Tag Archives: love

Stop and Smell The Roses

28 Jun

older blogI would say one of my favourite things in life is connecting with others.  Meeting new people, engaging in great conversation, learning things about them, having a laugh and sharing common bits. I grew up in the country where one of our main time passers was visiting our neighbours and family members – on those visits conversation always flowed.  My father always hammered into my head – ask questions, ask questions, ask questions.  So as a girl who had a natural draw to others I got to practice my conversation and question asking skills all the time!  Those skills have brought me some of my best memories in life.

On my way to work today I was trotting along with the dogs when I heard someone running up behind me saying “Excuse me, excuse me!” I turned around thinking she was going to tell me that my dress was stuck in my underwear and that my butt was hanging out or that I had dropped something from my bag.  She said “My friend is across the street – the guy in the wheelchair.  He was in a serious accident and has been in the hospital for a month and he really misses his dog.  Would you mind letting him pet your dogs?”  “Would I mind, it would be my pleasure!”  So we made our way across the street.  It ends up that he fell asleep on his way to work and he is now paralyzed.  I always feel like the dogs know when someone is feeling vulnerable, so they add extra bits of affection.  Millie got right up on his lap and started licking his face and Jillie laid her head on his legs looking up at him with her sweet eyes.  He just kept saying over and over again ‘You’re such good dogs.  Jillie, you look so much like my dog.  I miss her so much.’  After a solid twenty minutes of this love fest and great conversation,  he said to me ‘Wow, I just realized that was the first time I had totally forgotten about being paralyzed since it happened.  Thank you so much for taking the time to stop.”  Oh boy.  I thanked him right back – his attitude towards his new norm was completely inspiring.

We all live in a busy world.  Lots to do.  Places to go.  Distracted by phones ringing.  Distracted by podcasts.  Distracted by music.  Distracted by texts.  Distracted by social media.  Distracted by finances.  Distracted by schedules.  Distracted by stress.  Distracted by life.  Divorce.  Urban life.  We need to slow down.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development spanned over 80 years; it is one of the longest studies in the world.  The study hoped to find clues into what predictors cause some people to lead healthy and long lives.  Guess what they found?  The quality of ones relationships with loved ones, friends and their community was singlehandedly the biggest predictor of health and happiness.  When you have strong relationships you are more likely to exercise, maintain a healthy weight, feel less depressed, enjoy your work, and use alcohol in moderation.  Close relationships, more than money or fame, bring you joy.  It is true folks – empathy, compassion, communication, connection, and a sense of community matter the most.

I have this bizarre notion that I am never going to die.  I just can’t imagine it.  I think I will be on the cover of The National Inquirer with the headline ‘The Canadian Woman Who Never Died’.  In case my notion is true – I am going to keep connecting, conversing and offering compassion whenever I can so that I can add as many days as possible to my life.  Meeting that guy today inspired me to stop and smell the roses for even longer than I usually do.

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What a difference a year makes…

6 Oct

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Last weekend I had the great fortune of going to Montreal with girlfriends to see Adele in concert.  I told my younger male cousin I was going to see her and he replied ‘Wow, that is really cool.  But what do you do just stand there and cry the whole time?’  I can see how he would think that seeing as 90% of her songs are about past relationships and breakups.

Last year at this time I went through a breakup (I didn’t write any songs about it) and although I feel 100% thankful to be outta that relationship, it certainly wasn’t a fun experience.  One year ago this weekend it was coming to a breaking point – I wasn’t feeling so ‘thankful’ last Thanksgiving.  It culminated on a trip to Ireland a week later when I had to hold myself back from pushing him off the Cliffs of Maher.  I won’t get into specifics, but I put on my big girl panties and forged forward.  Life can be tough, but so am I. What a difference a year makes.

I was 35 then and I am now 36.  I’ve never been one to be preoccupied with what I ‘should’ be doing at particular ages, but sometimes it does come to mind when your friends/siblings are celebrating anniversaries and having kids.  I’ve gone to more wedding showers, weddings, baby showers, baptisms and housewarmings than I can count.   But then I snap back to my reality and stop comparing myself to others.  So, I am not married and I don’t have kids.  I’ve always hated the term ‘baggage’ when referring to ones children, past relationships, etc.  It is quite funny at this age as it seems having ‘baggage’ is the norm and if you don’t there might be something wrong with you too.  Do you have children. No?  Have you been married? No.  Why not?  Jesus, ummm, because I haven’t met someone I want to get married to and have kids with?

When I think of it I don’t often hear people who are married claim that they are ‘so happy’.  Is it really the be-all-end-all?   With maturity I’ve realized that being ‘happy’ isn’t obtained through someone else and if anything being single allows you to really know yourself, stand on your own, develop interests, exercise, go out of your comfort zone, maintain tight friendships, volunteer and travel – which are all things that contribute to making you feel ‘happy’ and things I do on a daily basis.  Of course companionship, having a partner and getting some arse adds to that.

Dog-park John, I know you are reading this and I know you are hoping for some funny stuff.   Of course with being single comes dating and it always seems great stories follow me wherever I go.   The main difference with dating now is that online seems to be the main way people meet and with that comes the reality that people are dating multiple people at the same time.    God in the past it took a $100 investment to maybe find someone to go on a date with – new dress, wine, taxi, cover charge, drinks — only to have some greaser who was too drunk hit on you.   Now, in the comfort of your home in your pjs you can swipe through the local talent.  I am very selective, so I really haven’t had any of the horror stories I’ve heard from other women, but my very first date was far from ideal.  Since all of the men who come into my life acquire terms of reference; let’s call him ‘Chef Clooney’ because he was a chef and looked like a dramatic George Clooney in his pics.  Well he didn’t look like that in person.  We went for sushi and his phone rang in the middle of dinner.  He said he had to take it (but stayed at the table).  For the next 13 minutes he slaughtered his ex on the phone with whomever he was talking to.  Do you know how long 13 minutes feels when you are sitting at a table with someone who you are not attracted to listening to them talk about their ex having Chrons and how he made her special food and how since he pays her phone bills he knows who she talks to.  WTF???  I’ve never eaten a maki roll so fast or felt more suddenly tired.  There has been many dates since then from setups to online and every way in between.  Other than ‘Australian Peter’ no one has really turned my head until recently.  Let’s call this guy ‘The Actor’ (because he is one for his job and perhaps figuratively too). It took a bit for our schedules to collide, but when they did a real collision happened. Although I am an open creature I generally keep my cards pretty close, but this guy he laid it on real thick – you are hot, you are smart, you are funny, you are interesting, your eyes, your voice, your smell.  Flattered and feeling like a super model – he got under my skin with his sense of humor, cleverness, commonalities, comfort and cuteness.  Over the next bit we saw each other/talked a lot.  He came to a big event I organized for my work (which was kind of a big deal as the tickets were pricey and it was the same night as a big event for his industry).  He said I was very impressive.  And then.  Pouf!  He kind of vanished.   Leaves a girl wondering… oh it MUST be because he is newly separated, oh it MUST be because he is busy at work (and you know how men can’t handle more than one thing at a time), oh it MUST be because we’ve both been travelling.  Yesterday while at work my phone rang in the middle of the afternoon and there he was.  Just like a groundhog he came out of his hole.  In reality he is dating multiple people and juggling ladies just like a circus performer – and he is newly separated, busy with work and we’ve both been travelling.  A few years ago a 44 year old newly single guy would be relegated to being set up or dragging his married buddies to the bar to seek out some babes.  Now all you have to do is throw a couple pictures up and boom you have access to many other single people.  This is the reality of new age dating.  Temptation Island and ‘the next best thing’ is at your fingertips.  All the time.  It is like being on a real life episode of The Bachelor.  And for a newly seperated 44 year old guy I am sure that is quite a pump to the ego.

So here I am one year latet – I don’t live in my very nice house anymore and my eggs are one year older.  The only two (sort of) negative things I can think of.  I do have a sweet place of my own and in the last year I’ve  travelled lots, done great work, volunteered, learned new skills, spent terrific times with friends/family and met many fabulous men.  And who knows, maybe someday this Lochness Monster of a man I am looking for will saunter into my life.  If and when that happens it will be amazing, but in the meantime I am quite happy writing the story of my life as a single girl.