Watch the Waves, Not the Tide

I woke up this morning, raring and ready to go. I had high hopes for getting some things done, not the least of which was to learn how to manage my website which is no small thing even when you believe that an old dog can really learn new tricks.

When I finally dragged myself kicking and screaming, I knew I would rather think about yesterday than look at yet more videos that tell me how “simple” it all is. That is part of the set up for what follows…

Yesterday the skies were blue, the air so clear that there are hardly words to describe it. Lucky me… I was out sailing with a friend on San Francisco Bay watching the America’s Cup from within yards of those gorgeous boats, not to mention the gorgeous guys that sail them!  It was a far far better place than the struggle I was facing this morning.

When I am pushing myself, filled with “shoulds”, comparing myself to “everyone else that would know how to do it”, it sends me into overwhelm and despair. Call me a drama queen, but it truly does come over me like a tsunami, leaving me paralyzed. The sad part of it is, I can’t even enjoy the memories from yesterday because suddenly those are replaced by voices and bony fingers saying I should have been more responsible. For the moment and most of the day, I was lost again. Terrified at times I would not know how to find my way out, I  remembered the rhythm of the waves and the certainty that they provide. I had been here before and I knew that the key to saving  my life was to surrender, stop fighting and take a walk. The answer will come if I just keep my eyes on the waves and trust that ebb and flow.

Be the Chooser

“Be the chooser”. I remember the first time I saw that phrase. It felt arrogant and controlling, perhaps because they were talking about how to find your soulmate.  As a woman, a Southern one at that, “to choose” was not a verb phrase. We were taught hourly that to be chosen by a man to be his wife…now that  was the ultimate brass ring, and everything we did was to that end.

People who are in between jobs or who have been unemployed for long periods of time can move from a place of feeling very secure about themselves into quiet desperation. Not only do they feel powerless, but when not chosen over and over again they begin scrambling for anything. You see, work is more than earning a paycheck. It is our identity and gives us a sense of purpose, making life feel worth living. What replaces those feelings when we are without work?

Going to job boards and sending out hundreds of resumes,  job searchers believe that companies like LinkedIn and Monster really care about them. Nothing could be further from the truth. You,  your resumes and all the “Send” buttons you hit are simply data that brings the company a very high yield from advertisers and marketing companies. Nothing they do comes from the moral high ground of helping you find work.

One thing virtually all of us do or have done when we are looking for work is to go on Craig’s List. There are SO many apparent positions listed and we feel like we have a pretty good chance at getting them because, after all, it is pretty easy to score a set of golf clubs or a kitten there, isn’t it?  So, we do our due diligence all day, scanning until our eyes hurt, rewriting the “cover letter du jour” and tweaking that resume until we find that we have dumbed ourselves down sufficiently. Wherever it was we started out that morning, by the middle of the day we are diminished somehow, having forgotten most everything about who we are and what we want to do.

My first piece of advice is “STOP IT  with Craig’s List!” and get back to who you are and what you want to do. That’s how you will restore your self-esteem and recall just who you are and what you have to give to the world. It is then that you will become the chooser.

Choosers believe in themselves. When they finally do get that job interview, they go knowing that though they really want that job, the prospective employer will be really fortunate to have them!

A Rose is A Rose, Or Is It??

It’s universal. Tonigh002t I went to soak my tired body and brain in the jacuzzi and sitting on the side of the pool was a couple speaking Farsi…not a word of English, but it didn’t matter. I recognized a lovers’ quarrel. It was more than the tone of voice. I could see it in their eyes. Hers, pleading and irritated, his, utterly confused.  I could see him harden as she got more animated. I am sure that, like myself in days gone by, she thought if she just spoke louder he would get it. What she couldn’t understand was his retreat. She would say “he doesn’t understand.”

There is so much that we don’t know about each other as men and women trying to live and love together. If only we could come to know what is and isn’t possible and understand why, we might have a fighting chance of lasting more than 50% of the time. The dating sites would suffer, but the truth is that we are really not the object of their affection anyway. They need us and our desperation to draw advertisers and resell the data we so willingly give them. When I heard Sam Yeager, the creator of the “Love Algorithm” speak this past year, he admitted that his site, OKCupid was free for a reason…data, not dating.  This is not to say, however, that online dating is a bad idea. More on that later.

I watched tonight as they argued and I so felt for them. Most of my life was spent in relationships with men who were not good choices for me. What did I know about love? An alcoholic family doesn’t teach us much about healthy relationships, so I got my clues from the next best thing…Saturday matinees featuring Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn and those dashing, charming men who could talk their way into any woman’s life. It was like watching a sequel to my own life, but without the Hollywood ending.

I could remember how many times I pleaded for what I thought I needed and deserved in order to be happy. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was responsible for my own happiness and that a relationship was the cream on top. I also had no idea about men and how they thought, what they felt or how differently they show us that they love us. I only remembered the movies… those rooms filled with roses, so  many there was no room to walk. What woman could ever forget how long Cary Grant waited atop the Empire State Building, keeping his promise to be there for her?

And now I see it. When I witness others who may not know what they need in order to find a lasting partnership, I want to break in, tell them what I know and learned from many years of not getting it right. And now, I have a chance to do that. But tonight, not speaking Farsi, I have to believe that this young couple will figure it out.

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