Monday, July 20, 2009

In For a Penny, In For a Pound

Oh brother...what have I gotten myself into?! Online dating. Yes, that's right. Full stop.

Let me backtrack here. After starting this blog, I had conveniently put aside the very book that got me writing it in the first place (A Year To Live by Stephen Levine). Hmmm...aren't we humans interesting creatures?

Well, I finally picked it up again and was fully energized and inspired with its profound message for all of about 35 minutes (I just don't have the stamina I use to). And what did I do during my burst of energy? I signed up with eHarmony. Yes, that's right. I plead temporary insanity.

My girlfriend has been encouraging me to log on for some time..."just check it out", she says. "I'm not interested in dating right's just not the right time," has been my rebuttal of late. But then it occurs to that 35 minute window...that life is short and I have absolutely nothing to lose by giving it a look-see. Not to mention it is indeed out of my comfort zone and that seems like reason enough in that particular moment.

The process of writing my profile has been the most fun by far. I actually learned a few things about myself in the process and figure that in itself was worth the "try now and get 3 months for the price of one" deal I got upon registering. I can't say I'm being a very active member on the site though. Passively responsive would be a more accurate description of my activity to date.

The least fun so far: being matched with people I already know, who I bump into regularly through my work, and who now know something about me that my closest friends and family do not (or at least didn't until reading this).

But, I have met one person, actually. We are in the process of setting up that critical first with an exit strategy + window for an extended visit should we get past the first few bits of awkward interview style conversation and my proclivity to foot-in-mouth syndrome. After our first phone conversation I was ready to hurl myself out the window, expecting to get an email from him stating he has come down with malaria or some such thing and will never be able to meet with me. So far, no message like that but it's still early.

On a positive note, his name is on the "good list" that my mother keeps. What started as a joke between mom and I about a year or so ago has turned into serious business in my family. She has a growing list of names on the now affectionately referred to "bad list" and, not so good for me, is constantly updating me with new additions. Bruce is the newest casualty. She's never met a Bruce she likes (which, by the way, is the only criteria for making the list) and the nurse by that very name, who was in charge of my dad for a time, did not make my chances with that one in the future any better.

This particular eHarmony match shares the same name as my brother so, you see, it could have gone either way. I was relieved to find out that both parents were very excited about the prospect of this potential match (and no, I did not tell them we met on eHarmony...nor did I tell my friends...sorry we weren't set up by mutual friends...yes, I know I'm a coward). The elation lasted a few strong minutes, until my mother asked what his last name was. It's a great last name, if I were to go about rating them, but her excitement crumbled when it became apparent he wasn't Norwegian. There's just no pleasing some people!

Ciao for now,


Monday, July 13, 2009

Life Truly is Like a Box of Chocolates...

...and I'll have another, thank you.

Since my last post, much has transpired but rather than bore you with a play-by-play account of the details, here are my takeaways (in no particular order):

1. When opportunity knocks, open the door for ____ sake!

Meaning when your friend invites you to join her in San Francisco for a long weekend away, say yes immediately. Don't waste time thinking about it. What's to think about?!

2. No one really knows what they are doing all of the time.

If we're all learning as we go, then why waste time pretending we know it all already? Let it go and take that same energy you were wasting trying to defend your (my) insecure self and use it to open up to the possibility that there may be some new learning in this particular case for you...which will only make you all the more knowledgeable. It's a win/win! Leave the ego at home, locked up in a dark closet where it belongs.

3. French fries, while a lovely & delicious comfort food, may not be the best choice all the time. Vegetables, while they don't go quite as well with gravy, do have their merits.

4. When an ex comes calling again...out of the blue...don't forget why they are now your ex.

I'm all for the potential to change but don't fool yourself into thinking things truly have until you see some serious evidence in their behaviour. Behaviour always speaks louder than words.

5. If you buy enough books, eventually Chapters' will throw you a bone and invite you to a focus group where you will get paid to buy more books, discuss your spending habits, providing them with exactly what they need to ensure you will buy even more books from them in the future.

6. Whenever you (again, me) find yourself struggling to reach out for help or support, remember how great it felt when you were able to be there for someone else.

I need this reminder a lot. I have become quite skilled at shutting people out but was reminded again quite recently, that by doing so I only end up denying them from feeling good and helpful and, quite often, happy...and I miss out on getting some much needed support in the process. Talk about a lose/lose proposition.

7. People can, and will, surprise you. For good or ill, it's a fact of life so why be shocked when they do?

I'm trying to change my perspective on these occurrences and view them more like the box of chocolates that they seem to resemble (which is also far more interesting).

Friends and relationships, like chocolate, enrich our life. But once in a while we select an unknown shape from the box...perhaps feeling a little cocky that day or a little playful...only to discover that it's filled with something unpleasant that we soon wish we never tried in the first place. Other times, we grab that perfect piece of dark chocolate caramel that reminds us just how much joy life has to offer. To say nothing of that new chocolate we have the opportunity to find and fall instantly in love with.

I won't go so far as to say it's translated into behaviour each time but it is still my humble opinion that it's worth taking your chances and choosing another chocolate from the box. It certainly makes life interesting, memorable and much more of an adventure.

Ciao for now,