Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Bachelor (Season Two)

A number of people have been asking me about my dating life recently. Apparently I have become a source of some measure of entertainment since I've been ramping things up in this area. So, here's some updates from the past month. The good, the bad, and the "oops". A warning here - if you are related to me and don't want to read about some of the rather intimate details of my love life, it's time to stop reading. If you need something else to occupy your time, this video of the two twin babies chatting it up in their own secret language is pretty entertaining.

If you've decided to read on, but you didn't read my first post entitled The Bachelor from a few weeks ago, you might want to check it out. I figured I wouldn't re-post the details but rather use the same headings to describe the men I'd previously introduced.

Nice (Enough?)
He is nice. But, no, it's not enough. This was the guy I met at a singles event while I was on sabbatical. I haven't had a chance to see him since the last blog post. Which means I haven't exactly communicated it. He's been super-busy, but great about trying to stay in touch. I don't want to be the lame-ass giving him the "let's just be friends" speech over the phone. Equally, I've been avoiding the conversation. But I'm going to have to have it the next time I see him. I'm hoping a friendship really will ensue. He's a lot of fun and a terrific guy that I would love to have in my life.

Group Effort
Admittedly, I was previously a little subtle about what this guy was about. When I indicated that he wasn't just interested in me for himself...and that it was intended to be a group effort...I was referring to the fact that he was wanting me to meet his wife so we could all end up in bed together. I certainly was flattered at the offer...though I might need to spend some time thinking about the vibe I was sending off that a threesome seemed like a reasonable topic of conversation. So, what on earth could be my "update" on this guy, you ask? Well, the challenge here is that he's actually a friend of a friend. And someone that I will reasonably continue to come into contact with. I didn't want to feel all weird every time we see eachother, and I'd yet to meet his wife, so I decided to get it all out in the open so it would be less awkward for me. I had dinner with him and his wife and also made it clear I wanted to stay in friendly territory (and not friendly territory). It worked out, but the image of me sitting in between them at dinner still gives me a little giggle.

Common Man
This is the guy who admitted to being in a "long term relationship" (whatever that's supposed to mean) and then subsequently texted asking to get together for a drink. I declined, but then he texted and called several times a week...week after week. At first I ignored it. Then I responded, but told myself I wouldn't actually meet up with him. But you already know where this is going. With all this mess going downhill with the guy I really liked (per my previous post)...I was feeling pretty down. I wanted to hear all the things this dude was saying. I just wanted to hear them from someone else. But, in a moment of weakness (and after a few cocktails), I gave in. Of course I felt like an asshole afterwards and deleted his number. No one should be shocked that he hasn't called either...he's clearly following the script here. It was a perfect example of regressing into bad emotion-stuffing behavior. I basically used him like a half-pint of Ben and Jerry's. I can't say I won't slip again (or that it wasn't ridiculously good Ben and Jerry's), but hopefully I'll make better, more adult, choices in the near future.

Mr. Normal
Mr. Normal took me out on our first date. He's a guy I met through a few different channels and we kept running into eachother around town. He's subsequently been renamed to "Mr. Who Talks About Their Love of Video Games on a First Date?". I'm not sure if it makes me desparate or open-minded...but I'll give him a second chance, recognizing that first dates can be tough. Guys, if you're reading this, just because you feel super-comfortable with a girl and she seems really cool...stay away from your crazy/geeky/weird habits on the first date, k?

The Lesson
My last post covered this guy. But here's the reacp: He lives 2.5 hours away. We've only met twice. I connected with him in a way I haven't for a really long time. I can't stop thinking about him. And it's just not working out. Ouch. I'm working on being okay that I'm really upset about this - and on letting it go. Big bummer. I'm also blaming him for "The Common Man" above, and "The Bad Habit" below.

The Bad Habit
We met ten years ago when we were both working out of town (Chicago, maybe?). We were young and single, and it was my first "working out of town" hook-up. So he's always held a special place in my heart. Imagine my surprise four years later when, as I'm talking to friends at a bar in New York City, I turn to introduce myself to the guy sitting next to me...and there he is. Our eyes locked and we re-connected instantly. But things had changed. I was engaged. And he was married. That didn't stop him from staying glued to my side for the evening. I didn't try to unglue him, but I did (rightfully) go home alone at the end of the evening. At the time, I was in love and getting married. But six months later when my engagement had broken up and I was feeling completely unattractive, I wasn't as strong when he advanced. And things have, frankly, gone on this way ever since. We don't regularly keep in touch. But every once in a while, over the past six years, we reconnect. He seems to sense when I'm at my weakest point (funny how men often do). And, as awful as it is to say, it's sort of become routine. Which I suppose makes it easier to pretend it's not completely wrong. Judge me if you will, but I'll be shocked if you don't understand some part of it. I'd been quite proud of myself for keeping him at bay while I've been doing this work on myself. But as I reached a low point this past week, I wasn't surprised when the universe continued to tempt me with unhealthy options and I heard from him. I took the bait and had an important revelation. I'm not even really attracted to this guy anymore. It had literally just become a bad habit that I'd accepted into my life. So, as much as it was a bad idea to let him in the door recently, I'm glad I did. Because now I think I can keep it shut.

The New Guy
Met a new guy a week ago when I went to a recent event for some drinks and dancing. It poured rain that night, so hardly anyone went to this thing. But I probably would have noticed this guy in room full of people. He's a few years younger, so that makes me a little wary. But he's lived a lot of life (in a good way). He's well-traveled, considerate, whip-smart, entrepreneurial, and confident. He's got a lot going for him, and didn't talk about video games on our first date. Perhaps the bar was low after Mr. Normal but The New Guy is the front-runner for my attention at the moment. So, we'll see.

Hope you enjoyed the update and the entertainment. Hasta, sabbaticaljo

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Trying too hard

It's never good when your therapist says to you "I think we should revisit whether or not coming every other week is really enough". A bit of a wake up call I suppose. Last week concluded the end of my fifth week back to work. It's crazy that soon I'll have been back as long as I was off for my sabbatical. Time certainly flew during my time off - but the pace at which it moves now that I'm back to work has seemed insane. Maybe that's why I've neglected the blog for a few weeks. I think I honestly felt like I didn't have much that was worth saying. I think I'd started to lose a little of my voice. I've been trying to stay focused on the things I've learned about myself, but recently I felt like things were starting to slip away a little.

Fortunately, these feelings coincided with a therapy appointment. I've been trying everything from Reiki to Hypnosis (and a few other less healthy options) to lift me out of the funk I've been in over the past week. I'd chalked all this up to being back to work and recently being informed about a role change. It's a move that could be beneficial for me, but is going to undoubtedly turn up the stress meter a few notches. It's funny how life works that way. Just when I was starting to feel zen.

So, anyway, I rolled into therapy prepared to talk about all this work mess. But she started by asking how things were doing in the men department. Now, I should stop being so surprised by the things that make me tear up. For whatever reason, I'm still having a hard time figuring out what's upsetting me. I've improved my ability to recognize my emotions (rather than ignoring them and stuffing them down), but pinpointing the source of my discomfort apparently still alludes me and requires some professional help. So what was this tearing up mess about? As I suppose it often is for women around the world...it was about a boy.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a guy I described as "The Lesson". He's someone I'd met about six months ago and had a chance to reconnect with last month when I drove through his town about 2.5 hours away. I returned completely smitten with this guy. I'd written that if nothing happened with him, it was already going to hurt...even after meeting just a couple of times. So I'm not sure why I was surprised to find that, here I was, hurt. Tearing up talking to my therapist. I'd freaking predicted it!

I'm not entirely sure exactly what happened. I have no doubt that the connection I felt was real. And I suppose I believed that the universe would work this one out for me. A reward for all the work I've put in. But it just hasn't.

I'm a person who makes things happen. I always have been. I believe that the universe certainly creates opportunities for us - but I believe we have the power to create even more ourselves. I've done this with men in the past. It's not that I manipulate things. Rather, I have a sense for certaing an environment which allows things to happen. I'd been trying to quit doing that, particularly with men, and just let things play themselves out without too much of my interference. But this guy just wasn't biting. We exchanged plenty of texts - but never a phone call. We'd have a seemingly good text conversation - but then I wouldn't hear anything for a week. He'd ask what days were best for him to come visit - but a visit would never be planned. I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and created an opportunity for me to come to him. He jumped at the chance - but the day before I was meant to come down he said something had come up and he had to cancel. It was sort of the final straw. I could continue to try to make things happen with him - but, who was I kidding? I shouldn't have had to try this hard.

Until I walked into the therapist's office, I hadn't realized how much I'd really let myself develop feelings about this connection and what it could mean. Which sounds so incredibly lame and girly. My therapist assures me this is all a good thing. I opened myself up. But now I feel totally shitty that it hasn't worked out. Intellectually, I know that the part of me that feels like ass is the same part that's allowed me to connect more with people (and get so much positive energy from it). But, emotionally, it totally blows.

No one ever said life was easy. Most people will tell you that life is tough. It's messy, often uncooperative, and rarely predictable. People say things about life having its ups and downs; a rollercoaster ride. That it's not about the destination; it's about the journey. And that things worth having require effort and hard work. These things all certainly make sense to me. But, sometimes, no matter how much effort you put in; no matter how much you want something to happen and you are open - life has other plans.

I just hope that as I go forward I continue to keep myself open...but fine-tune my ability to pin-point and "hear" when I'm forcing it; when my intuition and my heart are telling me it's not working out. That's the time to let go and stop trying so hard. And it's okay to feel lame about it. Because as long as I'm feeling...I'm living.

Hasta, sabbaticaljo

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Too much of a good thing?

I seriously can't believe that I've been back to work for two weeks. Granted, my first week got off to a slow start since I took half of Thursday and all of Friday off for an out of town visit. But still. I can recall time starting to drag a little (in a somewhat good way) towards the end of my six week hiatus. That does not, in fact, seem to be a problem now.

I've been very conscious - slightly scared even - of trying to maintain the level of zen I achieved while integrating back into the workforce. Perhaps this is why I've ended up with a ridiculous number of appointments scheduled. I can't remember a time when I had so many late afternoon "things" to go to.

First it was the dentist. I went for a cleaning, but left with another appointment to go back and check out Invisalign. By no means do I have crooked teeth. But I've been clenching my teeth the past couple years and I've noticed they're not as straight as they used to be (after years of braces, of course). I want to get them back in line since my teenage-era retainers can no longer be forced in.

Next it was the dermatologist. I'd meant to do this while I was off, but couldn't get an appointment until this week. Well, I should say my virtual assistant couldn't score one until this week. I'd never been  before but thirty-one seemed like a good age to get a body check, particularly since I grew up in Southern California and was (and am) frequently in the sun. Everything checked out. But I ended up asking about these pesky little broken capillaries that I have near my nose. And now my follow-up appointment to laser them away is in a few weeks.

I finally connected with my life coach after taking a couple weeks off. A good conversation, and a good reminder for me of how much I have accomplished during my time off. I'd blogged about the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) assessment I took when I started this journey. I've been contemplating whether or not to plunk down the $150 to take it again to see where things fell out. If so, I can add this to the growing list of appointments that the work day is infringing upon.

Then there's the whole therapist thing. I've been doing therapy (off and on) for some time now. I strongly believe in its purpose and value, and I am no doubt a better person for having sought out this valuable counsel over the years. But it just takes so goddamn long. It's like the chiropractor. I definitely feel better when I go, but it seems like you have to keep going. I'm sure the benefits of going stick with you, but to really grow leaps and bounds it seems like you really have to keep at it. Now, I'm not opposed to this. But if there's a way to accelerate this personal growth thing, I'm all for it. So I've been doing some investigating. Now, you Southern Californians will feel me here. For the rest of you, try not to be to judgy too quick, will ya?

I've always wanted to be hypnotized. But I never really felt like I had a reason to go. I don't smoke. I'm not afraid of flying (now fish and butterflies? that's a story for another time). But this seemed like a time for experimentation, so I figured what the hell. Given that I didn't have a specific phobia to get over, the conversation was a little hard to kick off. She asked what I was seeking from hypnosis and I launched into some random diatribe about my six weeks and getting in touch with my emotions and out of my head. I was concerned that she'd think it was weird, but she totally got me. Of course that was proceeded by her advising me that if it was just that I wanted to quit smoking, she could "cure" me in a session. But my situation is apparently another matter. It may be the only time when being a smoker appears to yield potentially better results. But I digress. I don't really have an objective. And I'm not really sure how I will define "success". I sort of figure that anything I can do to help myself tap into my heart and soul might help accelerate this whole therapy curve. So, mostly I suppose I'm just curious. I'll no doubt have a blog post about it once I go later in the week. Which brings me to my next experiment.

I've heard of Reiki for a long time. But, to be frank, I always just assumed it was another type of massage. But then I had that integrative energy treatment at Kripalu - which was weird (refer to prior blog post). I wasn't sure at the time if it did anything (beyond the craziness I felt during the treatment), but reflecting back it seemed to coincide with a shift inside me. A lightness, and a desire to deal with things I had avoided for some time (recall the subsequent letter to dad and wedding dress goodwill experience). So I've been interested in doing it again. When I started doing research, I came across Reiki. I watched some videos and it looks, more or less, like what I did at Kripalu. So now I'm really curious. I've made an appointment for next week. It's $90, which I believe to be an appropriate rate for such an experiment.

So what does it all mean? Is this all just too much of a good thing? I'm not sure. I suppose it's one of those things that will only be clear once I've gone through it and can reflect back. But as I write this, I can reflect on the fact that clearly I continue to be committed to self improvement. To bettering myself. To opening myself up; to new people, new relationships, and allowing myself to listen to what I'm trying to say (that sounds so weird...but you know what I mean). Life can get so busy and focusing on yourself is always a challenge. So, if I'm motivated to continue, it sure seems crazy to pull back. For now. I have been known to indulge in too much of a good thing, so it's worth monitoring.

Now that I'm back to work and in the "real world", you really have no excuse. What are you going to do today for yourself? It may be only an appointment away. Hasta, sabbaticaljo