Reserving judgments and infinite hope

They say you should never meet your heroes.  That should probably also extend to cover dating  your crushes.   I’ve recently had a few dates with someone I first met two decades ago and who has carried a little torch for me ever since.

I am sure that with every interaction the image he’s built up of me over the last twenty years is slowly but surely being eroded, and the pedestal I was unwittingly on is being chipped away.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing; from my perspective anyway.

I’m a fiercely independent, healthily quizzical (some might say cynical…) realist with an established sense of self.  I am also not the same person I was in my late 20s when we originally met and I suspect this may be something of a revelation.  Who could live up to the pressure of an idealised version of themselves though?  Indeed, to quote F Scott Fitzgerald, There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.

But perhaps I’m being unfair.  I’m not used to being the object of someone’s affection in this way; never before been someone’s muse and I think this makes me extra sensitive to reactions and responses; not the best combination with my already over-analytical brain.  I know that usually I am a bit of an acquired taste, and am well aware of my own feet of clay, so I struggle with someone just liking me regardless.

Within my friendship group there are some very healthy relationships with couples finding the path to bring out the best in each other – the whole definitely being more than the sum of the parts.  That’s the synergy I hope to find for myself in my next serious relationship.   Perhaps I am also guilty of pedestalling  (I’d hesitate to label it as self-sabotaging) and comparing each of my relationships to an ideal that no-one will be able to match.

I’m not one for making New Year resolutions, but I probably need to be a bit more open minded this year in my romantic escapades to prevent repeating previous mistakes or unfair judgments.  While thinking about this piece I have had the last paragraph of The Great Gatsby buzzing around my head so will finish with that.   With Jay Gatsby’s long-nurtured, obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan being pivotal to the plot, it’s not entirely unrelated. 

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further… And one fine morning —–

And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby


For auld lang syne

So we’re at the first day of the year again already. 2017 was a challenging year, but not without its rewards. I spent far more time in ICU wards than I would have liked and, although one of the OAPs pulled through and is restored to good health, we lost another earlier this month.

Through that turmoil,  some big work changes and the start of a fledgling relationship, I’ve been surprised by the reactions of some. You think when you hit this age that friendships are set but this year proved otherwise. I’ve been humbled by the support and love given by many, and saddened by those who stepped back or away completely for whatever reason. Others have reconnected and new friendships have also been forged. On balance my circle is healthier for it.

All the best for 2018. Grasp it, enjoy it, live it. It’ll be awesome, it’ll hurt, you’ll laugh and you’ll cry. Submerse yourself in it and do the best you can. Life is short; don’t waste it, make it count.

As my favourite group of Swedes would say (and did say, way back in 1979)  Happy New Year.

No more champagne
And the fireworks are through
Here we are, me and you
Feeling lost and feeling blue
It’s the end of the party
And the morning seems so grey
So unlike yesterday
Now’s the time for us to say…
Happy New Year, Happy New Year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy New Year, Happy New Year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I

Sometimes I see
How the brave new world arrives
And I see how it thrives
In the ashes of our lives
Oh yes, man is a fool
And he thinks he’ll be okay
Dragging on, feet of clay
Never knowing he’s astray
Keeps on going anyway…

Seems to me now
That the dreams we had before
Are all dead, nothing more
Than confetti on the floor
It’s the end of a decade
In another ten years time
Who can say what we’ll find
What lies waiting down the line
At the end of eighty-nine…

Sad Tidings

It’s been a tricky month, hence my absence on here.  My only aunt, my mum’s elder sister, died on Friday after a short illness.  It’s been particularly hard on my mum watching her only sibling unwell and in pain, especially when she’d been so robust and independent before then.

Although she was 83, she still lived independently and definitely knew her own mind.  She was widowed nearly 30 years ago having never had children so my brother and I were spoiled by her as the only children in the immediate family.  She continues to look after us now she’s gone which I am particularly grateful for.  The last few days have been focused on supporting my parents, informing others, arranging her funeral – selecting music and readings – and ensuring her last wishes are honoured.  It’s all been a bit surreal.

There’s something about this time of year that makes losses or difficult circumstances more poignant and harder to deal with.  I think it’s because everyone is expected to be ruthlessly jolly from Hallowe’en to New Year and the focus is on the family unit, which can be particularly difficult for those who can’t, don’t or won’t fit that mould.

As well this bereavement, a distant cousin is losing her six year battle with cancer, and leaves a 13-month old daughter behind.  An old friend and her husband have made the tough decision to separate.  Another is nursing their partner after a serious car accident.  All feel guilty for not feeling festive or being as invested in the seasonal activities as society tells them they should be.  It’s always hard to have to share sad, bad or tragic news, but at this time of year it always seems worse; as though you are responsible for spoiling the happy times of others.

It can be really difficult to articulate sadness, loss and grief.   Edna St Vincent Millay says this so much more beautifully than I ever could, so I close this post with her words.

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.

Edna St Vincent Millay

Judgment of Paris?

I like to think that as I get older I get more receptive to other views and other people’s experience-based points of view.  However I’m not sure this is true, either for me or more widely.  This year I’ve found that other people’s choices and behaviours have been scrutinised and found lacking, against an unpublished standard.  I know I have been guilty of it myself and usually in relation to people I’m less keen on and whose actions have been a reversion to type or a confirmation of what I had originally thought.  I think this allows me to justify it to myself, particularly when people I cherish have been hurt or adversely impacted by others.

However when it’s people I hold dear who behave in disappointing or surprising ways, I find it difficult.  I am aware that I haven’t walked the obligatory “mile in their shoes” and am not aware of all the facts or circumstances leading up to their decisions but I still find myself judging.  I was accused this weekend of being in “team x” over a current disagreement which surprised me.  I hadn’t realised teams were necessary, had been decided or even who would be “team y”.

I’ve had conversations about this with two people that I trust implicitly who have very different views of the issue at hand and I’m still no wiser.  Think I may sit this one out until my moral compass is fixed.  Failing that, I may take a leaf out of Zeus’s book and get someone else to deal with it (but hopefully not start another Trojan war….)

[if you don’t know the story of the Judgment of Paris, you can find it here]

Rinse, repeat

The dating bus has struck again.  Two chaps I’ve known quite a while have been in touch after long periods of silence.  Very surprising.  If you’re a long-time reader of this very sporadic blog you will have heard of both of them before.  In addition, my cheese and wine first dater is also still messaging me.  Not entirely sure why as we aren’t going to meet again, but he’s entertaining to chat with so perhaps I’ve acquired a new friend.

One of the repeats is a guy I’ve known eight or nine years having met originally on-line.  I last saw him in April 2015 and we went out a couple of times but he was hoping to have more fun than I was prepared to indulge him with, so he flounced off.

He got in touch again through Facebook to tell me how much he liked me, always had done and really missed me.  Hmmm.  After an 18-month absence I was a little cynical about that.  He asked he could take me out for a drink as he really wanted to see me again.  I said he could if he remembered our conversation from last time, as our next “date” wouldn’t end any differently to that.  Funnily enough I’m still waiting for that drink to be arranged.  It would appear leopards really don’t change their spots, or their expectations!

The second one I also saw last around the same time, although I’ve known him much longer (about 20 years, eek)  and we go out as part of a group of former work colleagues every 18 months or so.  In fact, it’s partly due to him that this blog has the name it does.  Anyway,  I was up later than usual and, just after midnight, a private message popped up on social media asking me if I fancied a drink before Christmas.  I was intrigued, thought “why not?” so said yes and we met up later that week.  I half-wondered if it was a group meet or just the two of us, but really suspected the latter as I found out a couple of years ago that he’d always carried a torch for me, although I was completely oblivious to that at the time.

We had arranged to meet near Covent Garden (I was suitably late, oops).  It was just us; it would seem the torch still glows.  We found a pub and had a catch up on the last couple of years; we had always got on well, and we still did.  I asked during the evening why he suddenly got in touch; as he hadn’t ever messaged me before I was curious.  Turns out he was bored, had had too much red wine and it seemed like a good idea.  Ha!  So much for romance.  At least he’s honest.

It was a good evening and we have met up again since; we manage to talk about all kinds of nonsense, interspersed with more serious stuff, which I like.  There has only been infrequent messaging but a third escapade is on the cards.  I am not sure about intentions or longer-term aspirations, but it’s a bit early yet for that.  I’m trying not to do my usual and overthink and overanalyse everything, but it’s a challenge.  I shall see where this goes; I already know there will be complications on the road ahead, so it is likely not to be all plain sailing.  Lovely mixed metaphors there!

Two blog posts in one day – I am amazing myself with this productivity level! Lol.  Normal sporadic service will soon resume, I am sure… 🙂


Blog life

Went to a wedding celebration this week, which was lovely.  Two people came up to me and mentioned they had read this blog.  Eek.  Considering how few views I get the odds on two of them being in the same room as me at the same time are pretty low.  Perhaps I should play the lottery….

It’s a new dawn, new day

I had a date tonight.  We ate cheese, drank wine, laughed, and talked a lot. Will I see him again? I doubt it.  He’s a lovely guy and on paper he’s pretty much the perfect match. But… Chemistry. That elusive spark. Not there.

Sometimes I think I’m single because my expectations are too high.  Sometimes I think they aren’t high enough. I want a soulmate. Someone who champions me, believes in me, loves me unconditionally and can tell me to rein it in.  I know they exist; several close friends have found theirs. There’s always hope.

What I don’t want is someone with so much emotional baggage that we can’t carry it between us.  Someone so involved in their own drama that they can’t see anything else.

I ran into an ex and his current girlfriend last week at a party. Those who knew we’d dated were being all over-dramatic about it, waiting (hoping?) for fireworks. We disappointed them; had a hug and a quick catch up then moved on.  I thought it was entertaining and was pleased to see him happy.  She seems a challenge, but I liked her.  It reminded me of why we didn’t work out and reaffirmed that not “settling” is the best road for me.

I know what I don’t want. I sometimes think I know who I want, but then talk myself out of it.  What I do know is hope springs eternal. And, to quote Nina Simone, this old world is a new world and a bold world; I’m feeling good.