I remember clearly the last time I was on an amusement park ride. It was not a pleasant experience. It was one of those rides that throws you through the air and swings you side to side roughly, abruptly changing directions so suddenly and with such force that you wonder if your internal organs have departed your body. Then you immediately wonder how can the mechanics of this ride sustain such momentum and force. When will that one bolt work it’s way loose. When will my chair…or my daughter’s chair in front of me…be the one to go flying wildly into the air as if forcefully flung from the contraption. I remember gritting my teeth, dreading every moment, wondering when the ride would end. My daughter on the other hand reveled in the moment.
It was the last amusement park ride I ever rode.
I learned something about myself that day. I learned, I don’t really like amusement park rides. Not even the tame ones. Too much of my psyche is preoccupied with enduring the experience. There’s no enjoyment. Even more of my energy is consumed with fretting about that one in one hundred billionth chance that something will go desperately wrong.
Then, of course, there is the time and expense. At many amusement parks, you pay a premium for a two minute ride. And…you stand in line for a very long time for that short ride. Even at a small county fair, you can expect to pay way too much for way too little in terms of entertainment time. And then what? When it’s all over, you are broke and miserable, with nothing but a bad memory to show for it. At least, that’s my experience.
No matter how many rides I go on or how many different venues I experience it’s always the same.
It’s interesting how similar my experiences with marriage are to amusement park rides.
About two years ago, I published a post on this blog about meeting this great guy. I published a post or two a bit later about marrying that guy and leaving my life as I had known it to live with him overseas. He worked overseas as a contractor and the plan was that I would move with him and live with him where he worked. It was a wonderful fairy tale story except that it was real and it was happening to me. I was going to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream of living abroad, being able to write and not have to deal with the stresses of my career. I was marrying a man I loved and who loved me. It was going to be great.
Except…it wasn’t great. Read the rest of this entry
Online dating is so much like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If you’re a woman, you can pretty much put up a profile, and if your profile is decent and your pictures are good, you can just dangle that bait in the water and watch the fish come swarming to your inbox. But then the real work begins. It’s just like Goldilocks sampling the porridge, the chairs and the beds of The Three Bears: this one’s too hot, that one’s too cold, will the next one be just right?
My mother used to say some things that were interesting when she told them to me as a child, but now, after her passing nearly a decade ago, I find them to be perceptive beyond belief. One of her favorite axioms was, “Most of life is boring.” She would usually say this in response to one of us kids declaring our boredom. She was unphased. “It’s life,” she’d say. “Only boring people get bored. Learn to entertain yourself, instead of relying on others to do it for you.”
My mother was right. So much of life is wash, rinse, repeat.
I get up, drag myself out of bed, and fumble my way to the shower. I go through my days doing mostly stuff that pertains to making sure my kids and I have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, electricity and heat, and a vehicle to get us to and fro. My weekend activities don’t vary much. I’m a bit of a cyclist and spend lots of time out on my bike. I tend to go to the same places to eat and socialize. I have fun, but it isn’t a constantly changing menu of activities and events.
Today, or rather, yesterday, I got up and decided I would drive my fancy new-to-me car to a small trendy town nearby and have breakfast at a lovely little place that is always packed and has delicious, melt-in-your-mouth menu items. I went alone. I usually go alone. I like to go alone. I’m really okay with this most of the time, but lately, maybe due to the car wreck with my kid, maybe due to the fact that everyone else around me seems to be having success in the relational field, maybe because I’m just tired of being alone all.the.time. Most of the time I don’t mind being alone, but lately I’ve stopped going out and doing things, because I was getting tired of doing the alone thing. Today, I didn’t care. I wanted to have breakfast at a nice place. I wanted to drive in my car. I didn’t necessarily want to have to be responsible for holding up my end of a conversation, but I somehow, strangely wanted to immerse myself in a crowd of people and noise, and fragrances and life. So, I went out to breakfast.
Red and pink balloons, chocolates in heart shapes with red, pink, silver, and gold foil wrapping, cards, dinners…disgusting. Valentine’s Day is a day of obligation. It’s a day of duty. It’s a day of, “If you don’t get her something, your proverbial goose is cooked.” It’s a day I’ve never enjoyed, no matter my relationship status. It always seemed, when I was in a relationship, that the men I was with were anxious about the day. Or they forgot. Or they simply didn’t know what to do. Or worse…and this did happen…they didn’t care and they did nothing.
Ever notice how we human beings have ways of marking the passage of time? Sure, we have our calendars, our reminders, our clocks and gizmos. I’m talking about the not-so-obvious ways of marking time. The methods which mark time in subtle ways that leave you realizing after the fact how time has passed rather than noting it up front.
I am not a winter person. I like cool weather but I’m really a sunny, summer person. I mark my years mostly by noting the passage of the seasons. The months from January to the end of March are dreadful for me. In the region where I live winters are relatively mild, but temperatures can vary from a balmy 60 degrees one day to snowing and freezing levels the next. I find this pretty tough on my system. I’m always glad when Daylight Saving Time arrives. Even though I lose an hour, I can see that summer is on the way, and with it, some more consistent temperatures.