Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why we are neither horseshoes nor hand grenades

After the absolutely lovely responses to my last post I particularly hate to do this, but it was starting to feel dishonest not to post an update. I never wanted to write this, but E and I broke up. I broke up with him. And though I'm starting to feel more resolved about it, it took a little while to get here. Basically, though I was utterly and completely in love with the E who was Rachel's boyfriend, the E who was perfect on paper and lovely and caring and sweet, I realized I was not in love with E as a person who exists and walks around in the world independently of me. That E is a fine person, and I have no problem with him, and I wish him all the best. But I wasn't in love with him, and I couldn't see us sharing a life together. We just weren't entirely compatible. It was very close, but ultimately we were a mismatch.   

He did not feel the same way. He was ready for us to spend the rest of our lives together, and my about-face took him by surprise, and he was very hurt. That was hard. He said all the right things, and that only made it harder. I broke his heart and mine too. I shed a lot of tears, and so did he. The difference is I knew I was making the right decision.

For the moment, I am enjoying having my weekends to myself, to read and clean and watch movies and futz about exactly as I want to. I thought I would feel lonely, and I suppose I do, but no more than usual. I thought I would be lonelier. I am surprised by how normal I feel. I am not ready to date again. I don't know when I will be, and I'm ok with that. 

Life is life, eh? Thanks for reading, and for all your kind comments. You're all the best. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Why I'm not back, but I'm back (an update)

This is not a comeback, or a triumphant return, but just a quick note to let you know that I am well, and happy, and am excited to be spending this Valentine's Day evening with the man I've been busy falling in love with for the last four months. There were times over my six years of blogging when I did occasionally wonder if this blog itself in some way could be holding me back from meeting the right person. All those bad dates, after all, were such good story fodder. And so it is perhaps ironic, or fitting, or even downright weird, depending on how you look at it, that less than 72 hours after my last post shutting this thing down altogether, I met E.

I can hear you all clamoring for details (yes, all the way from here), so I will say that he is quite tall, twelve years older than me, an officer in the Coast Guard, and perfectly helpless in the kitchen (though a very willing sous chef, and learning fast). And best of all, since the moment I met him, I have never once wondered where I stand, if he was interested, if he would call. We talk on the phone or text every day, and have from the first day we met. He asked me on a second date in the middle of our first date. (Right before we made out in the bar like a couple of kids. It was a good first date, is what I'm saying.) On our second date we went hiking, and on our third date we got all dressed up in our best formal attire and went to the Coast Guard Ball. He brought me a corsage in a plastic clamshell container like we were going to Prom. One woman at our table couldn't believe we were on our third date when she found out. "I thought you were married!" She exclaimed. "You seem like you've been together forever! Sandy, come here and listen to this," she beckoned to her friend. "These guys met online, and they're on their third date!" And the two ladies beamed at us like a friendly zoo exhibit, and just stopped short of pinching our cheeks. "So sweet," they sighed. And I couldn't help but agree.

And so, tonight we don't have any big plans to celebrate our first Valentine's Day as a couple, but we will be spending it together, just him and me and his two joint custody, part-time pugs, who he loves more than football, and that's saying a lot. (If you've never seen a 6'4" grown man holding a pug like a baby while covering its round, wrinkly head with smooches, well, it's a sight.)

To sum up, I am well, I am happy, I am loved, and I am in love. I am grateful in the general and the specific; grateful for this space and what it's provided me over the years, grateful that I can come back and share a part of my life with you (if any of you are still out there after all this time). I wish you all the happiest of days today, whatever your circumstances; a day full of friendship, and love, and a sense of contentment that runs bone-deep and then turns around three times and settles down comfortably with a long, grateful sigh that says, I'm home.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why it's not the end, just the beginning of whatever comes next

The feeling I had when I submitted my very first offer on a condo--first time as a potential home-buyer and also simultaneously as my own licensed real estate agent--was...anti-climactic. Is that it? Now what? The answer to that like the answer to so many other things in life: Now, you wait.  


I've started this post so many times, but I never quite wanted to make it final. So I left it gathering dust in my drafts folder, only to come back to it and realize it wasn't quite right. Things had happened in my life that would require updating in blog form, but still I never really knew. How do you know when it's the end?

Here is the original blog post that I started months ago:

Endings are always strange and a little bit sad. Stranger still when they are completely self-determined and arbitrary. This thing I've been doing? I'm not going to do it anymore. Just thought you should know. See? Strange. But it would be even stranger to say nothing at all, and so here I am. This little corner of the web has been languishing for a while, and rather than continue posting every month, then two months, the trickle slowing to a drip-drop, it seemed more graceful to conclude things formally. The tier-up-of-loose-ends in me would have it no other way.

A long time ago I wrote poetry. Every once in a while whenever the mood struck I would scribble stanzas in a notebook and feel better. My last semester of college I took a creative writing course and I cranked poems out for credit by the week. At the end of a semester equal parts creatively fulfilling and exhausting, I had a very clear thought: I think I might never write another poem again. Not because that was what I wanted, but because it was true; it was simply the way things were. And after that, true enough, I never did write another poem. It was neither a good thing nor a bad thing; at one time it had been something I needed to do, and now it no longer was. I had a very similar realization recently about this blog. It wasn't surprising; it felt a natural and right conclusion, though a year or two or three ago, I would have been shocked. For a while I thought I was going to be a lifer here, thought I would always be doing this in some form or another; chronicling all of life's milestones, keeping a virtual record. But after a long semester of blogging--six (and a half) years' worth--it feels like I have reached some sort of natural conclusion. Things have changed. Blogging is different now, and I am also different now.

Six (and a half) years ago I was living in Boston. I had recently ended things (been forced to end things) with the person I thought I would be with forever. Heart-broken is a word that is too casually thrown around to describe what I actually was, which was shell-shocked, a walking exposed nerve, and utterly lost. Looking back, I should have gone to therapy, I should have done a lot of things, but instead I started a blog. And I started dating. Then I moved to France, I dated, and I blogged about it. And I moved to Ithaca, I dated, and I blogged about it. Then I moved to DC and, well. 

In the back of my mind, I always hoped that if one day I did decide to stop blogging, that I would go out with a triumphant, look-at-me-now-world post. I hoped that I would be able to (only sort of gloatingly) say that it had all been worth it, because I had finally gotten everything I had ever wanted. But I guess that's not really the way life works, is it? In any case, I present to you my Look-At-Me-Now-World post, the Tempered Expectations Version. This is where I am now:

At my boss's request, I recently got my real estate license. At the moment it is not doing much for me, but hopefully in the near future it will allow me to start earning some fat commission checks. I know better than to count on that happening, but at best it would be nice, and at worst, there is no worst. 

Also, perhaps relatedly, I think I should point out that I do not hate my job. It may not sound like much, but this is kind of a big deal. I have come a long way since a year ago when my boss, by way of welcoming me into the fold, told me, "I hope this is the last job you'll ever have," and I nearly had a panic attack thinking about it. Because while certain men have problems committing to relationships, I have commitment-phobia about jobs. And while I certainly do not see myself entering my retirement years here--life is long, after all--hanging out here for a while no longer feels like the end of the world. 

That being said, over the last few months, in addition to studying for and taking the real estate exam, I've also been studying for and then taking the Foreign Service Exam. I went into it sort of on a whim, and with low expectations for success; the Foreign Service is notoriously difficult to get into, after all, and most people who do ultimately end up passing have taken the exam multiple times. But after months of reading up on my history and geography and memorizing Presidents and Constitutional Amendments, would you like to venture a guess as to which section I didn't earn enough points to pass? Not the multiple choice, not the history/geography/Presidents/amendments section, no. A brief pause for irony, here--the essay. I failed the motherflipping essay. Humility, thy name is blogger. Anyway, maybe I'll take it again next year. And if it doesn't work out? Like I said, it's not the end of the world.

It's not that I've become complacent; there are still so many things that I want. But no, actually, not so many things. A house and someone to share it with, that's really it. Maybe it will happen for me, one day. I hope so. I want to say that even if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world, but, well, baby steps.

Though blogging no longer fills the same space in my life it once did, I will still be around, in some form or another. You can keep up with me on Twitter, in the rare event I decide to tweet (or more likely retweet) something there. If you'd like, you can also send me a friend request on Facebook, and if I know you from the blogosphere or recognize you as a commenter, I'll add you. And you can always send me an e-mail at diaryofwhy at gmail, if you want to be old school. (Apparently people don't e-mail anymore? And when did this happen? Get off my lawn.)  

And that was it. That was where I ended, thinking I would come up with something final and profound to say later. But the profundity? It is not coming. Instead, while I was waiting for The Sign, I got this sweetest of e-mails, an excerpt of which is below:
"This might sound the teensiest bit stalkerish - but I just went through all your blog today. All the posts. 6 years worth of them. 
Well, it also sounds as if I didn't have a life - but I'm a college student during summer break. So I'm investing my 2 months of vacation doing things I love. And by things I love, I mean reading blogs :)

All I wanted to say was that I loved every post you wrote. Some made me laugh my ass off, some made me cry, and most of them made me think. I love when a blog does that. And I love how your writing has improved so much over the years."
Then a few days ago I got this e-mail, to which I still haven't replied (oh my god I am the worst).
"I am a huge fan of your blog. Please keep writing and tell us what is going on in your life.  Are you thinking of going back to try teaching? Or continuing to look for other office jobs? I enjoy your writing."
I think that profound thing I was looking for to end with is simply this: Thank you. Thank you for caring and thank you for commenting or e-mailing or just reading. Thank you.

I'm not planning on shuttering this space, and don't take me out of your feeds just yet, because there's always the chance that I'll show up here again one day with that triumphant, Look-At-Me-Now-World post after all. Who knows? Anything's possible.    

Monday, August 19, 2013

Why guys don't have cats. No, it's true, they don't.*

If you're one of the five people who follow me on Twitter, this is going to be a bit redundant, but going by the comments on the last post asking how the date went I think it's safe to say this will be new material for most of you. So how did the date go? Well let's recap...

Aside from all that (all that being him arriving 25 minutes late; being unable to navigate the two blocks from the metro to the bar without the aid of his apparently non-functioning GPS; not paying or offering to pay for my drinks; being significantly less attractive than his photo suggested; not ordering any food, leaving me gnawing on my fist in hunger), let's see, what else was there? We ended up discussing animals for quite a while (really reaching for conversational topics, there), and I mentioned that I have been volunteering at the local Humane Society. He immediately jumped to the over-population of pit bulls in the shelters here, a true enough story, and surprise surprise, he had nothing to good to say about them, aside from the usual knee-jerk stereotypes: "Well, you just never know with those dogs;" "Well, they were bred for fighting, you know..." Having already made several pretty pitty friends at the shelter this went over not-so-well with me, though rather than get into it, I hid my displeasure behind a conversational shift.

He had mentioned wanting to foster dogs (though not pit bulls, obviously), but not having the time and space to do it. "Well," I suggested, "you could foster cats." A strange look passed over his face. "Guys don't have cats," he said quickly, as if I had just suggested he might try peeing sitting down. "Some guys do," I replied. "No," he said. "I'm pretty sure that in the world, there are guys who have cats. Yes." "Well, no one I know," he replied, the same, slightly horrified look on his face suggesting he still wasn't sure if I was pulling one over on him.

After all this, he pulled the yawn-stretch, "Well, I have an early meeting tomorrow..." Yes, he said this. But only because he beat me to it. Guys, it might be time to create a new label for these posts, because dating is no longer fun or funny, and hasn't been for quite some time.

Ba dum bum.         

*This is not true.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why I'm too old for this shit

I'm supposed to go on a date tonight. The first in something like a year and a half, for those keeping track. Yes, it has been a long (my longest) dating hiatus. (I tell myself it is self-imposed, but, really?) So, this date. This is how I feel about it:

Can you just feel the excitement dripping off me? The anticipation? The glee? No? You are correct. I feel none of those things. Now I just have to figure out how to make this (above) translate into this (below):

Except, I'm a terrible actress. And it's going to look more like this:

I can call in sick to my date, right? I'm not ready for this. Oh, help.