You Get What You Give

In continuation of the Me, Me, Me theme that has dominated this month’s blog entries, I’ve decided to update my loyal readers yet again on the status of my life. This has been a weird month. Lots of changes and transitions and new starts. It’s been overwhelming at times, but I’m feeling good now. I’m feeling excited, motivated and inspired. So here it goes:

1.) Cubicle Life: Ever since a Nomad’s Life went cubicle, I’ve experienced something I hadn’t experienced, well, ever: Tiredness. You see, all these years I’ve had a happy, seemingly unending surplus of energy and couldn’t understand my friend’s and family’s weary expressions and inclination towards nap. I saw naps as a terrible, inefficient waste of time and didn’t get why people sometimes didn’t want to do anything after work. But now I get it. I live for the after work cat nap. Because I now have a full-time job that actually requires a significant amount of quick, analytic thinking and brain energy, I find myself utterly exhausted at the end of the day. So I guess I’ve caught up with the rest of the world.

Despite the tiredness, I’m actually quite happy in my new job. It’s challenging and fast-paced and I get to do a lot of investigating and research. Every phone call is like a puzzle; I need to figure out which of the county’s hundreds of public and private services/agencies will best serve the consumer’s needs. My eight-hour days fly by and at 5 pm I feel like I’ve probably done something positive for the community AND I’ve used my brain. What more can one ask for?

2.) Dating Life: I think I’ve pretty much given up on my online dating venture, at least for now. I think there’s merit to this format of meeting people and it’s a perfectly legitimate way to date, but I don’t think it’s for me right now. For the first time ever, all the people my age who I’m close to (friends, cousins, sister, brother) have a significant other in their lives and I don’t. It’s kind of a strange feeling. I guess I’m not used to being on this side of things, at least not for an extended period of time. But I think I’m OK with that.

I probably went out with at least 15 or 16 guys on this site and although I had some good dates and a lot of “first-date” practice, I’ve yet to meet someone I connected with on any significant level, but I think that was more my doing than their’s.  I was looking for a distraction, not a relationship. I had all these “requirements: Edgy/unconventional guy with a heart of gold, instant chemistry a must, D.C dweller or Beltway insider strongly preferred, ambitious about his passions, not too annoyingly nice but charming in his own way, at least as intelligent as me, deep appreciation for some kind of art/creative pursuit, at least offers to pay for initial dinner/drinks, doesn’t try to talk to me on the phone or text me excessively, has traveled extensively, doesn’t mind answering my 438 million questions and getting few answers in return, and, most importantly, thinks I’m the most amazing woman in the world. Basically, this dude was never going to happen…and I think it’s because I don’t actually want to be dating anyone seriously right now. Sure, it would be nice to have a guy to hang out with once a week, someone to watch movies with and talk to, but I think that’s really all I want right now. I was with my husband for three years and I’ve pretty much been in a relationship or dating someone for the last six years, and I think I just kind of want to see what’s out there for a year or two before settling down, to enjoy the pressure-less existence of not having to worry about anyone but yourself, at least for a little while.

That said, I think that when I do decide to settle down I’m going to move on to the divorced dad demographic. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve found that a lot of over-30 guys I meet are a little….weird. I mean, I’m not saying I’m some great prize — I have my quirks as anyone who knows me will tell you — but I’m a nice lady at heart. Are all the good ones taken by 30? Is a 34/35 year-old never-been-married guy single for a reason? Or maybe I just need to look into younger men…

3.) Growing up: I’m the first to admit I’ve had a rather extended adolescence. I’ll be 29 in a couple of months, but I sometimes still feel like that shy, awkward 17 year-old girl who who’s not really sure how to get where she wants to go. It’s taken me a while to get things together. I did a lot of exploring, moving around, career-switching and over-thinking over the last ten years. But I think I’m finally starting to feel like an adult. I have a job I like and I feel like I’m getting into a routine. I don’t have as much leisure time as I used to, but I feel good. I have a career path and I’m excited about it.

I think one of the reasons I couldn’t get all that excited about dating was because I just didn’t feel great about myself. I think my insecurities about my appearance, career and living situation were big impediments in terms of making any kind of meaningful connection with the guys I went out with. I hate to admit it and I know I’ve blogged about the importance of being able to accept yourself as you are — and while I do accept myself and recognize that I have worth no matter how I look — I admit that I felt a lot better about myself when I was in shape. I felt confident, attractive and, well, more competitive in terms of my career and relationships. Last year, shortly after my marriage ended, a friend sent me a popular article called Six Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person. At the time I remember feeling offended; why should I aim to be anything but myself? But in the end, I had to agree there was some truth to the article. It’s worth reading, even if you don’t completely agree. You do have to have something to offer the world. You need to work hard to be a person who’s worth other people’s time. It’s important to be the best version of yourself, to be as successful, attractive and interesting as you can. Which version of me is going to make a bigger impact? The quiet, frumpy, under-achieving and out-of-shape version or the vivacious, attractive, ambitious and physically fit version? Because I can be both — one just takes more work.

Last night, I packed myself a healthy lunch, got my gym clothes ready and went to bed at 10:30. Today I woke up at 5:45, put my gym clothes on and headed to my work gym. I did the elliptical for 30 minutes, the weight machines for 20 and the treadmill for 15 minutes. I listened to Radio Lab, some Salsa and got caught up on the news while I was there. I took a shower, put on some make up and got to work five minutes early, then listened to my messages and organized my desk. When I got home, I talked to my parents for a bit, figured out what errands had to be done/what bills had to be paid, took a short nap then headed over to my local Starbucks to write. And I feel great because today I was the kind of person I’d respect and admire in real life. In short, I can be this girl:

Worst of times.

Worst of times…

Or this girl:

...best of times.

…best of times.

I’ve been both, so I know that the second option — the smiling, on-top of the world, little-black dress option — is a much happier, more exciting place to be. I’m about two and a half months away from my 29th birthday and I’m going to work hard to be very close to where I want to be by then, in terms of my career, my relationships with friends and family, my appearance and my confidence. In the words of the great Nina Simone:



Categories: Body Image, Family, Me, Me, Me, Online Dating, Self-improvement, Trying New Things, Vanity

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  1. Death of a Blog; or Google, Why Have You Abandoned me? | My (Former) Nomad Life

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