Monday, October 31, 2011

Rest, My Sweet

I don’t know what it is about laying in bed at night that stimulates worry.

Before I completely nod off I turn off the television (yes, every night), I  turn out the lights.  Miraculously, I  am awake as if I had just had a shot of espresso or as if I were late for a flight.  The worrisome questions and second-guessing my life's path lead to a dialogue with myself that reeks of judgments and guilt. 

When will I meet someone?  Will I be financially secure?  Am I following my passion?  What exactly is it?  Why don't I strive harder in accomplishing my goals?  Will my good health continue?  Will the health of my family and friends?  What bills do I have to pay?  Why do I sabotage my relationships?  What do I have to accomplish tomorrow at work?  Why didn’t I do my laundry and clean this weekend instead of running around with my friends?  Is it possible that no man will love me again? What will I pack for lunch?  What’s my exercise plan for the week? Why don’t I repair those relationships that need my attention?

Should I get up and eat something, because I’m pretty hungry?

My clock says that it is 3:04 a.m. and the questions go on and on.  I am unable to turn my mind off and now have grave concerns about the level of exhaustion I will certainly experience tomorrow at work.  (...and here come the judgments.)  I’m quite certain that my lack of adequate exercise doesn’t help my insomnia, let alone my enormous amounts of caffeine I consumed throughout the day.  The nap that I felt so entitled to languish over this afternoon might not have been the best idea, in retrospect. 

Stop agonizing already.

Sometimes I think my thoughts as my adversary, as whenever I’m alone with them, self-doubt and an uncertain outlook seem to gain strength.  No problems are ever solved when my anxiety starts to set in. 

For now, I’ll just settle for laying back down, closing my eyes and resting my body.  I’ll breathe deeply, meditating on a beautiful scene…a calm, summer day at a park perhaps.  I will pray to God for spiritual peace, a restful night’s sleep and a positive and energetic tomorrow.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just One More, Please!

I don’t know what happened to me today.

My girlfriend and I decided to go to AJ Bombers for some of the best burgers I’ve had.  This place is a bar…the kind where you can throw your peanut shells on the floor.  Their burgers are simple and simply to die for.  Neither of us dressed up.  She wore jeans and a top and I wore yoga pants, a tank top and a cardigan sweater.

We bellied up to the bar where the cute twenty-something server / bartender smiled as he served our drinks and explained how to fill out our own orders on the order forms.  My friend and I saw that there was a “Barrie Burger” which is basically a bacon-cheeseburger with chunky peanut butter on it.  We were discussing the odd combination when we heard someone say “It’s really good”. 
The other young man we saw when we looked up was the visual equivalent of a breathtaking fireworks display. Of course, they’re always cute when they’re in their mid-twenties.

Thank God I groomed today.

I don’t think either of us spoke for 15 full seconds before she pulled herself together to smartly ask, “Is it?”

We all chit-chatted a bit, but honestly all I remember seeing was long blonde hair, tied back in a ponytail, a scruffy face, and blue eyes.  He, too, must have been twenty-something, and while I allow myself to rationalize why it would make sense to be with him, I am spellbound by his eye contact.  I love when I feel sparks. 

He definitely wouldn’t be my type (unless he was a cool doctor or professor) but he definitely had “It”, whatever “It” is.  I have to describe him from memory because I could barely make eye contact with him again.  It truly was like looking into the sun.

He tried to strike up conversation with me a number of times but every time he spoke, I looked at him and instinctually averted my eyes, all the while chiding myself for not having better game.  I tried answering his questions, but didn’t have the wherewithal to ask him questions in return.  I’m 44 and look great for Christ’s sake, I try to tell myself.  He would probably love to be with me. 

This internal dialogue was intended to squash the countering notions of which I was certain he had understood right away that he was giving me the biggest thrill of my life.

My friend said that while she was looking at him, he was looking at me.  That sort of pressure almost made me collapse onto the floor in some sort of epileptic fit. 

We ate our messy burgers and paid our tab.  (By the way, she loved her Barrie Burger!)

When we left she made it a point to say good-bye to him, and after his good-bye he stared at us on our way out.  Is there a way to walk that would make my butt look higher and tighter, I wondered as I did my best model walk out of the establishment. While I thought I was over my “cougar” moments, he was certainly one who I’d consider cougaring with just one more time.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Only The Heart Knows

My hometown is only a 3 ½ hour drive from where I currently live.  So when my oldest, or rather longest friend, Kelly called me to tell me that she would be there to visit her parents, my decision to make the trek was a no-brainer.

Kelly and I have been best friends since the 2nd grade.  In the 2nd grade, we were the smallest in our class and continued to be until the time that we both graduated.  At that time, our teacher arranged all of the desks (the kind that had the tabletop that lifted up so the students could store things underneath) in pairs.  Kelly and I were always assigned to sit together – probably because we were so cute and well-behaved.  She was always the one who was good at math and I in English.  Because the number line was taped at the top of my desk, whenever she won the timed tests (which was frequently), I always felt that she should share her treat-prize with me.  I, on the other hand, shared every single treat with her when I won for excelling in my spelling tests. 

Our memories were very different, as I never thought that she did.  This became a long-standing debate until about 20 years ago when we visited Mrs. Beenk, who not only remembered us but recalled that it was I who didn’t share my treats.  Funny, my recollection of myself is that I was much more angelic than that.

In 5th grade, our city changed the school districts which meant that I had to attend a different school.  Kelly and I have never gone to the same school since.

Throughout our lives, she became the traveler, making major moves all over the world every few years, while I enjoyed the stability of having a place I call home.  The life she explored led her to law school, where she was homecoming queen at her university and I majored in accounting, worked three part-time jobs and remained anonymous at mine.  When she decided that she no longer wished to be an environmental attorney, she decided to drop it all and go to film school full-time so that she could shoot films to bring awareness to the various calamities that continue to occur in this world.  My career continues to cautiously grow in my chosen field for now I am comptroller for a health care facility.  Her wanderlust and my search for comfort and stability make us such an unlikely pair. We both giggle whenever anyone asks us, “why are you friends?” for it appears to most that we have nothing in common.

We are the last women of all whom we know that have never married.  Our perspectives on marriage are now completely embedded in our foundations.  Neither of us wanted children.  While children may be great for most, we both seemed to prefer the carefree lifestyle that comes from not having kids.  Now that we freely acknowledge that our biological clocks are not an issue, is marriage necessary at all?  Wouldn’t being in long term relationships be enough?  It’s so nice to verbalize our philosophies whenever we’re together as we always seem to be on the same page because we are always in the same stage of life. 

We always joked that when we retire we would pool all of our money and retire together on an island (or all over the world).  I’m not entirely sure that we won’t.

During our last visit, Kelly and I had designs on going out and partying like we did when we were young.  We didn’t factor in that we’re old…or “older” rather.  Instead of going to a bar and taking a cab home, we sat on plush couches at a wine bar listening to an acoustic artist, Jordan Danielson, at The Grape Life Wine Emporium.  Both of us being gregarious women, we chatted with strangers.  We hung out with Jordan and his girlfriend.  We laughed the honest laugh and experienced the utter joy of being together that only comes from being with someone who will never hurt you, who will always love you, and who has taken you into her heart.

While Kelly and I sat together and watched the show, it felt reminiscent of the days when we would sit on the couch to watch our Saturday cartoons after a sleepover.  Rather than her mother pouring us orange juice, we were served wine.  Instead of our families around us, there were friendly strangers.  Instead of talking about what we would do that day, we were discussing our lives’ plans.  We still look for the fun in life.  We still dream of our next adventures.  We were no longer eight years old brightly awaiting our futures; we are mature women who still anticipate the joys and sorrows that come from aging together.

What is interesting to me is that when I look at Kelly, I don’t necessarily see her as she is today.  I see her history.  I look at her with an understanding that only combined souls can comprehend.  I feel her vulnerabilities.  I see the strengths in her that took a lifetime to build. 

We know our friendship is sacred.  It’s not like family.  It’s much more than that.  After all, when we were eight years old we chose each other as soul mates.