They broke ground today for the Jim LaFortune Memorial Groover. I got a text from Tom in the middle of my work afternoon. I was busy cranking out an itemized list for a wheelchair justification to submit to WA Medicaid. Yes, I have to justify every little piece…including the type of seat belt buckle. I knew the excavators were coming soon, but I did not know it was today. I couldn’t get there right away. Still had an afternoon meeting to attend, and more paperwork to do. By the time I left Pullman after 4, I had a headache the size of Texas, and stopping by PCEI was feeling like just one more thing to tag onto my day. Tom said the excavator had kind eyes, and needing a set of those today, I went. After being out in the fresh air, smelling all that dirt, dangling my feet over the abyss of what will soon be a functioning composting toilet facility, and thanking those men with kind eyes…..my headache was gone. I was still hungry, so headed home to eat leftovers and feed my son the same meal he has eaten now for 3 nights running. Thankfully, Jasper is easy with left overs. He states that if he likes it the first night, he is sure to like it the next and the next. It’s nice to live with a non-fussy man.
As I was driving home in my post work fog, stuck in heavier traffic due to the later hour, I kept searching my heart for the well of sadness as we finish up this last project in Jim’s name. I couldn’t find it. I really am done with ritualized grief. I know my capacity for grief is not gone…I cried plenty of tears in the aftermath of Jim Tartar’s early death, and his memorial events created a seismic shift in my heart. I am not numb, I am just done with the ritualized grief thing in Jim’s name. If the snow Gods will allow, the kids and I and a few friends are headed to Burgdorf next weekend. It has not escaped me that we will be there on the 1 year anniversary of Jim’s death. I’m sure there will be emotions, but mostly I am just happy….to see my daughter again, to watch my son sleep the clock around, to soak, and share food with good friends….and to be far, far, far away from a computer screen for a few days. Already spread the ashes at Burgdorf…now it can become my happy place.
About a month ago, I realized that I am ready to start looking….gasp…for a new partner. My daughter is launched, my son is rarely home except for homework and calories, my work is satisfying but not how I define myself, and I like human company. Being completely out of the “dating” scene for over 25 years, I wondered how to start. “Just keep doing the things you love to do, someone will come along..”, is great and practical advice. But, I have done that now for a year. While I have more time for, and indeed have expanded my circle of friends, no one has “come along”. I have great dear friends in my life, many of them men, but to the last of them, they are either married or safely in love with someone else. They often say, ” I have a brother who has a friend….or a friend that has a brother….or a colleague of a friend….I should introduce you.” But they don’t. My friends, like me, are busy. They have jobs, and children’s activities, partners, and in-laws. So, to be proactive, lest a bottle of wine become my new best friend on a Friday night, I signed up for one of those on-line dating services.
This whole thing kinda scares the crap out of me, and has certainly expanded my world view. I am not the only 51-year-old single person in a 100 or even a 50 mile radius. I’ve learned a new lingo, and have learned how to maintain confidentiality….I hope. I’ve learned some big “dos” and “don’ts”, which I think might be sort of fun to share with you if any of you ever find yourselves single in the middle of your life. Here we go:
- Place words such as “cowboy”, “batman”, “luvrman”, or “hot2trot” in your user name. C’mon, we’re 50+ years old here!
- State that you are completely happy and fulfilled in your life right now…otherwise why have you resorted to an on-line dating service?
- Talk about how perfect your life will be when that “special someone” comes along. Even a diehard romantic like me would feel suffocated. At 50, a person should have a life….
- Complain about all the crazies you have found after 6 months on the site. There are new folks like me, and this is scary enough.
- Say things like “looking for a nymphomaniac who owns a micro-brewery”, and then follow-up with “just kidding”. You know which one of those statements I’m gonna believe!
- Reveal everything about yourself. I’d like to have something else to talk about if we ever went on something like a date.
- Post a picture. I look for kind eyes, and find a variety of men attractive. Other women probably have different criteria. It’s simple chemistry.
- Make sure your picture is current. If your story states your children are almost out of the house, and the only pic you have with them, they are 2 and 4….chances are the photo is not current.
- Be consistent in your profile. If you check every box for every physical activity you enjoy, and then state you exercise 1-2 times per week, it is just confusing.
- Be clear about your passions. Passions are those things, besides dating, that fill up your life, make you whole, feed your soul. There are a lot of outdoor men in Idaho that LOVE to ride 4 wheelers. Not my cup o’ tea, but I’d rather know that before I show up for a “ride” date only to discover that my mountain bike is not what he had in mind.
So, new beginnings. I am mostly just lurking on the site now, checking out who checks me out, letting the site make suggestions. It’s not a warm body, but it is better than a bottle of wine on a Friday night. I’ve posted a recent picture….the same one I used for my google profile, stripe of sunscreen down my nose and all. I stated how often I exercise, but I did not reveal the time of day. Not sure if 5:30 am is a passion of mine, or just something I do because my life is not overly full right now. But, then again, I saw 3 shooting stars on my solo run this morning. Can you guess what I wished for?
In the meantime, perhaps I should just make regular treks to the hole in the ground at PCEI. Dangling my feet over the abyss made me happy. It got rid of my work induced headache. This life has no shortage of passions.