the ups and downs of life


There are times when I wonder if it is too late to dream. I read the inspirational quotes. I push through and keep hoping it’s not too late. Is it?

There are so many things I wanted to be and do by this point in life. It’s frustrating when I allow myself to think about those things. I try not to. I try to stay focused. I push forward with dreams that may or may not come true. I am working toward things that so many say is a great concept and really workable. But I just don’t know.

I look at my past dreams and they didn’t work. In fact, they’re quite fucked up. They’ve led me to this point where I am now. I get frustrated because while I have friends, I don’t have someone to lean on with this indecisiveness.

While I wonder about all these dreams, I keep dreaming. Why? I am terrified. What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if I can’t do it? What if I need help? All of these questions.

Do I stop dreaming? No. It’s who I am. I dream even when I shouldn’t. I hold onto hope when there’s none. Maybe that’s been how I have survived life. I don’t know. All I know is that I will continue to be a dreamer.

The List

Ladies, you know what list I am talking about. The one you started when you were a teenager. The list of must-haves in a mate.

Have you checked your list lately? I have. It made me laugh. It almost made me cry. So long ago I had so many opinions and ideals about adulthood and relationships. I was so young and foolish. I was na├»ve and unjaded. Today I am not so innocent and I hate to say that I am jaded but I am more…experienced. Yes. I have enough life experience that I realize the absolute absurdity of some of my previous thoughts and feelings on life, love and adulthood.

My old list is enough to make anyone roll their eyes. There was the “must-haves” and then the “would like to have” things. I wanted a tall, blond man with blue eyes who was handsome; smart; funny; exciting; sexy; great kisser; understanding; loved dogs; wanted kids; loved family; loved music, dancing and movies; must have a fabulous job; must treat me like a princess; would like if we both liked the same football teams; would like if we both liked some of the same hobbies; would like if he had siblings since I had none.

Some of those things I still like. I still like tall men with blue eyes. I have moved on to liking them with or without hair. As you get older, hair goes and you learn bald can be sexy. I still want a good kisser because if he can’t kiss me well then he probably can’t do other things well either.

I still like smart and funny men but the way they’re funny and smart has changed. I grew up in a city of rocket scientists. I was a little spoiled. Smart men. Through my years of living, I have learned that intelligence comes in a variety of ways. Some men can be book-smart but not have a bit of common sense. If I had my druthers, I would love to have a man with both. But I will now take common sense over book smarts. Why? Because sometimes people with book smarts don’t have the intelligence to come in out of the rain. Or they’re so bogged down with the way things should be that they forget that life is to be lived and it doesn’t always follow an algorithm. Sometimes you have to just go with the flow. Life happens.

I need a man with a sense of humor because life is way too serious. When I was younger, I could handle all kinds of humor. As I have gotten older, I can’t. I just can’t. I cannot handle slapstick humor that is childish. I will stop talking to someone in 2 seconds flat because of that. It annoys me. And frankly, there are too many other things in life to be annoyed by. I won’t let that be one of them.

The rest of my list, though? Well, it’s kind of up in the air. At this age I am not looking at having kids so that’s a no-go. I wouldn’t mind someone with kids, though. I don’t need or even want someone “exciting” anymore. There was an element of danger that I associated with that when I was younger. I don’t crave danger now. Now I want stability.

I would like someone who likes movies and music. I am kind of a junkie. But that’s a negotiable. I do want someone who has a job. It doesn’t have to be fabulous, wonderful, exciting or anything like that. It needs to pay the bills. I’m not looking for a sugar daddy but I’m certainly not giving my money away either. Unfortunately I have been there and done that like an idiot.

I would like if he liked football. But I would prefer that he didn’t live it. Living in the state of Alabama, that’s a difficult thing. Football is a way of life. That’s a negotiable, though. But I am going to watch football whether he does or not. I once stopped seeing someone because he told me that watching the Iron Bowl was stupid and that I was dumb for wanting to watch it. Them’s fighting words. Actually, it was more like going through my contacts and deleting his number. But you see what I mean?

Whoever enters my life must tolerate cats and at least pretend to like mine. Sorry, that’s a non-negotiable. They’ve been in my life for 11 years and they’re better to me than most humans. They’ve given me sympathy when I have cried my heart out and I didn’t have anyone else to turn to.

I would like some common and uncommon interests. I have been alone so long that I have learned to do my own thing. I really don’t need or want a clingy ass man. Go fishing or something! I have things to do. I will gladly do things with you, but I can’t 24/7. I have dated a few who have tried that calling, texting, constant together thing. No thanks.

Treating me like a princess? Hmmm…well that’s nice from time to time. I mean, who doesn’t like a little extra pampering? I don’t need it all the time, though. I honestly don’t know that I would know how to act if that happened. What I need is for someone to be beside me through things when they’re good or bad. I don’t need a runner. I need a real man who can handle whatever life throws at us. I don’t need to be handled with kid gloves. I am not delicate like a flower. I am delicate like a bomb.

I believe that my list has matured. Life is no longer so superficial. It is more multi-faceted. There’s so many things that could happen in life that I never thought about when I was younger. Now I think about those things and I don’t get scared, but I get concerned. I don’t want to face this life alone, but I don’t want to settle either. I am working to find the balance for that. There’s a fine line. And that line often feels like a tight rope that I am walking daily.

So, ladies, if you haven’t checked your list lately, think about it. It’s an interesting way to see how far you have come. It’s also a way to gauge whether you need to adjust your expectations.

How To Be A Man From A Woman’s Perspective

It’s one thing to be a male. It’s another thing to be a man. All it takes to be a male is DNA. But to be a man there are so many factors. There are so many things that a man does that makes him a real man that women respect.

One thing I think is crucial for a man is honesty. Be honest about who you are as a person. Be honest with your intentions. Be honest about your thoughts and feelings. I think this is one of the biggest problems men and women have. Sometimes men want to avoid conflict so they either act agreeable or they are complicit by saying nothing at all. Sometimes they just point-blank lie.

This is what leads women to be so distrustful. This is why women are so wary of all men. They have trust issues because so many men do this. Don’t get me wrong. Not all do it. No. But a lot do. I have seen it many times. If a male can’t be honest with how he feels in whatever relationship he is in, he needs to get out and do it with honor and dignity. He shouldn’t do himself and the person he is with the disservice of treating them both with disrespect. Show the respect of being honest. Yes, it may lead to conflict to begin with. But a moment of conflict is worth a lifetime of happiness.

Another thing critical to being a man is sensitivity. You don’t have to be a crybaby, but have sympathy and empathy for others. You may not do what others do in a situation but having some compassion goes a long way. Personally, I admire men who may not agree with something but view the person dealing with the situation as just a human going through something. Many of us bring our own problem’s upon ourselves. That doesn’t mean we don’t deserve some understanding as we try to pull ourselves out of it.

I love when a man can talk about differing views without arguing. I love sharing ideas. But I have had some men in my life who felt the need to try to dominate a conversation by overspeaking and yelling at me to get their point across. I am not stupid, nor am I deaf. If you would like to get a point across to me, it is much more likely to be considered in a civil discussion rather than in a confrontational way. I don’t mind listening to different views. I actually like to hear why people believe the way they do. I may or may not change my view, but I will listen.

Be kind just for the sake of being kind. Do it with no expectations. While that seems so natural for most people, it is not for many. When a woman sees a man do something kind for anyone just because it is the good or right thing to do, it does something to our hearts. Personally, I have felt mine almost melt seeing someone do something kind because it was good. For instance, last winter my neighbor’s boyfriend shoveled my porch for me when it snowed so bad. It scored points for him with me and made me less likely to complain about him being over there so much playing loud music. And it scored points with her because she got to see a caring side of him. But the thing is, he honestly did it because he just felt like it was what he should do.

Not many people enjoy true conflict. A little argument here or there can be stimulating, but fighting is another thing. If you know you are at odds with someone, don’t just run from the problem. Face it. Respectfully and honestly. You deserve that and so does the other party.

Recently I had a differing view than someone in my life. Rather than trying to discuss it with me, he gave me the silent treatment. All that did was make me angry and want to say all kinds of horrible things that may or may not have been true. After a long period of silence, I had enough. I didn’t want to argue and I was unhappy with the disrespect. I sent a text message and told him that throughout everything I had tried to see his POV but I could no longer and would no longer try. I sent the message and, of course, didn’t hear back. That wasn’t my expectation at all. I felt like saying what was on my mind respectfully and ending the relationship completely. It’s not so hard.

Finally, while we are in an age of political correctness, it is still ok by most women for a man to be a gentleman. Open a door. That’s always nice. You don’t have to pay for everything. If you’re dating someone, see how she feels about it. There’s no harm in discussing that. Some women appreciate it. Some don’t. But you can still be a gentleman. Be courteous. Use your manners. If your Mama didn’t teach you these things, find a Southern Mama and she will help.

I know it’s hard to navigate how to behave in today’s society. Women have the same issues. Believe me! I am struggling with how much Amy is too much Amy. But the bottom line is don’t be an asshole. At least not on purpose.

Valentine’s Surreality

They say that truth is stranger than fiction. It really is. I never knew how strange until 2/14/19. But shit got pretty strange.

I have never really loved Valentine’s Day. The majority of mine were spent alone. The ones that I was with someone weren’t always Hallmark moments. In fact, they were quite the opposite. But this year I had hopes for something different. I had been seeing someone for a brief time who seemed really nice. He seemed like a gentleman.

I worked on 2/14/19. I had a very busy day. One of the men from shipping brought something up to my desk and told me to open it. It was from one of those 1-800 gift places. I opened it and it was this sweet gift from the man I had been seeing. Very nice. I was feeling a little more comfortable with the day. He sent me something. He must like me, right? Of course!

The day goes on and I go home and clean house a little and anticipate him coming over for dinner. He texts that he is on the way and I fire up the grill. I planned to grill steak. He’s a guys-guy and loves steak. I see him pull up and go to the door and have it open and am ready for a hug and a kiss. I get a weird hug. Something was off. I said something and he was surprised I sensed anything. I asked, “Aren’t you going to kiss me?” He said, “You might not want to kiss me after I tell you something.” Immediately my alarms started going off. The ghosts of Valentine’s past start haunting me. I am tense and alert.

I asked, “What’s wrong?” I didn’t want to know. I have been through so many bad relationship scenarios that I wasn’t liking how this felt. “I was offered a position in Colorado starting in July and I took it.” I felt as if I had been hit over the head. “What?” I asked. “A job came up in Colorado last week and I put in for it. I found out today that it came through. I told my daughter and she’s thrilled.” Side note, his college-aged daughter lives in Colorado.

I said, “OK. Last week? And you’re telling me today? On Valentine’s Day? Really?” He said, “I just found out today.” I was eerily calm and said, “So you thought the perfect timing was to tell me about all this on Valentine’s? Great.” He was sitting at the table uncomfortably and said, “I didn’t feel right not telling you. I just couldn’t keep it in.” I just stood there for a moment and then said, “Excuse me. I’ll be right back.” I walked into the living room and paced for a moment because I didn’t know what to do. I was stunned. This man had been talking about us going on a trip soon. He was talking about us doing things in the spring recently. Now he is telling me he is moving.

I walked back into the kitchen and got a beer from the fridge. I guzzled it. Next I looked at him and burst out laughing. I realized my life was the unglamorous, Southern version of Sex and the City. I was Carrie. He was Berger. We just needed a Post-It. Where’s a fucking prop when you need it?! He looked at me as if I lost my mind. Maybe I had. I told him, “You should have written it on a Post-It and it would have been perfect.” He asked, “What?” “Sex and the City. Carrie and Berger. He broke up with her on a Post-It.” He didn’t seem amused at all. I was very amused. I had to be. My pathetic life was laughable. And I laughed through the shock.

He said, “I don’t know what to say.” I said, “I don’t guess there’s much to say.” I laughed again. “Why are you laughing?” I finally was able to spit it out. “My Valentine’s streak is still good! I thought the curse was broken but no! It’s not! I thought this was going to be a good one. Nope! My first really bad Valentine’s was when I was married and he pretended he forgot Valentine’s. I questioned him about it. He said he forgot. He didn’t. He finally blurted out angrily at me that I didn’t deserve anything for Valentine’s Day. My next bad one was when I was at my boyfriend’s house and his roommate yelled at me and wouldn’t stop and my boyfriend did nothing. After waiting for him to say something, I said something and then went home. The next day I received a text message breaking up. And now this year when I think things might be better on Valentine’s Day, you pull this shit.” I laughed hollowly while shaking my head. I took another drink and said, “I really know how to do Valentine’s Day, don’t I?” He looked as if I hit him and said, “Why aren’t you yelling at me?” I shrugged and asked him, “What good would that do?”

I told him to take his Valentine I got for him with him and he wouldn’t even open it. I told him that I had bought it with care. The look of guilt was priceless. Maybe he wanted me to feel bad for him? I didn’t.

I wasn’t in love with him. I enjoyed his company. But it certainly wasn’t a love connection. But it was comfortable. And as I get older I am looking for comfort as well as love. Maybe I am just not meant for either. Maybe I am destined to be alone. I honest to God don’t know.

The only thing this situation gave me is something to write about. And I did tell him this would make for great writing. I mean, who could make this shit up?

Valentine’s Pressure

It is awful how much pressure we put on ourselves at Valentine’s. If we’re single, we seem to be unhappy that we don’t have that special someone in our lives. If we’re in a relationship, it is either not a good one, we’re trying to get out of it or we don’t know what to get for them.

So much pressure for one single day! I know I am writing about it, but I have felt that pressure myself. I have been on both sides of the fence. I have been unhappy not being in a relationship or been in a relationship I wanted out of.

I think that we should just take it for what it is. It’s another date on the calendar. We should show the people we love that we love them year round rather than trying to dream up some elaborate bullshit so that it looks good on just one day. We shouldn’t pin our hopes for love on one specific day. If we do that, we’re going to be sorely disappointed.

My suggestion is to appreciate your loved ones all the time. You can make special efforts on Valentine’s Day, of course. But why place so much expectation on it? Why not just make it a lighthearted day? If you celebrate with lightheartedness, fun and yes, even love, you’ll have a more enjoyable day. Take the pressure and expectation off. Take it for what it is.

Love doesn’t have to be a loud announcement. It can be a quiet presence that is more meaningful.

Whatever you do, I wish you true joy and love through this whole year. I hope you don’t take the people in your life for granted. I hope you love yourself for every wonderful thing that makes you you.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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