My 5 cliches for 2015

I learned some big stuff about myself in 2014.

For example:

  • I am very bad at remembering to move my car on street cleaning days, much to the delight of towing companies everywhere.
  • Moving to a new city doesn’t automatically make one an online dating success.
  • I LOVE public transit – who’d a thunk it?
  • One can get tired of going to Fenway Park, especially when the Sox are having a rebuilding year.
  • I apparently can enjoy cooking in the right circumstance, which is just, well, weird.
  • And finally, I can run. If you’d asked me last New Year’s Eve if I would run nearly 3 miles on the NEXT New Year’s Eve, I would’ve laughed at you.

But that’s what I just did, and while I was doing it, a little boom went off in my brain.

Every year of my life, on New Year’s or thereabouts, I have vowed, like many, to make changes in my life. These vows are so common, they take on cliche status for me. That’s not to say they are bad, they are just not barnstorming-ly new. And sadly, most of these vows are never achieved.

But this year, I don’t want to change much. I want to continue what I’ve started, and improve. Those are very, very different words, and I’m finding them pretty damn powerful.

So, here are my 5 cliches for 2015.

1) Like most single people, I made it through the holidays (even adding a Christmas wedding to the mix) ***mostly*** intact. I had a couple of bad moments where I wanted to curl up in a ball and weep for my poor, spinster self, but more or less, I enjoyed the good cheer. However, in the most cliche-ish gesture of them all I came back home and promptly signed up for a new online dating site, which, I’m sure, will tantalize me with the thought of dates and then rudely remind me that I’m still the same me who hasn’t lit up the interwebs for the last 10 years of trying.

2) Cooking…I kind of dug it this year. I want to keep digging it. No fad diets, no new tricks, just me, trying to cook more and eat out less. Seems simple, right?

3) Travel – gotta do it. Despite a bunch of trips stateside this past year, the restless feeling is creeping up on me and I’ve a yen to get across that pond, or at least into a strange land in another time zone. Anyone wanna go to Ireland?

4) My dog, my Sadie – she continues to be my saving grace, a warm, welcoming presence who keeps me from spiraling into a sobby-single-vortex of self-doubt. I’m planning to get a new camera so I can take better photos of her, with a very, very loosely formed potential business idea behind it – we will see what comes of it. This is my “maybe I’ll start a new business” cliche, taken with a heavy grain of salt. I have two or three of these new ideas a year, just to be completely transparent, so no one get too excited.

5) And this one is just so kick-ass. I am not vowing to join a gym and take up running, because guess what?

I ALREADY DID.

So as we say goodbye to 2014, my few and faithful blog readers, I challenge you to give yourself a break in your 2015 vows. You don’t have to come up with some new big goal that will prove depressingly elusive. Look back over your year and see what worked. And then, figure out how to continue doing it. And maybe you’ll surprise yourself, as I have.

Much love to you all. I wish you many hugs, lots of long walks, and all sorts of good things and new discoveries to light you up and carry you through the year.

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The dark side of being a “supportive single”

I try for positive on this blog. I try to write things that put me in the best light. But this particular blog post has been bubbling in my head for a while now (surely the sign of a character flaw), and while I’m a little terrified to hit publish, I think I will, and then be revealed as a less than awesome human. This will, of course, magically cure of me of this character flaw, right?

This is a post for the supportive singles out there.  You know who you are – you are of a certain age, conquering life solo, and 80-90% of the time, are totally good with it. Sure, you have the occasional meltdown when someone mentions that you really should think about having kids sometime soon if you don’t want to “miss your window” (thanks! I never would have known that if you hadn’t told me!) but overall, you’ve learned to be happy by yourself, with yourself, and for yourself. And you have fought hard to train yourself that, when your coupled friends express joy or frustration in their coupledom, the correct, decent, and human response is “So happy for you!” or “Oh, geez, that’s tough.”

At no point do you ever, EVER say, when your fellow supportive single has at last found love: “Oh great. One less person who gets it.” Nor, when a coupled friend laments his/her significant other’s flaws, do you say “Oh yeah? Well, be grateful you have someone to share you life with.” Because saying those things would make you a jerk.

You never say such things. But I’m betting you think them occasionally.

And then promptly hate yourself for it. I know I do.

So what to do? I don’t know. Like most things, being a good and decent human is not a zero sum game. It’s a work in progress. So I guess we just keep trying. And hopefully realize that there are others like us out there, and hope that, when we are no longer supportive singles, the ones left behind will be genuinely, honestly happy (or sad) for us, as appropriate. Because at our core, we do care. It’s just sometimes hard to remember that.

The Radical Notion of Being OK

Here’s the thing about living alone for most of your life (Or in my case, living without another human. Sadie would dispute that I live alone).

One day, you’re going to be coming back from a dog park/shopping trip. It’s going to be a rainy spring night in Boston. You’re going to be expertly juggling your bag, keys, groceries and leashed dog, and still have a hand available to shut the trunk and lock the car. You’re going to be reflecting that you wish the cute guy with the friendly mixed pooch had been on his way IN to the park instead of out. You’re going to be pondering that it’s weird that you are looking forward to spending a night in your kitchen, cooking caramelized brussels sprouts and making salsa. You are laughing in your head imagining your friends saying “Who are you and what have you done with take-out queen Jodi?”  You’re going to find your way through the double-locked front doors, balancing keys and everything else, and watch your dog bound up the stairs, sniffing at each door and looking back at you as if to say “This one? Is this ours?”

You’re going to remember being one of a few souls who noticed that it was sunny AND raining at the T-stop earlier, and looked up from your phone to search for a rainbow. And you will definitely remember finding not one but two, and being pretty damn proud of yourself for noticing.

You’re going to consider that next week, you will be reunited with your college roommates, who are all married with kids or planning a wedding, and you are pretty sure they won’t have changed enough to make you feel weird for being single. You’re going to realize that all you have planned this weekend is a trip to an Irish pub with friends, and otherwise, you’re on your own, to do whatever. Whatever will probably include long walks in the spring sun with your dog, laundry and the never-ending cycle of cleaning your apartment, and perhaps a trip to IKEA, but here’s the thing.

It’s up to you. You get to decide. You will do it all on your own.

And while your knee-jerk, defensive reaction is qualify every such statement about such things with “of course it would be nice to have someone to help me carry the groceries or chat with when I get home” you realize, in a sweet, sparkly moment of clarity, that you are 100% OK with all of it. In fact, you have a s#!&-eating grin on your face because you are really looking forward to the weekend…and the one after that.

If you are single, and living alone in a day and age when that’s not “the norm”, I hope you get to experience such a moment. I really, really hope you do. It feels wonderful. It feels strong. It feels powerful. It may be fleeting, or it may not be, but either way, it’s a revelation.

It’s that moment when you realize that YOU are enough.

Oh, right, sorry, Sadie. When you and your loyal pooch are enough. 🙂

Jodi and Sadie at the Arboretum

Confessions of a new aunt: SOS

My beautiful niece Claire was born this past Saturday.

‘Scuse me while I go squeal and jump up and down like a little girl.

Ok, I’m back.

I am over the moon with excitement and joy for my brother and his wife and our family; it’s quite simply the awesomest. thing. ever. Thank goodness for technology; because of it, I’ve been able to see video of Claire, and even face-time with her on a sunny day while sitting at a coffee shop. She’s heard my voice, and I live thousands of miles away. That is amazing.

The only thing marring this experience for me (well, other than the whole being thousands of miles away thing) is this lingering feeling that some folks out there…”they”… might be judging me because I am an SOS – single older sister. You know, the one who’s not getting any younger. The one who, if I got pregnant tomorrow, would be labeled as a “geriatric pregnancy”.

Don’t worry, I have no plans to get pregnant tomorrow.

“They” are the ones who, when I say that it’s my younger brother who’s made me an aunt, can’t quite hide the dismay in their eyes as they glance at my empty ring finger and do the math. I can practically hear the “oh, bless your heart”.

This doesn’t happen often, but when it does…grrrr…it’s like fingers on a chalkboard. I’m not a fan. I don’t want, need or deserve anyone’s pity. I work damn hard to build a life of meaning in a society that is obsessed with couples and kids, and I like the life I’ve built. I do not feel “lesser” because I don’t have children. There are times when I indulge in a little self-pity because I don’t have a man to unscrew lids for me, but I kick those thoughts to the curb where they belong, because they are selfish. I am blessed. I have a great life. Is it perfect? No. Nothing is perfect.

But imperfect doesn’t mean unhappy.

I realize that psychologically speaking, my need to proclaim thusly probably indicates that I have more insecurities about this stuff than I admit, and I acknowledge that.  Blog = cheap therapy, remember? And yes, I know, I shouldn’t care if others are judging me, but we all know that is easier said than done.

So here it is, on the record, because when you read it on the interwebs, it’s totally true, right? In this case, it is.

I am happy and not the least bit jealous or sad that I’m an aunt and an SOS. For at least the next decade, hopefully longer, Claire won’t care about my SOS status. Neither should anyone else.

There. I said it, and now I can go back to being the best aunt in the world. Bring it.

photo credit: ladybugbkt via photopin cc