musings on dating, ghosting and life journeys

Dating and friendship

Since my second marriage ended some (almost) 10 years ago, I have found myself on and off the dating scene. Sometimes more on and sometimes more off. I regularly talk about dating with my girlfriends in person over a wine or three or online with more distant friends including one of my blogging buddies Maria @adriftinathens

a very good vintage

We all date and meet potential partners in different ways, sometimes online dating, sometimes in real life. We’ve all experienced ghosting and other dating horrors in one form or another. And to be honest, I’ve probably ghosted a few after some desultory messaging that seemed to go nowhere and the effort in making some form of ‘it’s over before it’s begun’ message seems a bit redundant.

Ghosting

I once experienced ghosting after dating someone for 3 or 4 months and then nothing. No contact, no text, no call – nada! Sometimes it’s actually difficult to determine who exactly is the ghoster and who the ghostee. In this case I had sent a reply to a text message and then that was it – no further communication. My girlfriend asked if he had perhaps become seriously ill or worse yet died! But no. His little green light on Messenger was regularly on when he was using his phone – so I’m fairly sure he was still hail and hearty.

ghosting
yeah, nah

However, I was not overly emotionally invested in the relationship and I decided to let it go. I think a few years back I would have been more inclined to follow up with a “why?” But now, nah. As Maria always says to me “if a man wants to see you, he will”. And that is absolutely correct. Anyway, I think I miss his dog more than I miss him.

Life journey and fellow travelers

I have discovered over the years that people join me on my life journey for varied lengths of time. Some have been around for years; some for months; some come and go and others are around only for a little while. I recall earlier this year having the most intense and brilliant conversation with a man (over coffee after a Parkrun). He told me he was married, plus he was from a Parkrun far from my local run. I knew as the conversation beautifully unfolded that this was a really special connection and that one hour was the only time in this life that we would connect. He was in my life journey for the briefest snippet and that’s just how it is sometimes.

This attitude also allows me to let go far more easily than once I could (or could not more to the point). If a relationship ends, regardless of whether it’s me letting go or they drifting apart from me, then it’s done. There may be some residual sadness or longing, but it dissipates and fades away. I can acknowledge what was, appreciate the positives and let go of the negative.

Then move on and see where the next adventure leads me ❤

 

 

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First responder

I updated my first aid certificate last year and downloaded the St John ambulance First Responder app to my phone. Fortunately, I hadn’t needed to make use of it until the weekend whereby I faced a situation that made me relieved I’d updated my skills recently.

I was on a date on Sunday afternoon (second date, new guy – from my dance class 🙂 ) We went to a concert to listen to a Rachmaninoff Choral (the All-Night Vigil – an a capella composition). It was beautiful and uplifting. My date suggested we go for a walk afterwards. We did, it was a lovely sunny day and we walked and talked. On our way back to the car we saw a man writhing on the pavement with two young women standing nearby. As we approached I asked what had happened. They did not know the man, but had stopped and they’d called an ambulance.

My date and I stopped to help and we put him into the recovery position (part of the DR ABC first aid). It was a difficult situation. The man was quite a big and strong fellow and he was drifting in and out of consciousness and at times flailing about and other times panicking that he could not breathe. My date was brilliant and managed to keep hold of him, so that he didn’t further injure himself. I had to let go a couple of times as I couldn’t hang on. He was frothing at the mouth at times and I was worried he’d aspirate, but we managed to keep his head tilted downwards most of the time.

We also spoke soothingly with him, reassuring him that he would be fine and that the ambulance was on the way and that we would be with him the whole time and keep him safe.

It felt like forever for the ambulance to arrive. I asked one of the girls to call again and heard her explaining our location. The app I mention above actually uses the GPS coordinates of your phone so the ambulance knows exactly where to go. I hadn’t used it initially as they’d already called emergency services. However, when I heard her repeating our location several times, I realized it would have been better to activate the app.

The ambulance arrived some long minutes later and the awesome paramedics took over. We left and continued to the car.

I am grateful I had the skills to assist a person in need. I am also grateful I was with someone who immediately rendered assistance alongside me and worked perfectly together as a team.

If you can, please do a first-aid course or update your skills. Download a First Responder app if your city or town has one. You never know when you may need it for a stranger, friend or family member 💖

 

 

The (non) rational mind

logical mind

How I think I think vs actual reality!

I tend to think of myself as a reasonably rational and logical person. I generally believe I have a good grasp of reality (most of the time) and I have insight into my thinking and way of being. I have struggled with concepts around how one reacts to situations i.e. the belief system that one can ‘choose’ how to react to a situation. That our thoughts govern our responses good or bad. If we only harness our thoughts, then we can choose to respond positively to any negativity in our lives.

I still have difficulty with that concept. I find it intrinsically unfair. Sometimes things are tough and challenging and to force oneself to feel positive is a big ask. However, I have realized that I can quite easily stitch together my own version of reality depending on circumstances and my thoughts at the time and that stitched together version can be absolutely and totally incorrect. I find this somewhat alarming. Here’s a story:

Stitching together reality

One time I was dating a guy, we messaged each other regularly and saw each other on weekends. In one of those messages he asked me when was my birthday. I responded with 10 September and asked when his was, he replied with 30 November. I duly put that date in my calendar. I recall thinking at the time how nice he was asking about my birthday and that it meant he would keep the date in mind. I also felt it was a good early sign in this newly minted connection.

Two weeks later we were chatting over a glass or two of wine and he asked me if I had been to Bali (for Aussies Bali is practically in our backyard and it’s cheaper to go there than travel within our own country). I said I had but some years ago. He said he was planning a trip mid September and would I like to go with him? Well, my gooey heart just melted. I thought it was lovely to be invited, albeit a little early on in a new romance. So throwing caution completely to the wind I said I’d love to go with him.

My brain also decided that perhaps it was connected with my birthday (as the dates aligned) and it would be a lovely way to celebrate. I was convinced this was correct and that this lovely man was thoughtful and considerate and oozing romance (you can see where this is going, right?)

Bali
Bali – where I was not!

However, over the next few weeks there was no further mention of Bali or any trip together. I felt puzzled and wondered if he had forgotten or perhaps he would mention buying flights and accommodation a little closer to the time (I would be paying my own costs). I felt hesitant about bringing it up. Then I found from a conversation with his friends that he had planned a ‘boys trip’ to Bali for mid September. And it hit me that I had been ‘uninvited’ but without him actually telling me. That kinda stung.

The day of my birthday, I waited all day for him to text, call or post something on my FB. He didn’t. Well, he did text me late in the day saying he’d been busy working all day and how was my day. I responded with fabulous – seeing as how it was my birthday. He told me that he is f-ing bad at remembering things like that. Really? No kidding!!

The next day he flew to Bali for his boys own adventure with his mate.

 

 

George the Therapy Dog

Some weeks are like that – yes?

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at work lately. Things have been happening that are beyond my control and I’m left feeling like I am hanging from a trapeze wire by my fingertips. This sense of helplessness makes me go a bit inwards and lose my sense of self. The world becomes narrow and grey and I find it hard to focus.

To keep connected to the world, I have to keep doing all the things that feel good and right. I need to keep going to dance class and laughing with my friends. I have to keep going to the gym, no matter how grim I feel on first wakening. I have to eat healthy. I am an emotional eater aka when I feel crap = I will eat that whole pack of cookies and wash it down with half a bottle of wine. Then I feel even worse.

I have to go to work everyday, smile and behave like everything is fine and dandy!

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But most of all I need to hug my dog  George . He’s a therapy dog. I’ve written about him in previous posts here and here and also here. We have volunteered at aged care homes; childcare centers; schools and universities. George has worked with Psychologists to help children overcome their fear of dogs. He is a lovely, gentle and beautiful dog. He absolutely knows when things are not right with me and he will just quietly snuggle up with me and make sure I am ok.

image of my heart
so true!

Therapy Animals

BlossomAre the best. There is a lot of research on animals and their positive impact on people.  I read an article  last week about a prison in Indiana having inmates look after shelter cats. This was hands down the best thing I read all week and helped pulled me out of my funk. If nothing else, look at the pics – those cats!! If prison is to be rehabilitative as well as punitive, having programs whereby inmates can participate in something that connects them back to the world, that is a good thing.

 

 

Trying to get rid of back pain – aka I got me a hula hoop!

Digital blue human rubbing highlighted red lower back pain

Research and Dr Google

I’ve been doing all sorts of research into lower back pain. I have plaintively whined at Doc Google for help and the good Doc has given me many options. There’s a lot written about back pain, some good, some fairly useless. You can do various back stretches (mmhmm, doesn’t help a lot for me); buy a new mattress (yup, only arrived yesterday so jury’s still out on that one); exercise (well d’uh!); keep your weight down (extra weight adds pressure to your spine and other joints); and back strengthening exercises.

Flexibility & stretches

I’ve tried yoga and pilates at various times over the years and I’ve realised I’m not particularly stretchy and some of the poses/moves in both disciplines can cause a fair bit of pain. For sure these work for some people and that’s fantastic. However, the rest of us non-bendy types feel like a massive fail for our inability to pretzel. It is definitely one of those things you love or not, unfortunately I’m a not!

Seattle Yoga Love

I have downloaded a guide to back stretches from Harvard Health – I think if I did them every day, they may have a positive impact. And that’s the thing. I’m really good at exercising pretty much every day, I eat healthily most of the time. I stretch after I go for a run and sometimes after the gym. But a routine of daily stretches is just one thing that I start for a while and then give up.

So maybe rather than whining about my laziness, I should just work back stretches into my daily routine! Right? You would think.

Or…

Buy a weighted hula hoop!

My gym has one and I idly picked it up a while back (last time I hooped I was 10 and fairly crap at it), gave it a twirl and away I went, magic! I felt quite proud of myself 😀 So, I researched the benefits of hula hoops and found that they are great for core strength, abdominals, obliques and wait for it – strengthening back muscles!!

me and my new toy!! loving it

You need to hoop between 10-30 minutes per day to gain any real benefit. So of course I started out at 30 minutes – easy! Give it a go, if you don’t quite get the hang of it keep practising. Most gyms have them, so if you belong you can try one out before committing to having one at home. Mine was $35, so it was well within my price range.

I definitely can feel some changes, my abdominals are firming up, my posture has improved (wasn’t expecting that) and I’m hoping the strengthening of my back muscles helps in easing or even better, getting rid of my lower back pain!! I’ll update y’all if it does! 😀

 

I think I’ve been orange-flagged, maybe.

single orange flag CC

Warning flags and dating

After years of dating and some spectacular relationship fails, I think I’m a bit of an expert on red flag behavior. I can pick up on player tactics, commitment phobes, gas-lighters, bitter & twisted-haven’t-gotten-over-their-ex guys and hustlers that want to push you into a full-on relationship before their sketchy façade slips right down. One guy I was seeing earlier this year kicked my dog. Yep, he kicked my dog. So that’s a hell no right there!

I’ve spent many hours with my girlfriends (and guy friends) talking about red-flag behavior. People who lie about their age (men & women are equally guilty of this), that always baffles me, for sure you’ll be found out. For my guy friends their red-flag issues are women who not only lie about their age, but also their appearance – usually pics on dating sites, you know the photo of you that was taken 15 years ago? Yeah, that one. Just don’t.

Me – flagged? No. Really?

However, I did not consider that I would be flag-worthy (or should that be un-worthy?). I tend to see myself as a reasonably nice human being, with some (minor) failings, but generally good relationship potential. Seriously, I am so convinced that I would not set off anyone’s flag radar, that it came as a shock on the weekend that maybe I do! Yeah, I know – get my ego back in check. Ouch!

Family of Origin

big sis and I
Big sis and I

And it’s funny (not laugh out loud funny, but peculiar funny) because it’s a flag that I think of as amber/orange too, but had never applied it to myself. It’s not enough to stop seeing the person, but something to keep in mind. And that is family of origin issues.

I have found that guys who have had fraught relationships with their parents and/or siblings can be tricky to deal with, mostly if they have not resolved and moved on from childhood issues. Research (here & here) indicates that family of origin conflict may impact on future relationship behavior.

The guy I started seeing recently did mention early on that he considered women as ‘orange-flag’ if they have issues with their family. That made me prick my ears, pause and think “huh…” So on the weekend I thought I’d talk a little about my family of origin with him (issues abound for sure, well not issues, more like the definition of ‘dysfunctional’ was invented for my family!)

talk about it - don't talk about it

Before starting in on the convo, I did ask him about his ‘orange-flag’ comment. He clarified that in his experience it was definitely a warning flag, however he did not get a “bitter” vibe from me. Nonetheless, I shut down the conversation at that point.

There is no bitter vibe, I’m not even sure that there ever would have been, it’s far deeper than that. Plus, I feel I have dealt with things as much as I can and I have a reasonable amount of self-awareness. However, I thought maybe another time we can talk, but for now and until he knows me better and understands who I am as a person, I’ll keep my orange-flaggedness to myself for a little while longer!

orange flag CC

So now I like Rugby – apparently!

Belonging

child with balloon

We all want a sense of belonging, to know we fit in somewhere. A lot of teenagers feel a disconnect with the world. I recall feeling like I didn’t really belong to any group and I spent a lot of my high school years drifting between friendship groups looking for a landing pad. One thing to make us feel connected is to belong to a team sport – there’s loads of research to back this up (here’s a couple article 1 and article 2 )

Following a team sport also generates a sense of belongingness and a feeling of having found your place in the world. Having grown up as the child of immigrants, team sport was not really on their radar. Neither of my older sister’s participated in any sport, my father only watched the horse racing on t.v., so I was quite confused about the rules surrounding pretty much any sport.

My foray into Netball

When I was 14, coach decided to put me on the netball team. Not just any netball team, the A team, that played against other high schools in our district. I remember my first (and only) inter-school competition. I joined the other girls in the change room, they were all giggling and gossiping and I stood around smiling and trying to blend in. I put on my team colours and got on the bus to head out to the opposing team’s home ground.

On the bus one of the girls asked what position I was playing. Centre, I replied. I had no idea what that meant and when she looked at me with total disbelief my heart literally sank. She asked if I knew the rules and I shook my head. The rest of the trip I was drilled in the rules of the game by the rest of the team. Most of which was ‘pass the ball’, ‘don’t move your feet when you have the ball’ and most importantly “don’t mess up our game!!” – no pressure.

Varsity 09, Netball

We lost.

Didn’t really help with my need to belong. Back at school coach put me back in Track. He pointed at a faint strip in the grass in the distance and said, run and keep running until you hit that line. I did. I won. And there was the start of my love of running, something I could do without having to learn too many rules. Best of all, no girls screaming at me to “stop standing there and pass the bloody ball, you idiot.”

Rugby

So, onto Rugby. I’ve been spending time with a new man 🙂  He’s from Sydney (they’re all nuts for Rugby). I’m originally from Melbourne (we’re all nuts for the AFL – well except me. The whole town literally shuts down for the Grand Final in September, hell, they even have a public holiday for it. Actually, they also have a public holiday for a horse race! Starting to wonder why I left 😛 )

Anyway, yesterday we were on a date or hanging out together (same/same). Plan was to go to a craft-beer festival (yes I know, this is a health related blog, why is beer even mentioned here? Ahem, have you looked at the second word in my blog title? Healthywildand50plus? Ok, so yeah – beer festival). Except we didn’t have tickets and it was sold out. Who knew right? A sold-out beer festival!!

At a loss for what to do, he suggested we head to a sports bar and watch the Rugby game. I’m very much a go with the flow kinda gal, so I’m like ‘sure, sounds good’. We landed in front of a big screen in time for the national anthem – New Zealand All Blacks v Australia  (Bledisloe Cup Final). Then the Haka from the N.Z. players. I do love a good Haka (if you don’t know what that is go here All Blacks perform the Haka , have a look, then come back. I’ll wait for you).

The only sports I tend to watch are the World Cup Soccer, bit of the Olympics, Basketball and I have a fondness for American Baseball (go Red Sox!!) and I’m partial to the Rose Bowl. Rugby has not quite made the list, until now. Great game, the All Blacks annihilated the Aussies – literally smashed us. The final score was NZ 36  Oz 0

Kinda made me feel much better about my one and only netball fail 😛