I read huffingtonpost.com every day. There is a whole section on the site dedicated to divorce with articles about everything from whether to stay or to leave to finances to celebrity splits to how to get one's groove back post-marriage. There often are articles about plastic surgery as a way to appear younger or more like the age one actually feels rather than the age one's crows feet and eyelids say one is. Many of the articles I simply ignore--they seem to be written to appeal to our most base urges. A few of the articles are informative and helpful with information about co-parenting, budgeting or practical suggestions for moving into a new home (best advice so far: Don't go to Ikea post-divorce alone. Take a friend to provide moral support and physical help as you wander the isles among all the happy young couples). Some articles start out good but then throw in some piece of information about common modern dating worries that make my head spin. Sure, after a two decade marriage, most people feel somewhat insecure about the idea of navigating the world as a single person but I'm utterly dumbfounded at the amount of energy that seems to go into how women should groom their lady parts.
Dang. Like I didn't have enough to think about without having to add personal deforestation to my to-do list. (I know I just crossed the line into TMI. Sorry.)
Which leads me back to vanity. I'm not quite divorced but circumstances are conspiring to make me have to think about dating. I wasn't planning on thinking about dating at all for a long time. I was married for 20 years. Hammy and I are not splitting up because we were bored with one another or because we perceived the grass to be greener elsewhere. No mid-life crises here. I was imagining that I'd take a good long time to figure out who I am, get my new life in place, hang out with friends, learn about things and just chill for a while before I started thinking about becoming romantically and/or sexually involved with anyone new. I'm 45 years old and I look 45 years old even if I don't necessarily act 45 years old. Before kids I was kinda cute and sorta nicely built. Now, I look like what I am. In a lot of situations, I've become invisible, as women do in middle age, so I haven't much thought of myself as sexually available nor desirable to anyone but my dear soon-to-be ex in a long, long time.
So it is with much surprise that I find myself the confused, flattered and dazed subject of the romantic attention of two treasured friends. The first one is an old friend who was, thankfully, very direct with me and with whom I could be equally direct in my assertion that I value our friendship in its current state and do not want it to change. The other friend's actions were subtle enough, or perhaps it is more the fact that I am naive, that it has taken me a while to figure out that what he seems to want from our time together is more intense than what I want or am ready for. The thing that made me really realize is reflecting on my behavior during the dinner we had together a few nights ago. The most accurate word I can use about my behavior is that I chattered. He would ask me a question about my life and I would go on and on and on (and on and on and on) and he would politely listen. The fact that he never yawned is the thing that, in retrospect, lighted the bulb. How could he not have been bored by my self-absorbed me, me, me! talk? And why did he mention my freckles? Hmmm...
See, this is all so flattering to my ego but by-golly, the last thing I need is for my ego to be flattered when it's pretty darned puffy already. And this is exactly why I'm not ready to begin thinking about dating, yet. I need to discover God as my center in my new life. I need to find balance between who I am as a single person and a mother and friend and how I reflect God in all those roles. Once I feel I know kinda who I am, and feel sorta secure, maybe then I'll be ready to think about becoming romantically involved with others.
This is all complicated by the fact that I'm ovulating right now and so my libido is doing everything it can to convince me that a sexual partner is just what I need. Thankfully at Quaker meeting today, I was given the insight to clearly see just how far from ready I am from becoming involved with anyone.