She Works Hard For The Money

“I met her there in the corner stand and wonders where she is. And it’s strange to her some people seem to have everything.” ~Donna Summer, She Works Hard For The Money

(Once I sang this song walking out of one my old manager’s office after he dumped a lot of projects on me. He did not laugh. Even after I smiled and did a shoulder shrug to drive home the point I was kidding. You win some, you lose some.)

The last two years had been a revolving door of change. I moved twice, new city, new problems, new friends and new hobbies. I even had to get a new car because my old one finally crapped out and decided it was in charge of when it was in the mood to reverse…you get the picture. I’m busier than I can remember ever being since college, and for the most part that’s ok. My social life is a far cry from what it looked like in Chicago, but I’m working on it. Other than my cats, the one constant that has been with me the entire time has been my job. The dust has settled for the most part on everything else. I feel like, other than building my friend community, things have fallen into place. And yet…

I’m not content. I want more. I want this career thing I have been working towards to launch and literally start paying off. Do I have a good job? Yes. Have I reached my potential? Fuck no. I feel like I’m only getting started.

What sparked this you ask? Well, I realized something while paying my bills last week. Divorce is fucking expensive. I’m still dealing with payments and the aftermath of some finances. I’m just done with writing that check. Part of my income is still paying off that old life, and I feel like it’s taking a toll on me. It’s been two years! So I thought…now. Now is the time to start seeing what you’re capable of in moving up in the world. Why not, right?

How am I going to do this? I’m not really sure, but I will tell you when I have my mind set on something, it happens. I’m reading books, taking notes, making lists and devising a plan. I even started to take ten minutes a day to start meditating. (You can laugh, but I’ve never slept better than the nights I meditate to clear my mind from my crazy days.) People that are not as bright or driven as me have great jobs they love. I’m ready to make things happen for me.

Do I regret playing it safe so far? Yes and no. I could have made moves earlier in life. I could have made moves in my marriage, but his hours weren’t always great and I worried since I was the steady stream of income. My priorities were different. I can’t beat myself up for that. I can only learn and start dreaming big! In some odd way, I feel like the last two years has been the perfect mental training for this exact situation. Thanks to my terrible marriage, I know how to handle disappointment and rejection. Scraping by financially for a while taught me that I am scrappy and resourceful. Being at the lowest point in my life highlighted the support system I have sitting right in front of me. They’ll keep me motivated and reminding me to believe I can get what I want.

I’ve been focused on getting involved in things that mean something to me, trying to find a good guy and finding new friends since I relocated about 8 months ago. It’s been a slow start, so time to shift my focus. If I learned anything from my experiences in life, if you’re trying day after day to make something happen, and it’s not working, revise your plan. Not everything comes in the right order. Maybe my career is what my focus is supposed to be. Maybe it’s supposed to be my focus because that’s where I’ll meet new people I love and adore. You never know. I do know this focus feels right, so I’m going for it. Wish me luck!

Window Shopping

“The phone is ringing and the clock says 4am. If it’s your friends, well I don’t want to hear from them. Please leave your number and a message at the tone. Or you can just go on and leave me alone.” ~Husker Du, Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely

In my five months of venturing into the online dating world, I feel like I can sum it up best with those words. I have more or less felt like a mannequin with strangers walking  by thinking:

  • “Yes.”
  • ” No.”
  • ” Eh, maybe. I think I like the last one better.”
  • ” She’s ok and has all the things I said I wanted, but I haven’t seen everyone yet…so imma keep looking because it says she has cats. I wonder if I could find someone like her, but a little hotter who doesn’t own cats. I’m sure she’s out there and will find the pictures of me wasted with my friends hilarious. Swipe….”

Maybe it hasn’t always been this way, but my experience so far has been this weird world where people think they can find this perfect person that doesn’t exist. There could be one minor thing you don’t have in common and they’ll pass. It’s not realistic. Who wants to date a carbon copy of themselves anyway? Snooze fest. And, not to sound like a jerk, but I also found it’s a world where guys think they can get women way out of their league. I don’t know how many “entrepreneurs” really exist around my age, but I call bullshit. You don’t have a job, which is why you’re sending messages at 2am on a Wednesday. I know it’s because you just got home from the bar and you don’t have a job to go to in the morning. I also know you sent messages to at least ten other women you found attractive. A good, smart woman isn’t falling for that so stop sending her messages asking her how she’s doing at 2am. She’s sleeping because she has a job. Go bother a party girl looking for hookups. She’s your girl.

The catalog of available singles has led a lot of dudes to believe, not only that some perfectly polished, perfectly in-shape, bombshell is out there waiting for them, but that they DESERVE her by just showing up with bad car pictures of themselves, a shitty job and the fact they took a trip overseas once in college. It’s weird and confusing.

What have I learned from my five months on the online dating interwebs? A few things:

  • I learned to not get comfortable with any conversation. They leave in the middle when it starts getting interesting because they saw a picture of a girl in a bikini who would never give them a second look, so they’re going to see what’s up with her.
  • I learned quickly to take nothing personally.
  • I learned this is not for me, but it’s fun to pass the time waiting for your subscription to run out by taking screenshots of weirdos and sending them to your friends.
  • I learned self-employed means unemployed.
  • I learned “how are you?” is the leading pickup line. It makes sense. I mean, my heart about stopped every time I read that line….nope.
  • I learned every guy who sets up a date with you has already planned to be out of there within 1-2 hours because he anticipates it’s going to go bad. Even he’s shocked when he discovered I’m not a psycho. (This does make me wonder how many bad dates he’s been on and what he’s seen and heard. If catfishing wasn’t mean and horrible, I would totally try it to see how my modern ladies are presenting themselves to the dating world.)
  • I learned I’m not going to renew this nightmare I paid for. It’s not for me.
  • I learned I’m going to go back to showing up, in person, to places and spaces of interest and let it ride.

I can say I tried, so that’s something. It’s always there if I need it again, but I think for now I’m good. I’m not interested in guys pretending they’re interested in something long term when they’re not, that they want kids when they don’t or being their therapist because they’re still not over their ex. It’s all a learning process. I get that. It makes it easy to continue on coaching, trying to move up in my career and finding animal organizations to volunteer and spend my time. I haven’t felt like I’m missing out, so I’m thankful for the experience for that sole reason. It’s allowed me to be calm, patient and just go live actual life instead of hunting on a keyboard…for now at least. We’ll see where I land in another six months!