Monday, April 8, 2013

What's Your Tell?

Over the years, I have had so many conversations with women about their relationships with (primarily) men.  In all of them; I find I keep coming back to an analogy for evaluating long term compatibility... Are you ready?  Relationships are like Poker.  In order to understand whether or not you're going to come out ahead; you have to be able to read your mate's tells.

Those early tells will generally give you a clear indication of what is to come in the long term.  They are a secret little window into tendencies of your "oh so cute" someone.  Those tendencies just may continue to be "oh so cute" but, beware... If you take those things and amplify them two, three, or a hundred fold; will they continue to be cute?  A drop of water may not bother you.  But if that drop of water continues to drip over and over again in the same spot for years... it can become torture.  

If those drops of water pool into an oasis of memories that make you smile again and again; you may very well have found the man (or woman) of your dreams.  If, on the other hand, these things begin to drive you mad - you may well be setting yourself up for one of those dark and confusing periods in your life where you find yourself asking how it went so wrong; how you were so mistaken about this one; how you could have been so blind, so trusting, so naive... Fill in the blank.  

The Tell:  My ex didn't have a bank account before he met me in college.
What it Should Tell You:  This person does not have an active approach to managing his money.
Ask Yourself:  Are you willing to be completely responsible for both of your finances as a couple and eventually as a family? 

The Tell:  My boyfriend goes out every night whether I feel like going or not.
What it Should Tell You:  This person is more interested in ensuring that he's having fun (or perhaps from distracting himself from his responsibilities) than spending time with you.
Ask Yourself:  Are you happy prioritizing his needs over anyone else's, including yours?  Will you continue to be okay with this after you're married and/or have children?

The Tell:  My girlfriend changes the subject whenever we hit a topic that we do not agree on.
What it Should Tell You:  This person does not like confrontation.
Ask Yourself:  How do or would you feel when this happens during a serious discussion about something that is really important to you, e.g. having children; wedding plans; financial planning?

We've all been there and we all have our own list and the list can go on and on. I'm not suggesting that you run at the first sign of trouble in the pit.  But relationships are a gamble.  If you're going to go all in; take a minute to ask yourself if you've really thought about what you know; been honest with yourself about the tells you've been shown; and considered the long term implications of how this hand may play out.  The reality is that any of these things could have been discussed and worked through prior to becoming a determining factor in a relationship's demise.  But if you're ignoring the tells; you're decision to call, fold or go all in will be random.  Why take these chances with your heart?  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I love babies.  I really do.  The sight of them makes me happy.  The smell of their sour milk breath is better than roses.  The feel of them in my arms ignites a warmth that is so soul permeating that I can't really compare it to anything else at all.

My best friend just sent me a note to tell me that her baby was having a tough time adjusting to her going back to work and is refusing the bottle.  In hopes of helping; I surfed the web for a couple of minutes to see if I could find any nugget of wisdom to offer.  Turns out - there's not all that much advice out there on this topic but from what I found; it generally fall into four categories:  Be Patient; Change the Bottle; Change the milk/formula; Give In...

So what I thought was worth noting was this... Give In?  Much of the popular advice seemed to focus on having someone (mother, husband, nanny) BRING the baby to you during your work breaks so you can nurse him/her...  I am no expert on child rearing and I am no child psychologist or anything like that.  My first reaction to such advice was "ARE YOU KIDDING ME????"  But then, I got to thinking...  How wonderful for those folks!  To have such a strong and nurturing support network to be able to accomplish such a thing.  It really is heart warming!

Some may not want to have the obligation to nurse follow them to work which is just fine as far as I'm concerned.  But some simply may not have such an opportunity to begin with.  So for those of you who can have your babies brought to you and you can (and want to) nurse; good for you!  I applaud you and your support network.  I am glad that your babies are able to extend this wonderfully bonding comfort for as long as that situation can be maintained.

On the other hand...

To my dear friend, I found myself saying: "Try not to worry." "She'll get used to you being away." "I'm sorry it's so hard for everyone." "

And, I found myself thinking

If only we could make our babies understand how hard it is for us to leave them too maybe they wouldn't feel so sad.

Monday, April 1, 2013

This is something that I wrote very shortly after my husband and I decided to separate.

The Forest
Traveling beneath a canopy of darkness, a clearing or occasional beam of sunlight that penetrates the trees can be mistaken for a sign of better things to come.  But anyone who has been blanketed by the darkness of a chosen path knows how suddenly that stream of light passes and darkness once again envelops the hopeful traveler.  Even the larger clearings eventually give way to the thick of the forest as it once again grows interwoven and clustered.  The forest floor is carpeted with the fallen victims of the winds and of the storms.  The ceiling once again a constant barrier between the traveler and the open sky.  Hopeless devotion to a chosen path is not the answer. To leave the forest is not to fail in completing the journey.  I have chosen to take a machete to the vines that hug my ankles as I stumble towards the edge. I have chosen to leave the forest in hopes of improving my journey.
I am not blind, I am just adjusting to the bright light of open sky and unfiltered sunlight.  As I stand at the edge of the familiar darkness, fondly recounting each clearing, each moment of sunlight I captured along my journey, I am set back on my heels.  Reeling a little from the abundance of warmth and open space before me; I feel the dependable darkness at my back.  My breath is short, my knees are weak.  I walk tentatively away from the life I chose into the unknown.  As I walk, my breath gets stronger, my stride gets longer, my smile erupts from within.  I do not travel unencumbered nor empty handed.  I carry with me my babies who created the largest clearings along my path - the moments of pure ecstasy within my journey.  I carry with me the baggage that such a trip requires to survive.  I will barter my baggage in exchange for hope.
Happiness is not a constant state.  For some it is fleeting and driven by external forces.  For some it is an internal flame.  I choose the latter.  I want to see the good when it is real and to be honest enough to know when there isn't enough promise of good on a chosen path.  I will be strong enough to change my path when I find myself in darkness created by the foliage of knotted roots and rotted soil.  I will not allow someone else’s map chart my course again.  And if I do, I will take a deep breath and remember what it is like to have the sunshine above and open space before me.  I have learned that being “happy enough” is not enough.  
Welcome.  This is my first entry into my first personal blog.  It is my goal to use this blog to carve out a small corner in this world where happiness is the ultimate focus.  I am happy to share this space with anyone who may be interested in sharing this journey with me.  I can't promise that every single entry will be about things that are happy.  I can't even promise that every entry will have a positive slant or a good "life lesson" somehow attached.

I will:

Share my thoughts on happiness.
Try my very best to be honest in what I write.
Make a very real effort to choose happiness whenever it is an option.
Try very hard not to let myself wallow too long in negative energy.
Try very hard not to preach.

I ask in return:

Please share your feedback if you would like to.