Things that make me happy…

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

One day, I was kind of sad. So I took a walk on the beach. My beach. The beach that I have gone to since I was old enough to drive myself – to sort things out, to ponder, to run, to play.

Generally speaking, the beach is a good place to go when you’re sad. The sound of the waves and the feeling of the sand in your toes invites you to find something good in the world no matter how shi**y you feel.

As I walked along, I watched the little snowy plovers running in and out of the surf. They crack me up. They make me happy. So I got to thinking about how there are lots of  little things that make me happy. And as I thought about it, I decided I should make a list. Because why not?

Here’s my list:

  • My children – especially when my children are laughing
  • Pelicans diving
  • Little daisiesdaisies-vase
  • The ocean when it’s calm and the ocean when it’s stormy; the ocean in the daytime and the ocean at night
  • The sound of babies cracking up
  • Puppies
  • Dogs!
  • Sunsets
  • The feeling of accomplishment after a long runhappy-04
  • Bubble baths
  • Nature – its varied beauty
  • Snowy Plovers
  • Sleeping in
  • Old people who don’t give a fu*k (like this lady)

old-lady-pink-pants

  • People who are kind to animals
  • Elephants
  • Uncrowded Disneyland
  • True love
  • New lovemonarchs-sky
  • Enduring Love
  • My parent’s love
  • Butterflies
  • Good music
  • A hot shower when it’s cold out
  • Falling asleep while it’s raining
  • Good books
  • Kindness from strangers
  • Old friends
  • New friends
  • True friends
  • People who listen
  • Fall! fall-on-a-bridge
  • Sunshine
  • The Moon! Oh, the moon….
  • My home
  • Love…

And as I headed back home along the beach, watching the snowy plovers run in and out of the waves, with the sun setting behind me, I felt my sadness ebb a bit. Because, you know that list is just a teeny fraction of all the things that make me happy.  I felt lucky. I felt grateful. I felt like even though I don’t have everything I’m longing for, I have all of this plus more. 

I went home, not sad like I was when I set out. Because sometimes all you have to do to change your mood is make a list…

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Yearning for the thing….

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

“To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled…”, to put it plainly, is one of the hardest f*ing things to do in life.

I’m not talking about a yearning for, say, a new car. Or that gorgeous pair of boots you can’t afford. I’m talking about honest to goodness, heart and soul, feel it in your bones yearning. Like, a foster kid yearning for a home. Or a couple that’s yearning for a baby. Or someone like me, yearning for a love to call her own.

Fall, with its crisp evenings, blustery winds, and cuddle-worthy nights makes this yearning that much more keenly felt. I want to be in love with someone. I want someone to be in love with me. And, ideally:  same someone.

In anticipation of the (mostly cliche) advice that is inevitably proffered to a single person expressing such a desire, advice that is certainly intended to make one feel better, let me tell you a little about how I actually do live my life.

I have a very happy, content existence. I have an abundance of love, marvelous children, loyal friends, parents who are active participants, and a healthy perspective on relationships of my past. I live where people pay to vacation and I take advantage of it. I get out and I play. I enjoy my days off, both with and without my children. I have a job I love and I do things that also feed my soul. I have a support network and I know I will never really be alone. Happy and active are two words others might use to describe me, and  a very dear friend recently told me, “You don’t just do single, you kick single’s ass!”

In other words, I’m not sitting here waiting for Prince C to show up.

Yet when I occasionally express SADNESS or MELANCHOLY for not having a partner, I somehow feel like I am not supposed to ADMIT this. I get the feeling that I am allowed to be either happy or sad, but that I can’t be both simultaneously. It’s almost as though you aren’t permitted to be okay -or dare I say thriving-  as a single, and ALSO AT THE SAME EXACT TIME want to find a partner.

“Stop looking, and then you’ll find him.”

“Maybe you’re too picky.”

“He will come along when you least expect him.”

“You have to love yourself first.” (note: personal favorite!)

I’d like to point a few things out. When someone wants a new job, you don’t tell them to stop looking. You don’t suggest that a new job will magically fall into their lap if they “pretend not to want a new job”. I understand the spirit of this advice, but it’s not terribly helpful. Nor is it true. I’m not exactly running around town “looking” for a partner, am I? I’m living my life, doing the things that make ME happy. And as far as being too picky,  I’m not ordering dinner here. I think pickiness in finding a mate is acceptable and even appropriate. Besides, picky and selective are two different things.  I also haven’t been “expecting” anyone, not for a whiiiiile,  yet the right fit has remained elusive. And lastly, I love myself. Crazy about me. I think I am the G*Damn Bees KNEES. So, got that covered, thanks.

Why do people assume that if you’re single or divorced, and if you’ve been that way a while, you must not be doing things you love? Or that you’re looking too hard? Or that you clearly must not love yourself? What the hell is that? Are all married and otherwise coupled people presumably more capable of loving themselves? *insert eye roll*

I am single (mostly) by choice. I left an unhappy marriage because I believed that there had to be more. I believed that I was meant to be in a partnership that felt more authentic, more loving. I believed, and I still do, that being on my own was better than being in a relationship that made me miserable. And in the years since, I have relished my independence, and at the very same time I have continued to long for more.

Guess what? Sometimes, I CRY because I am alone. Sometimes, I feel desperately, horribly lonely, and I yearn for a loving relationship. And I get scared that I may never meet the man who will be as crazy about me as I am about him. It could happen. I could end up the crazy Dog Lady on my street. Maybe.

But sometimes…You guys, sometimes… I come home to an empty house (when the kids go with their dad) and I want to SING because I am so happy to be alone!!  I can’t WAIT to lay all over the couch and watch Friends repeats and eat cereal for dinner and sleep-in and go for a long run – all by my glorious self! I get to do whatEVER I WANT! Also: I have a king size bed on purpose! Just me! I spread out all over that damn thing and I LIKE IT!!

So here’s the nut of the nut. I can be independent and also want a partner. I can be content, and also restless. I can be happy, and also a little sad. I can be confident, and also insecure. I can have faith, and also worry that I may never find the right fit. I can be calm, and also panicked. I can love my life, and also WANT MORE.

There is an inherent duality to our humanness.  We are such a complex mixture of emotions and qualities. I just can’t care anymore if anyone thinks I’m supposed to “not want it so bad”.  Because I do want it. I yearn for it.  I want crazy, amazing, can’t get enough of each other love. And wanting that doesn’t make me a desperate single lady. It makes me HUMAN. A single human who has cultivated a very rich, full life – who would love the right one to come along – not to save her, but to augment what is an already amazing existence.

Hear that Universe? Any day now. Any %$*&^ day now…

Callista

Art Cred: Denise M. Casson, Fishing for Love ( buy it here or corndogart.com)

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Now let go…

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

I have been thinking a lot lately about letting go. Confession: it’s something at which I am not so good. But recently, I had to let go of someone that I love and care for very deeply. Actually, there were three somebodies (they came as a package deal). It broke my heart to let go, I didn’t want to let go. I still have a tiny ache in my heart that I think will probably always be there on some level – not just for this let go, but for all the let go’s I’ve had to do in life. But this time, I think maybe I was a little better at it than I have been before.

Why? Well, I have had a lot of practice over the last six years or so. I got divorced, for one thing. And since then there have been a few potential romances that turned out to not be right for one reason or another. (This particular relationship was in the top 3. Ok, top 2. In other words, hopes were UP. WAY).  Even though I was eventually able to look back (with the ever helpful ‘hindsight’) and see clearly why those things didn’t work, there were plenty of times that I wallowed. I asked why. I took it personally. And ok, I may have even had a dramatic moment or two, as in “Why me, God? WHY?” Let’s be honest. When you’re riding the sadness wave, trying to detach your heart, you can go to all kinds of dark places.

But here’s the thing I think I’m finally learning:  People come into our lives and we may want them to stay forever. But isn’t it true that some people are only meant to be part of your life for a season? It can be so hard to see why they have to go, yet I think we sometimes try so hard to hold on, we lose the lesson in all the struggle. Instead of clinging, maybe what we need to do is just let go. And instead of suffering, maybe what we need to do is grow from the pain.

let-it-hurt-let-it-go

This most recent goodbye made me realize that I must still have something to learn about letting go. Truly, I don’t think it will ever be a strength, but why would I want it to be? I like this about myself. I like that I feel deeply, and that when I love it’s for keeps. I like that I can still fall in love, even though I have been hurt. Falling in love is a risky proposition, my friends. But, guess what? I can’t regret a moment I spent falling for this person, because loving him opened me up…and losing him did too. I am glad I invested my heart. I am glad I jumped in, took a chance, and let myself feel, let myself fall. After all, there isn’t much difference between falling in love and having a broken heart; both crack your heart open wide, let some light in, and give you an opportunity to grow.

I had to let go. Letting go was my only choice.

Except for, wait a minute. It WASN’T my only choice, was it? When it comes to love and attachment, we make all kinds of choices that aren’t healthy (refer to my list above). But that was the difference for me this time. It was the only choice I wanted to make. I needed to sit with the sadness, and the heartache, and the frustration. I recognize that to truly live we have to feel it all, the good and the bad. All those let go’s, they teach you something – if you let them.

Listen, we all get our share of heartache in this life. It comes in all forms, doesn’t it? Sadness is part of the deal. But suffering, that’s a choice. (Please note that I am not suggesting that say, a Syrian refugee is choosing to suffer. There are horrendous things happening in this world every day that cause suffering, and that’s not what I’m talking about here).

What I am talking about is taking your sadness, your heartbreak, your disappointment, and making the choice to feel those things without staying there. To move on …. but without the apology, without the closure, without necessarily understanding why. To let go, to learn, to grow, to know that shitty things don’t necessarily happen “for a reason”. Growing, changing, evolving, and releasing your grasp on “what should have been”, to make room for what can still be.

liz-g-let-go

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Best Laid Plans

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

I keep thinking about happiness, and how it’s a choice. But at the same time how, in reality, we have VERY LITTLE CONTROL over most shit.

But then, I get to thinking about agency, and how important it is to exert power and achieve results; how most of us put in a lot of effort attempting to establish a sense of dominion over our lives. We set goals, we pursue dreams, we map out plans and create expectations about how our lives will go. When we are 18 and naive, we create timelines that detail perfectly planned and well executed educations and careers and personal relationships.

Mine went like this:

“I will go to college because even though what I want is to be a famous Broadway Star, it’s important to have an education to fall back on. So, I will get my bachelors degree by age 22, and my teaching credential by 23. Then I’ll move to New York, where I will live a fabulous single life for a couple of  years, auditioning for Broadway shows. Then, I’ll probably meet the MOMD (Man of My Dreams), and we will move back to California, settling in an idyllic beach town – probably Santa Barbara. We will get married after we date for two and a half years, and four years after that, we will have our first child, a boy, followed by the girl 2 years later. Happily ever after – the end.”

What actually happened was something not entirely different than that, but not entirely the same (the Broadway success didn’t happen by the way) (and neither did MOMD. More just M).

We live our lives, and we learn to adjust our dreams and expectations as we go. Dreams change, we find ourselves on a path we never imagined, and we shift our hopes and expectations because: healthy. We set goals, and we cross things off our list of accomplishments. In this way, we exercise agency in our own lives, and we learn that when we want something  we have to do the work to get that thing. We make it happen. College degree? Check. Advanced degree? Check. Husband? Check. Career? Check. Babies? Check. Marathon? Check.

But, things happen as we go along checking off our lists. Things that remind us that, at the end of the day, control is an illusion. Death of a cherished loved one, divorce, car accident, injury, natural disaster, terrorist attack, mass shootings…

In other words, SHIT HAPPENS. 

Shit happens. We are always thinking we have all this control over the future – and then something happens to just rock your world, trip you up, and fuck with your whole plan.

BUT. Does that mean we should just give up? Just throw up our hands and stop trying for the things we want most?

Hell no!

We owe it to ourselves to take control of as much happiness as we can. We aren’t handed a “Happiness Guaranteed” card when we are born. No, we have to FIGHT FOR THAT SHIT. We have to create as much agency as we are able in spite of no guarantee. We have to RELAX, NOTHING IS UNDER CONTROL while at the same time we CHASE OUR DREAMS and know that HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE.

Because otherwise, what’s the point?

 

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How to Love Me…

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Someone asked me recently about my love life. It was someone I don’t know well, yet I found myself admitting that I prefer to be adored, but in the way a cat prefers to be adored: when I want it, sometimes from afar,  and with a fair amount of space to do my own thing.

My friend replied that I seemed rather worthy of adoration and naturally I agreed, saying maybe that’s why I had chosen the single life for so long.

But it got me to thinking: How do I need to be loved?

I have fallen in love a few times in my life, of course, and I’ve been infatuated even more times than that. Interestingly, a few of the men I have fallen for maintained a bit of indifference towards me throughout the relationship (excepting my last boyfriend who was so crazy about me he would literally sweep me off my feet when he would see me. In hindsight, I don’t recommend that kind of feet sweeping. It does not last…)

We have all been guilty of getting caught up in that one guy or girl that makes us swoon, where the chemistry is off the charts, but who, alas, we can’t quite get. Chemistry is important, sure, but chemistry alone isn’t always the best predictor of a sustainable union. However, chemistry with someone who thinks you’re the bees knees just might be the magic mix. (READ: it’s a given that you must adore this person right back. Duh.)

I realize now that any time I have fallen for a man, I was actually kinda falling in love with ME. Stay with me here…see, the more he fell for me, the more I fell for him because I was ALSO falling in love with myself as I saw me the way he saw me. Obviously I am not suggesting that JUST because a man fell for me I automatically fell for him in return. There’s just something intoxicating when you’re seeing yourself reflected in another’s eyes. Feeling adored and cherished for who you are makes you sort of go, “You know what? I AM a total bad ass and who WOULDN’T love me??” ~  while at the same time you are looking at him thinking, “Oh sweet Jesus –  he’s so cute when he’s looking at me thinking I’m so cute!”

That’s some love potion.heart eyes

So, moving forward into the rocky terrain of potentially falling in love and partnership again, I am thinking about what makes me feel *most* loved.  How does someone earn my love, make me feel loved and adored, and inspire me to fall for the both of us? How do you love me???

By the way, there is a whole book about this called “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. (Learn more about that here). But this is my own personal list (informed in part by reading said book)..

Tell me. Words, words, words! This is not to say I want someone constantly fawning all over me, telling me how spectacular and marvelous I am. Going back to the cat theory, I am likely to get a little annoyed over too much doting, particularly if it’s disingenuous.  On some level, someone who is too effusive is hard to believe. But to be told occasionally, and in as many words, what makes me special in his eyes…well, it’s like an elixir. If he shows appreciation for what I bring to his life, and tells me, that makes me feel recognized, special, like I matter. And feeling that way makes me a better partner in return.

Touch me. One thing I know I need is to be touched affectionately. I mean, think about it…what feels better than not being able to keep your hands off each other? If he reaches out to brush my hair out of my eyes, reaches for my hand when we walk down the street, comes up behind me, moves my hair off my neck and kisses me like he means it….Meeeeow!!! I think it’s just the simple act of “reaching for me” that makes me feel loved. Reach for me, grab me, love me! Can’t get enough of me? Tell me, and then – Don’t get enough of me!! Love me up, and let me love you up, Mister!

Protect me. I think most women want to feel safe in partnership. I’m not really talking about protecting me in the physical sense, although it is nice to feel like your man could fight off say, a bear maybe, if you happened to be attacked while camping or something. No, I’ve been on my own a while and I don’t need a savior. I want a man who cares that I am well-nurtured, loved and looked after, and I need a partner who looks out for me because what matters to me matters to him. I will protect him right back, natch.

Hear meYou know when you get the feeling that someone isn’t really listening to you? And so you sort of keep rambling, because maybe what you’re saying doesn’t really matter to them, so you get in this loop of just talking and talking because you’re sort of embarrassed that they aren’t really listening but you can’t shut up for some reason? Yeah, that won’t work for me. I want to be heard, I want to be listened to, I want to be treated like what I say matters to him most of all. When a man says, “I remember you told me that,” or shows up with the type of cookies I mentioned casually as being my favorite, he is showing that he is listening. That counts. Big time.

Know meI think what all of us really, truly want out of partnership is to be known. Truly, deeply, intimately known. Those nights you stay up til 3 am sharing secrets and being vulnerable, feeling safe enough to admit you’re afraid of being bad at something, or revealing old hurts and letting them go with each other…these are the moments that make you a “couple”. To know and be known in a way that you share with no one else, to feel like you’re known and loved for exactly who you are. Exactly. Flaws and all. Perhaps this is the most important part of feeling loved and adored. Belonging to each other by choice. Yes.

Love and partnership isn’t easy. We find someone we like, we start spending time together, and then if that goes well, we start thinking about merging lives. But then most of us, we just sort of  *expect* our partner to know how to love us. Really, that’s kind of asking a lot, you guys.  I think “do we have what it takes to create a sustainable partnership” should be part of the discussion.

I shared this list with one of my closest girl friends and I asked her, “So, how do you love you?” And you know,  she needed to think about it, just like I did. Maybe knowing how you like to be loved is an important element of entering into partnership. If you don’t know, how can you expect someone else to know? That shit doesn’t come in a manual! (Well, unless you count The Five Love Languages, then yeah, it kind of does…and you can take a little quiz here if you want to find out).

So. Let me ask you. How do you love YOU?

 

wrapped in love

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail