Monday, July 18, 2011

Being 40: Making the Top Ten

It should come as no surprise to most of you that my 9 year old nephew is PURE JOY in my life. I have written about him a time or two or three in this space before because he often teaches me little things I wish I would have known years ago and which are sometimes so simply profound that I am stunned.

From the moment he was born, Kirk and I have had an amazingly close relationship. Before he could speak we were fascinated with each other. I was his favorite lady. And then one day, someone decided to show him the movie Mary Poppins. I don't remember who the movie sharer was but on that very day, my life changed forever. Julie Andrews floated through the sky with a parrot on her umbrella and captivated my boy. A few years later, Kirk could have held post at the top of the Julie Andrews fan club as she danced atop the green hills of Austria and right into my nephew's heart in The Sound of Music.

Within the last three years, Kirk has taken a liking to a few other women of Hollywood as well. The humor of Betty White tickles him as do the musings of Ellen Degeneres and Wanda Sykes. Recently, thanks to the internet, Kirk discovered that Julie Andrews is friends with Carol Burnett, another funny lady, who he add to his mental list of favorite women.

Finally, I had enough! Too many women were encroaching on my nephew time and he didn't seem to think I was silly enough or pretty enough and it was no longer ME he wanted to sing for him. Gently, I pulled Kirk aside and asked him, "What is the fascination with all of these women, buddy?" I told him they were all too old for him. And he told me that "age is just a number" and he pointed out that "anything is possible."  Then he encouraged me saying, "Don't worry Aunt Michele, you're still in my top ten."

Whew! What a relief!  I'm still in the top ten for now. Recently Kirk has become aware of Lucille Ball and Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. What happens if the latter of those three fill the 40-something heterosexual demographic in my nephew's life?

Suppose it's true that one day... gulp... I will not be in Kirk's top ten any longer? I guess I should feel happy and satisfied that I led the way to his appreciation for funny, talented women and be thankful that only I get rewarded with hugs when I do make him laugh. For now anyway... still making the top ten.

Being 40: Dating. Again.

When I was a little girl, I imagined that I would grow up and fall in love (whatever that meant) and I'd live a cute little house cooking and ironing and darning socks for my husband and my kids. I had no idea how that all really happened but I was fairly certain of the end result that I wanted.

This story is not new to most of you. The story of my dating life is not new either. Especially to those of you that followed my blog Dating Michele over the course of my 6 months completely dedicated to dating. But the hows and whys and what fors on the journey to find happily ever after have changed in each phase of my life and, naturally, with the ever-changing technology that the world offers us. For example, I can now participate in "online" dating from my phone. Hundreds of men virtually at my fingertips. A dream come true for a girl like me... or not.

Now that I'm 40, the reason behind my dating quest has changed as well. I am no longer in a mad dash to find true love and have babies. That would obviously be wonderful. But dating for me now is more about finding someone with whom I want to share life, spend time and just be.

I can tell you that it doesn't get easier just because you get older. I think that dating, no matter your age or circumstance, is hard. So take comfort in the fact that the person you are dating is just as freaked out by it as you are even if his reason is different. And there is always doubt about being good enough or measuring up to the expectations of other people. That's why I believe it is SO IMPORTANT to really know who you are before you bring anyone else into your life.

The day before yesterday, I received a flurry of emails from a guy who had contacted me online after I told him "Thank you, but I'm not interested." But, he continued to contact me. I reminded him that I was not interested. And then he proceeded to send a stream of abusive messages referring to me by a name that starts with B and ends with H and is CLEARLY not Michele. Twenty years ago, I'd have felt horrible about myself for days. Instead, I deleted the messages without response, blocked the man from my profile and got on with my day. Had I not known who I am and that surrounding yourself with people who build you up to be the person you know you can be is what's most important in relationships, I'd have worried myself to death wondering if maybe he was right about me.

So I'm looking for a decent guy. Someone nice. Someone NOT mean and angry who can't remember my name. I am completely and totally freaked out by it and I wish it happened just like in the movies. But it doesn't so... I'm dating. Again.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Being 40: Justin Matisse, Where Are You?

Why has Justin Matisse never walked into my house, sanded off my front porch, built some shelves and pulled me out of my love sick wallowing? 

In spite of my greatest efforts to grow into an independent woman who makes her own money and takes care of herself, all I've ever wanted was to be swept off my feet. In fact, deep in the heart and soul, I think most women just want to be carried away by a dashing and competent man.

But we work so hard to prove we can stand on our own two feet and buy our own shoes to put on those feet and often times pave the road upon which those feet walk that it seems as if there's no room for a man to swoop in and do the sweeping.

Filmmakers in the 80s and 90s are partially to blame for the conundrum I find myself in today. I grew up watching girls in movies pining over guys with whom they had no chance in hell. And at the end of every movie the guy showed up wherever that girl was. Just out of the blue! He chased her down, did the work and met her right where she was! And instantly her life changed from sad and pathetic to practically perfect! 

As I watched those films over and over, I believed that anything was possible for me too. Why wouldn't the guy of my dreams suddenly realize that I was THE ONE for him and just show up? 

For years, I have said that I would know a guy was the one for me if he just showed up. If he was leaning on a red porsche across the street from church waiting for me to exit through the front doors... If he was holding a giant boom box over his head playing our song for me... If he was taking our friendship for granted but later ditched his date to seal our relationship with a kiss... If he left the prom hastily because he was so in love with me he couldn't bear it... Oh wait. That's not right. 

The point is... I haven't really been waiting for Justin Matisse or Jake Ryan. I've just been waiting for a guy to make the effort and meet me where I am. Sometimes a simple gesture is the greatest one. Showing up. Doesn't
cost you anything but time.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Being 40: Say a Little Prayer

Does anyone ever offer to say a big prayer for you? Why is it always a little prayer? What if I need more than a little prayer? What if my circumstance is going to require a slightly larger intervention or something not too big but at least fair to middlin'? Is there such a thing as a plentiful appeal or a hefty supplication? How about a heavy duty invocation?

I appreciate it when people pray for me. There are days when I forget to do it myself. And unlike many others who say it only as a cliche, I mean it when I say "I need all the prayers I can get." But I'm not sure a little prayer is going to do. Maybe that's why some things are taking so long to come to pass...

How many little prayers do you think it takes to add up to just one regular prayer. Maybe y'all could say one regular prayer for me the next time you think of it so I can get caught up.

Hmm... now that I think about it, how many regular prayers do you think it takes to make a giant one?