Redefining My Ideal Life

I’ve always pictured myself with a beautiful man about my age with a body that proved he worked hard to keep it up. This ideal man would be such a charmer that everyone I knew who met him would compliment me on what a catch I managed to reel in. I imagined him without children. He’d want so very much for me to carry his and we would raise and rear them together. I pictured that ours would be the traditional family unit. We’d live in a beautiful house that had a sizeable front yard and a backyard big enough to keep a swing set and monkey bars and anything else our children would want added to their playground. That was my ideal life.

It was in the summer of 2016 when I started to realize that that may not have been the life meant for me (“My Inner Battle” 7.22.16). In retrospect, I believe now that I was in desperate denial when I started my search for a husband (“The Husband Project” 3.30.16)– rushing the process just so that I could have something I felt I deserved. But what I didn’t take into consideration was the idea that my ideal life was not going to be some modern day fairytale. I now know that marrying someone quickly just to start a family would not necessarily equal happiness. I’m glad I let go of my husband search and continued my search for love. But again, I think I was short sighted— still only looking for that “perfect” man. What I met were men who didn’t really want to settle down or have more kids, and one who didn’t even live in this state. I tried telling myself that maybe they would change their minds or come to see how perfect I could be as a mate. Deep down, however, I knew that again, I was trying to create a fantasy out of reality.

Then, suddenly my gentleman was presented to me in a most unexpected way (“An Unexpected Interest” 7.8.17). Yes, there were feelings of doubt and uncertainty but I wanted to trust the situation. You’ll recall that a major concern of mine was his age. And he didn’t come in the physical package I’d always envisioned but that didn’t matter because I found him attractive anyway. That was important to me.

He told me from the beginning he didn’t want kids yet I told him from the beginning that I did. Why are we still together then? Well, we’ve kept the lines of communication open with conversations about what we were willing or not willing to settle for. We’ve come to respect each other for that.

Right now I’m pursuing my wish to have a child and he has made the decision to stand by me in full support.

When I first started this blog, I questioned why I was not yet married to the love of my life, living in a beautiful house with our beautiful children. That was my ideal life. Now I understand and accept that perhaps I wasn’t meant to live that life.

My ideal life has become getting to know myself through my search for love. It’s become recognizing when a good thing has come into my world. My ideal life is understanding that I can most certainly have everything that I’d ever wanted when it comes to having my own family. Yet I now realize that that ideal life may come in a different package and through unconventional ways…and I am so ready to accept that.

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The Marriage-Minded Man

Upon learning that I had a blog about my dating experiences, a male colleague of mine (let’s call him Corey) expressed interest in reading it so I gave him my business card and told him I was curious about his thoughts on it. Usually when I tell people about my blog they either read one or two posts or they don’t read it at all and never speak of it again. I believed Corey when he told me he’d read it but I certainly didn’t expect this colleague of mine to read all 98 of my posts in a two-hour period! Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen. I told him about it on Thursday and on Friday he was ready to discuss them all with me!

I thought to myself that either Corey must have found it extremely interesting or he was interested in me. Well, after discussing some of my posts with him, I began to understand that it was something entirely different.

Based on what I’ve seen, Corey seems to be somewhat of a rarity. He’s a thirty-something year old man who wants to–and is looking to– settle down and start a family. In fact, it seems as though everything he does is a deliberate action in preparation for his future family. Example? The man has refused to fall in line with the rest of our assimilating culture when it comes to buying a smart phone. His reason? Why spend so much on a smart phone now when he can use that money to save for a family?

It is my belief that Corey read my blog not for entertainment but as research. I’m a single woman who had declared to the world (okay, maybe declared it to my few readers) my wish to be married and have children. To him, I was a resource.

He questioned me about my online dating experiences. He wanted to know what kind of guy I’d give a chance to out of a myriad of men who approach me on a dating site. He wanted to know what kind of guys I wouldn’t give a chance to and why. He asked me questions about the profile picture. He asked me what traits I like seeing in someone’s profile and what would I want a man to know about me.

When I asked Corey why ask me all these questions, he responded that he wanted to know how a girl would think about her dating prospects because he’s about to start dating again. Instinctively, I said, “But I’m just one girl!” What I failed to see was that to him, I was more than just one girl. Sure he understood that my experience is very unique to me, but I was a girl who was looking for a relationship just like he was. So to him, whatever I had to say was valuable in his search for the woman he wanted to marry.

I’ve never met a man who was so focused on marriage as Corey seems to be. In fact, it has been my belief that the thought of marriage scares young men away. I thought that all a young single man wanted to do was date and have fun and should that girl come upon him that he knew was great wife-material, that’s when he would start to think seriously about settling down. But I never met someone who was actually on a hunt for a wife; someone who has plans for his financial future with his woman before he even meets her.

Yet there he was, in the flesh- an actual, existing, marriage-minded young man!

For all you hopeful gals out there, younger than me or not, the fact that one man like that is out there means that there are more. We just have to be patient, keep searching, and continue to believe that one day, our paths will cross with these marriage-minded men. And when they do, it may not be a fairytale ending, but it will definitely be the beginning of something new. And that’s always a good thing.

 

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My Revelation

If you spend any time with me you will learn very quickly that it’s very hard for me to make decisions. Whether it is the choice of ice cream, a meal, or what outfit to Grey dresswear, my indecisiveness becomes comical to the patient person or very annoying to the impatient. You can imagine that this indecisiveness does spill in to the very important decisions in my life– like my decision to get married and have the twins I always thought I wanted.

Those of you who follow my blog already know that back in March of this year, I decided to follow a 12 step program that would lead me to my husband. And the reason I had decided to do this was because I just knew that I wanted to get pregnant and have twins very soon. Never wanting to have children outside of wedlock, I’ve always envisioned having a traditional family unit. However, with each step I took with the program, whenever it involved including others into my husband search, I dramatically stalled. It was always as if I was waiting for the perfect moment of inspiration to actually perform the step I was up to. Example, you ask? Step 6: Promoting myself and my brand by sending letters (emails) to everyone I knew. The purpose was to tell them what a wonderful catch I am and to ask them if they knew anyone they could set me up with. The thought of it terrified me: putting myself out there like that? No way! What would they say? (who cares!) What if they thought I was a loser? (so what?!)

So every day, I sat myself down in front of the computer, trying to force myself to look into who to send these emails to. I was forcing myself to do something I didn’t want to do under the guise of stepping outside of my comfort zone. What I was not doing was looking at the underlying reasons why I did not want to do what I was forcing myself to do. I mean, if I took finding a husband seriously, would I really hesitate in completing the steps required? When I finally looked at the underlying reasons, I realized something new about myself.

I started to question my wants. Do I really want a husband? Or is it that I just want a lover? Do I even want children anymore? Am I emotionally ready to care for children and put them first? All of these questions and more were going on in my mind. All of these questions left me with answers of yes, no, and maybe. My thoughts and ideas, my wants– they were all over the place. And then I realized, suddenly, that I was doing the same thing with these ideas and thoughts that I’ve been doing all of my life. I was being indecisive.

Makes you happyDiscussing these concerns with my sister, I told her that I just don’t know what I want anymore. I have always wanted to be married and have a family but at this age, it doesn’t even matter if I get married anymore. I could easily start dating someone, get pregnant and if I never get married, I think I will really be emotionally OK. I don’t need the engagement ring and the bachelorette party. I don’t need the wedding dress. I don’t even think I need to say the words I do in front of dozens of people just to prove that I am finally successful in a relationship. My sister made me realize that all I want to be is happy, in whatever form that may come in. If I am with the man that I love from head to toe and I know– I am certain— of his love for me, then that’s enough. I don’t need him to bend down on one knee. I don’t need those papers that say husband-and-wife.

I realize that all I want to be is happy. And what an important revelation! I would’ve never come to this had I not started reading the book Find a Husband After 35. That book has put me on a journey I did not even realize I was going to go on. I thought my journey was going to be about finding my husband. But my journey in the last few months has been really forcing me to dig deep into my head, dig deep into my thoughts and really come up with this beautiful idea that happiness is all I ever wanted. And if that happiness leads to marriage and a family, I’ll take it! If it leads to children and no man in the picture, I’ll take that too! If happiness comes in the form of a series of lovers who enhance my experience of life, I will accept it. That’s all any of us really want. I don’t know if in 5 months I will again change my mind. Perhaps in 5 years I may be wishing to be married. I just don’t know. All I know is that right now, I just really want to be happy. Of this I am certain.

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My Inner Battle

Perhaps it’s reaching out to everyone I know to tell them I’m searching for a husband that’s got me scared to finish this thing. But more than that, I think I’m startingPatio Pic to think differently about this whole project and it seems to have paralyzed me. Let me explain.

It started in the early days of June, when I was focused on finishing up the school year as a teacher. The school year was a bit more stressful than what I was used to so I was determined to get out of teaching altogether. My focus was now in writing as a profession, whether it be as a copywriter, a ghost writer, or any other niche I felt would work for me. And in focusing on this, I kind of put my husband project aside. I kept it in the back of my mind because I knew that I had to eventually write about it on my blog. In putting it in the back of my mind, I found that I wasn’t feeling lonely, so I did not feel the need to continue my husband project. And in not feeling that need, I started thinking, do I actually want a man or do I just want him so that I could have my babies? If that was the case, then what was I doing wasting time? I could be pregnant within the month if I went to a sperm bank. Then I started thinking about it more and more. Am I chickening out of my steps or was I being realistic about what I actually want?

I discussed these concerns with none other than my sister, who is also my mentor in this endeavor. She feels that I’m thinking about all of this because things are not moving fast enough for me. I assured her that I never thought that this process would move quickly therefore her reasoning could not be right. But she reiterated her point, stressing that if change were to occur right away for me, then I would see the project and the process differently. Then I would not doubt whether I should continue with it. But my argument is if I am doubting whether I should do it, isn’t that a sign that I shouldn’t? Or perhaps I’m giving myself permission to quit!

So I once again had to ask: what is my motivation? My motivation for finding a husband is to ultimately have my twins. I do want to fall in love. I do want companionship. But ultimately, I know that I need to make a decision and I just don’t know anymore if that decision should necessarily include a husband. I’m just so unclear about everything and I just don’t know if I am making the decisions that I am supposed to be making. Am I to reconsider? I just don’t know.

There was one friend who told me to be careful. She rushed into a marriage and having a child with her husband. Her baby wasn’t even a year old when they separated and now they are going through an ugly divorce. I thanked her for her warning, knowing that would not be me. But why am I still thinking about it? That was her reality but it doesn’t have to be mine.

And then there’s this former colleague that I recently had drinks with and she joked about going broke from her divorce and being single again. The fact that she kept bringing it up in her inebriated state showed that she was hurting. I later learned that she was more focused on having children than a husband at the time of her wedding. Why is her situation still floating in my mind? Why am I focusing on her negative?

I ask myself: is my hesitance to contact everyone I know to tell them of my project a sign that I should not go through with it? Or am I conveniently interpreting it this way to get out of doing something that scares me? I just don’t really know what to do anymore.

One thing I do know: it’s always best to go with your first instinct. When I first started this project, I bravely admitted that I had an inspired thought to do this project and inspired thoughts should always be honored. My first instinct was to go through with this project; that is just what I’m going to do…until I need to write about it again!

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Promoting Myself (or Why I’m Such a Great Catch)

Sitting in ChairFind a Husband After 35. Step 6. Advertising: Promote Your Personal Brand

This step is really going to test my comfort level. Greenwald, the author now wants me to actually tell people about myself through advertising and highlighting the brand I chose back in Step 4! Fit, disciplined, author: that’s me! According to Greenwald, “[t]here are two key groups of people who need to be aware of your brand: those who can fix you up on dates, and your dates themselves” (97). She highlights three specific ways in which to go about advertising myself and my brand: direct-mail, word-of-mouth and a 30-second commercial.

Direct-mail. She literally wants me to send a card to everyone in my address book “that showcases [my] personal brand” (99). Her clients actually got greeting cards created just to send out to people with pictures of themselves that highlighted their brands! And…they personalized each card, specifically asking to be set up! Well, in today’s day, the best way to communicate is through e-mail, so I guess I’ll be sending emails out. If you know me personally, look out for an e-card from me!! Or maybe I’ll just send out a mass e-mail. Decisions!

Word-of-Mouth. Greenwald suggests I “select ten people [I] know who have large social networks so [my] message will have the farthest reach” (102). I am to “project [my] brand to them in a subtle way, and strongly hint that [I am] open to being fixed up” (102). Okay. This isn’t too bad. I can inject this information during the parties I will be attending and during down time at work, making a joke of it so as not to appear so desperate (can you tell that this is a fear of mine?). She does present it well when she says” [t]he goal is to look for opportunities in conversations with [people] to communicate your three unique attributes” (105).

30-Second Commercial. Obviously, this is not a real commercial like we see on TV. This is a 30 second blurb (if you will) highlighting the most interesting and appealing things about myself. According to the author, I “need a ready-made pitch about [myself] for potential dates or friends who might fix [me] up” (105). She describes this as a “sincere, thoughtful, catchy, perhaps even witty description of how [I’d] hope to be described to a potential blind date” (105). Let me know what you think of my pitch: I am a beautiful, smart and educated author who’s in fantastic shape, and is looking to meet someone wonderful.

This doesn’t seem too bad! Now I have to admit that my sister, who is also my mentor in this endeavor of mine, has ripped into me, understandably getting on my case for not completing Step 1, which was to tell everyone I know about my husband project. If you read the comments section for my last post (“My Attempt at Making a Blind Date…” 6.16.16), you’ll see what I mean. Well, I think that tackling Step 6, advertising myself, is the perfect opportunity for me to finally complete Step 1 the way I should have done it in the first place! So here you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, I challenge myself into doing something that is frighteningly hard for me!

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