Monday, August 29, 2011


Guilt. It's a part of some faiths. It's a part of some families. You feel it when you tell that little white lie to get out of an obligation. You feel it when you eat a little too much. I've been feeling it a little much lately, for something other than the aforementioned. This isn't directly related to dating, as there hasn't been too much of that recently, but there are some relationship ties. Teaching. Just the verb itself has a connotation that carries over to the person who performs the action. I can imagine it is like other professions in which you invest countless, thankless hours. It becomes who you are. I don't like that about myself any more. That makes me feel guilty. I should be proud to say that this is what I do. Oh, the guilt.

Over the last year I've been doing some soul searching. I've been trying to find a balance between being grateful for having a job and tolerating it. I am not winning this game. Thus, the guilt. All around me people I love are losing their jobs and I can't stop complaining about mine. For the last few years I've become a smidge jaded about the career path I chose to follow. The system seems to have bogged me down. But, I have a job. Guilt.

I seem to have developed apathy for my job right around the time the economy went down the toilet. Good timing, huh? Here's where relationships come into play. I have this fantastic idea floating around in my head that relationships (mainly marriage) provide you with a sense of security and support. If, as a team, you are stable enough, one of you can take a chance on something else and if it doesn't work out, you won't be asking friends and family to sleep on their couches. If you work as a team, you're not a burden to each other and are able to support each other as you both grow into your ultimate selves. I wish for that kind of stability and support. Someone to pick up the slack every once in a while. Someone to mow the lawn so I can clean the house. Someone to pick up milk (or beer or wine or dinner or dog food) on the way home because I am late getting out of work. I've been managing pretty well on my own (with the support of great friends and family), but what if I want to change something, like my job? That is a pretty big risk for a single 30-something with a mortgage, a dog, and other debt to pay off. And then I remember my friends who have no choice but to be looking for a new job. Guilt, on top of guilt, on top of guilt.

So, here I sit, the night before I'm supposed to go back to work, and I feel sick to my stomach. The distance provided by this summer has not made my heart grow fonder for the job which I return to tomorrow. But I have a job. Where is the balance? I still plan to do my job to the best of my ability because that's how I was raised and I am a professional. I must create some way to enjoy a bit of my job each day; maybe not what I do, but who I get to work with. I could do that.

I am making it known to the world, or at least to those who read this, that I will work my ass off and I will complain about it, but I will strive to make my life better so you don't have to hear me complain any more. I don't know how quite yet, but I will continue to prove that I can take care of myself and work toward finding something that I am passionate about, something that enriches my life, something that doesn't take over my life. Guilt, I hope to see you less and less over the coming months. I don't expect you to disappear over night, but feel free to take a little sabbatical every once in a while.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And I've Only Applied "Crazy" to Men

I have a question: What do I do to attract the crazies? Typically if you read that in this blog, you would assume I was talking about crazy men. Not today, folks, not today. Today I'm talking about the crazy women who were in a man's life both before and after dating me.

My first example is a woman named Melissa. She had dated the last guy I actually called a boyfriend. The first summer we were dating he moved to Alaska to be a pilot for a tourist company. He flew me up there and we had a grand time exploring! On one of the days he had to work, and wasn't able to fit me into the flight, I was at the cabin for a while. I checked my email and was going to check my myspace page. I checked a the pages of a few friends and went to write on the pilot's wall, when I saw a post from Melissa. It turned out he and Melissa were talking again, unbeknownst to me. That, however, was not the problem. The problem was that she seemed to be talking about me in code, asking if they could talk once "granola" went back to Portland. Yes, she called me "granola." Over dinner that night I asked him if they were in contact again, trying to be supportive, but also a little confused as it had previously sounded like this girl was terrible to him. We talked about it for a bit, and never really got anywhere with the conversation. I dropped it, not really worried about this girl in Texas.

Once "granola" returned home to Portland, I received a message from Melissa detailing her relationship with the pilot. Details about how he asked her to marry him and she turned him down. About how in love he had been with her and I would be lucky to have that kind of love from him. Um, anyone catching on to the crazy yet? I don't remember what I wrote, but I responded to her email, trying to be the bigger person and ignore her odd commentary. This happened again, but in a much more aggressive fashion. When I told the pilot, he said he would talk to her. Yeah, sure he would. Her bizarre actions even included logging in to myspace as his cat and posting awful things on my wall. Um, hell-oooo crazy-pants! The pilot and I eventually broke up and I never heard from Melissa again.

As if that wasn't enough, earlier this spring I heard from the ex-wife of another ex-boyfriend. We had dinner in the fall, just two friends catching up. I texted him a few months later asking if he had seen that a restaurant he loved had been changed into a Lucky Lab. Later that day I received an odd text from someone introducing me as Garrett's (fake name) wife. In her texts (yes, she took my number from his phone records.) she accused me of breaking up their less-than-year-long marriage and making frequent visits to their home. I responded with a mellow reply letting her know that I had not been to his house since we had broken up almost five years ago. She proceeded to confide in me all the problems of their marriage. I replied it was none of my business and to not contact me again. Guess who I heard from today! Once again I asked her to not contact me again. Fingers crossed this request sticks!

How do I do it? Do I emit some pheromone that only the crazies respond to? I wonder if there is a medical test I could undergo to see about eradicating my body of these strange chemicals that seem to pull in the crazy. I would pay good money for that test. Out of pocket.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Adventures

When I was in my early twenties, I was able to have many amazing adventures. I moved across the country to a place where I knew almost no one. I was given a job working in a high-class salon in one of the wealthiest towns in the United States. I played on the beaches of the Hamptons and then went to work in one of the two or three inner-cities of Connecticut. I went to Europe twice. I lived with a boyfriend, who turned out to be full of issues that only seemed to be exacerbated after I moved in. That does a number on your self-esteem, let me tell ya! I travelled to Chicago, Alaska and to Florida. I bought a house. I got a dog; a very anxious and energetic dog I named Gertie. And then the adventures really seemed to change.

Instead of going new places and being exposed to new ways of life, I was watching other friends get married and start popping out little ones. They were having new types of adventures with another person. My life seemed to stop progressing. I didn't move to a new place. If I actually met someone I thought was worth keeping around, it didn't last more than a couple of months. The only thing that seemed to change on a consistent basis was the increase in how much money I had saved at Gertie's veterinarian. This was not how I had envisioned my life. I was supposed to be on the same track as everyone else. I was supposed to be in a great relationship and paying off student loan debt. Instead, it felt like everyone else was doing it except me.

I started to accept that maybe my life wasn't meant to be one exciting adventure after exciting adventure. I started to accept that boring was was supposed to be the ultimate description of my life after the age of 30. What an awesome way to view the rest of your life, eh?

A few months back, I was talking to a friend who shared some newly discovered words of wisdom. She is one of my few truly single friends and, other than having a dog, have very similar lives at this point. We both own our homes, have good jobs, are fun women, but neither of us have had a stable significant other in a significant amount of time. We both have watched friends marry, get knocked up, push out a beautiful baby (insert given sex here) and start on a new adventure. We both have felt just plain stuck in life. However, on this one particular day I learned that she had been given a new way of looking at our so-called-lives (Jordan Catallano, you will always be in my heart.). I can only attempt to put it as eloquently as she did. Essentially, our lives are less exciting, but they are still our lives. We still need to spend each day doing something we enjoy. We still need to take every experience and evaluate its benefit to our lives. We still need to look at every first date as an experience that will, hopefully, lead us to someone who will fit our lives. We still need to live our lives...even if it means listening to some guy say, "I digress" at the end of every statement he makes while eating pizza and trying to impress his dinner companion (Yay, that was me. Lucky girl, huh?). Yes, I still need to live every moment to its fullest, even if I'm falling asleep while on a first date. It all comes back to the experiences. Here's to hoping an evolving mindset leads to an ever-evolving life.