Writer. Irish. Optimistic to the point of delusional.
Dating at 50-ish is an interesting experience. You’re forced to confront who you are, where you’re going, where you want to go . . .and who do you want along for the journey.
When you marry at 20, and are still married at 50, ideally, you’ve created that vision together. You have a sense of the path and the role each of you will play in getting there. You each bring strengths, challenges, bad habits and some creaking knees to the trip.
But to start over now, and to invite someone along. . .. You really need to think about where you’re going and why. Before you can ever think about who. And that’s what I spent most of last year doing.
A single mom to two college age kids, I find myself able to look beyond the laundry piles and lunch boxes and wonder what’s next.
My time is now my own. My car is my own. My house is my own.
I wouldn’t change a thing. I have two great, confident, smart kids. They have scholarships to their schools, they vote, they pay their taxes, they make good choices and they write thank you notes. I can confidently look at them and say “damn. Nice job mom. They are up and running.”
So for the first time, in a long time (ever) I get to think about the next chapter as mine. It needs to be mine. I need the challenge, the adult company, and the thrill and growth that comes with exploring life.
And my kids need me to take this on. I don’t want them looking over their shoulder wondering if mom’s okay. Should they live closer to home, not take the trip, reschedule their plans ‘cause mom might need something.
When I’m 83 they can rework their lives—bring me soup, take me to the doctor’s office and hang with my little old lady friends.
But now . . .. we all get to go play for a while.
So, what do I want to be when I grow up now that I’m grown up? Well, that’s what we’re going to explore.
Let’s talk about where I want to live my life:
Ireland has always been woven into my life. Most of my life has been about getting ready for the next trip there. And for a long time, my plan was to go back, for good. Live, laugh, love, in Ireland—with the crystal clear air, the music that stirs your soul, the fire that warms your heart and a place where I’m more at home, than anywhere.
I came close to moving back a few times, but each time I was about to step off, I stumbled back.
Ireland is on the top of my list to explore . . .
And what do I want to do with my time and talent:
Time is a finite resource. There’s only so much of it. You make the most of it or you let it slip through your fingers. More often than not, the choice is yours.
I’ve worked hard for years and I do my job well. I don’t love it. But I do it and I make a difference. And other people seem (damn) glad I’m there, most of the time. But since the age of 9 I’ve wanted to be a writer. My books of choice from the library? Anything Erma Bombeck wrote. I’d read a paper if it had her column. I’d check out her books and pour over them. I followed her work for years. If you’re read/seen Julie Julia? She’s my Julia.
So this is my effort to explore that dream. And if you’re reading this, you’re on the journey with me. There’s a great little book by Anne Lamott, bird by bird. She talks about the life of a writer. She talked about her father a writer: “He could go anyplace he wanted with a sense of purpose. One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you the excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.”
I love that. “A sense of purpose.” That’s what I’m looking for.
Why am I tackling this: Because I’ll hate myself if I don’t
Who: He didn’t sign up to be written about yet. So, we’ll leave him out of this. For now.
When . . . Turning 50 was a pivotal moment for me, as it is for most. My kids were about to start their next chapter, so by default, I was about to start mine. That year I learned to drink a martini and started running.
Martini’s . .. love ‘em.
Running . .. 100 calories burned for every mile. That gives it redeeming value. I’m aiming for a marathon this year. Specifically the Dublin Marathon in October. See what I did there . . .tied it all together nicely.
I spent a year, to the day, exploring the world of online dating. And I wrote a book. Because I had to. Because I told the stories to my friends over drinks and no one believed me. Because people said, “you have to write a book!” So I did.
I learned a lot about myself in that year.
A Wink and A Prayer. It’s coming out soon. It’s about a year of online dating and exploring the whims that go with a wink . . .and the surprise that came about that is indeed what I’m praying for. I’m not very good at that, by the way, so if you want to jump in here, feel free.
The blog, How Nice! will let us explore some of these ideas. We’ll focus on Ireland, the madness of online dating, and the wisdom that often comes about over a good martini between friends. I’ll post the occasional note about training for the marathon, once I start that that. If foul language offends you, I’d suggest you skip those posts.
We’ll tie it all together with Twitter and Facebook, because that’s what you do these days.
I’m looking to connect with others on the same journey. I want to learn from you, exchange ideas, and laugh out loud with you.