Taking inventory

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.

Birthday Trip

I’ve typically been pretty bad at celebrating my birthday. The last four years or so I’ve worked on my birthday and then took myself out to dinner afterwards. This year I wanted to something different. Originally I booked a cruise but then realized that I wanted something on a smaller scale. I went and booked a 4 day getaway at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic that was off the beaten path. It was good to get out the country but also good to know that DR makes the 8th country I’ve visited this year. Which isn’t too bad since I decided to scale back my travels a bit. I had an amazing time except for the small fact that people who travel solo are often “invisible” so you have to hunt down the wait staff for EVERYTHING. I sat by the pool and the beach and had some amazing naps with just the sounds of the waves and an unlimited number of drinks. It was truly worth the money and the experience. Next years birthday vacation is booked already.

Just a hassle 

Recently I’ve seen a lot of social media posts about people getting engaged and also getting married. However, there is also a lot of the opposite. I saw an individual posted on social media how much it hurts to find out that you meant nothing to the other person after thinking that you meant the world to them. An author whose page I follow also posed a question asking if people are tired of dating and the overwhelming response to the post was that most people had given up on ever finding a significant romantic relationship. I wasn’t too surprised to read the responses and I found that it was easy to relate to what people were saying. While I think that’s it’s wrong to say that there are no good men/women left in the world, it would be stupid not to acknowledge how difficult it can be to “find” a normal,stable, and fairly sane person. Dating in today’s world is not as glamorous as it is in the movies and there are hundreds of unspoken rules and expectations that one is expected to just “know.” Let’s face it, it can be a hard world for a hopeless romantic. Dating can easily turn into a cycle that’s similar to fishing where you catch fish but keep throwing them back into the water because they aren’t what you’re looking for. Personally, I find it annoying when people talk about how your perfect match is “out there” and that you have a kiss a lot of frogs in order to find your prince. I don’t know if it’s really worth all that hassle. 

Post-Love Day 

Today almost everything related to chocolates and candy is half off because the day is over. It’s always fun to see all the corny and sincere Valentine’s Day declarations. From the self loving single who proclaims that it’s his or her day to pamper themselves to the newly engaged couples with the smiles from ear to ear and to the older couples who have raised a family together and now are empty nesters. In years past I greeted the day with a mixture of frustration and happiness for all the people posting pictures of the awesome stuff they got. It warms my heart to see people happy and (at least for a few moments) publicly recognizing their significant others. It’s a day to appreciate what you have and acknowledge the role of love in the world–at least some degree. 

The Man Dilemma

The Man Dilemma

Some people say that a picture is worth a thousand words and I think that this one is no exception to that rule. I’ve seen it posted on a few social media sites with some very thought provoking comments made by different individuals. In a world where millions of children are growing up in homes without a consistent male presence, I think that this picture rings true. I have so much respect for single mothers who are working hard and raising their children. I think that family situations like these require a woman to take on additional roles and responsibilities that may traditionally be given to the “man of the house.” When you’re working hard, taking care of business, and raising kids, an ” I don’t need a man” mindset is fairly easy to require. When it’s just you and there is no one else, you begin to become more self-reliant and creative in order to ensure that things run smoothly. A life like this sometimes comes about because of necessity as opposed to a conscious choice. You do what you have to do in order to survive. Period. The lady on the left is right. She doesn’t need a man because she is doing everything on her own. There’s such a delicate balance between an “I don’t need a man” and a “My life isn’t dependent on the presence of a significant other in my life but I’d love to have one” mindset. It’s going to be hard for any man to adjust into a familial environment like the one depicted in the picture because the odds are already stacked against him. His contributions to the family won’t be as appreciated because he isn’t “needed.” Bitterness sometimes comes as a result of these situations and unfortunately, it affects children in one way or another and can perpetuate the cycle as the picture suggests. Folks, we’ve got to do better.

Crushing Hard

Recently one of my college colleagues posted something on a social media site that caught my attention. She said that having a crush on someone and liking them are two different things. I totally and complete agree with her assertion because it just makes sense to me. The idea of having a crush on someone usually brings of memories of elementary or middle school where you liked someone and you were convinced that the two of y’all were meant to be. I think that as we grow up, many times our crushes morph into some sort of attraction toward different celebrities. The actors, entertainers, and musicians that you know you’ll never meet in person but are convinced that they would immediately propose on the spot if they ever had the good fortune to spend time in your presence. Crushes are unattainable. They’re based in fantasy but yet the romantic side of us is ever optimistic that they’ll come to fruition. Liking someone, on the other hand, is similar yet different. I honestly think that in order to actually like someone you have to be in their physical presence. Unlike a crush, where you feel a connection through a TV screen. Liking someone involves having interactions with them. I honestly do not understand people who talk about how much they like someone but yet the person doesn’t even know that they exist. While I understand the concept of pining from afar, I just don’t think that it makes a lot of sense. You waste so much time and energy you can never get back because you haven’t even taken the first step of introducing yourself. It’s hard to like someone you don’t know but it’s easy to have a crush on them. 

Letting People In

Letting People In

I totally agree with this picture. While I don’t think that you have to be standoffish and mean, I think that less is more when it comes to letting people get super close to you. I know that everyone is human and we all make mistakes and that we can’t expect perfection from our friends but it’s still ok to be cautious before spilling your guts to someone you call a friend but have only known a short time. Someone once said that you should never trust anyone who only has new friends because that’s an indication of the quality of their prior relationships and friendships. Sometimes doing more groundwork on the front end of a friendship or a relationship can save you a lot of heartache and hurt down the road. One thing that I’ve noticed is that I’m somewhat of an extremist when it comes to putting the words in this picture into practice. For instance, every person in my life that I consider close and feel that they know me well I’ve known for three years or more. This was not a conscious decision, it was just something that happened and can probably be blamed in some way on my upbringing. But I digress. My point is that it’s good to screen people and to let them prove that they can be trusted before you open the floodgates of your heart and let them 100% into your life.

The Himaholic Chronicles

Kelly Price put out a song by this particular name and in this song she describes being in a relationship with a man who is addictive. She knows that he’s toxic but she goes through withdrawals when she isn’t around him. I know a LOT of people in a similar situation. They are a self-proclaimed “himaholic” or a “heraholic.” (Definitely just made up a word). But honestly, some people are just addictive–whether it’s in a good way or a bad way. It’s like you get so invested in them that you can’t get yourself back and it gets really hard to separate the two. If there was ever a Himaholics Anonymous it would be full of the stories of woe from women who got caught in vicious cycles of believing that they would change someone and then realizing that they could not but still returning to him because he was addictive. I remember someone once telling me that every human being is attracted to dysfunction on some level. While I won’t debate the truth of this statement, I can honestly say that I’ve seen a lot of examples.  Himaholics and heraholics do exist. They are our friends, family, and sometimes even ourselves. There is not a tried and true proven way to get out of a relationship that isn’t good for you. Sometimes you just have to go cold turkey and tough it out until the addictive cycle is over. Not necessarily the most comfortable choice, but definitely a good decision in the long run.

It’s not all right, but it’s ok

Many of us are waiting with baited breath for the day that our lives will be perfect. We eagerly anticipate an existence where no one annoys us and everything goes according to plan. Sometimes this thought is the only motivation we have. Trouble won’t last always is a philosophy we’ve eagerly adopted  a means of coping with our current situation. One of the things I’ve noticed is that there’s so much emphasis on being positive that sometimes it’s hard to be realistic. Good days and bad days happen to everyone. Growth is always uncomfortable and adversity builds strength. When someone first starts to work out with weights, they usually start with smaller weights and eventually work their way up to larger ones. Life isn’t like that. It involves ups and downs without a set routine. As I’m doing some self reflection, I’m realizing that I need to be ok with where I am in life because its a part of something bigger. I can’t expect everything to go my way all the time. Sometimes I’m just going to have to roll with the punches and take it because I know that it’s making me a stronger person regardless of how I feel. After all, it’s not all right, but it’s ok. 

Decisions, decisions

In the past few days I have been presented, or rather challenged with a big decision. I’m usually pretty good at making decisions. I have my own method of looking at the pros and cons and then coming to a conclusion. Once I make a decision, I rarely change my mind because I’ve already done the leg work. The reason why this particular decision is so hard is because it is indicative of a battle between my emotional side and my rational/logical side. I’ve found that the hardest decisions happen when you have to decide between what you want and what you need. This is especially hard for me because I have always been someone who put responsibility and duty over convenience or feelings. I know that making one decisions will be really good for my mental health and general state of well being but it will cost me a huge chunk of my career goals and will mess up my entire five-year plan. Yeah, making a decision based on my emotional side would make me happy. But is life really about happiness? The truth is that I’ve spent so much time working towards my career and abandoning it would be a huge waste. It all comes down to how bad I want it and how much I’m willing to sacrifice to get it. Hard questions. But at the end of the day, I can’t make a huge decision based on my emotions because even they are subject to change. I may not want to make a decision but I NEED to. Plus, maybe I’ll be able to pinpoint a place where I’ll get the best of both worlds. Until then, I’ll just hang out in the valley of decision for a little while.