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 πŸ˜‰

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.

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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 jalapeΓ±o 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 πŸ’œ

Determining my happily ever after…

This week I’m at the happiest place on earth… Disney World 🏰

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. ❀️

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.

I’m glad I waited…

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting with my date at a fondue restaurant. Typically I only eat dinner at this place for birthdays or other bigger moments. After our delicious Wisconsin beer cheddar fondue, salad, and beyond tasty meat course it was time for chocolate. (Can you tell I LOVED this meal?!)

As the woman was heating up our chocolate she asks us “Are you celebrating something special?”

“It is the big 10!” I answer a big smile.

“Whoa 10 years!”

“Nope our 10th date!” Excited jazz hands again and a pat on my date’s back. “I’m hoping we make it to our 11th!”

My date laughs out loud and the waitress just shakes her head with a smile. Yes readers… I am dating a new guy and I’ll call him Kevin*. He wants to be called “The Great Bearded Wonder” and while I agree he does have a great beard, Kevin is much easier to write.

So when I first matched with Kevin he was one of many. I would love to say I knew that I’d like him from first swipe but it was on Bumble and people don’t put a lot of information on their profile. Heck even mine was a one liner from The Office. So the extent of the swipe was “Hot first picture” and that was it.

For those of you outside the dating app world, Bumble requires the woman to send the first message. I actually love this because I can unmatch if I’m not interested before he messages me. It was Christmas day when we matched. I sent him and my other matches a Christmasy message the next day and put my phone down. He replied shortly after and we started talking.

Our first message..

After only a few days of chatting. We agreed to meet and he was going to plan the first date. He gave me two options… One was go to an early dinner OR we could watch the Ohio State game together at a sports bar.

I really do love to watch sports and beer/wings but I’m not a big college sports fan. Also, I know how I can get watching a game (please only talk to me during the commercials) so I opted for the early dinner.

We joked about how we were like old people when we planned to eat at like 5. So when it came for us to pick the place he suggested a family restaurant that is known for an elderly crowd. To match our time. I loved it! Cute, creative and got jokes.

It took me a long time to get ready for the date. I was planning to go ALL OUT with the elderly look. I put on a floral dress, gray leggings, thick white sweater socks, and a gray cardigan. I stared at myself in the mirror and kept thinking…

1. Do I have the balls to wear this?

2. Is it that funny in a first date?

3. Would he get the joke or just think I’m a weirdo?

I wish I could say I went along with it. But about 5 minutes before I left I went with a grandma type cardigan (that I wear all the time πŸ˜€) and a floral scarf. An ode to granny without going over board. I had the balls but liked this guy and didn’t want to scare him off. Now knowing Kevin… He would have gotten the joke and enjoyed it. On the date he even said “you can wear that look next time!”

We chatted for a couple of hours, drinking beers and eating. I am not sure the beer selections and food choices matched the patrons (a lot of old people). I think this restaurant may be realizing a lot of their clientele is dying off and they need to attract a longer lasting group.

The date felt very natural and comfortable. Once I met him I didn’t feel nervous and that I could chat about anything. I very rarely meet a stranger but getting back out there had been a little bit of a struggle so it was nice. There was no pressure, just conversation. Our date ended in a nice big hug and plans to go out a couple days from then.

On our second date we went to a WuTang night at a local bar and an improv show. I realized he laughed at the same things I did at the show. This was a great sign! As he was driving me home he suggested we stop at a hole in the wall bar in my town. This bar had made headlines during the summer for a double stabbing. So needless to say I was not a regular. He thought it would be fun and I thought why not?!

We walked in and clearly we were not regulars. I was wearing a tshirt my sister bought me for Christmas that said “Kinda Hood Kinda Classy.” It did not match the motorcycle ambience of this particular location. But we walked in and I smiled and waved at everyone. Kevin and I are pretty friendly and non threatening. So I got a few half smiles and head nods back.

That was until Kevin gave me a couple dollars for the jukebox. He said “pick songs you would like, don’t worry about the place.”

I chose Rake It Up by Yo Gotti. It had been my jam for a while now.

I am not going to say it was a crowd pleaser but we didn’t get yelled at or kicked out. This continued even after we spent 20 more dollars building the soundtrack for the night. Trap music, country music and some old school WuTang to match the early part of the night.

There was one point when someone said “Who picked this shit?” For the record Kevin picked that particular song, although I told the nice young bar lady it was me. I was already in the inner crowd with the head nod group. I didn’t want any drama. I believe the song was Method Man.

The highlight of the night when I gave him a high five while we were talking at the bar. Kevin inner laced our fingers for about a minute. Seriously, I felt a small shock through my arm. Up until that moment I knew he was really good looking and super nice but I wasn’t sure if this was going to turn into a romantic vibe. The kisses at the end of the night sealed that decision. πŸ’‹

We’ve had many dates since those. What I really like about Kevin is that he always makes time for me. Our dates sometimes consist of a quick dinner or desserts / drinks. Meeting for lunch in the middle of a hectic day to eat chicken sandwiches and drink lemonade. Making dinner and a movie night. Yet some are a fondue night at a nice restaurant or karaoke at a bar! I never know what we will do together but I don’t worry that we won’t see eachother.

I just feel relaxed and myself when I am with him. When he first came to my house I didn’t even think about the fact that my dishes weren’t done and my dogs were extra crazy. I just felt at home. I credit some of that to Kevin but most to myself and the work I’ve done the last few months.

I’ve realized that my job in life is to try to be the best version of me. To try what I’m afraid of and to seek gratitude and joy. The person meant for me will encourage me and I them. If I do my best then I’ll get out of life what and who I’m meant to. No need to put pressure on it.

Kevin and I are taking things slowly. We are exclusive but no titles. We are both not ready. A year ago I’d be asking and curious when it will happen. But for now I still have work to do on me and my moving on. I’ve got to fully move on from my past relationship before I can be fully committed to a relationship. This is getting much easier but I’m not quite there yet and still have tough moments. For now, I’m just enjoying this adventure and the guy I’m sharing it with 😘

New Year, Same Awesomeness

A few weeks before the New Year, I finally got the nerve to do something I have not done. I asked a guy from real life out for drinks. Not a guy I met in a dating app but a regular real life hottie. I know this may sound easy for some of you but not me. I am very comfortable in the friend zone with most new guys.

I thought a lot before I sent the message. This was a guy that I would have to see again, could tell others I asked him, and I had no clue if he was interested. Typing with sweaty fingers I sent the message… and waited… and waited some more.

Honestly, if it takes a guy a while to answer you can probably guess the answer, a very polite no thank you. However, during the hours of waiting, I realized something BIG! I was more excited by the fact I had the courage to ask then waiting on his answer. Of course, I was a little disappointed and it was a little awkward when I had to see him again. However when I did, I acted “normal”… Yeah dude “I’m normal, you’re normal, we’re normal” and within a few minutes I didn’t have to act… I was normal-ish.

In 2018 I’m a risk taker…

I was so lucky to be married to a man that is killer with budgets! During our marriage I trusted him to run our finances and his excel spreadsheets of 401k earnings was nothing short of amazing. He knew what we had, how much we could spend, and when we could stretch a little bit.

When we first got married stretch was a very big word. He was going to school full time, working full time and working a weekend job. I remember during this we had moments where we had a $30 grocery budget. He determined the budget and I tried to make it work.

Now I won’t say I was always the best at this. Many times later on (when we had a lot more money) I would go over budget. I wasn’t nearly as frugal or responsible as he was.

So when we divorced, with the emotions, and without my spreadsheet voice of reason… I went a little overboard. Kind of like…the life boats on the Titanic overboard. If each passenger in the lifeboat was a separate online store, food place, or monthly delivery place. It can get so bad at times I have NO IDEA what is in the package on my porch.

Truthfully, Amazon may have a small section of a conveyor belt named after me.

In 2018 I’m going to hold myself accountable for my spending…

I spent most of 2017 thinking about and predicting how my love life will turn out. I spent the first 10 months sure I found “the one.” Then spent the last 2 months praying for a sign to know if I was wrong. Should I hold on or let go? Would my waiting pay off or should I move on? Cleverly I was praying for a sign of certainty.

This looking for signs almost made me a little crazy. Everything seemed like a sign in my quest for an answer. I prayed to move on many nights and my feelings remained. It was a not a great way to spend the year. After seeing Jack, mentioned in my last blog, I drove around for about an hour. I kept praying “How should I feel? Tell me how I should feel?”

Then clear as day I had a thought “I should be asking for the patience to not need to know and have faith.”

I’m not the most religious person and yet I felt a lot better. I realized I don’t need to know the who and how I will meet my future husband. It doesn’t matter how much I think about or analyze my future I only have so much control. I just need to have faith that I will meet him someday.

In 2018 I will keep my analyzing to my men… Not my future.

Not what you thought I’d say huh?! Well I’m still me and need to analyze something. The good news is I have a man I’m currently analyzing and after a few dates in things are looking up. More on him in the next blog πŸ˜‰

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My Own Christmas Carol

My favorite gift ever was a Barbie house my dad gave to my sister and I when I was in 3rd grade. Living in a single parent household, money was a scarcity. My dad worked in a warehouse clocking overtime hours each week. So when my sister and I saw this gigantic house beside the Christmas tree the excitement was palpable.

This Barbie house wasn’t made from Mattel or even a Barbie knock off from Odd Lots. Instead it was homemade from cardboard boxes. My dad had taped the boxes together and had covered the inside of with contact sheets, construction paper and carpet samples. It was complete with Styrofoam sink and bathtub. He even reinforced the bottom to allow for a large carport for our pink Barbie convertible. Each room and detail was carefully planned and built from a man that had never had a Barbie in his whole life. It was the epitome of love in craft.

I have strived now as a mama to give my child a Barbie house moment. I’m beyond blessed with mine and my kid’s needs and wants so creating these moments have been tougher. However this spirit of my past carries me each Christmas to show even more love and be more thoughtful.

Last Monday was my sister’s birthday! We had planned to go out to eat and celebrate. It turned out to be an exhausting day for our families, so the energy to fight with dinner crowds and children was not going to happen. After SEVERAL detours and rerouting plans (that I won’t bore you with) we all ended up in Target. Me in a very relaxed outfit perfect for holding babies and getting shopping snuggles in. After holding little hands and picking our “perfect pajamas” we went to go check out.

Standing in line chatting with my niece, I hear my sister cheerfully say “Oh look it’s Jack!”

Then without even time to think or process I look up and there he is… Right in front of me. It was truly as if time had stopped. My jaw dropped and I had enough thought to raise my hand in a half hi motion. He was walking by very quickly and talking on the phone in his “lecture tone” he reserves for work or rarely a family member. I’ve heard it before.

He seemed just as shocked to see me as I was him. He looked at me, did half a smile and was gone. I stood there for a while and then looked at my sister and we laughed. I would love to say that I knew immediately I was over him or even still in love with him…I was just confused.

I am still processing everything that happened that night and how I was not supposed to be there at all. Yet there I was and there he was. Fate had stepped in and I was staring face to face at the ghost of my present.

I came across an article from Oprah.com titled “Have you Created your Magic List Yet?” It is about writing down 100 qualities and or attributes of your dream man. I have been really reflecting on my past relationships and what specific qualities I would choose. Of course you have the ones that are obvious (loyal, communication, family guy) but that may get you to 20.

I was at an after work happy hour talking with my coworkers / friends and after some lively conversation I wrote down the below on my Note:

I know this one seems simple and yet oddly specific. I thought of this during the conversation as we were specifically discussing Christmas shopping. I think if a man loves Christmas sweaters he may be a little over enthusiastic for me. But if he doesn’t love it but will go along with it because he wants to make me happy… That is the perfect dynamic!

This is the only one I’ve written down. However, my plan is to finish this list by the first of the year then continue to modify it throughout 2018. I don’t really believe this is a magic list. I do believe in the aligning and figuring out what I want and then making decisions to attract that person. By focusing on that goal I am helping to determine the spirit of my future…husband that is 😍