Saturday, April 9, 2022

Maude VS Grief...finally

This is going to be a tough read. 

Today has been very hard. I have had some hard days in the past several weeks, but today was the toughest. Today was the day the grief dam broke. 

But, before I get to that, I need to start from the beginning. 

2021 was a shit year. I left a good job for a terrible one, my marriage ended, and before the year was up I had a sinking feeling I was going to lose my terrible job (which I did).

To be brutally honest, in the past twelve years I've checked off nearly every adult rite of passage: death of a parent (two actually, my Dad and Bonus Dad), got cancer, got divorced, and losing my job. These things tend to happen in waves, much like grief.

But I am an avoider. A total avoider - I am an "I'm OK" and "I'll be OK" person. I'm not a dweller on things. I'm not a processor of experiences. Things happen, I might cry for a bit, write a blog or two, start cracking jokes and move on. 

I came to recognize today that I tend to fill my life with things to plug the hole so that grief can stay stuck inside, deep in a place that I hope to keep so it doesn't well up and make me feel all the feels. 

But until today I didn't see that was my way. 

I really, truly, and emphatically believed that I was OK. That I didn't need to just take a moment and wallow in the sadness. More than a moment- I didn't want to take any TIME. Some actual goddamned time to just feel it. Own it. Process it. Deal with it. 

But I should have.

So today, the dam broke. And the trigger was something related to my marriage but what it triggered was years of grief.

Grief has washed over me today - wave, after wave, after wave like the ocean relentlessly pounding a piece of driftwood against a rock.

When my Dad died, I started reading the Jason Bourne book series as an escape. Then I started drinking more, as an escape. I ate more food for comfort, as an escape.

I realized that those things were sending me to an early grave like my Dad, so I poured myself into getting healthy and in shape. Exercise became an escape. Obsessing about every calorie ever consumed became an escape. Running races and doing triathlons were an escape.

Then I got cancer and then...I survived it. Exercise, healthy living, and making funny jokes about having cancer on my blog became my escape. Starting a nonprofit became my escape. 

I lost every part of my womanhood in that battle and I swore I was OK. That I didn't need to grieve. Oh, but I did. Yet I managed to push that grief down so deep that I almost forgot it was ever even there.

Then my marriage ended. Redecorating my house became my escape. Fixing my yard became an escape. Spending time with friends when I was alone became my escape. Starting my MBA (while for career purposes for sure) became an escape.

Then I lost my job. I was alone, sad, angry, terrified, frustrated, and embarrassed. I decided to start dating, or try to anyway because I didn't want to be alone. And that was another escape. I filled my time with chats, dates, hangouts, and more but all it was really, was an escape from facing the very thing I didn't want to: needing to grieve so much loss.

People: even my 49 apolcalist is an escape!!!!!!  OMG.

It is important to this story that I tell you I met someone in the process of dating, early on. I haven't felt that way about anyone in 22 years. 

But, he knew, in fact, he told me from the very beginning, that I needed to dwell on my sadness and grief. But I didn't believe him. In typical fashion I continued to try to convince myself that I didn't need to be sad. That I'd always created space to be sad, feel grief, and process losses. But I don't, actually, do those things well or at all.

And he knew. In a very short period of time, this man knows me better than almost anyone else. And God bless him for keeping me in the friend zone, even if I tried to convince him (and myself) otherwise. He is most certainly one of the best people I have met in a long time.

I put a lot on him, while in many ways he's still grieving some things of his own. And today I've spent the better part of it crying so hard my chest hurts and I cannot even breathe sometimes. Sobbing and catching my breath and sobbing some more.

And some of those tears are for him because I think I may have lost him as my friend. 

But the lion's share of my tears is grief over many personal losses over the years, plain and simple. But the most recent one I've been avoiding is the crushing loss of a 20-year marriage.

Part of my day today was spent in the car, with my kids, on a day trip. Once again, as the crushing weight of heaviness bore down on me today so much that I didn't think I could carry it, again, I decided to escape. We piled in the car and took off. And during those five hours, I was fine. 

But the minute I stepped foot back in my house, the grieving started again. I can't stop it now. I vacillate between sobbing, sniffling, crying, and moments of peace. Rinse and repeat. But I don't actually feel like I want to avoid the grief anymore. There's more crying than peace, but as the grieving stretches out, the peace lasts a little longer.

This is hard y'all. I hate crying. 

And, I hate being alone. But they seem to be the things I need to do so that I can truly and finally grieve and not keep finding ways to avoid the hard parts, the jagged parts, the tough to swallow pill parts. 

I just need to let it go. I don't know how long it will take, and if you know me that's the worst part. I can't schedule it, pencil it in, anticipate it or plan for it.

It just is. 

And so I need to just be.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Maude VS Turning 50 and the "apocalist" - UPDATES as of April 18 2022 (in bold)

Well friends it has certainly been an eventful month for me! I started my new position and kept one foot in the dating pool with Coffee Shop Guy (date #3 from my most recent post). 

Unfortunately, that did not work out too well which makes me a little sad. In the end, I got friend-zoned, however I do hope that we will truly remain friends, even after I was kind of an a**hole about the situation. But that story is for another post.

This post is the reality check I got this week, the realization that I am turning 50 in a little over 6 months. A friend asked me how I felt about it and I'm really OK with it. Honestly. Just in case I wasn't though she recommended I make a 49 "apocalist" (like apocalypse! ha!) of 49 things I want to do before I hit that major mid-life milestone.

I thought about things I want to do that are just for me, things I can do with my children to make some memories and things I can do with my friends.  Some are big things, some are small, some are already planned and some I may not ever get to do. But, I'll give it all I've got just the same.

Here is my list (there may or may not have been some wine involved - but I'll never tell) in no particular order:

  1. Run another marathon (NY marathon planned Nov. 6 - registered and flights booked!)
  2. Get a pedicure (this could be awhile- my toenail that fell off when I dropped the wheelbarrow on it hasn't grown back - ew!)
  3. Take a solo weekend trip to a yurt or cabin- just me, my rescue pup and an a**ton of wine
  4. Renew my passport
  5. Finish my MBA (if I stop writing this blog today maybe I can put a dent in it!) 
  6. Kiss someone new (I may just have to grab some rando at a bar to make this happen...after I drink a lot of wine) - yo- gave this a good effort over the weekend - no such luck.
  7. Hike Table Rock - DONE! On Easter with my buddy.
  8. Get up early and on purpose to watch the sunrise from someplace epic
  9. Paddleboard at Quinn’s Pond
  10. Get another tattoo - DONE and it's awesome.
  11. Sleep outside under the stars
  12. Sail a boat again
  13. Go to the Flying M and work on my book and drink coffee until I'm so jittery I can't see straight
  14. Reconnect with an old boyfriend (no clue which one of many but it would be fun to catch up and reminisce I’m sure!) or maybe even just someone from growing up that I haven't seen or talked to in a long time. Either way. - well I have this one hell of an effort - no response yet. 
  15. Go back to Camp Sweyolakan on Lake Coeur d'Alene - booked for July 1-2!!
  16. Go wine tasting in Walla Walla - booked for August 2022
  17. Go country swing dancing again (after some wine) - went to two country bars over the weekend - again, no luck. will try again soon.
  18. Watch the sunset somewhere cool from the back of a truck bed. With wine.
  19. Skinny dip (with or without wine)
  20. Get a massage
  21. Take a golf lesson (or lessons so I don't look like an idiot on the driving range)
  22. Golf nine holes (like a real nine, not the mini-kind) with out without wine involved - planned for mother's day weekend
  23. Take a flight lesson (no wine, but maybe after...)
  24. Take each kid on an overnight getaway just the two of us
  25. Go to some hot springs - planned for last weekend in April
  26. Get a facial 
  27. Sleep in on a Saturday just because I can
  28. Finish my book and get it published
  29. Fly fish (again) - it has been awhile and land a monster! 
  30. Hike up to Blackmon Peak and make another makeshift memorial for my Dad up there
  31. Go on river rafting day trip with the kids - planned for July!
  32. Join a wine club and then cancel my membership because I have too much wine - JOINED!
  33. Shop the Boise Farmer's Market on a warm Saturday morning & buy stuff to make dinner for friends that evening
  34. Listen to live music, outdoors somewhere
  35. Sit on a beach somewhere, toes in the sand & wine in my hand and watch the sunset (lake, ocean, river, doesn't matter)
  36. Go bowling with the kids
  37. Go to a movie with the kids - done!
  38. Go on a camping adventure with the kids - planned for June though the oldest will be at bball camp
  39. Read a trashy novel
  40. Take a nap in a hammock
  41. Read a trashy novel while laying in a hammock
  42. Get my dog to go out on the paddleboard with me
  43. Get some amazing food from a really good food truck 
  44. Plan a trip somewhere in the future that requires the use of my renewed passport
  45. Go rock climbing (preferable outdoor but if all else fails I'll hit an indoor gym)
  46. Spur of the moment drive to Shoshone Falls just to see its majestic beauty - done!
  47. Finish my yard/outdoor living space and spend lots of time with friends out there this summer
  48. Celebrate ten years of being cancer free - planned for Nov in NY
  49. Have an epic 50th birthday celebration just the way I want to do it. TBD. But there will for sure be some wine involved. - planned for Nov in NY

That's it. That is the list. I'm printing it and putting it in my office so I can look at it and check things off! 

Many of these things will require a little help from my friends - so let me know if you're interested in joining me on any of these small adventures. While I'm learning to be OK doing things alone now, it's always more fun with friends. 

And wine. Do not forget the wine.

And dark chocolate.

Everything is better with wine and chocolate. And friends.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Maude VS the dating apps (yes, again) and being alone

I know I said I wasn't going to do the dating app thing, but I had one week left before I started my new job, and I just wanted to meet some people and see how it went. went...

Also, I think I wanted to have an excuse not to work on my Econ class...another story for another day. I did enjoy the distraction though!

In all transparency, I have since paused both (yes, I was on two) dating apps for the time being. With my new job starting and still needing to finish my MBA I think I've got enough on my plate right now. 

Plus, this has been both an ego-boosting and ego-crushing experience and I don't have room for that kind of roller coaster right now!

In case you want to know, here's how the dates went:

Date #1: We met in a park. I sent his first and last name, photo and pin drop location where we met in case my body turned up in the river. He brought a surprise guest, his 10 month old son in a stroller. Then proceeded to tell me that he and his female partner have an arrangement. They are together (like TOGETHER together) and raising this little human as a couple. 

She has long term relationships with women outside of their relationship and he has long term relationships with women also. They never do anything as a foursome. (thank God? I don't know the proper sentiment here).

People, I cannot make this shit up. Let me be clear though, no judgement here. It is simply not my thing. Apparently my lack of interest in "ethical non-monogamy" makes him want me that much more.  Who knew?

And he was every bit as adorable as his photos on the app, and we get along REALLY WELL. So that also frustrates me a little bit but I cannot share my person with another person. Just....ew. For me, anyway.

Date #2: We went to dinner at an expensive restaurant. I tried to steer him this one to a coffee date so I wouldn't have to explain all my food issues but he was not having it. So, expensive dinner it was. I also made it clear when we set up the date that I would pay for my own meal. He was a little shocked but went along with it. He was actually pretty impressed, more on that later.

I got there early and he was already at the table. We had a lovely evening, and he is very nice. I actually know who he is, he's kind of known around the area. He checks a lot of boxes: handsome, successful, athletic and well-traveled (in the good kind of way). However, most of the evening we talked about HIM. 

His houses, his travels, his business, and his financial security. The worst part was, clearly he's brought many a date to the same place. The servers knew him by name and he mentioned (more than once) to all of them that I was the splitting the check with him and wasn't it great that I was the first woman to offer? I was a little teeny bit embarrassed!! SOOOOOO awkward.

To be honest, I didn't know him personally before this so why would I expect him to buy my dinner? And, I've got my own money AND I didn't want to feel like I owed him anything. 

The other weird thing, (again noting that he's probably taken many dates here before), is that there was a PARADE of women walking by the table and saying hello to him over and over. All of them I can describe like this: blonde, coiffed, make up done, designer clothes and oozing elegance.

Then, there's me: my hair looks like I just walked in off the beach at the Oregon coast, I am wearing barely any make up (have almost forgotten how to put it on during COVID times), hand-me-down jeans from my daughter and a blouse I bought for $5 at Ross. I could not have been more different and out of place. To be honest, I'm really OK with that. He's not my person, I knew that right away. 

The bottom line is, I don't care about wealth. What I really care about is what is in someone's head and in their heart. And I did not get to see that.

Date #3: This guy and I had been texting since Monday or Tuesday, I can't quite remember. He checked several boxes even before I met him: tall, handsome, sarcastic, good dad and reeeeeaaaalllly funny. So I was looking forward to our coffee meeting.

It did not disappoint! We chatted for about 3 hours, he was pretty much everything I thought he would be except he had kind of a squishy dad bod. Skinny but squishy. I mentioned this to a couple of friends who then reminded me that I'm pushing 50 and chances are better than average that almost ANYONE I might go out with at this age will probably have a squishy dad bod. Dang it! I guess I have to cross that off my list of things I don't want because otherwise that most assuredly means I'll end up alone. 

But I digress, I really don't want to talk about his dad bod...

Side note, I also heard through the grapevine that he's apparently really good in bed. Noted in case I ever need a good shag (I hope my mother isn't reading this).

I will tell you this though, my outfit was ON POINT. I looked better than most days (especially the last two years worth of days). I even dressed up a little, my hair was behaving, the jeans made my ass look pretty good....and we sat on a couch together. 

We also had a BIG LONG LINGERING HUG when we said goodbye and then - hardly a word since we met. I am so clueless. I thought the conversation was great, we seemed to have chemistry and had a decent amount in common. So WTH?

I am a f**king treasure according to one of my college friends. What's not to like about me? I'm also funny as hell, and I think for someone who is 49 I look OK and I am professionally pretty successful (one month unemployed aside) so I cannot for the life of me understand why he wouldn't be interested. But, clearly he is not. So I basically kind of got ghosted. 

If I'm being honest though, I might just be a tad out of his league. 

I had date #4 lined up for this weekend, but I canceled it in the end. I don't think I am actually ready to do any of this. I want to, but I am not ready. This third date was particularly hard on my already fragile ego. I think I need to do some work on myself (emotionally) before I get back on that horse. But, I did learn that I am OK with meeting new people. I am OK going on a date again. And I will be OK putting myself out there, baby steps. One at a time.

I am OK. That's what I do know for sure. And OK is good enough for me right now.

There's a lot of stuff out there that makes this process hard, brutal, ego-crushing and scary. I think in this moment, I need to offer myself a little grace and just make some peace with being alone for awhile.

While I'm not totally alone, I have the kids and my family and friends to support me, at the end of the day (literally) I am truly alone. It can just be hard when you don't have a partner. 

For me, tonight is the night before one of the most amazing adventures of my life: starting a new job that is the most incredible professional opportunity EVER. 

And it's a little sad, sitting here getting my first day on the job outfit all picked out, and pre-packing my snack bag with no one to talk to.

What would make this better is having someone to share all this with - all the excitement, insecurities, the crushing anxiety that I feel and the anticipation of starting a new job in the most awesome organization. 

But tonight, I am a little lonely. Tonight I feel every bit as alone as I ever have. I am sad not being able to talk through all of this with a partner. It's hard. Really hard. 

All of this will get better, I know this to be true. I also know that this aloneness is the thing I need right now. It's the only way I'll ever really be able to appreciate it if and when I do find a true partner in this life. I need to be at peace with being alone a little while longer.

I find it all so ironic - if you know me, you know that I'm a pretty strong lady. I can handle a lot. I am independent. I'm a badass. I can do anything I put my mind to. But this being alone is tougher than I ever imagined it would be. I'll get through it. I'm in no rush to find someone.

I sure as hell don't think I will find someone on these damn dating apps, that much I am sure. 

Without question, life is an adventure. Always has been...always will be. I look forward to seeing how this one unfolds...

Friday, February 25, 2022

Maude VS accidentally texting the wrong person and putting herself "out there" (sort of) maybe??

 Yes, long title. I'm aware. But, it truly encapsulates my morning. OMG. 

This story almost starts out like my grandma saying "back in my day we didn't have smart phones and you had to ride your horse down the dirt road uphill both ways in a blinding snow storm to talk to a boy you liked instead of sending a text".

26+ years ago when I was in the dating world, there were no smart phones. If texting had been invented, no one was doing it. We talked to people using a LANDLINE and if we were lucky we had caller ID on the phone and/or an answering machine in case we missed the call.

We. Did. Not. Text.  And for that I am thankful. 

Especially since I was known for juggling a guy or two (or three) back in my hey day (before children, stretch marks, gray hair and wrinkles) so this would have been a DISASTER for me.

Turns out, it IS a disaster for me, even with one man.  

Trust me, you're going to want to read this WHOOOOOOOOOOLE post - it's a good one. I hope you go into your weekend with a good laugh. I will be buying a GIANT bottle of wine to console myself...

To catch you up, last week with "football game guy" after our phone call, I left it that I'd reach out and let him know the organization where I landed. 

This morning I sent a funny text to see if he had time to chat today.  In a past conversation he told me his kids had gone to my high school, so I sent him this photo and accompanying text:

About 45 minutes later, he responds and I responded back an hour later to him:

I actually know he is really busy so I was 50/50 on how this made me feel. I decided that maybe I should seek the counsel of one of my single friends in the area and get her take. 

Thus, I texted her: 

But, it wasn't was. HIM.


So then I think, he must know I was talking about him. And, I'm pretty up front and straightforward (in other words I'd rather be honest than cover up with a lie) so I reply:

And then he replied, which wasn't an out and out denial:

What do I even DO with that response????!!!!!

I decide that I'll reach out at the end of the day, play it cool and suggest trivia night with friends so he can meet new people or something easy and non-specific but at least putting myself out there a little more.

But gets WORSE!!! 20 minutes later I get this text from him:

OMG. I reply:

He says "I'll give you a shout later." Very nonspecific. 

And "if you want more friends here I am open to that too" is also, NONSPECIFIC.  Although, to be fair it's probably better to lead with "let's be friends" than "I want to make out with you"...

I do not think I made it clear to him at all that I'd be interested as more than friends, however it is VERY clear I am just terrible with texting. 

He may not even have any sort of clue what the heck I am trying to get at, me thinking I am direct is being REEALLY indirect. 


So now I am totally gun-shy on texting ANYONE at this point and I changed his contact name to the following so that if/when I text someone I will be damn sure I'm NOT texting HIM something I don't want him to see:

So, that's it. It's a lot of nothing, but still pretty hilarious all the same. I think he literally has NO CLUE that I like him.

Only Maude would do something like text a guy for guy advice about the guy when she really meant to text a friend...SIGH.

My gut says he won't call, probably thinks I am total nut job. (I am) 

I think it's time for me to lose his number.

But, hey, at least I kind of sort of very inadvertently in a totally nonthreatening and nonspecific way put myself out there...right?

I will get it right if there is ever a next time. Ever.

I'll keep you posted...and PS I tested some other dating sites out (not to use them - I am confident that is not the direction I am ever comfortable going) to share some other helpful hints for any of my other single friends out there looking for love in a digital (mid-life) age!  

Buckle up - it will be quite a ride.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Maude VS Online Dating (again! OMG!) and a gross married dude

 Yep - I went there. Again. Online dating sites. I discovered that I can pop on, see if I like the app, see if there is anyone interesting and then delete the app if I'm not feeling it. For the record, I have YET to "feel it". I have yet to stay on an app for more than 30 minutes.

Online dating is not for me.

Let me break it down for you, app by app:

Our Time - supposedly the site for mature (over 50) adults. Once I got in there, it read like an advertisement for burial services. I am not even kidding. I think I lasted 30 minutes tops on that one. Not one single dude on there did NOT look like my grandpa. It was like a catalog of card carrying AARP members. And then I think to myself, these guys (not all but a lot of them) are MY AGE. Do I now look like my grandma too????  I peaced out on that shiz real quick.

Bumble - I tried this one because a friend recommended it. As the woman, I get to make the first move. I like that because I don't have to delete Creepy McCreepersons who make lewd comments on my pictures (or just clueless ones) like on Hinge. But, like some of the other apps you have to PAY $$ to see who "likes" you which is lame because I'm really not that invested in this whole online dating thing anyway. Like I'm going to pay money only to find out it's Chester the Molester gawking at my pics. I bounced pretty quickly on that one too. - This was the third app of the evening in a span of about two hours. I liked the filters I could use to search and I also liked that there was a larger selection of men on there versus the other apps. But, once again, I was getting messages but unless I'm willing to pony up $19.99 I can't see who it was. The worst thing was...I saw someone I know. 

Yet again, someone who knows my kids' dad and HIS WHOLE FAMILY. (Different than the last one, but that guy was also on this app, too). And neither of these two guys are someone I WOULD EVER WANT TO DATE. 

I started to notice many familiar faces from app to app to app as well. I shut down as fast as I did the married guy that started messaging me on LinkedIn on Friday night. 

Guess I am not the only one who has used that site to try & hook up!!  OMG!

So the married guy. Let me just say this, I had been having a glass of wine or two so I didn't clue in right away what was happening until he asked me about lingerie and women in their 50's. Sobered me up quick. 

Let me break it down for you like this: 

1. I know he is married so that is a HAAAAARD pass 

2. He's like 13 years younger with school-age kiddos (and I'm therefore old enough to be his mother) 


3. Not even if he were the last man on the planet. Period. 

I could not take enough showers this weekend to wash that filth off. I typed every barfing emoji to the friends I told about the situation to make it clear that I was grossed out. 

Someone asked if maybe I misinterpreted him. But when he asked me about women in their 50s and lingerie not only was I sure I wasn't misinterpreting things, but I then told him that women in our 50s are all sweat pants aaaallllll the time. I was just trying to throw water on that fire he was trying (completely unsuccessfully) to start.

And I thought to myself, is this what dating is going to be like now? With social media and smart phones am I going to be grossed out constantly?? I really think that the dating app thing is just NOT FOR ME. But then, how will I meet someone? I've got kids, a job that I'm learning and my MBA to finish. Where would I even find anyone?? I guess I'm cool with a set up as long as he comes with good references. And, I will check them.

22 years ago when I was dating and got married we did not have all this "new fangled technology" that I think emboldens total perverts to be extra gross. Then I wonder, were dudes always like this but I didn't know because it's easier to be nasty with a cell phone & a messaging app than to talk nasty to an actual person? 

I just don't know and I am totally unprepared for this new world in which I am living: single at almost 50 in a very digital age.

Oh, before I forget I also tried Tinder. Same dudes as all the other apps (with a few additional freaks thrown in and an ass-ton of acronyms and slang that I had to google).  Once again, I'd have to pay money to find out who "liked me", and once again, I'm just not that into online dating, or maybe just dating in general. 

I deleted Tinder too after seeing about the same dozen faces I'd seen on the other apps who meet my very narrow (apparently) criteria in a man. (once again, same two dudes that know my former husband and all of his family were on Tinder. I can't escape!!!)

I guess maybe I need to move out of state...

I also think, if I'm being honest, that I'm hoping that maybe "football game guy" might be someone I can hang with, though I am terrified of rejection. After getting a divorce, losing my job, and then interviewing for several jobs I'm not sure how much more rejection a girl can take! But, if you know me, you know we'll find out. When I want something, I go after it. 

The bottom line here friends is this: dating apps are not for me. They probably never will be. So, if you know someone tall, dark, handsome, single, and not gross keep me in mind. As I said, I'm cool with a setup. Or a meet-cute. Whatever, as long as there is no technology involved, I think I'm good.