The Power of One

May 28, 2009

When I received the invitation to my friend’s memorial and saw the date, a mere 5 days after my return from the Netherlands Antilles, I thought I would have to miss it. As time went on, I found myself looking at plane tickets for the dates, “just to see” and realized that not going wasn’t an option for me. I had a strong desire to go back to the place where we met and honor her service to my alma mater, the University of Illinois. Since making that decision I have learned I wasn’t the only one. Students she taught and mentored are coming from all over the country, San Francisco, New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, we are gathering together on a weekend in May to remember together a time that’s past.

It it humbling to witness the power of 1 person to bring us all together from all walks and places of life for a part memorial, part reunion, part celebration, sure to be full of laughter, tears and love.

Rest in peace, Shelley. While you watch, we will all be celebrating your all too brief time on this planet. I know it’s cliche, but thanks for the memories.

“What’s a girl doing walking along the beach alone”

“You have to admit, most people don’t travel to beach locations by themselves”

I am a 30 year old, single woman. I deserve relaxation in the form of my own personal poolside cabana or feeling the sand between my toes while I listen to the waves of the ocean crash against the shore.  I can not spend my life waiting for a man who will carry my beachbag for me.  I’ve thought a lot about the single life while on this trip and about whether or not I truly want to be in a relationship. The truth is, I do feel a pull to be a girlfriend and eventual mother, but I feel an equal pull to be a selfish single girl who can sleep in and travel at the drop of a hat. I am truly fine with either path.

I get too caught up in what society (and my mother) tells me to want. I get lost in the sea of “you should do…..” “you should be….”. I don’t feel lonely because I’m single, I feel lonely because people mock my choice/circumstance and push me out of the socially accepted circle. The absence of male purchased jewelry on my left hand should not make me a pariah.

I am going to keep traveling, keep wandering, keep writing whether or not I have someone alongside me. A hand to hold on the beach would be nice, but having the whole hotel bed to myself is equally appealing.

I do, however, wish I had someone around to put sunblock on those hard to reach places.  I guess that’s why people don’t go to beach locations by themselves.

A burnt back is a small price to pay I suppose, for self-acceptance.

In my lifetime of singledom, I have met men in a variety of places. On the train, at work, through friends, even at bars. The older I get, the more slim the pickings seem to be, and that is most evident in the meat market called “The Internet”.

I have dipped my toes in the online dating pool and have come to realize that there are a number of things I do not understand about men and dating. There are profiles with bullet point lists of qualifications that a Yale educated supermodel wouldn’t meet, there are profiles with elaborate descriptions of intimate acts I’ve never even heard of, and my personal favorite, profiles that say nothing except “contact me”. And don’t even get me started on the pictures. Am I to find photos of men carousing with a variety of scantily clad women while fondling a beer bottle enticing? Is a faceless photo of a minute male body part supposed to make me swoon? Do these men really get responses? I can’t help but channel Dr. Phil and ask “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

I can’t help but wonder if conversation over coffee is a lofty expectation in this sea of men who think the foreplay is over after the barrista takes your order.

Today is my 30th birthday.

My 30 years have been full.  I’ve snowboarded. I’ve loved. I’ve done dumb things like helped a friend carry a 9 foot palm tree on the subway. I survived a car accident. I walked the streets of London, relaxed on the beaches of Mexico and been many places in between. I started my own business. I lived in 3 different states. I watched too much TV. I got obsessed with a Presidential election. I’ve been curious.  I wrote letters to soldiers in the war. I’ve been on a motorcycle (sorry Mom). I’ve read Shakespeare and understood what he was saying. I learned to cook. I stood up for myself. I stood up for others when nobody else did. I’ve wandered and I’ve wondered.

I wish to help others more. I wish to find love. I wish to find the path to my best life. I wish to feel beautiful. I wish to know more. I wish to hold on to hope when I feel hopeless. I wish for possibility.

Happy Birthday to me.

But I REALLY wish I had turned around and punched the guy behind me on the escalator this morning who kept touching my ass.

A Big Day

May 10, 2009

Today is a big day for my family. It is, of course, Mother’s Day, and it is also my sister’s graduation from college.

Happy Mother’s Day to Mom and Happy Graduation Day to Christine!!!

I’m sorry I can’t be there for you both. I send my love and the cupcakes from Crumbs that arrived earlier. Enjoy!

My Month

May 2, 2009

It’s my birthday month! In 11 days I will officially be in my 30th year of life.

I’ve thought a lot about what I want this year to bring me. More travels, more friendship, perhaps even love.  I think my wish though when I blow out those candles will be for this year to bring me clarity on my life’s purpose.  I’ve spent my life wandering, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not, but now I wish for my mind to settle and to focus on achieving that internal happiness that comes from the confidence that you are living your best life. I am not yet there, but I’m amassing the lego pieces to get there.

I don’t feel old as I look towards 30. I still sleep with my baby pillow. I still like pop-tarts. Ocassionally I still re-read James and the Giant Peach and enjoy searching for Waldo.

Most of all, I still love the feeling of possibility that comes from making wishes on birthday candles.