What’s the plan?

A coworker who is about 20 years older than me recently made the comment that her life did not go as planned. I won’t get into her personal business by describing the exact parts of her life that she was dissatisfied with, but there were a few. Then, less than a week later, a lab tech who was drawing my blood said, seemingly out of nowhere, that her life did not go as planned, and that looking back she would have made different choices in school, career, family, etc.

This sentiment has popped up a couple of times recently in my life, and it’s got me asking some questions. First off, what plan is it that we are supposed to be following? When I was twelve-ish, my plan was to marry Prince William. When I was seventeen, I planned on going to the University of Texas, then getting my law degree, and becoming a constitutional law attorney who would argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, all while getting home in time to feed my husband and two kids. In my twenties, I planned to move to Chicago. When I got married, I have no idea what my plan was. And after I got divorced, my plan was just to heal. Now… I don’t know. I feel as if I’ve been treading water for the past few years. I’m in the water, I’m participating, and I’m not drowning, but I’m not really moving forward or making any waves either.

It also makes me ask the question of whether it’s too late to make massive changes in my life. I recently read this book, The New Old Me, by Meredith Maran. In it, Ms. Maran describes starting over in a new city, divorcing her wife, and getting into a new career at sixty. SIXTY!! And this, after having reinvented herself at 25, 35, and again at 45. While on one hand it gave me hope that it is never too late to start again, on the other hand it seems so exhausting. When do I “make it”? When do I get to the point where my plan has reached fruition?

Finally, I have to face the fact that even if I had a plan, even if I was willing to reinvent myself, I’m a scaredy-cat. I’m terrified of leaving my comfort zone. Even though my parents, my sister, and most of my closest friends have left Austin, I’m scared of leaving my cushy job and wonderful condo. Will I ever have those things in a new place? Am I just running away from Austin because I’m bored? Will any other place have as good of breakfast tacos? (No).

I really admire those people who have 5 and 10 year plans, who have a clear direction and road map for their life. I’m not one of those people. I never have been. I’m the kind of person that when I make goals for myself, it’s almost like I self-sabotage to avoid those goals. Work on my marriage? Meh, I think I’ll get divorced instead. Don’t buy anymore eye shadow palettes? How about 10 new ones in one month!! Work out five days a week? I’ll just stay home with my dog and read more books.

I seem to remember a saying – “Life happens while you’re making other plans.” My problem with that (and it is a minor problem) is this – why would I bother to make plans if life is just going to change them anyway? Isn’t that essentially setting yourself up for feeling like a failure? I’m fine with life having free rein, and I have always felt that everything happens for a reason. But if someone could get me that road map that shows me which direction to go, I would surely appreciate it.

– Finch

Joy cometh in the morning

Because that’s when you wake up and realize that the goof you were Googling last night likes to dress up as Captain Spaulding for Halloween, and you like to dress up as Holly Golightly. That he dumped the woman he’s marrying twice to date you. That you could truly not have more disparaging views on politics (although he does have a good stance on a woman’s right to choose). And that the time you spent with him was NOT the happiest time of your life. So maybe Google isn’t the enemy – it’s the swift kick in the ass that you need to laugh it off and thank your lucky stars for dodging that bullet.

– Finch

Quick thought: Don’t Google People

When it’s late at night, you’ve had a long, lazy weekend, and you’re feeling a little lonely, don’t google your exes. You will see things you don’t want to see – like wedding dates. And even though you’ve moved on, there will still be that selfish part of you that wants everyone else to put their life on hold until you are fabulously happy, so that their happiness will just be icing on the cake.

So, take it from me – Google is not your friend. It will not tell you things you want to hear. If it tells me next that Joshua Jackson is engaged to Diane Kruger, I’m bidding the Internet goodbye. Maybe.

– Finch

It’s just a crush…

I always hear people talk about how hard it is to have a crush. You long for someone, but can’t (for whatever reason) tell them how you feel. I get that, at least to a certain extent. However, I think a crush can be liberating, even fun.

I’ve known this guy for pretty much my entire life, and there has never been anything between us. Nada, nil, zip. I only see him every few years, and each time I think, “Yeah, he’s cute. Oh, is that food over there?!? See ya later!!” Plus, I cannot even begin to believe that this person sees me in any kind of romantic light. It’s just not like that.

Then, during the holidays last year, we saw each other for the first time in 3 years. And I was properly distracted by seeing and catching up with other friends, so when he exclaimed how great I looked, I simply smiled, said “Thanks,” and moved on down the receiving line. However, throughout the night, we kept talking and catching up and realizing that we had a lot of things in common. And there was this… energy between us. Yes, I was buzzed, and I’m sure he was too, but still. I couldn’t recall having felt like that in ages. Every time he looked at me, I just smiled. I wanted to be next to him all night. I could feel him watching me when I spoke to other people, and I was absolutely giddy when we got to spend a few minutes alone. Nothing happened, but still – it was intoxicating.

However, I left the next day, full of daydreams and little else, and it was fine. I got a couple of nice fantasies out of it, and then I moved on with my life without another thought. But then we saw each other again recently, and it was like we were instantly back in that moment.

I knew he was around, but I saw him unexpectedly, and when we caught each others’ eyes, his face just lit up. We were instantly in this little world all of our own, just chatting about inconsequential nonsense. This person has to be charming for a living (luckily, he’s very good at it), and I know a lot of it was just his nature, and you know what? That was okay. In fact, as we went on, I realized that I didn’t need him to be involved in my crush. This was about me, about how I felt. Someone close to me remarked later that I liked him because he was safe and comfortable. And my response was, “Duh!!” There are worse reasons for liking someone. And when you’re getting back out into the world, maybe crushing on someone who you feel safe and comfortable with, but with whom you know there is really no future, is a good idea. Maybe it’s about making yourself feel safe and comfortable with being out there again.

He left a few days later, and that was it. Nothing happened, no tabloid moments here. Last September, when I was going through my “Catcher Crisis,” Tripp told me to stop taking everything so seriously and to just have fun. I remember yelling, “Who the hell is having fun?!? I’m not having fun! THIS IS NOT FUN!!” But you know, I have to say, these last few visits with my guy? They’ve been, well… fun.

– Finch

I think you should just get over that

You ever have those conversations where someone tells you something that you’ve heard a hundred times from a variety of other sources, but for some reason, it just clicks this time?

Yesterday, I was on a walk with Bunny, an old friend who just recently resurfaced. I’ll detail all of that later. For now… So we were coming to the end of the walk, and I had been telling her how I had had this urge to contact Tripp. Now, Tripp and I haven’t spoken in over two and a half months, and there isn’t even anything I need to say to him, but I just felt this pull to send him a quirky text or email. I didn’t act on it, but I felt the need to tell someone, like going to confession (something I know absolutely nothing about). And when I finished, Bunny looked at me with this wry expression on her face, and said, “I think you should just get over that. You’re holding onto something which has been over for years, and I think it’s holding you back from more important relationships.”

And I know it sounds trite, but, just like that, I felt over it. Seriously – ten years after we broke up, ten years of holding out hope, of waiting for him to come back – gone. I truly just felt like I did not care anymore. And not in some negative, “of course I don’t care about that loser” way. But in a very light-hearted, “I hope he has everything he could possibly want or need from life” way. I literally felt like it was off my chest and had dissipated into nothingness. I’m not saying that I won’t ever think of him, or that he has been wiped from my memory forever. But, I feel that for the first time, I can think about him and not feel as if my heart were going to explode.

I think sometimes we hold onto things long after we need them because we’re scared to move on to something new. “The devil you know is better than the one you don’t,” right? But I don’t think that I need to hold onto that devil anymore. I have angels in my future.

– Finch

p.s. And a note to my mom – yes, I know you said it first, and loudest, and longest. I’m sorry, you’re right, and I love you!