Recently (well a few weeks ago), I watched the Netflix series From Scratch. So first and foremost I need to acknowledge that it’s been out for a while but I finally had some time to watch. For those who haven’t watched it yet, this post will include some spoilers so you can stop here if you haven’t had the opportunity quite yet. A few things. First, the scenery and setting was beautiful. I found myself reminiscing on my trips to Italy and wishing that I had another one booked. It’s a beautiful and unique country and the food is amazing. I loved the fact that the story was true to life and I’ve heard that it was actually based on a true story. Family is important and the fact that the main character took the time to learn Italian and connect with her in-laws despite their resistance led to them embracing her and including her in their will. It was a beautiful love story of a couple who made it work even when faced with so many challenges. Family members flew in from around the country in order to provide support and everyone came together in a way that was beautiful and personified what it means to have a true family unit. They had their differences but at the end of the day they were united by their love of their daughter, sister, and granddaughter. It was a such a tear jerker and I found myself being glad that I didn’t have anything else scheduled for the day because my eyes were red and puffy. It’s an emotional roller coaster–which life is at times. I particularly loved the ending where the main character had to think about her daughter and create a new normal that included honoring the memory of her spouse. She demonstrated so much resiliency even in the midst of the most tragic event. Overall, I think that main message of the movies was about the resiliency of the human spirit and the ability we have to find some beauty in the midst of unspeakable tragedy.
So…… I recently turned the ripe old age of 33 and also celebrated 3 years with my significant other. Now, if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ve read about how I was chronically single for the longest. But the tides of luck have changed and this year represented 3 years of successful partnership. I’ve lived so many lives and this time of year lends itself to more reflection. I will say that the one biggest change that stands out to me (second to leaving organized religion of course) has been abandoning vegetarian life. This is not to be outdone by the emotional effort it takes to maintain a healthy secure attachment. Not to mention in this year alone, I’ve moved across the country, grown a business, taken on new responsibilities and continued to be consistent with a (brutal) workout regimen. It’s been a wild ride and I’m reminded of all the many chapters of my life that have led up to the current one. 33 represents…..something significant in numerology and while I’m too lazy to look it up right now, I will admit that I see things differently. It’s funny how insanely fast your 20s are. I remember the birthday dinner I had in college and greeting my 20th birthday at the crack of dawn by a statue in the middle of the college campus. Fast forward to 29 turning 30 where I was on a cruise sailing to Puerto Rico. Alabama to Colorado, Georgia, California, Georgia, California, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, to Georgia, to Maryland, and finally to Texas. It’s been a lot. I’m grateful for everything and while it’s not been easy, it’s been worth it. Here’s to more years and more memories and honestly more shrimp, lobster and sushi.
If there’s one thing I’ve heard a lot recently, it’s the fact that it is getting increasingly hard to date. People are getting frustrated with the lack of responses and running into people who have different expectations of communication and relationship. As someone who met my (4 years and counting) current partner through an app, I wanted to contribute to the solution instead of the problem and I wrote an ebook about it. While it’s geared towards people who identify as female, I think I may also do one to help people who identify as male. Writing is something that doesn’t exactly come easy but it’s a rewarding discipline that I’m hoping to be more consistent with this year. Hopefully, this is the first of many literary adventures to come. Maybe I’ll try my hand in creating some fiction based around my very non-traditional childhood. But I digress. Check out my ebook here and let me know what you think!
While technically Valentine’s Day is over, I was reminded today while scrolling social media of all the years that I wanted to be in a relationship. While that goal was accomplished last year, it’s been interesting how much less the holiday means after being shown love and kindness throughout the other 364 days of the year. There were a lot of sad people today who spent the day alone or with people that they may not have genuinely cared about or loved. Relationships are so much more than what happens in a 24 hour period. While I love grand gestures and gifts, I’ve come to a deeper appreciation for the small meaningful things that make life easier. Being able to delegate difficult tasks, having a friend I can talk to, requesting an occasional foot rub are all things that at one point in my life I never expected to have. As I’ve continued to work with couples, I’m reminded of the importance of consistency in relationships. Trust and commitment don’t happen overnight. They both are traits that are cultivated through time and energy and many people don’t make the investment that is necessary for success. When something is important to you, you make time for it and ensure that it is a priority. Taking the time to water your own grass (figuratively) and invest in the health of your relationship will reap benefits. Just make sure you’re with the right person.
After years of waiting and hoping I finally got into a relationship with long term potential about a year ago and things are going well. The thing that has been surprising is how different my expectations were from reality. I work with black women who have educational and financial standards for their future boyfriend or spouse and honestly I used to be one of them. No one wants to be in a relationship and do worse financially then they were before. However, in the past year I’ve learned more about some of the intangibles that mean more than what a guy makes or his level of education. Women can easily get caught up in what a man does instead of evaluating who he is. One thing is significantly less obvious than the other. Dating a project isn’t about trying to rehabilitate a man but it’s not the same as supporting a man who has a clear path and plan for the future. Many times the past is a great indicator of the future. Instead of asking about a five year plan, it’s better to ask a man about a five year plan he’s has in the past and what year he’s in presently. It’s easy have aspirations but it’s much hard to put in the work to manifest them. If a man is serious his actions will show it. Giving you a girlfriend label doesn’t indicate he’s serious. Is he applying for jobs to move closer to you? Has he given you his timeline for moving in together? Is he introducing you to his circle of friends? These are all indications that there’s a good chance he’s sees a future with you. Women are quick to complain that a man has wasted their time but in reality they have wasted their own time because they weren’t being held hostage and they got committed too soon without verifying that the other person wanted the same thing. Taking inventory means that you understand where you are in your life and you intentionally choose to make decisions that align with your long term goals.
I ran into this picture and thought that it was a great idea to utilize for couples who just want to try something different to build their relationship and emotional connection. It’s more ideal for partners who live together but anything can be modified for social distancing or living apart. Happy June!
I was having a conversation the other day with a woman who was at a crossroads in her life. She had focused on her career and had finally come to the realization that she wanted to have a husband and children. The challenge is that the made the decision in her 50s. Now, I know the whole cliche about how you get wiser as you age and the fact that age isn’t anything but a number. However, the rules are different when trying to find a significant other after a certain age. Chances are that a younger woman has a better chance of getting married and having a family than someone who is middle aged. It’s not necessarily fair but it’s reality. I remember the decision I made to focus on my career and while I didn’t regret it, I also realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to focus on long term. The relationship that I’m in right now is the result of a conscious decision to grow personally so that I could be my best self in a relationship. I’m glad that my focus has shifted because it’s been valuable in defining what’s important to me and how I want my life to be moving forward. A lot of changes have occurred and I’m looking forward to what is next.
Grief is one of those things that can be complicated. While I’ve never sought formal training in being a grief coach or a grief therapist, it’s something that I’ve experienced in my years of practice. I’ve worked in hospice settings and in many hospitals where anticipatory grieving and grieving after a loved one has passed happened frequently. But there’s a significant level of less understanding for people who have lost a pet. Pet (especially dogs) are extensions of our families. My dog Sam was with me from high school all the way up until I finished my doctorate. He was a companion, pain in the butt, loyal friend, and a good listener. He didn’t have any safety awareness and tended to run up to cars instead of away. While he was brave in biting bigger dogs, his 13lb body shook from fear when there was a thunderstorm close by. He hated to have his paws touched but loved to find an empty lap to jump on and sleep. Overall, he was fairly mellow and didn’t have the explosive constant energy that was indicative of his breed. He usually slept through the night but on some occasions he wanted to go out every hour on the hour. Even after a year of him being gone I still miss him but I appreciate all the memories that I have of him. If there’s a doggie heaven I hope we’ll meet again.
I’ve always been somewhat of a hopeless romantic. I love the idea of a grand gesture for the holiday where someone declares their undying love and affection. This year has been pretty low key but also better than previous years. I spent quality time with my significant other without the hassle of trying to outdo anyone or prove that the actions of one day are an indication of the level of commitment of both partners. I saw a slew of v-day posts on social media and this year I was particularly annoyed with the amount of meaningless advice that attached women posted and addressed directly to “single women.” The “wait and see” approach to finding a significant other is outdated and is rarely ever effective. One thing that I’ve learned is the importance of letting go of comparisons to other relationships. Everyone is different and there’s not a “one size fits all” approach to relationships. It’s important to build your relationship the way that you and your partner want it. Create your own personal definition of fidelity and commitment through discussion with your partner and be ok with the fact that it may look different than other relationships. There’s too much at stake to not be honest with yourself about what you want and what you expect from a partner.
This weekend has been one that has brought a myriad of emotions with it. It was the one year anniversary of my dog passing away and I woke up this morning to the news of the passing of a basketball great that unexpected and took the whole world by surprise. I remember watching his games growing up and feeling inspired by the work ethic that he displayed. His success was a product of hard work and also being a team player. He was loved and respected by millions but the gap that he and his daughter left in their immediate family will never be filled. It’s one of the things that’s just hard to wrap your head around. Life is so short and times like this remind you to hug your loved ones just a bit harder.