About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Back to the Future

Well, an interesting twist occurred last weekend.  I heard from yet another long lost ex-boyfriend from my past.  Lately I feel like Michael J Fox getting into the DeLorean and heading back in time! Woosh! As soon as I heard his voice last Saturday, I was 15 again.
Has anyone seen Marty?
 Thanks to social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, I've now reconnected with every single serious boyfriend I've ever had in my life.

Is this a good thing?  Yes.  Why?  Because there are no more what if questions.

Last week, I spoke with BT for four hours.  We laughed.  We caught up on each other's lives.  He'd been the first guy I ever went on a "real" date with...we held hands...ooo...I remember the rush of hormones and the blush of first love.  It was cute. Oh the memories...
Ignore my hair--it was the 80s!
I'll say this:  I've had good taste in men over my lifetime.  All are still good looking.  All are successful.  And all sought me out now that they're in their 40s...mid life crisis?  Am I the one that got away?!  God, no, I'm sure not.  Definitely NOT.  LOL  It's all simply fun...a completion of the circle.

Maybe Facebook isn't the black hole of humanity, after all. (jury's still out...) 

I admit I'm more sentimental than some people and I've thought about each of them from time to time.  Perhaps it will be a song that triggers a memory or a random conversation about high school or college.  Usually when I think of them, I smile and shake my head over the trouble we'd get ourselves into...and out of.

These boys who are now men shaped my current expectations actually.  Like I said, I had good taste.  They were all good looking, smart, driven, funny, kind and amazing human beings.  Perhaps the reason they've all drifted back into my awareness in a casual way is to remind me not to settle for less than that.    

My Sean
Someone asked me if I look at any of them as the "ones who got away".  Maybe I once did--long ago--but the truth is that we all travel the paths we are meant to go.  They all had other loves--greater loves, significant loves--women who shaped their lives and brought them joy..and, in some cases, still do.  Some are married--one is also a widower--with families, successful careers and lives much different than the one I lead.

And I had Sean--I wouldn't trade my marriage or my late husband for anything.

We all lived our lives as we intended with some detours along the way.  Hundreds of miles and decades of life experience separate us now. We aren't the same people we once were, yet it's amazing how we can still connect on a level that's often challenging to do with someone new.  Ex-boyfriend or old friend alike--there's simply something special about reconnecting with people who "knew me when".

When speaking with BT the other day, I couldn't believe we hadn't seen or spoken to each other in decades because we instantly started laughing and talking like we were the closest of friends.  He lit me up...still...after all these years.  Do you know how precious that is to find in a friend?

I don't believe in coincidence, never have, as I've mentioned many times in this blog.  Right now I've been having some issues (uh-hem) in the dating world.  I've encountered men who have been sub-par compared to these men from my past.  Since dating again, I've compromised on certain "criteria", for lack of a better word, because of my age, my perceived baggage or scars, or simply loneliness that comes from time to time.  That's wrong.  I don't need to settle for less than what I've had--ever. That's what reconnecting with the exes has done for me...reminded me that the bar is indeed high.

I've shared some of my dating snafus with my exes--who assure me that it's not me, it IS the men I've been meeting.  Ha!  It's always good to know who has my back, even after all these years.

So--BT, JB, WL--thank you for reconnecting out of the blue,  thank you for being the brilliant boys that you were, thank you for being so much fun that I smile whenever I think of you and thank you for reminding me that I deserve nothing less in the here and now.

Monday, February 18, 2013

No guarantees, no promises


It's official:  I'm done dating.  Over. It.  

Does this mean that I've given up on love?  No.  I'll always be a hopeless romantic, but I'm not going to go out of my way to be hurt anymore.  I simply don't have the time for it.  

You see, I was out of the dating loop until about a year and a half ago.  During that time, I've met a widower who couldn't stop crying over his late wife (now is dating his "niece"...not biological but...whatever), a fraud who told me I didn't understand "dating rules" (because I was questioning his stories that didn't quite add up to reality), a millionaire who thought his money could excuse his asshole behavior and that I'd put up and shut up to be at his beck and call (um, yeah, that's not ever happening in my lifetime) and a really great guy via an online dating site who said how physical fitness is extremely important to him and simply stopped calling. (I'm not a size 0, but I'm not a Biggest Loser contestant either).  

I'm worn out.  

For each of these guys, I gave it my best shot.  I brought my A-game.  Maybe I don't understand dating in today's world because I am very confused. 

When I say "let's meet up, hang out, play pool and listen to music", I seriously mean, "let's meet up, hang out, play pool and listen to music." There is no hidden agenda.  The guy isn't going to end up roofied, stuffed in my trunk and married to me in Vegas the next day.  I really don't have that kind of energy.  Yet, from this social experiment in dating that I've done, I realize that men are always thinking about what women "really mean."  Well, I don't play that way.  I say what I mean, mean what I say, walk the talk, and whatever else means that I am authentic.  

I love men.  I do.  I don't have any bitterness over my first marriage.  I loved my late husband with an intensity to rival all great love stories.  In my mind, he set the bar high. 

But was it simply easier to date in my 20s than 40s?  

Maybe.  

In my 20s, men didn't seem to have as many hang ups as they do now that they are older and have been hurt.  In my 20s, I was HOT...now I'm pretty with an average body type (size 10).  In my 20s, when I asked a guy to hang out with my friends it wasn't seen as a prelude to marriage.  We all hung out.  All of the time.  In my 20s, everyone was light hearted--at least the people I knew. 

It wasn't superficial--it was simple.  Easy.

Over 40, we've all lived a little.  We have some mileage on us.  Our hearts have been broken. Some of our ideals have been challenged if not dashed.  We know sorrow.  We have careers, kids, LIVES that are bigger than us and often complicated. 

But, as an over 40 year old, I'm still open minded, light-hearted, loving, fun, adventurous and smart.  Some things never change...but other things...superficial things...do. 

Some of these men I've met are so heartbroken that the feeling is tangible when I'm next to them.  They tell me that they don't want to date a few years only to be disappointed and have to start over again.  And again. And again.  I get what they're saying, but can't relate.

Perhaps, as a widow, I have a different perspective.  I know that life offers no guarantees or promises.  All we have is now.  Happily ever after is built one day at a time.  

That's why I don't play games.  I don't have time to waste either...but I'm also not looking for a guarantee.  I'm not a speed dater or a one night stand.  I am a serial monogamist, but perhaps solo is the way for me until I meet a guy who's man enough to take me as I am, who believes in possibilities, who has been shaped by life but not broken by it and who knows how to laugh (is that an outdated notion...FUN?)

Shakespeare said, "expectation is the cornerstone of heartbreak".  I agree with that.  So many guys I meet see my photos (which DO look like me, they're not distorted somehow), know what I do for a living and have all these expectations of some mythical fantasy woman showing up.  What they get is me. Just me. A 44 year old widowed mom of two teens who is often tired from juggling everything, who exercises once a day but doesn't obsess, who tells it like it is and simply wants a man to share my misadventures with from time to time.  But I am no model...and neither are they...and I can't take it anymore.  Don't get me wrong--I have a type.  I believe in chemistry--am actually a big fan of it--but the superficial crap is too much for me to handle right now. So I'm done.  Over.  It.  I'm taking a hiatus from the social experiment called "dating over 40."  

This is Moxie Girl--as is--no pretense, no hidden agenda, far from perfect, often disheveled but always fun.  Just me, content being solo for now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jealousy--a waste of time and energy

Jealousy...the green-eyed monster that lurks behind the facades of many people.  It's a useless and ridiculous emotion, usually based on false perceptions and insecurity.

Recently, I've been told that I am the target of some jealousy and that's made me laugh.  I've had people try to "take me down" because they don't want me to think "too much" of myself.  I've had people refuse to help my daughter's fundraising efforts for a service trip because our family has "had it so easy".  

Let me put this into perspective for you and show you how misguided jealousy truly is.  The outside facade doesn't show the truth of anyone's life:  

In the past 7 1/2 years alone...
  • Our household income decreased by 2/3 in less than a blink of an eye when my husband died. 
  • My kids have endured grief therapy and anxiety issues because of the trauma of witnessing their dad's death at the ages of 7 and 8.
  • I suffered through such a dark depression that, at times, I didn't even know if it was worth getting out of bed...even thought the kids may be better off if I were gone. 
  • I nearly lost the house because of the above depression.
  • I gained nearly 50 pounds after my husband died because I stopped taking care of myself and poured my focus into simply surviving. 
  • We navigated the grief alone, suffering loss of friendships and judgments along the way. 
  • I rebuilt my career to become a published novelist, but only because I work 7 days a week and after years of rejections and near surrender.
  • The kids are now honor students and athletes in high school because they worked damn hard for it--nothing has been easy for them.
  • I've re-entered the dating world only to be called "too old", "too intimidating" or "too fat" for love, usually by men who aren't nearly the man my late husband was.   
  • I still find myself lonely and sad more often than not when I realize that the kids will be off living their own lives soon while I remain solo (at least for now).  
But people are jealous of us?  Of me?  How silly.  

When you see a pretty girl who is smiling, don't be jealous.  For all you know, she is a lonely soul who puts on a smile to hide a broken heart.  

When you see someone succeed, don't be jealous.  They have probably scrambled and fought and clawed their way to the top after failing again and again.  Their success is well earned.  Admire rather than resent their achievement.

When you see someone who is thin, don't be jealous.  They take care of themselves--for all you know, they were once 50 pounds overweight and in the throes of depression.  

When you see someone who is laughing, don't be jealous of their apparent happiness.  Perhaps they've overcome great sorrow and now appreciate the joy in life.  

When you see someone in love, don't be jealous.  Perhaps they've been on a lonely journey for many years and have finally found that one person in the world who lights them up from the inside out.  

Jealousy says more about you than the person you're directing it at.  If anything, it highlights your insecurity.  We've all been there...I know I have in the past, usually when I was in a dark place of my own.  But now I know better.  When I see someone in my dream car, I think "good for them, I can't wait until I own that, too."  

Comparing our lives to another's is ridiculous.  None of us knows the truth of another's life.  I took the kids to see Jekyll and Hyde last weekend in Denver.  The theme of all of us being both good and evil, of the facades we wear to the world that hide our truth, struck a chord not only with me but with my kids as well.  We talked about it afterward, about the truth of the story.  No matter how much we think we know about our friends, our family or that weird neighbor next door...we only know what we perceive to be true.  That is all.  It's best to not compare and to simply accept and appreciate.  

Jealousy does a disservice to you and to the person with whom you're jealous.  Stop the madness.