Whew! Dating is a work out.

IMG_5465.PNG

Omg. I forgot how much energy goes into dating. It can drain the life out of you if you let it.

Over the past 10 years, I have had male friends that I’d chat with and hang out with, but nothing serious during that time. As a single mom, I just didn’t want any emotional distractions. Now, I’m taking dating seriously and its been so long since I’ve done this, that I forgot about the balancing act that’s necessary. I’m trying to be open enough for one to get to know me, but at the same time protect myself.

It’s like mental and emotional exercise… but I’m enjoying it.

When the college freshman returns…

IMG_5039.JPG

It’s been 5 days and we’ve already had 2 blow out arguments. Yea, transitioning back in is about as challenging as the transition out. She’s feeling independent and I’m feeling frustrated.

Her fall semester grades were Eh. One class she has an Incomplete and needs to make up work during this winter break. THIS is a problem because it has thrust us back into the old high school parenting paradigm. I’m checking up on her progress on completing her work and she’s resisting.

Overall, I like our new dynamics but this situation is interfering. She’s home for 4 weeks and I’m hoping this doesn’t consume our interaction.

Getting use to…

IMG_4940.JPG

I’m finally getting use to this new chapter. I’m getting use to coming home to an empty home, getting use to waking up on Saturdays without my favorite girl (my daughter) there to strategize on what to do that day or weekend, getting use to going out to eat alone, getting use cooking for one…

I’m getting use to the new dynamics with me and my daughter now that she’s in college. No more tracking her to-do’s and hounding her to get them done. No more putting my foot down about what she should or shouldn’t do. I’m getting use to being more of a life coach or mentor and less of a parent. I’m looking forward to her continued growth as she makes her own decisions, reap the rewards of good choices and learn from her mistakes.

I’m accepting a new ‘normal’ and feeling optimistic about the future.

Braving aloneness

IMG_4797.JPG

There’s something I love about the night. I don’t like being in the house alone at night, but I absolutely love being out, under the moonlight, starlights, and streetlights.

I think the darkness sets an atmosphere of focusing simply on the here and now. Mind you, I’m thinking this through as I type. At night, the darkness limits how much we can see, so the range of what we can take in and deal with is limited. No looking far ahead or getting bogged down with the details that the daylight affords us. Being a worry wart, I need an atmosphere that coaxes me to deal only with the present. At the same time, I think the endless darkness, sets the mood and mindset for endless possibilities. I’m not sure what it is, but its enticing.

I spent this weekend alone – didn’t meet up with any family or friends like I typically do – but I managed to get out and experience a little culture both Sat and Sun nights. I went to see nationally accomplished, but lesser known Comedians: W. Kamau Bell and Wyatt Cenac. Both venues were in the heart of the city, after dark. Enveloped by the darkness and ambient light, I found myself feeling longingly energized. Sounds odd, but I think that’s my single girl equivalent to the romantic feelings I’d have if I were in a relationship.

Anyway, this weekend I went out, not once but, twice to enjoy performances that one would typically go to with friends or for a date. I’m trying to brave my aloneness. This weekend was a big step.

Like an onion…

IMG_4754.JPG

I believe we have a defined core self that never changes. I can’t pinpoint the demarcation of our core selves but I feel it’s comprised of both nature and nurture and at some point early in our lives it becomes definitive, concrete, and unchangeable.

This core self includes our talents, vulnerabilities, sensitivities, and how we handle situations; coping mechanisms to soothe our core, our soul. Consider how babies suck their thumb or rock or make repetitive noises to self-soothe. With new experiences, new information and new beliefs we add on layers that encase that core, but that core is untampered.

I’m becoming convinced that we can learn new decision making skills, new ways of responding to circumstances, and establish new priorities that change our behavior, but that core self is a part of us for life. When we experience times of stress, overwhelm, or other circumstantial changes we may innately drift back to that core… awaken feelings of inadequacy and unfulfillment and perhaps resort to old coping/soothing mechanisms.

I wonder if it is possible to pile on enough layers to make that core so far removed that it becomes out of reach and unrecognizable. Thoughts?

A weekend away

IMG_4592.JPG
Downtown Dallas, TX – Nov 2014

So, I finally took some much needed time away from home. I had some fears about traveling alone so I played it safe by going to a city where I have an old friend and factored in a day for us to hang out. This was my first attempt at traveling alone. Next time, I’m going all out and traveling somewhere that I know no one… enjoy my own company.

IMG_4613.JPG
Dallas Museum of Art

I walked around downtown perusing the art district checking out museums, parks and various public art installations. The weather couldn’t have been better.

IMG_4647.JPG
First Baptist Dallas

This has been very relaxing. For the most part, I’ve managed to stay completely in the present. Every once in a while I’ll realize this amazing feat then a flash-thought of work or something stressful comes to mind, but just for a fleeting moment.

IMG_4659-0.JPG
Sunset over Dallas – view from my hotel room at 5:29p

I’d like to know…

IMG_4585.GIF
When I write my posts, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself. Probably because I don’t have a large following and rarely get comments. I can’t help but be curious who I’m talking to. So, I’d like to try something… I invite you to leave a comment and tell me what has been one of the greatest lessons you have learned or perhaps one of your favorite quotes.

Because I believe in the human spirit and our ability to overcome adversity, one of my favorite quotes is, “You can live your dreams, or you can live your excuse.” – Kirk Nugent

Long distance parenting

IMG_4510.PNG
The past 2.5 months since dropping my daughter off at college have been life-jarring. I’ve had to figure out how to establish and maintain new dynamics of being a parent of a young adult who lives hours away. A young adult learning to live on her own, adjust to college life, and balance social life with school work, on her own.

I have quickly learned that parenting a child in the home versus life-coaching a young adult from a distance is very different. Figuring out how to transition from one to the other has been like trying to navigate through a field of land mines. Well, maybe not that bad, but it’s been tricky.

I want her to learn to be independent yet know I’m here to support her. I want her to feel comfortable sharing things with me and I have found myself having internal dialogue to decide when to just listen and when to provide guidance without deterring her from coming to me in the future.

All seems good so far. My current worry is what her first semester grades will be. If any grades are less than ideal, will I be able to orchestrate my response such that she’ll know that I’m empathetic with all that she’s had to adjust to over the past four months yet feel encouraged and confident to do better next semester?

More than ever before, I have to trust her and ensure she trusts me. It’s a work in progress.

Stress & Food

IMG_4493.PNG
There are two types of stressed-induced interactions with food: comfort eating and controlled eating. I’ve always heard of people being stressed and not eating/starving themselves, but I never identified with it as I’ve always been the comfort eater… until recently. I wrote about Food and My Mood a few weeks ago. The fact that I’m still being disciplined surprises me and has me paying close attention to my motives and decisions about what I eat.

I think this time I’ve subconsciously made my interaction with food something that I can feel in control of. Some of the things going on at work, I’m not in control of. The things my daughter is dealing with away at college, I’m not in control of. The spinal stenosis that I need surgery for, I’m not in control of. My state of singlehood, I’m not in control of. However, what I eat, I am in FULL control of.

Thankfully my mental health is sound enough that I’m not starving myself, instead I’ve greatly increased the fruits and veggies I eat and significantly reduced eating junk food. Nothing crazy, I’ve just dropped 9 pounds in the past two months.

I’m interested in seeing how the state of things evolve.

Did I write that?

m000245038_sc7
Sometimes, I go back and read old entries in my private journal, which I really should do with a large soda and a box of Skittles. It’s a lot like being at the movies. I’m quickly reminded of experiences I’ve since forgotten; some good and some not so good. Sometimes I’m astounded by my own words; my own conjectures and summations. In some instances, its just a statement and other times its whole paragraphs where I ask myself, “I wrote that?”

The past month has been extremely stressful and worrisome and to read some of the things, I wrote had me wondering if I really learned the lessons that I thought I had learned years ago. Or, is it just that easy to forget what you know and get caught up in what seems insurmountable at the time?

Here’s one jewel I wrote on Dec 24, 2010 after dealing with a difficult experience…

It is only when we can look beyond ourselves that we are truly able to find happiness in life. If we focus inward, we stay aware of (and often magnify) all the little things that ail us and we fail to see all the big things we have. We get lost in the trees and can’t see the forest.

I SO needed to read that.