I’m a Cow

Have you ever been traveling down a country road and have seen a cow on the wrong side of a perfectly sound fence? Kind of standing there going, WTF? I am that cow, now.

An Effort to Evolve

It is oft said that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. What we don’t have, we are curious about, what we aren’t, we wonder about being. Many of my single friends long to be on the “in a relationship” side of the fence, while many of my “in a relationship” friends ponder thoughts of the single life.

I’ve never been on this side of the fence for long, the single side. I’ve always, somehow, sort of sprinted through this pasture, in the past. Perhaps I was afraid of the bull, but, for whatever reason, I’ve never hung out long enough to appreciate it. Here I am. Though, admittedly, I haven’t been here for very long, and it wasn’t by choice, I was just walking along the fence, and suddenly, I got pushed through. I’ll admit, I’ve always kind of been curious about life on this side of the fence; I’ve always been a fan of “Sex and the City” and the antics of Samantha Jones and Carrie Bradshaw, imagined I could, perhaps, be more like them if the opportunity presented itself. That really isn’t my style, though, and certainly is not my goal or my intent. But it is without a doubt, for me, an opportunity to grow, to learn, to evolve. Here I am, and I’ll make the most of it. It’s like Ireland! I know there is lots of green grass there, and I’ve always wanted to go there, it isn’t at the top of my list of vacation destinations, but definitely on the list. I wouldn’t mind a visit, even an extended tour, a summer, perhaps. But, never, have I considered buying a house and living in Ireland, forever.

An Effort to Evolve

But here I am. A cow. On the other side of the fence, in a whole new pasture. In Ireland. Not literally, of course, in a proverbial sense. And now that the shock has worn off, I’m looking around and it isn’t all that bad. There is green grass and I am making the most of it. I’m meeting people and fostering new friendships out of which, well, who knows? I’m not frantically looking for a way back over the fence, I am taking in the sites, enjoying the scenery, and just living in the moment. After all, I’m not really in control; I may have some goals, I may even have some influence, but, ultimately, my trip through this pasture is a journey of faith, or fate, or, maybe, both.

An Effort to Evolve

Why are some people chronically, perpetually, single, when they really, really don’t want to be? And why are others of us always entwined, in some cases simply for the state of entanglement and not because of love? Do we find ourselves stuck on one side of the fence, or the other, because of habit? Or fear? Or because getting to the other side requires some effort and perseverance? And possible pain.

My mom was shocked to find out my relationship had ended. She is a worrier. She worried the whole time I was married. She worried when I separated from my husband and, so joyously, lived alone. She worried the whole while I was in my last relationship. Now, again, she is worried that I am not in a relationship. She said, the other day, with tears threatening, as I headed out to meet with one of my new friends on this side of the fence, “I don’t want you to get hurt.” My response was, “so I should stay home and do nothing and meet no one for fear of being hurt?” I’m so not that type of person. She followed up with, “I don’t want you to grow old alone.” Which, to me, contradicted the statement she made ten seconds earlier. I tried to explain it the way I see it, in order to find someone to grow old(er) with, I may have to get hurt. There are, as evidenced, no guarantees. I’m not going to sit in a recliner, in front of TV, clutching a remote, waiting for someone to knock on the door who will love me forever. Because, it doesn’t work that way. How could it?

But, on the other hand, what of those folks who work so very, very, very hard at finding someone. Dating sights, blind dates, speed dating, and set ups, and all without results. There are never guarantees that the investment we make, in the dating scene, will pay off. Is it possible to try too hard? Or is it more a matter, like a quest for happiness, that focusing so intently on the result, we miss much of the journey, and it is in the journey that we are most likely to find what we seek? I think so. Stroll through the pasture, enjoy the green grass. We, first, must journey, and second, must find joy in that journey.

An Effort to Evolve

I think there is also a component of, what a co-worker of mine would say is “a you problem”.

Are we looking to someone else to fill the voids in our lives? Or are we complete and happy with who we are and just want to share our joy with someone else? There, I believe, we are to find better success. We must first love ourselves in order to be lovable. Truth. No one can “make” us happy, no one can “make” us content, no one can “bring” us joy. These are things we are one hundred percent responsible to ourselves for, and to share those gifts, then, I think, becomes more probable. We must be accountable to ourselves for our own happiness, and success, first, before we can expect anyone to be attracted. We can’t date happiness, or date success, and expect to become it. Nor can we make someone who isn’t happy and successful, happy and successful. Happiness and success are individual, however you define it, and will always thrive in similar company.

Whichever side of the fence you are on, currently, the point is, to find peace with where you are, with what you have, and with who you are. If you find yourself on the other side of the proverbial fence, again, find peace with it, with what you have, and with who you are. It is with self-esteem and confidence, acceptance, awareness, gratitude and forgiveness, that we are more able to scale the heights of the fences we may wish to cross. To run headlong into the fence repeatedly, wondering why it won’t give, is not only fruitless, but damaging. In other words, the grass is as green as you make it, on both sides of the fence. That’s why when you see a cow on the wrong side of a perfectly sound fence, it will only look bewildered momentarily, before it sets to grazing contentedly.

An Effort to Evolve

I am that cow. Is this Ireland? It’s so green!




Swipe Left

Life evolves, sometimes in ways you, perhaps, sort of expected, but certainly didn’t want. I am officially “single”. I got the “I love you but I’m not in love with you” break up line. I can’t argue with that, partly because I’m not even really clear what it means. It sounds like an excuse, but I don’t know, and if it is an excuse, then there is a real reason he doesn’t want to share, so, it’s not in my control. After some tears, some thought, and a little bit of a pity party, I decided I’d tell myself what I’d tell any friend going through the same thing; change happens, change is good, change causes growth, so evolve.

I’ve never really been “single” before. Really. I’ve always seemed to move from one relationship to another, from junior high school on, with only brief lapses in between. The only time I was not in a relationship for a period was for the first couple of years after leaving my husband. But a persistent friend become the love of my life, who, last week, told me he loved me but was no longer IN love with me. Partly because I’m seeking distraction, and because this whole “single” thing is a novel circumstance, I’ve decided to embrace my newfound status and to experience it fully. I’m not necessarily looking for love or marriage and definitely not hook-ups, but I am looking for new friends, interesting people to do interesting things with, and if, after some time, friendship evolves into something more, great. I believe in love, I believe in lasting love, and I may be so naïve as to believe in soulmates, and none of those things will ever find me sitting at home moping around.

I have lots of single lady friends. Some have profiles on online dating sites, others do not. I always thought it sounded dreadful and I’m not quite ready for all that business. My son and his friends have played around with a smartphone app called “Tinder”, and one of my very happily single friends swears it’s a ton of fun for meeting people, whether for dating, or friendship, or, probably in her case, especially, hook-ups. I’m always “app-curious”, so, I have downloaded it, installed it, logged on and am thoroughly enjoying it! Holy crap!

The way it all works; you set up some parameters, called “discovery preferences”, which consist of age ranges, gender preferences, and distances you are willing to consider in a “match”. Your pictures come over from your Facebook profile and you can edit, reorganize, reorder and even add or delete them as you see fit. You write a bit about yourself in the (limited) space provided. It takes a lot of space for me to express myself, especially on the topic of “myself”. I managed.

The next step is to hit the little “flame” icon, at which point you are presented with a picture of a person with a first name and an age. Beneath that is an orange “X” and a green heart. Also a little “i” for more information. No one uses the little “i” for more information, or the orange “X”. If you want to see more information, you “swipe right”, at which point you can see additional pictures, if available, and read anything they may have posted. If you don’t wish to proceed beyond the initial photo, you “swipe left”, which dismisses, forever, that person as a potential “match”. If you like what you see, you tap the little green heart. Meanwhile, other people are looking at your profile and are either swiping left, or right, and maybe even hitting the little green heart. If you have tapped each other’s little green heart, you are a “match” and you’re both sent a notification screen with your profile pictures, side by side, and a banner reading “It’s a Match!”. You’re supposed to begin an in application text conversation shortly thereafter. That’s how it all works. It’s quite fun, and a real ego boost, let me tell you. I have to keep my phone plugged in at all times because it keeps buzzing and vibrating and chiming for new matches and new messages. I may have to quit my job just to manage all of this! In twenty-four hours, I have twenty-six matches and twenty some ongoing conversations with men who’s little green heart I tapped! So, yah, men I thought were good looking and who actually wrote something, using fairly good speech, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Or who hired someone else to write their one paragraph bio. Either way, an effort was made and I was duly impressed enough to tap his little green heart!

An Effort to Evolve

I have definitely swiped left, more than right, though. Again, I’m not desperate, just exploring this great big, new, world called “single”. On occasion, I have swiped left, intending to swipe right, and, as far as I know, there is no way to undo that action. So sad, a little green heart, potentially, lost and gone, forever. I have always had a propensity for getting rights and lefts mixed up when acting hastily, or after a glass of wine. When asked for directions, I will often use my right and left hand in narration, and sometimes even turn myself right or left, as I envision the directions I’m giving. Just to be certain I don’t misdirect anyone!

An Effort to Evolve

So, I’m not really here to talk about my status, or break ups, or single life, or my ego, or little green hearts. I’m here to talk about “swiping left”. What if we were able to look objectively at things in our life and either swipe right to keep them, or swipe left to make them go away forever? Wouldn’t that be cool? “I’m not happy with my current job”. Swipe left. “I’m unhappy with my poor health”. Swipe left. “I am uncomfortably overweight and I know it’s going to impact my long term health, longevity and quality of life”. Swipe left. “I’m dissatisfied with my financial situation”. Swipe left. “My relationship isn’t as fulfilling as it once was”. Swipe left.

We DO have that power, the power to “swipe left” and make things that aren’t working for us change. Okay, truth, the result isn’t as immediate as on the Tinder app, but the action is. The first step in making the changes in your life you desire is the decision to do so. There! That’s your “swipe left”! When you take a moment to look objectively at your life, versus your dreams, hopes, and desires, identify those things you want to change and make the decision to do something about it and, more importantly, make the decision to begin immediately! Swipe left! Swipe right! Little green heart!


An Effort to Evolve