Allergic to cold-weather dating

Let me just be blunt – I HATE cold weather! I don’t care if it’s cold and rainy, cold and clear, cold and windy; the operative word in all of those descriptors is “cold” and that word and I do not get along. This is one of the (many) reasons I live in Austin. We think 65 degrees is cold. So, wouldn’t you know it, a massive Arctic front pushed through yesterday, the second one in as many weeks.

I was trudging through the wind to my car last night, thinking how nice it would be to go home, and snuggle up under the covers with someone and fall asleep wrapped in some nice, warm arms, when it suddenly dawned on me – I have never dated anyone (successfully) through the winter. I’ve been married during the winter, but we all know how that turned out, and I can tell you, there was a definite “chill” in our relationship during those months, and it was all me. I just do not find anything romantic in cold weather. My hands and feet get freezing cold no matter what, so snuggling isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. My nose gets red and runny from the temperature and wind, so I look like I have a perpetual cold – totally sexy, right? I’m much more interested in dressing for warmth, and I hate running outside, so my body is not in the greatest shape during these months. Also, I can never think of anything fun to do when the weather is this horrid – go for a walk? No. Go to a museum? That would mean walking to and from my car (so really, go anywhere is out). Stay inside by the fire? Fires make messes and are dangerous. I do like to cook when it’s cold out, but, again, that necessitates going to the store for ingredients and that means going outside.

But, back to my relationships… Tripp and I started slowing down right around mid-October. Ex and I would always slow down for winter and pick up again when it warmed up. Most of the rest of my relationships have begun in the spring or summer, and were over well before the first frost. Even Jay – I joked with him that I liked him because he kept his AC so low in the summer, but that once it got cold outside, I wouldn’t need him anymore. One week before the first Arctic front, he was kicked to the curb. And, interestingly enough, the holidays don’t play into these dating trends. I’m a great gift-giver and I’m pretty good with receiving gifts as well, so I’ve never had an issue there. I don’t stress over meeting parents or introducing guys to my parental units. It’s SOLELY AND COMPLETELY the temperature!

Ugh. I’ve never looked forward to spring more.

– Finch

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I’m tired of asking stupid questions

I cannot even begin to explain how done I am with asking stupid questions, both of myself and to friends. “Am I pretty?” “Do you think I’m funny?” “Will I ever meet someone again?” “Will I ever get married again?” “What if no one thinks I’m cute?”

I literally feel sick even admitting that I ask those questions, but it turns out that a lot of my friends have been asking themselves these same questions lately, so I feel the need to address them. Quickly, to answer –
Yes, yes, yes, yes – if you want to, and people do think you’re cute.

Here’s the thing – we, as a society, put so much emphasis on coupling up that we lose ourselves in the process. I’ll see certain family members, and the first thing they ask me is, “Are you seeing anyone?” Who cares? If I am, I’ll let you know (if I even want to bring it up), and if I’m not, do you really think that I need your pitying glances? How about asking me how I am? Ask me about school or work or anything besides my relationship status. Because, no matter what is going on in my dating life, if I am not happy with myself and how my life is going while I’m on my own, it’s not going to get magically better once I’m coupled up. In fact, I’ll probably pay even less attention to myself, and then my problems will become larger.

J said something so true yesterday. We were hanging out at Pints for Pups at Independence Brewery (great place) and I was complaining that nothing was adhering to the schedule which I desired. I was telling her that what I really wanted, right now, this moment, was for Tripp to call me up and tell me that he made a mistake, and he’s not getting married. Then I wanted Ex to call and say that he made a mistake and threw away the best thing in his life, me. Then I wanted a Joshua Jackson look-alike, with a good job, his life together, and a great attitude to tell me that I was totally the one, and that he would do anything in the world to make me the happiest girl ever.

After J laughed at me, she said that all of that was great, but it wasn’t really what I wanted. “Here’s the thing. You think that you want all of that, but you really don’t. If Tripp came back, you would love to think that you would tell him ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ but probably you would start something up with him again. If Ex came back, it would just bring up more anger over the way things ended and you would want to get back at him or something. And even if a JJ twin came up and was everything you dreamed of, where would he fit into your life right now? You’re studying your butt off, you’re spending more time than ever with friends and family, and you’re coming into the busiest season at work. So what would you give up to date him? Your running? Your time with B? School? I know you like to think that you’re ready, but you’re not. And that’s okay.”

It occurred to me later that my asking these stupid questions is almost like a shield. If I can find something “wrong” with me, than I have an excuse for not dating. If I’m not pretty enough, or funny enough, then that is the reason why I’m not coupled up. So maybe it’s time for me to acknowledge that there doesn’t have to be anything wrong with me to explain my singleness. In fact, maybe the fact that I am single right now, that I’m taking care of myself and making myself happy, is the most right thing I can do.

– Finch

Tis the season

I always read so many stories in November and December about people becoming depressed during the holidays. It’s actually January that I dread. The buildup from Christmas parties and seasonal gatherings has passed, I’m ridiculously broke, whether from present buying, or traveling, or tons of hostess gifts. I’ve probably gained a pound or two (or five), and it’s ALWAYS dark and cold (even in Austin). I long for the sunny hot days of summer, which bring me down even further. This has been a pattern in my life for the past nine years (and yes, I am aware that I have SAD) so when I feel it begin to start, I try to combat it naturally, because I freaking hate how I feel on anti-depressants.

Exercise

I usually walk/jog with B 3.5 miles per day, but the dark, cold days make me want to stay inside, which makes me more susceptible to sad feelings. Also, every MLK day, I get hit with Cedar fever, just like clock work, so I can’t really go outside for long periods of time. Hurray for the treadmill! I don’t like the workout I get on it as much as I do the workouts I get outside, but hey, something is better than nothing, right? Also, this is when I usually start in on my yoga and pilates. I figure it’s a good time to try and sculpt my bathing suit body. As Elle said in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” And I will admit, being happy makes me less likely to kill people, husband or not.

Diet
I don’t use that word as “I’m going on a diet;” I mean it strictly as “what I eat.” Because everything is so dark and glum, and we go through a week of freezing, followed by three days of 70s, followed by a week of freezing, my diet can look a little glum as well. I’m talking fast food, massive amounts of bread and potatoes, and soda (which I had cut out back in September). So I try to do little things to perk my meals up. I add lemon in every place that I can think of. Lemon just has that light, happy zing that I need. My favorite recipe is this – Pasta Carbonara with Lemon and Leeks. It is so freaking simple, incredibly satisfying, and very uplifting. I also eat oatmeal – it satisfies the stew-like thickness that I crave, and the sweet, but without all of the sugar (I eat sugar-free varieties). Fun flavored herbal teas make drinking warm things more enjoyable.

Meditation/Personal Time
I really am not very good at meditation, but I do try every now and then, and I do set aside pampering time for myself. I am, as most of us are, my own worst critic, and I am constantly trying to be easier on myself. It helps to have dinner/drinks with J – she is really good at talking me down when I’m nutso. Also, I recognize that I am human, and that sometimes, I need to cut myself some slack. So my stomach is not perfectly flat. I am not a supermodel, I don’t get paid to look like a twig. I’ll be honest – writing this blog helps. It’s cathartic, and it is insanely embarrassing to write things down that I was so upset over and seeing how idiotic it seemed. But hindsight it 20/20, and I try to remember that.

– Finch