The experience of being single often reminds me of a book that I used to like reading when I was a child called “Are You My Mother”? I relate to the newborn chick in the story, wandering alone and exposed throughout the world, asking each strange creature he encounters if its his mother: desperately seeking his match. In my case, whenever I encounter a potential mate, my inner voice quietly asks itself “Are You My Partner”?
I dip in and out of the online dating world. I am assured by others that it is the place to meet new people these days but it is a hard environment to navigate. There is such a wide range of people. It is a crowded space and everyone has very different needs and intentions. I am also told that in the particular city I live in, there are five single women available for every single male. These are not great odds.
I have now started to reorient the way that I think about this process: turning it from outward to inward facing. I consider each dating experience as an opportunity to learn more about myself. To develop and hone my skills of self-reflection and care. What are my boundaries? Can I be brave and ask for what I need? What is my inner knowing telling me? Can I hold onto myself when things get difficult? Can I initiate a difficult conversation? What are the red flags? Are they deal breakers? Do I truly choose this person or am I simply settling for companionship?
When I get disheartened, I often think back to this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
I want to live my life in the arena, daring greatly. This is a life worth living. It is messy and scary and unknown but it is where I need to be. I don’t ever know if I will ever find my perfect partner, but in the meantime, I will be my own perfect partner and keep loving myself fiercely, loyally and unconditionally. I will remain committed to becoming a better human, and version of myself, and I will keep getting up, no matter how many times I am knocked down, and continue trying.
In an effort to keep fitness easy and accessible, I am always looking for fun new ways to exercise at home. I was excited when I recently came across a new offering through Netflix called Nike Training Club. This is the first exercise program of its kind that I have come across on a streaming service. I hope that it is reflective of more to come!
Each program has multiple episodes — a grand total of 30 hours of exercise sessions released in two batches. The programs are available in multiple languages, on all Netflix plans, with workouts for all fitness levels and interests (e.g. strength training, yoga and high-intensity workouts).
While only the first batch of fitness classes has been launched, the streamer has said additional programs will be released in 2023. To find the collection of workout videos, just search ‘Nike’ on Netflix.
“The Korean Zen teacher Seung Sahn encouraged his students to have what he called “enough mind.” To have the attitude I already have everything I need. He said that when you want something you don’t have, there are two possible outcomes, and both result in suffering. If you don’t get what you want, you suffer from disappointment. If you do get what you want, you can experience temporary happiness, but pretty soon the happiness fades when it turns out that what you got isn’t quite as wonderful as you expected it to be. You begin to crave all over again, and you are right back in the cycle of craving and suffering.”
~ Excerpted from: Alive Until You’re Dead: Notes on the Home Stretch by Susan Moon
Since I was thirteen years old, and my parents split up, and then remarried, I have had a blended family. No matter the holiday (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving) it meant two different celebrations, in two different households. When I got married myself, we added in my husband’s family into the mix; and when we eventually got divorced, my daughter began her own complicated journey with juggling multiple families over the holiday season.
It has always been hard to try and fit everyone in, and manage family dynamics. So many people and so many expectations. This year, I decided to take a step back from tradition. I wanted to try and celebrate the holiday season in a way that felt right for me, rather than prioritizing everyone else. This meant asking myself some hard questions: What do I want to invite more of into my life? And what can I let go of?
The holidays are an emotionally charged time for everyone. Although it was difficult to make change, as it required setting boundaries, and risking the disappointment of others, I did my best to approach it with kindness and compassion.
As a result, I enjoyed the first Christmas in forty-seven years that truly embodied the spirit of the season for me: Friendship. Community. Love. Joy. Ease. Laughter. Connection. It was all of the best things rolled into one, and for that, I am so deeply grateful. #JoyBlogging
This past spring, I had the amazing privilege of living in Aix-en-Provence, France for two months with my daughter. Aix will forever be an incredibly special place to me and it is a one that I hope to return to many times in my life.
As I take time to slow down over the holiday season, I discovered this lovely series of photos taken by a traveller; and it took me on a virtual journey back to my beloved Provence. It warmed my heart so I thought I would share it with you.
On November 11, 2021, my best friend woke up in the middle of the night and suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage. She was only forty-six years old. Prior to entering the operating room, the surgeon gave her a 1% chance to survival; and even if she did survive, he predicted that she would be unable to eat, walk or function with ‘normal’ brain activity again.
A year and a month later, Sara is back at work full-time and engaging in her life at pre-surgery levels. She is really and truly a living miracle. I look at my friend and I often have to pinch myself that she is still here. I am blown away by her courage, strength and resilience. Her story of survival reminds me not to take anything in this life for granted and to cherish each and every moment with the people we love.
I recently came across a great YouTube resource called “Dad, How do I?” On this channel, Rob Kenney posts new videos every week in which he demystifies many basic skills that everyone should know how to do, but many do not (including me)! From jump starting a car, to unclogging a sink, or finding a wall stud, he provides information that is both practical and applicable.