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

Ugh

I honestly don’t have the time or energy to fill you in on the backstory of everything that’s been going on, but, suffice it to say, Jay and I were dating last spring, and I ended things because he was completely objectifying me and making me feel like I was nothing more than a pair of legs. A few weeks ago, he reached out to me, and I kind of blew him off. I felt bad for that (what am I, Jewish, with all this guilt??), so I reached out to him yesterday. We texted a bit and made plans for grabbing lunch this weekend.

Tonight, we were texting again when he straight up, out of nowhere asked if I had enjoyed the way we were having sex the last time we were dating (those whole 2 times in 6 weeks of dating). I was completely stunned. Like, unable to coherently think, stunned. Um, I’m sorry, we literally have not had voice to voice contact, nor have we seen each other since we broke up, but you’re already objectifying me and treating me like I am your sexbot??

I had brunch with T last weekend, and during lunch I was bemoaning the idea that I might never be with anyone again, since I didn’t think they would ever find me attractive. She was absolutely shocked. “I can’t even believe that you see yourself as anything less than gorgeous,” she said. “I mean, I just don’t understand how you see yourself as unattractive in any way, shape, or form. It’s as ridiculous as saying that the sun appears black to you all the time.” That was the third such conversation I had had recently with friends about my fears that I am not attractive enough to get a guy. I’ve even said that I absolutely do not fear that I am not smart enough or funny enough – for me, it all hinges on my attractiveness.

So really, why should I be surprised when the only guy I’ve opened up to in the last two years (since my divorce) treats me as purely a physical object, based only off my attractiveness? I’ve placed so much emphasis on wanting to be attractive to guys, so I have clearly attracted what I wanted, right?

I can not even begin to describe how disgusted I felt when Jay made that comment tonight. Like I wasn’t worthy of being wooed or won back or even spoken to appropriately – no, he’s here for my “hot legs and ass” so what more could I expect?

I’ve been trying to accept people as they are, and not project my own expectations and desires onto them. I really thought that I could do that with Jay. Okay, he’s a bit shallow and narcissistic, but we have great sex, so I just need to keep my feelings separate. You know what? When someone is so blatantly disregarding of my feelings, I can’t help but take it personally. I told him off, and ended the conversation, and I don’t plan on honoring our lunch plans.

But I’m not sorry that I reached out. Because this was clearly something I needed to learn, and maybe this was the only way I could learn it. If you continually put out into the Universe that you want to be valued for your body/looks, the Universe will give you that! The Universe will say, “Okay, you have no questions about your intelligence or compassion or humor, so here’s a guy who values you for nothing more than your body. That’s what you wanted, right?? For someone to validate your looks, and only your looks??” I get it now. Like a “Eureka” moment, I get it now.

Yes, I want someone to find me beautiful, but I want them to find ME beautiful – not just my body, or my smile, or my intelligence, or my witty comebacks – ME, the entirety of me. I want someone who wants the entire package of who I am. If someone can’t see past my looks to the greatness of me, than why would I want them in my life? Those are not people that I would be able to talk with until sunrise, debate why the Jedi were not as smart as they liked to think they were, cook new meals with, walk around downtown and rediscover our city, read books to, cheer at football games with. Those are people who only value my shell. And I can no longer tolerate those people.

– 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!