I’ve been in high stress mode for a while now, between the death of my boyfriend, a horrific financial situation, and having to find and then move to another house. I am on the ragged edge. I need a break.
It would be really nice if someone would bring me flowers, take me out to dinner, and then give me a nice foot massage (among other things). I want to be pampered, cared for, and cuddled. I want to be appreciated and accepted and feel special.
Unfortunately I’m fat and 49 and I work the graveyard shift, so my field of potential suitors is, well, nonexistent. But hold on. I care about me. I appreciate and accept me most of the time. Why can’t I pamper myself? Why can’t I do something special by myself? And why does it never occur to most of us to entertain that option?
So as soon as the dust settles from this move, I intend to take myself out on a date. (I’ve already asked myself, and I told myself yes.) I’m going to buy myself some flowers. I’m going to splurge on something extravagant to eat. Then I’m going to take myself home, play some smooth jazz, light a candle, turn the lights out, and take a nice bath. Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do. If I play my cards right, I may even take myself to bed. Because I think I’m quite a catch.
[Image credit: iszlschoolnewspaper.com]
I have this nasty habit of imagining how my life is going to play out. Sometimes I project myself far into the future, and other times it’s just me anticipating how an evening is going to go.
For example, if I have a job interview, on the way there I imagine what my life will be like if I get the job. I’ll be able to buy this or that, I’ll improve my living situation, I’ll learn new skills and make new friends, I’ll be able to break out of the mental fog of working night shifts, and since I’ll have insurance I’ll finally be able to take care of various and sundry nagging health issues. And then I don’t get the job and poof! That whole future dies, and I find myself mourning a life that never existed.
Or I’ve got a date. I imagine how it will go. Laughing over dinner. Learning his stories, telling mine. Connecting. And then the date turns into a disaster. No connection. On the contrary, I find I feel more alone with this person than I do when I’m actually by myself. Another future, dead.
Every time I house hunt, I picture my new living situation. Every time I pack for a trip, I imagine what I will see or do. And when I take a risk and try to change my life, I always imagine it’s going to work out.
I suppose that’s the nature of taking chances and making plans. But I find that for the most part it’s quite disappointing. It’s as if I hop into this sublime future, and then am just as quickly yanked back into the present. It’s like a brief, cruel form of time travel.
I have dreams for my life, as everyone does. I have tried to achieve these dreams over and over again (see my blog entry Two Short Steps Away from my Life’s Dream). Nothing seems to get me there. It’s a bitter pill: seeing it, feeling it, tasting it, but never quite achieving it. It’s like a case of hiccups that won’t quite go away.
That whole school of thought that visualizing a certain outcome will make it come to pass gives me a serious case of acid reflux. If visualization worked, then my lifelong dream of living in the mountains and working from home and being thin would have happened decades ago. I visualize it every single day. I’ve even tried to take matters into my own hands and try to achieve it. In fact I’ve risked everything to try to achieve it, and…nada.
Apparently this is not my future. Maybe I need to let it go. Mourn for it and move on. Or perhaps I just need to learn to relax and let the future reveal itself to me instead of forcing myself forward toward a place that for some reason cannot exist despite my best efforts.
(Image credit: beliefnet.com)
I have a new theory. The best possible thing that can happen when you are searching for a mate is a horrible first date, because then you can see how that person reacts under pressure. Stress separates the men from the boys. It cuts through all the surface bs and shows you what someone is truly made of. There are all sorts of ways of dealing with negativity, as evidenced by nature. All of these ways are legitimate, but only a few of them are viable in terms of a life partner in this modern world. Here are a few examples.
The Shark. In times of great tension, the shark will not only attack the source of the problem, but will also turn on anyone and anything that happens to be in his vicinity, even members of its own family. When in the midst of this feeding frenzy, the shark has absolutely no regard for loyalty, and does not care about who is on his side. When in the presence of this type of fury, there is nothing you can do except prepare to be eaten. Frankly, I find the shark to be tragic and self-destructive. And the most depressing thing about the shark is he cannot see why this type of behavior is a problem. Somehow being eaten will become your fault. You’ll never feel completely safe with a shark.
The Fainting Goat. Also known as the Myotonic Goat, this poor creature freezes in times of panic and keels over, thus rendering him utterly useless to himself or anyone else. I used to date one of these. Don’t ask me why.
The Turtle. When the sh*t comes down and you’re with a turtle, you are on your own. He will pull himself into his shell and wait for the boogeyman to go away. Oh, he’ll protect himself all right, but he won’t confront anyone or anything and prefers to live in a state of denial. He’s completely resistant to change, which makes improvement impossible. Also, if you come by his house and he doesn’t feel like talking, he simply won’t come to the door. Who needs that?
The Badger. No need to wait for a crisis situation when on a date with a badger. He’s going to be in a foul mood regardless, even if you could potentially be the best thing that ever happened to him. He’s never going to see it.
The Porcupine. Now, here’s a guy who is prepared. He doesn’t want to be messed with, and has made sure that he won’t be. The problem is, since all he wants is to be left alone, he’ll never let you in.
The Octopus. I have to admire this guy’s ability to avoid conflict. I like his stealth and intelligence. But if none of that works, he shoots ink. Do you want someone who’s going to throw stuff at you? No. That, and he tends to be clingy.
Frilled Lizard. You’ve probably seen one of these guys on the National Geographic channel. When you piss one of them off, the frill on their neck expands and they’ll chase you on two feet. Yes, they look intimidating and they get the job done for the most part, but honestly, what would happen if you stood your ground with them? Not too much, I suspect. I think you’d win that confrontation. These guys are all sizzle and no steak.
The Rattlesnake. The rattler is sort of a first strike kind of guy. He prefers to be the aggressor in anticipation of any possible antagonism you may or may not have in mind. Don’t hang out with the rattlesnake if you’re hoping for cozy get togethers with groups of friends.
The Praying Mantis. Honestly? Do you really want to hang out with a guy who is so desperate for sex that he’s willing to go there with you even though he knows he’s going to get his head bitten off for his troubles? This guy is so focused on what he wants that he has no concept of the consequences.
The Meerkat. I have to admit that I have a certain fondness for meerkats. They’re loyal. They’re family oriented, they’re protective, they’re cautious. But they’re also an emotional drain. They’re constantly anticipating trouble. They’re always on the lookout. Their watchword is paranoia. They never seem to relax.
The Benobo. Scientists have dedicated their lives to studying benobos, because these cousins of ours seem to be totally devoid of aggression. They’re the hippies of the primate world. They’re all about free love and live and let live. I could see myself getting caught up in this lifestyle, but I suspect I’d get fat and complacent, and years would go by without my realizing it.
The Dog. Dogs don’t seek fights, and in fact try to avoid them, but if you eff with them, they’ll take you out. I can respect that. They tend to restrict their aggression to those that deserve it. They’re loyal and protective, and usually generous and kind unless they’ve been abused. They’d much rather cuddle with you than argue, but they’ll do what they have to in order to protect themselves and the ones they love. A dog will always have your back. They also know how to heave a heavy sigh and release all tension. This, to me, is a very healthy and well-balanced approach to life. Yup, I’ll take a dog every time.
So next time you’re thrust into the dating world, pray for a flash flood or an earthquake or an armed robbery, because then you’ll know exactly what you’ve got on your hands. Disaster can save you a lot of time and heartache.
When I was 13, I fell madly in love with Shaun Cassidy. And what’s not to love? I mean look at him. He was so young and fresh and romantic, in a totally non-sexually threatening kind of way. Every girl’s dream.
I would haunt the magazine stands and make sure I got every issue of Teen Beat and Tiger Beat that came out. I’d clip out his photos and paste them to the ceiling over my bed. Sometimes they’d fall down in the middle of the night. It was our private little moment. I’d read all the articles about Shaun’s dream date, or Shaun’s favorite recipe, or how he was decorating his new house. I’d spend hours trying to figure out how I’d get his attention, because that’s all it would take, of course. As soon as his doe eyes focused on me, he’d realize I was the one for him. I even wrote to him once, enclosing a picture. It must have gotten lost in the mail because he never wrote back. No doubt he would have if he had seen my picture. I was his acne-scarred, braces-wearing dream girl. Damn the postal service!
I also bought every album he put out, and even got tickets to one of his concerts! I was so excited. My life was going to change! I was going to be breathing the same air as my idol! Omigod…but then my mother broke the news to me that we were going to be visiting relatives up north instead. I was crushed. Devastated. I don’t think I ever recovered. Couldn’t I just stay behind and go to the concert alone? I was 13, after all. I could be alone for two weeks. But noooooo….My own mother destroyed my one chance at true love!
When he got married in 1979 (to a playboy centerfold who was 8 years older than him, no less! What was he thinking? What were his publicists thinking?), I was inconsolable. I think I cried for two weeks. My life was over. And he never even said he was sorry. Believe me, I tore his pictures off my ceiling that very day!
But now, 33 years later, if I had a chance to talk to him, the only thing I can think of that I’d like to ask is, “When you were wearing those spandex pants, singing in front of thousands of screaming fans, didn’t you wonder how the hell your life had gone there?” I mean, sheesh. My future husband should have had a little bit more dignity.
Well, everyone, I’ve got sad news. Today is 12/12/12, and it’s the last day any of us will see a triple date like that in our lifetimes. How sad. I’m sure to some people it’s even very significant, perhaps life-threatening. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is a doomsday cult out there somewhere huddled in a bunker, waiting for the rest of us to be charred to a crisp so they can take over.
Here’s the thing about dates, though: they’re created by humans. And there’s more than one calendar out there, some still in use, some not. There’s the Julian calendar, the Gregorian calendar, the Chinese calendar, the Hebrew calendar, the Hindu calendar, the Islamic calendar, the Roman calendar, several different Egyptian calendars, the Unix calendar, the Ethiopian calendar, the Thai Solar calendar, Buddhist calendar, and the Baha’i calendar, and heaven help us all, the Mayan calendar. Many cultures rely on more than one calendar at the same time.
To further complicate things, some cultures start the week with Sunday, others with Monday. And in some countries, people write their dates day/month/year, and in others it’s month/day/year. And don’t even get me started on holidays. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. Before President Lincoln straightened us all out here in America, Thanksgiving was celebrated on any one of a variety of dates, depending upon the state in which you lived.
In most Western cultures, our year is based on the date of Jesus’ birth. The problem with that is no one knows precisely when he was born. We could very well be as much as 7 years off. And in ancient times, it was speculated that his birth month was January, March, April, May or November. We finally settled on December 25th as it coincides with the southern solstice.
The starting year in Japan is based on when the current emperor began his rule. So 2012, for them, is the 24th year of the Emperor Akihito. Although rarely used in these modern times, this year in China could be either 4649, 4709 or 4710.
And no system is perfect. We make leap year adjustments, and there’s even a leap second on the atomic clock. When we adjusted to the Gregorian Calendar in England and America in 1752, we lost 11 whole days, and there was actually rioting in the streets.
So next time someone panics like it’s Y2K, or if you’ve cancelled your manicure appointment because the Mayan calendar is coming to an end in 9 days, remember: it’s all relative. Personally, I don’t worry about it much, because I’m a Capricorn.
Incidentally, you can buy my 2013 fractal calendar here: http://www.zazzle.com/fractal_calendar_2013-158324473116307597