Finding the Love of My Life ©

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Are you one of the lucky ones when it comes to relationships? Early on, you found that one special person and are living “happily ever after”.

I have not been one of those lucky ones. Before we even tied the knot, I suspected that my first love (I married at the tender age of 18) was not the love of my life. But he provided a safe port in the storm at that time. In the eight years we were married, I was able to safely grow and blossom into a much more confident young woman. My dad said, “Well, he never did you any harm, but he didn’t do you much good.” (Dads are so protective!)

After a couple of years of trying to figure myself out and figure out what love was all about, I fell in love with a man whom I thought would be my happily ever after. We raised a wonderful son together and had some good years. But stuff happens. It’s not unusual for relationships to founder because of life circumstances and various traumas. My second marriage lasted over 23 years, but then it ended.

Four years passed before I felt ready to date again. This time I figured, “third time lucky”. And for awhile, I felt lucky. We met on the shores of the online dating pool and were delighted to discover how much we had in common in so many ways. Here I thought was my soul mate. Although I invested heart and soul into our relationship, I was ever so sad when it ended after five years.

Lately, I’ve been contemplating throwing my hat into the ring yet a fourth time. As I reflect on what has gone before, what I don’t want, and what I do want in a new partner; I’ve had an epiphany about the love of my life. I finally realized who it is – it’s not Mr. Right –

It’s me!

All my relationships to this point have been amazing reflections of who I have been in any given moment. Each person showed me facets of my mind, body, and soul that I might not have paid attention to otherwise. Sometimes it felt like the movie, “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”, but really, it helped me to fall in love with myself all over again.

I grew enormously because of each relationship, which of course prepared me for the next relationship.

Today it dawned on me that all of this learning and growing within my relationships has been propelling me toward affirming again the most important relationship of all, the relationship I have with myself.

If I allow it, I am my own best friend. When I treat myself and honor myself as I deserve, I come to trust and value the love that I am.

I can never physically abandon me, because I’m always here. When no one else is there for me, I’m right here to comfort and rock myself to sleep. I can call on me any time of the day or night. I can surround myself with all the love I have inside.

Does that mean then that we have no need of relationships? Not at all! Being in relationship is the way we see ourselves as we couldn’t if we were alone. A totally white wall cannot know itself as white until a black thumbprint shows up on its surface.

A woman does not experience ultimate femininity without the presence of ultimate masculinity. Contrast through connection is vital to our own growth.

So now where do I go? Well, part of my plan is to keep honoring my own magnificence as a human being. I’m not any more magnificent than you are, but I am unique – as you are unique; I plan to keep celebrating that uniqueness and keep cherishing the fact that I truly am the love of my life, just as you need to be the love of your life.

And if I’m blessed enough to find someone new and special to share the love of my life with, that will be spectacular!

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What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me about Sex©

When it came to the topic of sex, mostly what my mother told me was, “no!” (I think she might have told my dad “no” a few times, too.)

Growing up in the “Father Knows Best” 50s, I learned at a very early age that sex was totally taboo – no talking about it, no touching of private parts, and certainly no experimenting with neighbor kids. Dad never interfered, because Mom’s job was to raise the kids – unless of course we got out of hand and she threatened the old, “you wait till your father comes home!” Poor man never knew what hit him most of the time.

In grade 6 we watched the film in health class about how our bodies would be changing. Naturally, the boys were in one room watching their film, with the girls in the other. I’m sure each group was desperate to know what the other was learning! It was all very mysterious, and I confess to not really understanding what they were talking about. When I took the pamphlet home to my mother, she was annoyed that the school had taken over what she thought was her job.

As my breasts started to sprout, mom could no longer ignore the fact that her only daughter was moving into womanhood. I still chuckle at the girlish giggling of her and my grandmother as I tried on my first bra. When my period arrived, even though I was highly embarrassed, mom showed me very matter-of-factly how to look after myself.

She was right there when I got my first kiss at 15. Too protective to allow me to ride in my first boyfriend’s little Sunbeam, she was the chauffeur for our last date before he moved to Vancouver. He kissed me in the back seat of Mom’s Galaxy 500. I felt like a princess in a fairytale.

We never talked about my changing feelings as a teenager – the dreamy “I’m in love” or the unexpected surge of groin warmth the first time a guy touched my breasts. (Through my heavy winter coat – on a double-date with my older brother – this was the 50’s after all!) Okay, there was kissing, too. I won’t tell you his name, though I remember it well – he had bedroom eyes that caused many a girl’s sighs!

Mom never had the “birds and bees” talk with me, but she and my older brother hovered over me at any sign of potential trouble. I rarely risked her displeasure by stepping out of line.

I wished she had told me what part goes where and where babies come from. Instead, I saw in graphic detail on the big Technicolor screen of the Medical Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal exactly how babies are born and what part of the mother they come out of. I was a shocked and mortified 17-year old. “Well if that’s where babies come from,“  I thought to myself, “I’m never having any!”

But I still knew little about “the one thing” that was on a boy’s mind. I wish she had told me that it was o.k. to pleasure myself, that an orgasm was wonderful to experience, or that multiple orgasms were better than 10 A&W root beer floats. (I finally learned all that in a sexuality workshop when I was 27!)

I think she didn’t share any of that with me for a couple of reasons. First, she either had never experienced some of that, or she just didn’t have the words to talk about it. The second, more important reason was that she never got the chance, because she died suddenly when I was 17.

All her history – her thoughts, dreams, feelings and experiences were gone in an instant. Over time, her sister shared some of what she knew of my mother’s single years. How she’d narrowly escaped rape by the high school principal in grade 11. She quit school because of that, though she’d always wanted to go to university. My grandfather never forgave her for quitting – she couldn’t tell him why.

During World War II, she worked on the tarmac at Bowden, Alberta where they trained the British fighter pilots. She fell in love and got engaged to one of them, but he was killed. She had a beautiful soprano voice and sang on the radio, with my aunt accompanying her on the piano.

She was a talented writer with a great sense of humor. She wrote little skits that the curling members performed at the Derrick Club. All I have of her writing is a letter she wrote to my grandmother from her hospital bed when my youngest brother was born. My brothers and I laughed when I shared it with them recently.

I only knew my mother while I was a teenager – with all the edginess and accompanying angst. I missed getting to know her adult to adult. So when my own son was born, I was determined that he would have written evidence about his birth – what I was thinking and feeling and what he meant to me.

I started writing him letters. As the years passed, I made sure to write at least one letter on his birthday so he would feel the essence of me at that age. I tucked them away for when he was older.

Now at 64, because writing is both my passion and my vocation, I feel compelled to document my history – a memoir of sorts. I hesitated for a long time because I thought I had to be someone “important or famous” to publish a memoir. Now I realize that I have a treasure trove of stories and something of value to share. I don’t want to leave this world without some kind of mark to show that I’ve passed this way.

As I move to a more reflective time of life, I believe it’s an honor, a privilege, and part of our duty to share our thoughts and wisdom for the generations to come. Our sons and daughters have a right to know where they came from, so they can decide where to go from here. My mother died too young to write any of those words, so I have written some of them for her – as I will write my own story for my son. (I confess I didn’t tell him much about sex either!)

If you are a Baby Boomer, or you still have parents, I encourage you to write your story and their stories – before it’s too late. Our children need your wisdom, and they need to know their roots.

“I’d Rather Stay Single than Settle!”©

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“What’s with these guys, anyway?” a friend recently lamented.  Single again after a nasty, long term relationship, she had cast her line into the online dating pool.

Bemused and disgusted, she related tales of guys with lengthy lies, poorly written profiles, and lousy pictures who railed at her because she dared to question and test out whether or not they were for real. One man accused her of being a man, not a woman.

Her reply, “Well, I have been told that I have more balls than most men, but I’ve never been accused of having a penis!”

Another man wrote her that once they met for the first coffee date, he expected her to commit permanently – no testing out of any kind would be allowed. When she shut him down, he tried to re-connect using a different name (but the same photo – duh!). At that point, she was pretty sure he was ready to be committed alright – to a padded cell!

Then there was the guy who penned story after story about all the women he had dated in order to convince her that he was God’s gift to women. He’d already been married four times.

My friend got super diligent with her tests. If the guy was from far away, she requested a photo of him holding a newspaper from his city with a current date. Some actually complied, others she never heard from again.

I shook my head in amazement. Not much had changed in the ten years since I’d tried online dating. Who needs to watch contrived ‘reality’ shows on TV when you can just fire up your computer and participate in the electronic dating scene. That brand of truth really is stranger than fiction!

Is it any wonder that we develop trust and commitment issues when faced with a big puddle of whiners and losers? Is the single set so desperate to connect that any lie is justifiable in the battle between the sexes?

After I related a couple of my own horror stories, my friend and I talked about the necessary, but somewhat painful sorting process. I was relieved when she told me that she didn’t take it too seriously, and was actually having fun testing out these guys whose stories made her laugh in amazement. She was accepting the occasional coffee date, but made sure she was safe while doing it.

Too many women I’ve talked to are so frantic to hook up that they shut off their creep-o-meters and suffer through the inevitable dating disasters. And that’s not just younger women, it’s women in their 50’s and beyond.

It’s scary to think about living alone because Mr. Right is in hiding. I get that – been there – sent that t-shirt to charity. But I’ve also experienced  the pain of the high price tag when I settled for Mr. Wrong.

Since I’m not willing to use my precious time right now in my own ‘single again’ life to re-enter the dating pool, I will live vicariously through my friend’s dating adventures. Where else will I find such great material for my next blog!

Photo courtesy of clickintobusiness.com