Feeling Older and Younger

Old young blog pix

Yesterday I received emails from two men on two different dating sites: a 57-year-old from OurTime and an octogenarian (86) from Match. Only the younger one brought up age, wondering if I’d date a younger man.

Perhaps this age span makes sense, as I am simultaneously feeling both older and younger. Does that mean I’m not aging?

Join me in some 1-pot pumpkin yellow curry while I discuss.

The online dating world makes you acutely aware of your age, even if you’re gracefully ignoring this fact in everyday life. Men select their age preferences when they’re in search mode so if you’re not in their preferred age range, you won’t appear as they browse.

Each dating site has its own peculiarities regarding age selection. On Tinder, for example, the lowest age range I can select is 46, younger than I’m comfortable with, and the upper limit is 55+.

So far, I have been honest about my age on these sites but I know men and women who present a younger persona. Sometimes, they’ll reveal their true age in their profile…as if to say, now that I’ve hooked you, here’s the real scoop.

Regardless of age, here are nine ways to feel younger. I live these principles and I think that explains my youthful outlook.

*Be open to new experiences

*Engage in frequent fun activities

*Delight in everyday occurrences – nature, human kindness, animal antics

*Value friends and family

*Be optimistic

*Be interested in romance and sex

*Practice resilience; ride out rough times

*Be active every day

*Live a relatively healthy lifestyle

Despite these principles, I feel older in various ways – some good, some bad. Some you would not choose to have.

Nine examples of feeling older:

*Living with new aches and pains

*Experiencing age-related health issues

*Realizing the limits of a life span

*Feeling frustrated and pessimistic about finding one of the ones

*Observing age-related physical changes to face — damn that harsh lighting

*Observing age-related physical changes to body (despite exercise). Thank God for Spanx

*Being more bold and outspoken (in some cases where I decide I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore)

*Feeling more capable (experience can result in competence)

*Recognizing that time on this planet has helped me figure life – and myself – out.

On a good day, feeling younger wins. I might have an exciting dating possibility or I’m looking forward to a new experience, or meeting a new friend. On other days, I wake creaky, stiff, and sleep deprived, and wonder if I’ll ever have a significant other again.

Some days I’m a mix of both: creaky but happy about seeing a beautiful sunrise. Perhaps those “mixed” days are the definition of middle age.

Until next week, enjoy whatever age you feel…and happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

Strength in Solitude

blog-pix-woman-alone-on-beach

A few years ago – soon after my divorce, my daughter and I took a beach vacation. As we walked along the soft white sugar sand of the Gulf Coast, I saw a woman of about 80 strolling purposefully with her dog.

“I wonder if that will be me some day – walking alone, not with a partner,” I wondered aloud, thinking how sad that would be.

My daughter, responding to my words and mood, said, “What’s wrong with that? She looks happy. It would be o.k.”

At that moment, I couldn’t believe such a scenario would be okay. But I could now.

Let’s chew on that while devouring some of Jamie Oliver’s potato cakes with smoked salmon.

The beach memory was triggered by a temporary change in my current living situation. A couple of years ago, my son, like so many adult children, returned to his parental home (or half of it given the divorce) to pursue a second college degree as an entre to a new career.

There’s more to his story just as there’s more to the story of what happens when adult children live with their parents, but that’s not on today’s blog menu. I will say that, for the most part, the arrangement works well.

But the situation prevents me from truly living alone, something I wanted and needed to do after my divorce. Other than a random week or two here or there, one or both of my children have lived with me except when they were in college. And during that period, I was married so the house was not empty. Going back in years, I went from living with my parents, to living with college roommates, to living with the man who would become my husband.

So, I skipped that whole part of life called “being single and living alone.” And I was both eager to experience it and a little nervous as well. How would I navigate living alone and would I be lonely? Fast forward to a couple of days ago when my son left for a week’s vacation to visit a friend.

Finally, I could invite some friends over for dinner while having the house truly to myself. And I could see what it would be like to live alone while in a pretty good place – healed from my divorce, stronger, and more centered than ever before.

This temporary break in shared housing got me thinking about solitude, being alone, loneliness, and all variations of that theme.

I’ve always been someone who enjoyed a certain amount of time spent alone – whether reading, writing, taking a walk, or going for a drive with music blasting. But it’s not something I want to do 24/7. At a certain point in my day, I start to feel lonely and need to be around people.

For more on the balance between solitude and company, see the wonderful Brain Pickings blog post on experiencing at least one prolonged period of solitude in life.

After I divorced, I needed to learn not only how to be without a partner but also how to be independent – to rely on myself for everything from adding oil to the car to tightening a loose toilet seat (thanks You Tube). A solo road trip no longer seemed liked a scary impossibility. Solitude helped build strength. Strength begot resilience.

All of this doesn’t mean I want to be alone.

There is nothing more important to me than finding one of the ones, a partner to love and share life with.  The crucial thing is to live well and to be happy while searching for that special person and to never stop searching – even if you’re the oldest person on Match, Bumble, and Plenty of Fish.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Resources:

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/06/22/desert-solitaire-edward-abbey/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200307/what-is-solitude

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199801/the-call-solitude

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/10/27/suggestions-for-savoring-solitude/

 

“Loving” Your Ex

Blog post Julie friends with your ex

I’m still on vacation, dear readers, and have another guest blog post by *Julie Weinberg.

My ex-husband is one of my best friends. He’s remarried with two little boys and with our two kids we consider ourselves a family of seven: three adults raising four kids. We regularly have dinner together, go to our beloved Ravens games together, celebrate Thanksgiving together, and even occasionally vacation together. We’re that close.

It wasn’t always that way I promise. I often say that I married my best friend, lost him somewhere in a 20-year marriage, divorced an ass, and then found my best friend all over again.

How we navigated this tricky transition of divorce-to-friendship is something I’ve been asked about many, many times, including by Nadia, so here’s my story.

At the time of our divorce, I truly hated my ex and would have gladly signed the papers and walked away forever. Divorce comes packaged in feelings of disillusion, disappointment, and anger. I often and loudly opened that package with my friends–or anyone else that would listen. So becoming friends with him again someday wasn’t a goal or even a slight desire.

But we had kids, so I knew I had years ahead of me to deal with him at soccer games, school events, weekend drop offs and pick ups.

Our first step was to come to an agreement about things that were best for the kids’ sake. We made a pact to never fight in front of them, never put them in the middle or make them choose sides, and to always be polite to one another when in their presence.

The always be polite agreement turned into the most important one for our evolving relationship. Whether you have kids or not, it can be the cornerstone of a new, happier affiliation for you and your ex, too.

At first, even fake politeness was a challenge. My trick was to treat him like a work colleague that I did not respect or like but was stuck working with on some project. When a topic arose that started making me angry, I would just look at him, smile and say “not now” and he knew the discussion would have to wait.

The funny thing is, though, the expression “fake it till you make it” is true. My faking politeness became real politeness fairly quickly and once I turned that corner our relationship started to evolve.

Besides hoping the “fake it till you make it” technique would work, I also realized that I needed to let go of all the hurt, anger, and disappointment. It was eating me up inside and bringing me down. As a tightly wound, Type A personality, “just letting go” was enormously difficult for me. He did X, Y, Z to me, didn’t do A, B, C and I dwelled repeatedly on the wrongness of it all.

Visualization techniques proved extremely helpful with letting the negative feelings go. I imagined each remembered hurt as a soccer ball and one by one I’d kick them away in my mind. Or every time I started to think of something that made me angry, I’d visualize placing it on a leaf and watching the leaf float peacefully down a river and away from my mind. Try it! I swear it worked, even if just for a few moments. Then the more I did it, the better I felt and the more capable I was of letting my relationship with my ex organically grow into something really special.

The passing of time, of course, helps too. As the post-divorce weeks turned into months, then turned into a year, we both got on with our lives and all of the new, exciting experiences allowed me to be open to new friendships. I was making all kinds of new friends, my ex and his wife just turned into two of those.

Now, 7 years later, having my ex as a close friend is a topic I usually raise on a first date. I actually use it as a sort of screener: if a man feels challenged by it or is negative toward it, I know he’s not for me so I easily move on. If a man can’t respect the melded family I’ve worked to develop, he probably won’t like other aspects of my life. Given that there are so many fish in the sea, it’s good to find that out on our first coffee date rather than weeks into a relationship. I wish him well and send him on his way.

This relationship has also caused me to be far less understanding of a date who wants to rag on his ex. I understand the need to vent; but I don’t want to hear about how awful a guy’s ex is in detail, especially not on a first date. I always ask myself if he’s relating inappropriate, damaging or highly private details of his previously most valued relationship, what might he say to his friends about me down the road. Again, I prefer to wish him well and send him on his way, too.

These are some of the techniques I’ve used to get past the hurt and anger to develop a warm, close, and happy new relationship with my ex. The calmness to my spirit and added joy he and his new family have brought to my life made the effort well worth it.

*To learn more about Julie, visit her website julieweinbergbooks.com or purchase her book, I Wish There Were Baby Factories.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

Can He Cut it? Test Your Date’s Compatibility

blog road sign re delay

There are happy hour dates, movie dates, and walk in the park dates. What is really needed are dates to quickly find out if a man is the one or “one of the ones.”

Let’s enjoy this dating fantasy while we chow down on some lentil vegetable soup.

What qualities do we need to evaluate in our potential “one?” Here are a few desirable traits and a sample imaginary date you could use to test each one. Let’s call our fictional test dater Max.

The Quality: Good Communicator

The Challenge:

The ability to communicate is critical. If you have done or said something to annoy or anger your guy, he should be able to tell you about it. Otherwise, the issue will simmer and resentment will build.

Your challenge is to create a situation where you do something annoying or obnoxious to find out if Max will give you feedback.

The Date Scenario:

Suggest to Max that you go to a movie he has been interested in seeing. Once the movie starts, whisper a comment in his ear. Comment or ask questions about the plot every 10 minutes until the movie ends. Alternate your comments with an offer to share your popcorn. Even if Max says “no, thanks,” keep offering him tastes throughout the movie.

Scoring and Outcome:

A: Max quickly asks you to hold your comments

B: Max shares his annoyance after the movie is over

D: Max says nothing. You break up within a week.

F: Max runs screaming from the theater half way through the movie

The Quality: Resilience (Ability to roll with the punches)

The Challenge:

Life doesn’t always run smoothly. In fact, you can count on things going astray almost daily. An important quality is the ability to take these bumps on the road in stride and enjoy the day regardless.

Your challenge is to create a date filled with obstacles to see how well Max can “roll with it.”

The Date Scenario:

It’s a beautiful late spring day and you and darling Max are headed to a winery event in the country. Max’s favorite band is playing for a short set.

To start things off, you take a little longer getting ready to leave so there is no travel time to spare (if you’re to see the band and get the full wine tasting experience).

Under the guise of being the designated driver, you volunteer to drive so you can control the situation. Your car has a slow oil leak and you deliberately fail to replenish the oil prior to the trip. Soon after you start the 2-hour drive, the oil light goes on and you need to pull over to add oil. The clock is ticking.

You apologize to Max for the various delays but tell him that all is not lost since you found a shortcut on Google directions. This “shortcut” is in fact a nightmare scenario of weekend road construction (as predicted by the local traffic blogs you read in preparation for the trip).

You end up arriving at the winery just as the band is finishing their last song. Plus, the winery has run out of its signature pinot noir, Max’s favorite.

blog photo winery

Scoring and Outcome:

A: Throughout the drive, Max refuses to let the delays drag him down. At the winery, Max talks to the band and finds out the details of their next gig. He happily settles for merlot and kisses you passionately behind the winery shop.

B: Max is slightly petulant during the drive.

D: Max starts a nasty fight with you during the “shortcut” leg of the drive.

F: Max “accidentally” spills his glass of wine on your favorite white pants and doesn’t apologize. He drinks excessively and starts a fight with another patron. You break up that evening.

The Quality: Narcissistic or Not

The Challenge: No one loves a narcissist. Sometimes you’re not sure if you’re dealing with an egomaniac. It’s important to find out whether your guy is all about him, not much about you.

The Date Scenario:

You invite Max over to Netflix and Chill. Pizza is delivered and while you’re eating, you share that you’re dealing with a troubling work situation. You tell Max you’re so stressed out about it that you can’t sleep.

After dinner, you start the movie and move to the sofa to commence cuddling. About halfway through the movie, you pretend that you’re not feeling well. You run to the bathroom. Ten minutes later, you return looking exhausted (you have wet your hair a bit and splashed warm water on your face to look flushed).

You tell Max you think you have food poisoning, noting that it may not be the pizza since you had Chinese food from a sketchy carryout the previous night. You act like you’re about to throw up and run back to the bathroom.

Scoring and Outcome:

A: While you are talking about your work problem, Max is fully engaged, compassionate, and offers thoughtful suggestions. When the “food poisoning episode” begins, Max comforts you, brings you a washcloth, rubs your back in between attacks, and offers to call your doctor.

C: Max listens to your work story but checks his phone frequently while you’re talking. When you start to feel ill, he researches food poisoning online but otherwise is not helpful.

F: Max keeps interrupting your tale of work woes with reflections about times he overcame difficult work situations. He doesn’t let you finish sharing your story.

When the food poisoning attack begins, Max expresses concern that he ate the same pizza and starts to develop psychosomatic symptoms. He resumes the movie while holding his belly as if in pain. He doesn’t call the next day to check on you. You break up that week.

If you liked these diabolical “play dates,” you might like to play a break-up game/app called Damn Love. See my description of Damn Love in a recent post on my favorite things.

Soapbox Notes:

In real life, few, if any, women would be this conniving and few guys would score an F.

These exaggerated scenarios are a reminder to all of us to be aware of how a partner behaves during real life challenges – big and small.

Witnessing a partner’s behavior in tough situations presents us with an opportunity to learn about his – or her – true character and whether it is compatible with ours.

My motto: keep your eyes open; be true to yourself.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia