Monthly Archives: April 2011

if I had an anthem…

I’ve probably written enough about Bob Schneider so that you know by now I think Lovely Creatures is the perfect combination of songs to nurse one’s heart through a divorce. There’s the heartbreaking Changing Your Mind, the bitter Realness of Space, the romantic and hopeful 40 Dogs, the jaunty Till Somebody Catches a Feeling and the poignant Bicycle vs. Car…and more.

But what if I had a song of my own that defined where I’m at in life? What might that be? I know what it used to be — I listened to this song over and over in my late twenties, and I’ve recently re-discovered At This Point In My Life by Tracy Chapman. In a word, it’s all about redemption.

Here are the lyrics; they might give you an idea of why this song so resonates with me:

“…At this point in my life, I’ve done so many things wrong, don’t know if I can do right
If you put your faith in me, I hope I won’t let you down
If you give me a chance I’ll try…

You see it’s been a hard road, the road I’m traveling on
And if I take your hand, I might lead you down the path to ruin
I’ve had a hard life, I’m just saying it so you’ll understand
That right now, right now, I’m doing the best I can
At this point in my life

At this point in my life, although I’ve mostly walked in the shadows,
I’m still searching for the light
Won’t you put your faith in me
We both know that’s what matters
If you give me a chance I’ll try

You see I’ve been climbing stairs, but mostly stumbling down
I’ve been reaching high, always losing ground
You see I’ve conquered hills, but I still have mountains to climb
And right now, right now I’m doing the best I can
At this point in my life

Before we take a step, before we walk down that path,
Before I make any promises, before you have regrets,
Before we talk commitment, let me tell you ’bout my past —
What I’ve seen and what I’ve done, things I’d like to forget
At this point in my life

At this point in my life, I’d like to live as if only love mattered,
As if redemption was in sight,
As if the search to live honestly is all that anyone needs,
No matter if you find it.

You see when I’ve touched the sky, Earth’s gravity has pulled me down
But now I’ve reconciled that in this world
Birds and angels get the wings to fly
If you can believe in this heart of mine,
Oh, if you can give it a try,
Then I’ll reach inside and find and give you  all the sweetness that I have
At this point in my life…”

Let me be clear:  In the scheme of things, I truly don’t believe that I’ve had a difficult life — that’s not the part I relate to. It’s the sheer humility of acknowledging that I have a past; I have failed at relationships and I want to do better, try harder. It’s the hopefulness, the possibility — in her words, “to live as if only love mattered, as if redemption was in sight…as if the search to live honestly is all that anyone needs, no matter if you find it.”

And someday, when I meet my match, I’m going to reach inside, find and give him all the sweetness that I have!

I admit it; I don’t know the rules

I’ve never been a Rules girl. Perhaps this has been the source of some of my relationships problems, perhaps I need to study up. But I am learning a thing or two.

Here’s where I’m at:

  • I’m not going to chase a man again. Ever. I’ll let him know I’m interested and let him take the lead. If he wants to see me, he’ll find a way.
  • This doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally reach out if I see something relevant to a conversation we had. I’m not an automaton.
  • I’m dating around, not falling easily into exclusivity. It’s already helped me gain more clarity. I expect the same from the men I date — they’d better be seeing other people! If he ultimately chooses me, I want it to have been an informed choice.
  • Meanwhile, I’m going to be absolutely clear about what I want. That way, if we’re not on the same page, he can opt out early and save us both some misery.
  • This clarity can have an added benefit:  he quickly learns how I expect to be treated.
Am I on the right track? Recommendations? Resources? I’d love to know what you think.

revealing my truth

As I take this pause in my life to reflect, reconsider, re-configure and re-focus, I’ve devoted a significant amount of time to thinking, creating, writing, meditating, yoga, healing, expanding — in a word, growth.

So, while I’ve had several coffees and networking meetings and informational or other interviews during which I’ve projected my energy outward and, all told, hours of meditation directing my energy inward, I’ve recently been given some feedback that’s helping me grow and change where the rubber hits the road:

  • First, a colleague pointed out that having an anonymous blog is really contrary to the whole online paradigm. The world is moving toward authenticity, transparency and accountability. I’ve discussed my reasons for anonymity, but there may come a time when I need to reconsider. Besides, it would sure make publicizing and marketing it easier!
  • Chi-guy pointed out that I lied to him when he asked me if I’d shown anyone his risqué photo(s). Um, yeah, I wasn’t really sure how he’d respond if I confessed that practically every woman in the city had seen the hammer (or at least every woman I know). This small untruth was meant to shield him from harm, yet I suspect I might have caused some — perhaps he thinks less of me for this, or has now used this information to confirm a belief that women are dishonest with him. Of course when I asked him about it, he said that’s why he didn’t include his face — he was expecting that I’d share (and probably proud of it)!
  • This insight reminded me of something I recalled my therapist saying a long time ago:  I need to stop trying to protect others from myself, from seeing the full, real me. I need to stop hanging up the phone and thinking, “OMG, did I really say that?!” and just allow that I am who I am. I mean, what I’m writing here is all authentic and full-on me, but this blog is anonymous…(except that many of the readers are friends of mine with whom I’ve shared the link).
  • Add a hard look in the mirror to these blind spots, and what I’ve begun to see is that I have a habit of telling myself little white lies. I tell myself that I’m not really sure what I want, that I’m not ready to commit to a specific choice when, in fact, I know damned well what I want. Sometimes the truth is simply obscured by the daily tasks and work and parenting and life…and that’s why taking this “career break” has been so incredibly empowering. I have the time and the space to really figure out what feels true to me and reveal it not only to myself, but to others.
  • I was chatting with a colleague about goal-setting a few days ago and about some (unattributable) statistic that illustrates how powerful it is to write your goals down. My colleague suggested that one should go a step further and tell as many people as humanly possible. I agree. You can’t do it all alone. And, until recently, I was hiding my truth, afraid of exposing my deepest desires in fear that others may ridicule them or I might fail. Maybe so, but it seems even less likely that I’ll manifest those same dreams while hiding in my proverbial closet!

Just as I finished this draft, I checked out Rob Brezny’s Free Will Astrology horoscope for Libra for the week, an excerpt of which reads:

“…Inner truths that have been hidden from you are ready to be plucked by your penetrating probes…”

So here’s to revealing — and then sharing — my inner truths!

a brief update on my career

I find that I have accomplished generally less with my time off than I had anticipated. It’s been nearly three months since I suited up daily and went to my big corporate job, and I have not checked everything off the list yet. While I have enjoyed the diversions I’ve found online, yoga and near-daily meditation, I find it somewhat alarming that I haven’t moved a few of these projects further forward, especially in light of the fact that I must go back to work. Starting May 10.

Even with all the interviews and applications I had in process in March, I never heard back on some of those opportunities. As far as I know, no final decision have been made. Meanwhile, I got a random call from a recruiter who found my resume online and wanted to submit it for a contract role. I shrugged and agreed, thinking it was a long shot. But just two days later, I got a call asking me to interview. I went in, talked passionately about strategy, innovation and change, flailed my arms and gesticulated wildly. Three days after that, I was offered the job.

What I find exciting about this opportunity is that the hiring leader said, “I have people to do the work. I need someone to help me innovate and elevate the strategy.”

Nice. Right up my alley. I also like that I’ll make quite a bit more than in my old job, and that it’s initially a four-month stint (although it may be extended or turn in to a permanent position). That allows me to company-date, the same way I’m meeting and talking to new men. So I can keep looking for the perfect fit.

It’s also lit a little fire under my butt — I’ve got ten days to crank through a boatload of productivity and poise myself to move some new ideas and projects forward outside of the workday. No more procrastinating!

And, then, once I begin, I suspect there will be a bit of a work-life balance adjustment. The children will go back to an after school program, and I’ll have to be ready to leave each day by the time they get on their bus. I’m still targeting three to five entries per week here.

on discovering the power of gratitude

About eleven years ago…

I had been seeing a chiropractor who practices applied kinesiology (AK) for more than a year, and I loved that my body and mind had embraced this process for healing and growth. For those of you who are not familiar, AK (sometimes called Body Talk) practitioners initiate a dialogue with the body’s energy, using the arm as a lever, to diagnose and identify optimal treatment.

Over the past many months, I had experienced better adrenal function, detoxified my liver and kidneys, nearly eliminated symptoms of PMS and more. Then, as I lay on my back with arm held straight in the air, I heard, “You are experiencing lack in your ovaries, and your body is asking for a lifestyle change.”

Crap! Was I about to be asked to stop drinking?

Continuing to use my arm as a lever to determine how my body wanted to heal, we learned that the lifestyle change related to money. So my chiropractor asked me to tell him what was going on with money in my life.

At the time, I lived in a rental duplex, owned two cars, had no revolving debt and lived as well or better than many of the friends I knew. Still, I had certain ideas about my situation, which I expressed something like this:

  • I felt as though I was living check to check, yet I was putting $400 per month into an investment account and could easily lower that amount if I needed more accessible cash.
  • I was renting, and the real estate market was climbing rapidly. By not owning property, I believed I was missing out on an investment growth opportunity, equity in a home.
  • Owning two cars seemed ridiculous. I loved them both, but had no storage for the impractical sports car that needed extra love and care.

However, when we tried my arm as a lever on solutions to any of the above — free up cash, buy a home, sell a car — none worked. My chiropractor had a few suggestions of his own. My body responded to “practice gratitude consciousness.”

I was thus assigned the homework of practicing gratitude for an hour each day. When I awoke each morning, I was to choose a time, randomizing my sessions, so that I didn’t make a habit of defaulting to a time of day when I was naturally more inclined to feel good. And then I was to think about what I was grateful for during the specified time.

I began with what I thought would be easy — my new car. I had recently purchased a luxury car with leather seats, a great stereo, moon roof, etc. For months, every time I got in my car, I thanked myself. So it was a huge surprise to hear a little argument go on in my head:

“I love my car. I’m so grateful that I allowed myself to have something so nice!”

“Yeah, but all my friends drive BMWs.”

“My car drives even nicer than their BMWs.”

“Still, BMWs have more prestige…”

Observing my own back talk was a revelation to me, and it took a conscious effort to quiet the voice of dissent inside.

Another observation was that I hated paying bills — internet, phone, insurance, rent… But I was practicing gratitude, so I had to develop a new way of thinking about them. I learned to bless each bill as I received and paid it, thinking about how grateful I was to be blessed with whatever each bill represented. I didn’t grow up with internet service — and it was a wonderful new way to stay connected with friends around the world; I wore beautiful designer clothing, so I could easily be grateful for my department store credit card bill, and so on… Bills became friendly reminders of my abundant life.

A month passed and I was back in my chiropractor’s office. “How did it go?” he asked about my homework.

I chuckled hesitantly:  “I’m not sure I did very well at it.”


“Well, it was difficult to maintain for an hour — I experienced a lot of back talk.”

“You didn’t think you had to list things for an hour, did you?”

“No, but I thought that I should be able to just feel gratitude, and then ride the wave of that great feeling for longer than I was able to sustain it.”

My body no longer requested the practice, but I tried to keep it up in my daily life. It brought about a nice feeling of contentment. But the astounding part of this story is what and how quickly other intentions manifested in my life:

  • I continued to contribute to my investment account, and was able to release the check-to-check feeling.
  • Within six weeks, I had sold my sports car for more than I’d paid for it.
  • Within three months, I had bought and moved into a condo in a great neighborhood.
  • And, finally, you’ll recall that the issue my gratitude practice was to resolve was a feeling of lack in my ovaries. Approximately six months later, I was pregnant with my first child!

It’s been a challenge to feel grateful for much of these past couple of years, and I’m happy to have the practice back into my life!

my online dating scare

I’ve written a couple of earlier posts about online dating (here and here).

I was ambivalent about venturing online. I still had some feelings of attachment for Chi-guy, I wasn’t sure what I wanted yet, and one of the reasons I was determined to online date was to have something to write about here, on failedatforty. Based on some of the stories I’d heard from girlfriends, online dating was sure to be a content-rich endeavor. (Take, for instance, that guy who messaged me last night asking if he could be my bitch… Dang, I wish that interested me!)

Meanwhile, I’ve worked very hard to develop some clarity around my vision of life, family, the sort of work I’d like to create, and the sort of mate I’d like to attract. I’ve worked on my list to become more and more specific. And I’ve employed the Law of Attraction and meditated to open myself to energetically attracting a man with these qualities and much more. (I mean, I plan to employ my other assets and look my best, but I want the next one to be drawn to my spirit and my soul.)

Just when I was beginning to think that I was in the wrong place (i.e. free site) to meet men — in fact, a group of girls who know what I’m looking for had just told me that I was “sooo eHarmony” (really? me? isn’t that kind of a Bible-thumper site?) — I spotted a few interesting profiles. One, in particular, popped out at me because of the fellow’s sheer genuineness — and yet, there were aspects that made me question whether he was the typical [insert name of upscale-community-from-where-you’ve-met-entirely-too-many-arrogant-players here] douche.

I might have winked, we exchanged a few messages, and I took a chance and suggested that I’d be willing to meet for coffee.

Tangent:  Long ago, I had a roommate who would notice an attractive man in public and exclaim, “Way to go, God!” I mention this because…

We met for coffee, and I assumed we’d have an hour or so to feel each other out, determine whether we wanted to see each other again, etc. We ended up talking for more than an hour, found much to chat about, discovered agreement in philosophy in many facets of life and seemed to enjoy each other. I found him pleasing to my eyes, yet felt no chemistry whatever (which is okay, right? …it’s even better if it builds slowly over time). He walked me to my car, gave me a warm and lengthy hug, and bid me a good day.

I got in my car and did a “Way to go, Universe! … that’s more like it!” He was the first guy I’d met (on the site) that fell within the range of my type, a combination of characteristics so unusual I wasn’t sure it existed (in one person) in this city. I could visualize going out with him again without having to convince myself to keep an open mind.

From there, I went home, worked out and rejoiced in knowing that all the effort I’d been putting in to creating was working. And now I had evidence that there are men within the range of what I’m seeking who live here. Directionally, I was getting closer to attracting what I want.

And that scared the shit out of me! Sure, I would love to meet someone really amazingly special this year (as I mentioned while discussing my vision board), but we’re only four months in to 2011 and I wasn’t sure I was ready for special — or even intriguing — yet! So whether he would become someone special or not, I needed to prepare for special… I spent the next week hitting Debbie Ford’s Spiritual Divorce harder than I had before, actually doing the exercises and working to heal, forgive and release any karmic connections that might still be holding me back.

It dawned on me that, while I had listed in detail the kind of mate I want to attract, I had failed to create a list of the qualities that I planned to bring to a partnership. So I began a list of the characteristics I want to embody to be an ideal partner to my ideal mate.

I also went back online and got real about my profile:  I made it clear that my ultimate desire is marriage — a true partner and co-conspirator; I changed my ambivalent answers to some questions, such as “How long do you want your next relationship to last?” to “the rest of my life;” and more. In some ways, I feel I’m asking a lot — after all, it’s not just me, there are three of us. And the special man I will ultimately draw into my life will be a loving and engaged father to my children, as well as husband to me.

So what next? Well, I met the more-like-it guy again, enjoyed his company and looking in to his brown eyes, and I was definitely feeling a little chemistry, too. I hope to see him again. I’m not sure he knows what he’s looking for…so it’s too early to tell whether it might go anywhere. I’m also communicating with and meeting other men, learning from my interactions, getting clearer about my desires, and creating space for the possibility that the “or better” may manifest in my life…which, in this time of personal expansion, is ever-changing and allowing more.

Will this guy — or anyone I meet online — be the one? I’m going to take things day by day and focus on opening my own heart, allowing myself to feel vulnerable and soft, and living authentically, rather than try to predict the future.

See my next post on more-like-it

what happened next (part 15)

Four – six months ago…

If you’ve followed all this bizness about Chi-guy, you already know that I had developed some feelings for him, that he was a hot mess and that, despite a mutual multi-year crush, we never got it on. And even thinking about what happened next makes me want to slap myself!

I became the über friend, the counselor and confidante. We had discovered that our situations were remarkably parallel in too many ways to ignore:  he had lost his job and was the primary caregiver for his daughter while his wife was the breadwinner, just as in my household; he had been using alcohol to numb his pain, just as my ex did; even our (and by “our” I mean mine and his ex wife’s) roofs leaked following the same winter storm (despite several hundred miles between us).

“You know that’s your fault,” I teased.

“Yes, I’ve been told,” he replied.

He told me he didn’t understand why. I told him (as I’ve now written twice) that he should stop asking, because he’d never get a satisfactory answer. He asked me how her life could possibly be better now, without him there. And I told him that it’s not; it’s hard having to be the full-on single parent, especially when you’re hurting emotionally, and to take on all the other tasks that were once shared. Yet the stress is different because the emotional weight is gone. We even discussed Dr. Phil’s philosophy on what women need from men — to provide income and a soft place to land (emotional safety).

I sent him emails and texts and even small gifts. I dreamt about him — dreams that were too real and projected my fears about my own ex onto him — and then worried that those dreams might be real. I called from time to time, and I was there when he needed to talk.

I loved (and still cherish) the closeness, our conversations, his authenticity and candor, yet I hated what had become of us. I didn’t want to be his friend or his counselor; I wanted to be his woman. I wanted to feel that intensely feminine way that I’d felt when I was near him. I wanted to sit across a table from him, listening while he talked, but mostly smoldering inside as I fantasized about crawling across the table, opening him up and licking his sexy brain.

Sometimes we were flirtatious, yet emotional support or commiseration ruled our conversations. After the holidays, he updated his profile photo on Facebook. I could see immediately that he’d turned a corner. I relaxed. I let go of my need to worry about him.

When I caught myself yearning for him or, more accurately, that feeling I had when I was with him, I stopped and replaced the thought of him with “him, or someone even better for me.” I forced myself to create a list of characteristics that my ideal mate would have — even those things in direct conflict with who Chi-guy is now. And I created an online profile and opened myself to dating.

You see, it wasn’t that I thought I was in love with him. Rather, I believed (and still do) that we have a unique connection, a potential of some kind, and we were (are?) missing the opportunity to fully explore whatever it might be or wherever it might lead.

Maybe this is all we get. Maybe we get to have supported one another through a transition. It’s been strangely rewarding (even if not satisfying). But sometimes I still wonder how our story is going to end…