I am not putting the effort needed to make it worthwhile. I’ve been busy planning this trip and working.

I am still talking to Kevin from before although I think we would both agree we are good flirty friends. (No, that is not code for friends with benefits). He’s amazing guy though so who knows.

I do have a high school type crush on a guy from my actual real life (not from a dating profile). Seriously I feel like I’m in high school. The butterflies when I see him, smile when someone says his name “He’s so hot and so nice”, and like my high school experiences… One sided. Ugh!

I can feel though in my life something special is coming. I don’t know what it is but with everything up in the air… Anything is possible! When I stand in front of the castle tomorrow morning and hold my daughters hand I’ll be sure to remember this… With tears in my eyes I’m sure. โค๏ธ

Judging Jilly…

Life has a way of always teaching me compassion the moment I start to judge someone. For instance, it is easy for me to judge something horrific… like murder.

Yet…someone rides too close to my bumper and I want to hit my brakes in rage… Possibly causing an accident. I realize “Oh that’s the feeling.”

Just enough of a glimpse of an emotion to remind myself everyone is human. It’s those moments when I’m grateful that I have the support and the mental and moral fortitude to give the one finger salute and move to the middle lane.

Kevin and I had a whirlwind dating adventure. We connected quickly and moved even quicker. Although both of us kept saying that we weren’t ready for commitment we were exclusive after the second date. I talked about how many dates we had gone on and the frequency before. It was a lot and often.

Then one night I had a panic moment when I realized I am not ready to be in a relationship. It was too much too fast. I thought back to how Jack felt after our first couple of dates when I started pressuring him. The time when he “ghosted” me. It was something I didn’t understand before and honestly judged him for.

The only difference now was that the speed and frequency was the pressure… not the people. Kevin felt the same way I did. The spark had started to fade and we realized we were too different. It was the most amicable and sweet break up conversation. It was nice to naturally both feel the same way and not be blindsided. I would only hope every break up will be like that in my life. While I am bummed I’m am not sad. It was the right thing to do, for now, while I figure things out.

I’m going to take this time and just enjoy dating. Go deliberately very slow. It is clear I am still moving on from Jack and while it has gotten a heck of a lot better it is not gone. Yes, in case you’re wondering, I feel like a total weirdo that I still have sad moments. He moved on months ago and is happy. Then here I am, a smart, independent, logical woman that still has what my kid calls “Jack moments.” It can be a little annoying to say the least.

I’m not worried though. It is getting better and the time with Kevin proved to me that there is light and love on the other end. It was just enough of a glimpse of a feeling to not judge myself for still caring and holding on. I am allowed to love and allowed to move on. Afterall, that’s the hardest person for me not to judge… Myself.