Six Tips on Avoiding Singledom Despiration

“Mawidge. A bwessed awangement that bwings us togever todayy”…a very often quoted moment from A Princess Bride. Always cracks me up, but today, its making me wonder….Why isn’t it my time yet?

So, folks, I’m having an issue…well, it’s ongoing, so maybe it’s more of a subscription. “Oh dear god, when will the right man come along so I can have a partner in life, and get married?”  Sadly, this is such a common thought these days for many of us.  We think it as if our lives aren’t complete, or can’t begin until we are partnered.

Social media isn’t making it any easier, because it’s in our face immediately when people are experiencing joyful times. Friends who are getting married and having babies and getting new cats: I’m so happy for you. I’m jealous of you. My heart flips from joy to ache in about three seconds of reading your post or seeing your pictures. I’m flip-flopping from one way of dating to the next, this month is Tinder; last month was minor bar hopping.  Its not like I’m not trying.
The weird thing is, I’m feeling mildly desperate–yup, I’ll admit the desperation. I’m a strong, driven, beautiful woman. With tomorrow being my 37th birthday, I’m not feeling my biological clock tick. Instead I have this anticipation of my expiration date approaching–and there really is a difference. Its a need to start something, instead of needing to create offspring.  So, disclaimer: I’m not one of those who NEEDS to have kids. It’s a possibility, but not a burning desire. However, I’ve lived almost half my life now–that is assuming I’ll live into my 80s as most of my grandparents did, and the thought creeps in from time to time that it might be too late.  In my current sanity, and also my current “research” via my online profile tell me that it’s never too late. My mother was remarried at 36. My father remarried at 40 and at 51. Matches are out there.  But lately this sense of “too late” is in my brain.

But what is “too late”?  Really?  Medically, its not super safe to have kids after 45… but adoption is always a possibility.  I know friends who have gotten married for the first time in their 40s and 50s…  I know many people who are single and fabulous.  So, this encroaching deadline to get married and have kids, this feeling that the parade might have passed me by–it doesn’t mean shit.  Its all in my head.

I thought about this for a bit, and came up with a few thoughts about “life starting” and why it feels like we’re waiting for a partner before that happens.  These thoughts might be helpful to you, too.

  1. Life has already started.  Move forward, or sit and watch it go by, its your choice.  But I’m much more like Tris in the Divergent series–I’m gonna jump on that train–its scary, but its better then staying where I’m sitting.
  2. Your life is your life.  There may be rules.  There may be an order.  Yours may or may not follow exactly along the path of everyone else’s… If it was supposed to, we would all get the same education, we would all have the same job, we would all have the same thoughts.  You are different, and that’s ok.
  3. Embrace the difference.  Love who you are.  Be the best you that you can be.  Figure out yourself.  Love that about you.  You are an ever changing, evolving entity.  That is a beautiful thing.
  4. Know you have choices.  If you really really really really wanted to, you could have the thing you think you most desire.  But for some reason you’re choosing something else that is more important.  Like, I could have a family and a house–but those weren’t my focus.   Being an actress was.  So I chose that.  I gave that my focus.  I’m proud of that.
  5. Maybe what you most desire isn’t really what you most desire.  I thought about the house and the car and the husband and the babies.  But the sparkle of the theater just kept distracting me, and the rest got put on the back burner.  I REALLY want to be here, in New York, acting.  But it took me a little while to see that.  I thought I needed to be like “everyone else” and go the family route first.  But after a few years, I went the career direction on the Life board game first.  There are many gloomy days.  But there are more happy days.
  6. Focus on what makes you happy.  Without hurting others, what would you do if there were no limits?  Why aren’t you pursuing that?  Seriously–go!!  Now!

So here’s the thing… we’re rounding the corner once again into wedding and baby seasons… and no matter where you are on the scale of relationships and babies and generally being happy, the truth is, your life is the accumulation of all of the choices you have made.  I chose to be an actress.  I chose to move to New York.  I chose a hard career in an insane city.  I don’t have babies or a partner, but I have an AMAZING Urban Family.  I am a nanny to a young man who will never forget me.  I am an auntie to some adorable doggies.  I am an Urban Sister to some of the most amazing, talented, giving people.  And I am in a city that always has something intriguing to distract and divert attention.  There are so many reasons I’m just “not there;” just not on the same track as everyone else.  The irony is that currently I work for an event planner–so my life is filled with weddings!

Congratulations to all of my family and friends across the globe who have been getting married and having babies!  I really am so happy and proud for you. Really and truly.

For those of you who aren’t–listen, its just not time yet, or its not the plan for you.  If you need a little pick me up or a little help in the “everyone is getting married BUT me and I don’t know how to handle it” department, I wrote a blog on that last year.

Know that its all going to be ok.  Focus on what makes you happy.  Life is messy and full of choices, but its also great and silly and fun.  Ultimately, its all going to work out.  I promise.

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

 

 

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8 Tips to survive your friends wedding announcements

I just returned home from a shopping trip to Whole Foods.  Even though I’m happily single, the essentials were needed:  beer, cheese puffs, and, caramel gelato.  This trip was spurred because I was on the phone with one of my best friends who gave me the good news that he is going to propose soon.  Yesterday, I got a text message that my littlest sister is getting married. A few weeks ago, I got a similar text from LL that she, too, was engaged. I’m excited by the news of all three, but also this concentrated injection of bliss reminded that I’m still single…no wedding bells in earshot for me.   In addition to all of this good news, I had a conversation with my new roommate about the social imperative to get married—she is recently single, and feels that urge to “get back out there” and is disappointed in her recent dating outcomes.

As a single person, it feels like we’re only getting older, and time and opportunity are slipping through our fingers as each day pass. WHY is this?!? Yes, my biological clock is ticking. Yes, I only have a certain number of years that I’m able to have children. But, there is still time for my roommate, for me, and for any other single person out there to find someone and achieve “wedded bliss.” There is no timeline that says: by the 28th day of the 32nd year of life, a person needs to be married.  So what is the rush and the big deal over being married/in a relationship/single by a certain point in time, ESPECIALLY if you haven’t found the right person?

In this day and age, we value love and compatibility above most things/aspects in relationships. We like the superficial stuff: money, good looks, proximity, etc. But when it comes down to it, we look for someone who has similar interests that will make us laugh, and that we can live with for many years to come.

We are lucky, because it was only a few generations ago that love was not an option. Marriage was a business transaction.   And in some cultures and religions, it still is. Some people don’t get the choice or opportunity to choose who they date and who they fall in love with. Well, most of us don’t get to choose who we fall in love with—love just happens. We are only get the choice to follow through; to say yes to the opportunity.

I am single. Most days I’m happily single. Other days, I’ll admit, I would love to have someone around to wake up to, or to open the jar that is stuck, or to see on the sofa when I walk in from work. I have lots of friends and two roommates, and although I love them, they just don’t quite fill the need I have. And this need seems to grow a little more when I hear that one of my friends (or relatives) has found a match. Please know I don’t begrudge my loved ones their happiness. I love that they have gone out and caught the illusive love bug. I’m so excited for my little sister, I can’t wait to celebrate with the bestie, and I’m daily watching for flight prices to dip down to buy my ticket to California to see LL get hitched! But I can’t help but sit here and wonder: why not me?   Why hasn’t it happened to me yet? What is wrong with me?

I know I’m not the only one to have these thoughts—I’ve had several conversations with friends over the years about the same issue. I also dodge the questions of: when are you getting married? Why don’t you have a boyfriend? Do you like being single? Bridget Jones answered this question so well: “perhaps its because our bodies are covered in scales…” My answer isn’t as brilliant, its simply, “I don’t know.” I no more have answers to these questions than I have to the mysteries of the universe. The only concrete answer is: I don’t know, because it’s not my time yet.

It’s a weird feeling, because I feel like there is something that isn’t working, but I don’t know how to do anything differently than I already have. I’ve tried dating apps. I’ve tried going out to bars and clubs. I’ve tried having friends set me up. Ive tried being single and focusing on me.  And I’ve done a whole lot of “when I’m not looking for it…” And hey—I’ll be going to at least two weddings in the next year, although that has failed me in the past, too. Its actually ok. I’m not blissful being single, but I’m not tragic about it either. Someday I’ll reach the married chapters of my life. Just not now.

So, how do I survive it?

  • I’m happy knowing that my friends are happy.   Depressed and angry people rarely start new relationships… so share in your loved one’s happiness.
  • Date so you learn about yourself. Stop dating when you obsess about it. Yup. Simple. Dating is a hobby. When it stops being fun, don’t do it anymore. There are ways to meet people without dating. If you need more tips go to Duty Dating, Changing Your Dating Game, or Straightforward Dating.
  • If you build it, they will come. Dating is great and its needed to figure out who you are, but don’t make it EVERYTHING. Focus on your own life. Find activities, groups, clubs, outings. Make your life full.
  • Don’t make your life about one thing. As in: don’t spend all your spare time trying to bag a significant other. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, especially from RomComs—manipulation of their life or yours, never makes a good match.
  • Mix up your company. I LOVE my gay men, but I can’t always hang out with them because I’m not going to find many straight men hanging out in gay bars. I love my single gals, but again, a gaggle of gals absorbs a lot of men. Go out with different groups to different places. Don’t be afraid to go out on your own!
  • Read a book in a bar. Ok, well you don’t have to do that if you’re not a fan of books, bars, or both… but if you do something out of the ordinary, by yourself, you’re bound to attract a different populous—its not foolproof. You might attract unwanteds.  But why not try something different?
  • Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration. No matter what you want out of a relationship (companionship/wearing the wedding attire before you retire/having a baby) ANY OF THAT is possible. I know it feels like it’s a handful of bullshit, but really when you are ready for it, your match will appear.
  • Know that NOTHING is absolute. Tomorrow is a different day.  Tomorrow is a fresh start.  (And a scoop of ice cream, a bite of chocolate, or a bottle of beer might get you through til then.)

I know that wedding announcements aren’t always easy, but remember what they are about: a celebration of love and family. If you’re being told about it, you’re considered part of the family and you are loved. Put on your brave face to answer the questions about being single, and then go have fun. You never know what is around the next corner!

–Clare

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How To Be Single

If you didn’t read my Valentine’s Survival post, you might not know, but I’m the single one of the Live ClareLesley pair.  Lesley has had her fair share of time being in the single’s pool–just go read her Duty Dating!  But here I am, staring down the start of my 36th year, and I’m single.  For New Years, one of my Goals was to give up dating.  Valentine’s Day, I deleted all dating apps off of my phone.  I decided, at this moment I can’t be bothered with them anymore.  I haven’t stopped dating, I just don’t want to deal with anyone hiding behind their phone or computer any longer–and lets face it, I was tired of having fake relationships with people I don’t even know, through a device.

There are many moments that I wish I had a plus one, but really, I’m in those lovely in-between years where everyone is having kids, and weddings are much less frequent.  So needing a date is not a requirement (not that anyone needs a plus one at a wedding–it’s just preferred).  I’ve become a whiz at how to handle singledom.  I live.  I thrive.  I’m happy!  I don’t understand why so many people hate and dread it.  Being single is a great thing! (A lot of friends in couples say to me that they sometimes wish they were single again because they envy the freedom or alone time or whatever.)  Yes, there isn’t a built in conversation partner in singledom, but hey, that doesn’t mean there isn’t one to be had!  Scroll through your phone or email list right now–I’ll bet you that there are at least five people that you have great conversations with that you haven’t talked to in a while.  Why not hit them up for a conversation, a glass of wine, a movie, an art show?

Being single isn’t being alone.  That is the first thing you have to understand and realize is that all “single” means is that you’re not in a pair.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be–unless you choose it.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll end up lonely and alone.  Those are all choices!  You can choose how you want to spend your days.

I’m not going to tell you that I’m always blissfully happy.  Sometimes I have a case of the “mean reds” as Holly Golightly calls them.  Most days are pretty great.  I get to choose all aspects of my day like what to have for dinner, and if I can take a gig on my own (which is sometimes, but rarely annoying).  I don’t have to be home at a specific time, but I don’t have someone to greet me when I get there either… well, my roommate is pretty awesome, but she’s not always home.  I have plenty of great relationships in my life.  But whether its a romantic one of platonic one, relationships do take work and time–whatever you want to get out of one, you have to put in.  People are busy, so reach out early and often!

Here are some tips on how to thrive as a single:

1) Go out and do things.  Yes it sounds simple, and not so simple all at the same time.  Join book clubs, meetups, sports teams, take music lessons or dance classes, join a choir or theater group.  What is it that you most want to do, or always wish you did, or do when you’re on vacation?  Start there and find a group to join!

2) Do things with friends!  If you want to go to the movies, the theater, art museums, concerts, out to eat, out for drinks–anything that you might do with a date–do with a friend!  Set up a weekly date or monthly date with the same, or with different friends.  Maybe even treat this time and they can treat the next (I LOVE this one because it feels like a date)!  Different friends will like different activities, and maybe will even introduce you to new things (and maybe even, wink wink, new people)!

3) Do things on your own!  If you want to go to the movies, the theater, art museums, concerts, out to eat, out for drinks–anything that you might do with a date–do by yourself!  You never know who you’ll meet, and you’ll find that you enjoy doing things on your own.  About the only thing I won’t do by myself is going out to dinner (and that is just because I’m not big on sitting at a table by myself).  I love going to the movies and the theater and even taking a picnic lunch on my own–its fun to people watch, and to see something and have something that is completely mine.  Often if I want to discuss it, I have friends and my parents who are always willing to hear about my adventures afterwards.

4) Find a mantra for yourself when you start to feel lonely, or pathetic, or sad.  For instance tell yourself that you are amazing and surround yourself with a great life.  Say it over and over.  Say it to yourself in the mirror.  Put happy thoughts on sticky notes and place them around the house for yourself to see.  Remind yourself that there is good in the world, and that you are good!  Think of the happy thoughts or the mantra whenever you start to feel down–stave away the sadness!

5) Keep being social.  Whatever this means to you–keep pursuing the avenues that will put you out in the world.  If you want to stay up on dating sites and apps, go for it!  If you want to have a night out with friends and go to bars or parties or gatherings and meet people and possible dates, do so!  You will only date if you keep looking.  Personally, I take sabbaticals from dating.  I will be active for a few months and then take a couple of months off and focus on me–usually, I’m busy doing projects and shows anyway!  To be bluntly honest, dating drives me crazy.  So much rejection happens before you find a good one.  That’s a LOT of negativity, even for my Pollyanna optimism.  Vacations from anything are good for the soul.  Go focus on yourself or friendships for a month or two, and then dive back in, refreshed.

6) Remember that all the love you need is coming at you at any given moment.  It might not be from the exact direction and in the large amount from one person you are looking for, but it is surrounding you.  Your parents, friends, relatives, co-workers all want you to be happy and loved.  And love begets love: so go out and give love to friends, relatives, the homeless, animals, through a mentor program, etc!  You’ll most likely get more love in return!

7) Also remember that everyone feels lonely and alone some days–even those with people sleeping next to them.  No one’s situation is continually perfect.  There are ups and downs of coupledom and singledom no matter who you are.  Its funny in a society that continually allows us to connect, we have put up the biggest walls.  Get out and go meet up with people face to face.  Or even just take a walk or a drive that is different from your norm–changing up your routine is a great jumpstart to happiness.  Being with some one is great, but its also nice to have a little quiet.

8) Get friendly with the quiet times.  You have to be able to live in moments of silence.  I’ve found that I love and treasure them.  They are haaaaarrrrrd at the beginning, but they do get easier.  Find a quiet thing for yourself to do.  I’m a big fan of journaling.  Also lists help you take control.  Maybe yours is knitting, reading magazines, playing a game, working on a puzzle, writing, golfing, swimming, rock climbing.  Whatever it is, make time for it and yourself.  Be aware of your thoughts.

9) Speaking of which: Be aware of your thoughts.  Let them run their course.  If you cannot deal with them at this moment, don’t ignore them; instead tell the thought you don’t have time right now and you’ll get back to it.  I had a teacher in college that said, “you have to acknowledge the elephant in the room before moving on, otherwise all anyone will notice is the elephant in the room.”  Tell the thought you will get back to it.  Think through it when the time comes.  Breathe a lot.  Love yourself.

Remember, the right one isn’t “out there” but instead is inside of you.  When you are truly a whole and complete person within, you will stumble into the right romantic situation.  Focus on being the best you.  Be a full and complete person.  Be the best you, you can be and live life.  To quote Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come.  Even if they don’t, you now know how to be awesome at being single.  And always, Live ClareLesley.

–Clare 

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Valentine’s Survival

I wrote this January 10th and while starting thought: I’m writing, ugh, a Valentine’s Blog. (We’re trying to get ahead so we can spend more time editing the book…yes, its coming. Get excited. Stay tuned!) Just to think about Valentines so far in advance makes me take deep breaths, and requires me to relax my shoulders.

I’ve been single every Valentine’s Day of my adult life. The rational part of my brain says, “its just another day.” The anti-greeting-card-gal thinks, “there are 364 perfectly other good days of the year to say ‘I love you’ so why are you all doing it today?” The 10-year old inside urges me to buy the kiddie valentines and give them to my friends when I see them. I’ve spent a few sad Valentine’s Days feeling sorry for myself for being single, but I refuse to do that anymore. Instead, I choose to give and observe, love and caring instead. I know it sounds cheesy, and I’m still fantastically single, so I totally understand if this statement makes you cringe. Nevertheless, here is my recipe for a sorrow-free or at least a sorrow-less greeting-card-holiday.

1) Screw the red and pink hearts/flowers/balloons! Unless you like it all… then share it, respectfully! Reach out to those closest to you: Mom, dad, best friend, lover, child, roommate, pet, music teacher, bus driver, barista, writing partner. Tell them in some way you appreciate them. Feel free to make a monetary gesture if you feel it necessary, but love is best exchanged in heartfelt words.

2) Make your own damn plans. If you have a significant other or not, if you have friends, children, pets—if this is your holiday, go make your own plans. How do you want to spend the evening? With strangers at a bar? With friends around your own home cooked meal? Serving a meal to the homeless? With family members cuddled on the couch to watch a silly movie? Drinking a bottle of wine while on the phone with your mom who has a similar bottle of wine at her house? Don’t wait around to be picked—no one EVER liked being the last one picked in kickball at recess… screw that feeling. Do what will make you feel the happiest on this day. Plan it early, plan it late. Answer this question now without thinking: What will make you the happiest? Do that.

3) Don’t put so much damn pressure on your plans. I cannot begin to tell you how many Friend-en-tines parties I’ve thrown or attended, or even just made dinner plans, and put so much pressure on them that they were doomed from the beginning. This holiday should be about appreciation of relationships you share. Its been 6 weeks since our last major holiday to get together… relax and remember that you enjoy the people in your life. Spend the evening with people that make you laugh, food that makes you happy, and go places you won’t feel lonely.  Keep the day free of expectations!

4) Be prepared. If you throw a party, there might be a crier. There will probably be a few engagement announcements the following day. You might or might not get laid. Someone might give you a heartfelt something, making you realize that if they were picking kickball teams, you wouldn’t be last.  If any or all of these happen, take deep breaths and roll with it. February 15 is a day away. All will go back to normal tomorrow.

Valentine’s Day isn’t my holiday. Some years I get into it, and others I don’t. I’ve found that the best, and most memorable (or least memorable, depending on your perspective) Valentine’s were low key and spent with people who love me. I am so incredibly grateful to have so many incredible friends, most who would drop everything when I’m in need, to text me and tell me they’re available in 5 minutes. Just kidding—most would drop everything and run to me in a heartbeat.  (I love you all so much, and am infinitely thankful we’ve found each other.)

In every tribe there is a gatherer, a shaman, a group leader, a healer, the mama. I’m that person, in most circumstances. The hard part of that is not the being needed, instead it’s the asking for help and love when I need it. When I’m truly hurting, it hurts even more to ask for love. I’m telling you this because I understand the depths of despair and loneliness that holidays bring. I also understand that once I get over myself, and just ask for care that I want or need, it is given. Immediately. Wholeheartedly. Without hesitation. Don’t be afraid to ask for love.  Especially on Valentine’s Day.

I found my soul mate at the end of last year. Its kind of ridiculous, because its nothing like I would have assumed or expected. Its not storybook, or text book, and there isn’t going to be a traditional happy ending with us riding off into the sunset to a picket fence and kids and dogs… which I’m actually joyful about. It’s actually less pressure to know that someone who makes me immeasurably happy, and a better person just by standing near me, isn’t someone I have to be romantic with, but that I can just love and appreciate for everything he is. I’ve always known love comes in different forms, shapes, colors, and speeds. I appreciate and try my best to adequately reciprocate any love that comes toward me. That is the ultimate challenge, and goal: to simply love and be loved in return. Love might not be in your life in the picture perfect vision you seek, but I’ll bet you that you receive more love than you realize. I believe that love, like matter, cannot be created or destroyed, but it instead changes forms. I believe that all the love you want or need comes at you at any given time, it just might not all be from one direction, or from the direction you would prefer. But like my handsome soul mate is for me, love will be there for you, when wanted and needed.

So, my dear ones, as the cardboard hearts, flowers, and balloons flood your visions this Friday (and probably all weekend), remember that love begets love. The more you open your heart and share, the more you’ll find in return. I KNOW it sounds new agey, and dumb… but its true. Spend the day with someone you appreciate, and will appreciate you. If you can’t find a human, find an animal; find a view; find a park. Breathe it all in and know you are loved. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.

LOTS OF LOVE from both LL and I!!  Go, Love ClareLesley!

–Clare

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Don’t Want It Now

I don’t know what I want. Well actually, I know what I want, I just don’t want it now. Yep! This week I realized after clearing out all the pots on the stove, any leftovers from the fridge that I’m done with duty dating. But, I’m so not into dating! Yes, I’m saying it out loud. Why? Because I don’t think we admit to ourselves that we know what we want we just don’t want it now. I’ve decided that it’s completely ok. A-Ok to know what you want but not want it now. This doesn’t make myself or you wishy-washy. In fact, I think it puts us back in control. And right now, I don’t want to be in a relationship, I just want to be single.
There are so many pressures when you are single to be in a relationship. Who are you dating? Do you think they’re the one? Are you ready for that? What are you looking for? If you want a family you should start getting serious! Well, guess what?! Today I’m dating no one, tomorrow is a new day and the day after who knows if they’re THE ONE! They’re the one for right NOW. That’s perfect enough for today.

But, back to my point. I have dated my archetypes—all those men that I think I wanted to be in a relationship, or at least try out (check back for a different blog post on archetypes!). I have enjoyed myself entirely. I know my dealmakers, breakers, and am comfortable re-working them. I know what makes me swoon, laugh, get annoyed, feel supported, free, and get rocked. I just don’t want any of it right now. I want to do my thing. Enjoy myself. Live my life my way, by my rules. Not have to check in, share my time, or worry about another person’s feelings. I love having all the “me” time I want!

I discovered this when I had a suitor turned friend over for a great make out sesh. We have both been through the long, deep relationships. We are both barely a year out of our own past relationships. He said he just doesn’t know what he wants. With this conversation, I realized, I do. I know EXACTLY what I want. Lucky me! Even luckier I’m so comfortable not wanting it right now.

If you’re wondering if something is up with you, perhaps you’re in the same boat. Perhaps you too know what you want but just don’t want it now. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is if you let yourself think there is something wrong with you. Asking yourself questions: am I depressed? Did I make the wrong decision? Should I go on another date? Nope! If you’re not into it, you’re just not into it. Enjoy that! Rock that! When your friend asks about your dating life, you should proudly say “not anyone for now and it’s perfect enough for today.”

If more of us start announcing with pride our Single Status then think of how much better the our conversations will be. We can actually talk about other things going on in our lives with our friends instead of whom we are not doing.

LL