My 43rd Birthday Trigger

A few of my favorite things.

A few of my favorite things.

On January 14, I turned 43. This was officially my “New Year’s.” It was time to put 2014 behind me, and make a new life in Charlotte. I thought moving back to NC would be easy, but I quickly discovered that I needed my own connections, more friends than just my mom, step-dad and 12 year old nephew. I needed my life, I needed to find my tribe.

I’ve never been a fan of online dating sites. You have to weed through a lot of crap. It’s like shopping at TJ Maxx-you have to sort through the generic crap to find last season’s designer stuff. I’ll do this when I’m in the mood and have the time, but many times I don’t want to be bothered. I’d rather just go to Macy’s and pay full price and be done. However, I was faced with the dilemma of do I just sit at home, drink bottle after bottle of wine and then whine about how I have no life, no local friends or do I do something about it? I did something about it. On the night of my 43rd birthday, I loaded up on my favorite things: wine, Chick-fila and chocolate cake, then took the leap and logged on to OK Cupid.

My intentions were simple: get out of the house, meet people and maybe develop some friendships. I didn’t consider it dating. My criteria was fairly simple: a white man, 41-50 years old, Catholic, college-educated, and employed. This search yielded no more than 2o men. “Quality over quantity,” I reminded myself.  I browsed through the profiles and quickly assessed that quality, not just quantity may be an issue. But it didn’t matter, I thought, I wasn’t looking for the perfect guy, I was looking for my tribe, for people who wanted to hang out with me and give me a reason to get out of my pajamas each day (I work from home, so this one is hard sometimes).

Men are visual creatures, so I uploaded just a photo. No profile description, just my age.  I read profile after profile, and after a while they all start to sound the same and you just go to the photo. When you visit a profile on OKC, the other person gets a notification you visited their profile. “So what?”I mumbled with cake in my mouth (yes, I talk to myself), “I don’t have anything about myself up there, I’m just looking right now, when I’m ready to go hard at it, I’ll draft something witty and smart.” I  decided I wasn’t investing too much.

So as I was sitting there watching old episodes of Friends, sipping Chardonnay and eating birthday cake directly out of the box,  I got a message from Qua*&#uy37. I froze–this one was interesting–I had been triggered.

Stay tuned for more on how this simple message sparked My Project 43.

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2014: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I know I’m’ totally late on the end of year recap, but getting back to blogging after the year that was 2014 has been so overwhelming that I retreated and dodged the one activity that allows me to release and reset.

Everyone has pivotal life moments–marriage, divorce, kids, death, financial ruin, moves, accidents, whatever it is, we all have them. Mine was 2014.  Even now, I’m not sure I can adequately or even fully put into words what my 2014 was like, but what I can say is there was some good, a fair amount of bad and a lot of ugly.

The Good

  • Landed new job that after years of searching finally put me right where I wanted to be: internal and HR comms.
  • And with the new job came a wealth of benefits that four months later would become a life-saver.
  • I had one close relative, my cousin, Elayne, within an hour drive to DC. Prior to 2014, I had no relatives within a 300 mile radius. She would become “my person” and be at my side as I came out of surgery on that fateful day in late May.
  • Despite all my physical and emotional challenges of the year, I still managed to stay on track with my reading goals and I checked the GW Bush library off my bucket list.
  • #GermanyXmas2014. Thanks to my dear friend Jeri, I was treated to a cruise through Germany and the Christmas markets. It was a huge bright spot in the year, and was an early start to a better 2015.
  • Move back to NC. I’m still adjusting to life here, but so far its all good.

The Bad

  • Sold the condo I had lived in for nine years. Unfortunately, I had to cut my losses and write a check at settlement so I could move forward and put the DC chapter behind me.
  • I turned 42. Women’s fertility takes a nose dive at 42.  I had to grieve that loss.
  • I discovered my dear friend, Marsha, who was with me when I entered the church in 2005 had died. I still miss her.
  • I had to trade-in my beloved 5-speed, Fiat, Gio I for Gio II, an automatic because of my accident.  This one still hurts.

The Ugly

Most of you know the ugly, so no need to elaborate here. It’s quite simple: One event made for a lot of ugliness in 2014.

  • Got hit by car while running on Memorial Day and spent the next eight days at GW Hospital, and the next six months rehabbing.
  • After that day, the summer and early fall were just a fog of figuring out how to go to the bathroom, take a shower, feed myself, finding pants and skirts that fit over my Frankenstein boot, and getting from point A to point B on crutches with coffee in hand.  And eventually, I had to learn to walk on my leg again, which unlike Grey’s Anatomy took a lot longer than a few hour-long episodes. Yep, real life, real medical emergencies are nothing like Grey’s Anatomy!

There you have it–my 2014. In year’s past, I’ve summarized my year with a theme song. This year, I suppose the title that captures it best is “Bad Day” although I had to muster a lot of “Brave” to get through  2014.

 

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It’s Official, Summer 2014 is Over!

Summer is officially over–thank heavens! In the words of Queen Elizabeth II, the summer of 2014 “is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.”

Rather it was a summer full of immense pain, tears, anxiety, sleepless nights, surgeries, doctors, and therapists. My beloved season of summer had become my winter as I was resigned to hibernate so I, and yes, my leg could heal.


So on this first day of fall as the days are getting shorter, and the warmth of the sun that embraced me on Memorial Day 2014 is now, but a glimmer in the rear view mirror, my hibernation has come to an end. I am up, out of bed, off the sofa and yes, “walking” and ready to start a new season.

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Goodbye Little Mommy

little mommyTonight I ask, hug your kids, hold them close, and say thanks for the miracle bestowed upon you.  No matter how many teenage moms MTV promotes or  kids pop out of that Duggar woman in Arkansas, having a child is a miracle.

For me, reality has sunk in–it’s highly likely I will never be a parent, a mother. Yes, I believe in miracles, but I’m also grounded in reality, and my reality is that at my age I only have a 10% chance of having a child, and that’s if my Patrick Dempsey look-alike-boyfriend entered the scene today. With medical intervention it’s only 25%.

Enter, my silent grief.  Silent because I wonder if it’s even a valid grief, if I’m entitled to the pain of losing something I never had while others have lost children and suffered miscarriages.  Silent because in the hierarchy of society there’s little value placed on a 40-something, single, childless woman; we’re the bottom feeders of a social caste system that celebrates marriage, motherhood, and baby bumps. We’re the wallflowers at the high school prom who have nothing to offer society except taxes that fund schools of which we’ll never use. Heck, even teenage mothers get more societal love than the 40-year old childless single.

So I sit quietly by and watch those around me post pictures of their kids’ achievements and celebrations, announce pregnancies, wipe dirty faces, chase after that one missing shoe,  or even raise their voice to say, “if you do that one more time, I’ll…” and each time, I’m reminded that I will never know any of those things. And each time, I know this won’t be the last, that on some random day in the future, just when I think I’ve moved on and believe that my life is fine without kids of my own, a photo will show up on my Facebook feed,  a birth announcement made on a conference call, and I’ll be reminded all over again.  It’s a cycle that will continue for the rest of my life.

And while people will tell me that without kids I’ll  have the flexibility, the time, and the money to do what I want, I nod my head and say, “yes, I know.” And I really do know. I have the benefits of a no child life posted to a bulletin board and read them daily as some sort of positive affirmation. I replace visions of  birthday parties, graduations, recitals and little league games with visions of exotic travels, plastic surgery at 50 and a solid retirement fund so I can pay for someone to take care of me when I’m old. Yet, no matter how many trips to Fiji I take or units of Botox I inject, at my core, I know it’s all a consolation prize.

As a five-year old my favorite book was the Golden Book, “Little Mommy” –that’s what I wanted to be.  Goodbye Little Mommy.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wine, the Pope, Italy and the Church…Remembering Marsha

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Marsha and I at the Collseum in Rome

I took a sabbatical from my blog, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but what I did have to say was better left unsaid. But today was different, today, I needed to pay respect to my dear friend, Marsha, who I found out passed away a few months ago.

I met Marsha while I was living in Nashville, a time that I’ve come to refer as my working sabbatical from life. I don’t talk about my time in Nashville much. It was a dark time. I was working through a broken heart, an unintentional professional life and shattered dreams. I had come to Nashville to face the demons of my past, to exorcise them, and to start a new. Marsha became my new.

Marsha’s husband had recently died when we met in RCIA class at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville’s West End district. We shared broken hearts for losing “the one,” hers to death, mine to another woman, but through it all we found hope and comfort in the majesty and beauty of the Church. Every Thursday for seven months, from September to Easter Sunday, we shared in our learning of the Church, and at the Easter Vigil in 2005, we both entered into communion with the Church.

A week later, Pope John Paul II died, prompting a shared intrigue for experiencing up close and personal,  The Vatican, Saint Peter’s and yes, the new Pope.

Eight months and a move to DC later, Marsha and I met in Rome and enjoyed nine days touring Rome, Venice and Florence, and stood side-by-side in a crowd of pushy nuns to get a front row view of Pope Benedict. Ahhh…that was an angelic moment.

She loved wine almost more than I did and in Italy we shared countless bottles in our hotel room, and at various bistros across each city we visited. She shipped a case home and reserved one bottle for the following Easter to celebrate our one year anniversary into the Church. Unfortunately, flight delays and cancellations out of Dulles forced me to cancel my trip to Nashville that year. I didn’t know it at the time, but that cancellation not only prevented me from sharing a fantastic bottle of wine with a dear friend, it would prevent me from seeing her one last time.

Every Lenten and Easter season since 2005, I think of Marsha. Last March as the Church was voting on a new Pope, the Lord spoke to me and said, “write Marsha.” Marsha was on Facebook and had e-mail,  but He was clear, He said, to write. And so on a Wednesday night in early March, I pulled out a note card that I had created using my many photographs and took pen to paper and wrote Marsha a letter. I said to myself, “when was the last time you wrote a letter?” I couldn’t remember anything more than a sentence or two written inside a card.

Several weeks later, I opened my mailbox to find a letter from Marsha. The first line she wrote, “I was thrilled to get your letter.” She brought me up to date on all the happening’s in her life–grandchildren, boyfriends, break-ups and her plans for Easter. I thought, I need to go to Nashville next Easter. We need to finally have that bottle of wine.  I missed her.

Next Easter is almost here, but Marsha is not. I expect she’s having a much better bottle of wine in Heaven with God, Ed and PJP II, laughing while many of us, me included, have given up wine for Lent.

But come Easter Day, it’s all celebration. I’ll finally open the bottle of Chianti that I bought on that Italy trip which now sits in the recess of my cabinets for a “special day” and toast my dear friend Marsha.  There’s nothing more special than knowing that nine years after we entered the Church together, she’s Home.

 

 

 

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