Museum Wisdom


Yesterday I took my grandson to a new museum. It was one of those crazy, Chicago-style windy days that would blow him off his bike, so even though we both have spring fever, being inside was the smart choice.


Some friends here who’ve already spent winters in every possible museum or bouncy house told me this SciTech Museum might be a little advanced for a four-year old, but of course I smiled, knowing that “MY grandson” was exceptionally bright and it would be just fine. So off we went, steering my car back onto the road, fighting hurricane-force winds.


After taking our jackets off, and my pulling out a small rake to restore my hair to something other than a the “Back to the  Future” look, he headed straight for the chase car on the first level. Yep, they really do chase tornadoes out here in the Midwest.


Then I spotted the large pool-like table with two holes and a ball about the size of a tennis ball resting in one of the holes. Instructions asked, “Which hole will the ball roll into?  “Me first!”, he said as he dropped the ball into the bowl of the table. Seemed pretty obvious to his 4-year old mind and pretty obvious to me (my age shall remain with me) which hole the ball would drop into. As it rolled down and around the curved terrain, it looked as if it were going to settle right into the logical  hole. Our mouths dropped open as it then moved back up a few inches, toward the second hole. Surely, that’s where it would end up. No dice! In and out and back to hole number 1, where it finally found some peace. Wow! He’s four, and wonder was enough to make him happy. Not Grammie. She just had to make sense out of it. It was “supposed to” land where I thought it would. There was some part of me that felt a little out of control, wanting the outcome to match what I thought I knew to be true.


We moved on to watch a machine that replicated a tornado, a skeleton that talked, and trying to dodge 85 kids there on a field trip. My mind was still thinking about that table. It didn’t make sense.


So often we go through our lives thinking things will end up a certain way, that people will behave in just the way we think they should. That our bodies will always act and be the way we want them to be. That our friends and partners will be who we want them to be. That life should be what we were led to believe… ordered, predictable and understandable, if we just put our minds to it.


It’s taken most of my life to finally get it. Life, bodies, relationships, plans, goals, expectations are completely unpredictable. Our need to control, to be perfect, and to hope beyond hope that we will avoid pain, disappointment, sadness and heartbreak if we just do the “right thing”. That success will come, money will remain in our retirement accounts, and we will be happy if we only work hard. It only takes living long enough, watching those myths dissolve and finally knowing that life is, as the Buddhists have been saying for thousands of years, unpredictable and filled with mystery.


We headed out of the first floor exhibits a few hours later. Walking by that curvy bowl of a table, I couldn’t resist picking up that ball and dropping it into the bowl again . As I let it go, I saw the title of that exhibit…”CHAOS”.  Yep, that’s life. Make the best of every moment and enjoy the ride!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair


Big Red Chair

Why Do We Jump to Conclusions?


Before you jump…think!

There is no place where hair-trigger decisions are made faster than in the smorgasbord of online dating. Some of it is unavoidable because it’s a bit like condensed milk in there. Everything about us poured into one page? Really? And those photos are either winners or killers because there is truly a scientific reason for attraction, so we can’t blame that on ourselves when we look, then can’t hit “NEXT” fast enough.



But, let’s look at why we keep jumping to conclusions and some of the things that my clients have told me over the years…

“If he hasn’t been married by now, there’s a big problem.” Hmmm…could be. I have certainly experienced a few men who hadn’t been married and had emotional issues that no wise woman would or should put up with like rage, extreme jealousy, addiction issues.  And then, there are men and women who lived with partners for long periods of time and didn’t drink from the Holy Grail of marriage, but did have great long term relationships that ended amicably.


“Looks like she cares more about her dog than the man in her life.”  Boy, Howdy! Those dog photos can send folks into some very strange places. I once dated a man who was bitten in the butt by a woman’s tiny Bichon while they made love. Now, you gotta give that conclusion-drawing to him, right? There are men and women who seem to be able to love and adore their dogs, but lack capacity for intimacy with other humans. But, most of us who love dogs really would rather kiss another human goodnight. 


“I don’t want to date anybody with grandchildren. They are always with them.” This is a tricky one, as is when we find someone who is sharing a home with an adult child now (or the adult children never left home). Many things can mean families re-combine in later life. The economics of where you live can mean share a home or leave the area and family and friends. And, there are people, both men and women whose joy comes from parenting and re-parenting grandchildren…and so many others who love their grands, and still want a vital, adventurous life of their own. So, be aware that pictures do not tell you one single thing except the gene pool is still active. 


Perhaps the reason we jump to conclusions rests in the fact that finding love is scary. It’s “safer” somehow to look for reasons not to fall in love, or not to take the risk that real love requires. Our old memories are powerful. We associate new people we meet with our past losses and pain. Thinking it probably won’t work can protect us from the inevitable pain of losing love again. And, I’m sure I’ve done it…passed on or pushed someone away that might have made me very happy.


Try something new next time you meet someone. Pay attention to those voices that are certainly there each and every time you have a phone conversation or meet for a drink or coffee. If you find yourself attracted to them, look at what about that person makes you happy and comfortable. Then, when you suddenly see something in them that makes you jump out the starting gate, perhaps prematurely, try to stay put and ASK THEM a few questions to check your hunches.  It’s a fatal flaw in new relationships and in long-time partnerships…WE DON”T ASK! Let’s change that with courage and a deep belief that imperfection is what we will always find in ourselves and someone else. Expectations, movie-versions of love, Disney-versions of romance…all set us up to fail. Questions asked with curiosity and an openness to listen will help us navigate this crazy ocean of love.


If you’re tired of watching sunsets alone, have room for someone in your life and are ready to do the work it takes to find them…I can show you how.

Call or email me for a Complimentary Session and if we’re a match, I can help you find Love in 90 Days!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair


Dating Diaries…The Power of Our TRUE Stories

Last Saturday night I literally ripped myself from the Big Red Chair, having grown to it from a few days of taking time away from my work to “veg” and catch up on all the Oscar nominated films I’d been too busy to see. You have to know something about me…I am a film addict. There’s no 12-Step Program for it, so I find like-minded people to just binge on film with me. We go to matinees where almost empty theaters give us the feeling that we are SO BAD!  I don’t need to be a pole dancer to feel BAD…I’m easy.


There was an event sponsored by a new friend and Dating Coach colleague, Jessica that sounded like a great place to get some book material and spend an evening with a friend. A theater troupe called Playback Theater would be interviewing singles brave enough to come and even more courageous to raise their hands, volunteering to share their best and worst dating stories. The actors would then skillfully perform them with movement, an amazing World guitarist supporting them moving about the stage, talking, sometimes singing, but always trying to reveal the joy and pain of love stories. It was truly an amazing thing to see the power not only of love, but of telling our stories.


The volunteers were straight, gay, lesbian, people of color, men, women and the stories were ageless. One man met a woman online who seemed for all the world he said to finally “get me”. After emailing and talking on the phone, he made a trip to the East Coast to meet her. “It was probably the most expensive dinner ever,” he laughed. But, love was important and the risk worth it, so off he went. They sat down and began to talk and time passed, and so did the hope. She was a great woman and she got him. What wasn’t there was that “magic”, “spark”, “chemistry” that says “YES!”. Some would argue it might come later, or that it was too soon to tell. Could be. But most likely, they had all the right stuff of friendship and how beautiful is that! What it wasn’t, however was the same as finding a “beloved”.


He knew it and sadly, so did she.  He spent a night in the City and with a heavier step, left the following morning to come back to San Francisco. He could have “written a story” when they met and didn’t feel the Za Za Zoom. It might have read something like this…


Chapter 1: “Well, there we were. She was lovely and funny and I loved that she listened so well. Even funnier after a few martinis.  Her hair was beautiful and my, what an interesting job! We even liked the same kind of music. Even though I didn’t feel really romantically attracted to her, it might come and this seems good enough for me. I’ll bet she doesn’t drink like that most of the time…”


He flew home instead of writing the story. Sad, disappointed and not looking forward to swiping right and looking at yet more faces online,  he was willing to take some time to get through this and get right back out there and begin again! It takes courage to see what we see, trust ourselves about how we feel, be willing to feel all the feelings, the good, the bad and the ugly that seeking love will certainly bring, and yet to climb right back up on the horse.


I hope you will get the support you need to be out there in that dating world. No matter how old or young you are, many things are the same. We all want love and need to be ready and clear about just who we are looking for to share our lives in this chapter. Here’s to the brave singles ready for love and willing to do whatever it takes to find it. 

If you’re ready and want to “up” the chances that you’ll find that special someone, get the support you need and enjoy the experience of dating, I can be your guide.

Call me at 510-817-4242 or email me at

for a Complimentary Strategy Session to see if we’re a good match!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big RED Chair

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