I’m in my 30s. Really in them.

It’s my birthday, a couple days past. Yep. I’m another year older. Hello 34. Do me right.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other night. Thanks Kels. And, we were talking about dating in our 30s. It’s different. It’s definitely different…for us.

Our priorities have changed. We bend, but we don’t break. We make sacrifices and honor our loved ones. We do the hard stuff now. The game changed.

I was a different person in my 20s. I was very self serving. I was focused on me. I thought I knew what I wanted, had trouble figuring out how to get it, but I thought I knew. I didn’t.

I had some unattainable dreams and goals. Thought the world was going to make a place for me. No more. I’m figuring it out, but I’ve stopped the dreaming and started the work.

You can’t date me haphazardly. You can’t just see what comes. You need to be intentional and honest. You need to do the work.

Let’s cut to the chase. I’m dating to marry. I’m dating for a family and longevity. I want to know where this is ultimately going. I’m not laying it all on the table at the first meeting, but it’s the route I’m going. What are your intentions? What’s your plan, pal?

In my 20s, I would fake a lot interest for feelings sake. I laughed at dumb jokes, and pretended to be interested in things I could care less about. Not anymore. You must earn my interest. Let’s discuss real topics, debate a little, and even agree to disagree.

I’ve said this all before, I’m sure, but I haven’t done well about living it. But in my 30s, I’d rather be upset and disappointed for a few days than live in it with anyone for a lifetime.

There’s no more wishes and big plans. I am who I am. I’m not selling who I hope to be one day. There aren’t any conversations about what I plan to be when I grow up or who I want to be. I am her. I’m fine tuning her, but my personality and views are pretty well established.

I’m demanding. I’m demanding you to say what you need to say and do what you need to do 100% of the time. I am practicing that, even when it seems impossible. You need to do the same.

Show up. Speak your mind. And know, that tomorrow is not promised. I’m not promised. In my 30s, I’m not leaving my choices up to hopefulness. Do the work.

Someone needed to hear this. I hope you figure it out. But if you don’t, I hope you are comfortable in the bed you made.

She set me up with her friend.

My good friend was telling me about her good friend that set her up with their good friend. That’s a lot.

Before this conversation, I always felt strongly about this. I don’t think your friends should ever set you up with their friends. People they know and like, sure. But not their friends. After her story, I’m convinced I’m right.

Why? Seems harmless, but most of the time it’s a disaster.

So the story goes… She agreed to go on a date with him. Spent a few dates having fun and getting to know him. It was nice. She thought he was a good guy, but at some point realized she wasn’t interested in having a relationship with him.

What she didn’t know was that he was calling their friend after every date, conversation, and text giving a full play by play. Their friend was directing him, pushing for their relationship, and gassing him up to be her Mr. Right. I’m sure she was practicing her wedding speech for them, imagining being godmother to their children, and patting her self on the back for a job well done.

When my friend tried to break free from him, just be his friend, and keep it moving, he freaked out. He had already discussed the ins and outs of their relationship with their friend. He discussed their one sexual encounter. He spoke about things that should have been private between the two of them.

Their friend chastised her. Fussed about her not being open to this man. Told her he cried for her, kept her up late at night talking about their relationship, and was really trying.

She went back. She felt she owed it to her friend, twisted obligation. She was miserable, and when she finally broke away, she lost them both.

The relationship was never organic. It was always a puppet show. It was always being controlled by an outsider.

My rule has been never date your friend’s family or your family’s friends, or your friend’s friends either. IJS.

36 questions to find love…

I was surfing FB, and came across this Cosmopolitan article.

These 36 questions will make you fall in love. “Twenty years ago, psychologist Arthur Aron compiled 36 questions that he thought would make two strangers fall in love with each other. And he succeeded.”

Hmmm…it’s worth entertaining.

So for my Prince Charming, I’m gonna answer them…most of them, in case he’s following my blog.

Part I
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Ms. Oprah Winfrey, but I’d rather be her guest, and at her houses…all of them, for overnights.

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

I’d love to have fame in a small dose. I’d like people to value my work and my views, but I want to maintain my privacy. Is that even possible?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

90% of the time! I like to be clear and understood. Takes preparation.

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

Something peaceful with people I love. Maybe the beach all day, grilled seafood dinner, and s’mores over a fire pit. And, fireworks!

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I sing ALL the time, to myself. I can’t remember the last time I sang to someone, probably with my son.

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

I’ve seen people start to slip mentally as they age. It’s hard to have someone you looked up to and leaned on start to regress like that. I’d want to maintain my mind. There’s bound to be something on the market to maintain my body.

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

No. And, it’s my greatest fear. I want to have time to watch my son grow and establish his own family. I want plenty of time to love.

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

My son and our health.

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I wish I’d witnessed more loving relationships. As an adult, I struggle with love because I’m lacking some of the core experiences.

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Do super powers count?

Part 2
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

Hmmm…there’s so much I’d want to know, but there’s so much I’d just want to experience.

I would want to know about my death.

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

I want to travel, internationally. Time and opportunity are always my issues, along with daily responsibilities. It’s hard to make time. And, I need a passport.

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

My son.

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

Loyalty.

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

My best friend was killed in a car accident when I was 15. I can still replay that whole day.

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

I’d work less. I’d give the people in my life more attention, and I’d travel.

20. What does friendship mean to you?

Friendships are incredibly important. Those are people you choose to share your life and experiences with. They are invited into your life again and again. That’s a big deal. That’s a big honor, when it’s genuine.

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

Love is an action word, and I’m only affectionate with people I truly love or care for.

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

Not so much.

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Really… It’s a work in progress.

Part 3
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

…everything.

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

Communication is the most important thing, in the world, to me.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

I don’t cry often. Expressing your feelings with extreme emotion rather than calmly and including logic wasn’t encouraged when I was growing up. It was considered dramatic. If I need to cry, I’ll typically do it alone. And, it’s been awhile.

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

Crimes against children, the elderly, or animals.

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

I love my son in a way that is too big for me to totally comprehend or communicate. There are so many things I’d want to teach him and say. It’s so much. How to be a gentleman. How to do his own laundry. How to drive. Managing his money and credit. How to be a good man, husband, and father. How to love and be loved without getting lost in it. How to get lost in love. Everything. Today wouldn’t be enough time.

Tell my guy, that this is love. And, I’m happy I found it with him. I haven’t told him that because I don’t know how.

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

I couldn’t decide. I’d have what I needed in my loved ones.

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing?

I can’t.

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

“How do I stop loving someone?”

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This is for my heart broken friend, me, and for you, too.

How do you stop loving someone?

You wait it out and walk away.

Love has to lessen or fade in its own time, if that’s what it’s meant to do. Unfortunately, you can’t manage it. You can’t turn it off anymore than you can turn it on.

And, that sucks.

If you get to a point that you need to change the way you care about someone, for a variety of reasons, change your behaviors regarding them, lean on other loved ones, and pray without ceasing.

I wish it were easier.

Who set the terms?

Are you involved in the relationship, or just playing by the rules?

Hmmm…

That’s an interesting question. I had to ask myself. And, I didn’t necessarily like the answer.

I play by the rules. It’s the old school, country girl, in me. I’m submissive in most circumstances. I let my man wear the pants. I stay in line. I am here to keep peace in the household and relationship. It’s the old run the show quietly from backstage.

And, most of the time I do it REALLY well.

Right now…not so much.

Right now, I’m fighting to keep this boat afloat.

What’s the difference? When you’re involved in the relationship, you have equal say. Things aren’t just happening to you or around you. You can’t be quietly kept in the relationship. There’s a reason. Are you stuck, lonely, don’t believe you deserve more, too invested… And this doesn’t mean it’s who you are in life. This is about who you are in the relationship.

It’s okay. It will be okay.

Playing by the rules will hit a brick wall one day. You will be resentful and angry. Then what?

Get involved. Make your own terms.

Have a voice.

Where you been?

It’s been a minute, huh?

I took a brief, unscheduled, hiatus during the holidays.

It gave me the opportunity to focus on what I’m doing in my relationships, quietly. And, I feel pretty good about the decisions I’m making.

Thanks for your viewership!

There’s plenty more to come.