Dating Myth: The Closing Window

The idea that a woman’s potential to meet a man “before the window closes” creates a fear that manifests in unhealthy choices.

*Ann recently went on a date with a 5’9” man. At the end of the evening, the man said, “I like you. You’re cute. I’d like to see you again. But you’ll need to ditch the heels. We can’t have you looking taller than me.”

Ann is 5’ 8” sans heels. Apparently, Ann’s height directly affects her date’s ability to…er date her (or at the very least, stand beside her in public).

“Were you attracted to him?” I asked.

“He owns his own real estate company and drives a Lamborghini.”

“But are you attracted to him?”

She sighed and made a face like one would when offered leftovers from two nights ago. “It’s different at my age. You’ll see. You have to consider different things than you do in your 20’s and 30’s. So, he’s sensitive about his height and he seems a little needy. But he likes me, and he wants to take care of me. I don’t want to be alone. I need someone like him.”

Our talk went on, covering everything from his clean teeth to his affectionate texts. Still, my friend never did answer the attraction question. 

Ann’s divorce isn’t final. She has three girls to raise and at forty, she says “a woman’s window closes quickly. A man has plenty of time. The window remains open for them.”

But I boldly disagree with my dear friend. The “closing window” is a myth, an illusion perpetuated by the cousin of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). This fear causes women and men alike to make choices out of some invisible pressure cooker. It is up to each of us to recognize the myth and do what YOU think works best for YOU, not what the mythical fear whispers (if not screams).

I am not stating that compromise isn’t a part of dating and personal relationships in general. But there is a fine but distinct difference between compromise and settling, between choosing to be with someone out of interest and choosing someone to purely have a “someone.”

Love can be found in the least expected places by people at any stage of life. And while the hunger to experience that love is real, there is nothing lonelier than spending time in the wrong company. 

*Name is altered to retain privacy.

“Serving Yourself a Pause”

What is Your Hunger Telling You?

School starts this week—for me, a middle school English teacher. The kids arrive virtually next month, so this is the time we educators start to ensure all of our academic ducks are in a row.

There is an uneasiness that often comes with the unknown, and virtual teaching in the midst of our pandemic is no exception. How will I effectively reach my new students? How will I effectively engage and connect with these young minds I have the gift and responsibility of educating?

Last week’s post focused on the magic-like pleasure experienced when embracing your passion. The example I shared was my love of writing and acting—a venture I reveled in manifesting and sharing with you on my YouTube channel.

Sometimes, we can get so caught up in a creative endeavor, we lose sight of the bigger picture. Last week, I was so hungry to combine my passion for writing and acting that I lost sight of the bigger picture: the optic and auditory effects of my comedic characters on the audience. 

My characters were meant to connect us, to create belly laughs and to promote my book. In my hunger to tickle your funny bone, I inadvertently eclipsed the gravitas of my book. So, I’ve taken the comedic characters down from my YouTube channel (I did keep my dear Sylvia Richmond. They may resurface as they were or in future comedic bits on a separate channel—apart from my book. I’m not sure where I want to go with them—and that’s okay. Like all of us, I’m learning as I go in this surreal experience called life.

The Friendship Diet is a book that focuses on the deep connection between our edible and emotional nutrition regarding our personal relationships. This includes our relationship—first and foremost—with ourselves. Today I write to you, aware that my emotional hunger is telling me to serve myself a heaping plate of pause, of rest, of time. My students deserve a teacher who is focused and hungry to educate and inspire her students. 

Whatever is happening in your life right now, if you are feeling overwhelmed and like the figurative walls are closing in on you, it’s more than okay—no, it’s vital that you serve yourself a pause dish. When we serve ourselves a pause dish, we are better serving others.

The Hidden Power of Action

There is unseen power in the Universe and the actions we take each day. The same is true when it comes to our creative endeavors. 

A couple of years ago, I sat in a cozy restaurant with two of my girlfriends. Over a Turkish dinner of shish kebob and fresh hummus (thank you, Pasha Restaurant), my friends shared creative endeavors they were working on. For several weeks prior, the idea for a book had tapped me on the shoulder, beckoning me to embark on a literary journey.

Yet fear/ego/uncertainty had caused me to do nothing but silently play the idea in my head like an orchestra performing with the mute button on.

But that evening, hearing my friends articulating their creative endeavors, motivated me to turn off that mute button.

“I am planning to write a book about our most personal relationships. It’s going to focus on the analogy of food and intimacy.”

Wow, did I just say that? I’m actually planning, huh…

Their reactions were a mixture of surprise and wonder; their eyes lit up—they were intrigued and wanted to know more.

So I found myself sharing the music of my idea, the chords that I had played silently in my head were now streaming between us, an organic melody forming in their encouraging presence.

By the end of the meal, the once beckoning idea had suddenly morphed into an almost palpable plan. Almost.

One of my friends said, “Write it down on this receipt. Make it real.”

Here’s a photo of what I wrote: 

The receipt from Pasha’s–a Turkish restaurant where it all began:-)

Writing that initial title down may seem like a small act, but it felt huge. Writing it, just like speaking about the mere idea of the book, gave the idea itself momentum. 

There is unseen power in the actions we take each day. The same is true when it comes to our creative endeavors. 

On July 7th2020, my book The Friendship Diet: Clean out Your Fridge, Get Real with Yourself and Fill Your Life with Meaningful Relationships that Last will launch. This didn’t just happen. There were innumerable steps along the way to get to the manifestation of an actual book. Each step brought me closer to the book in the making and each step created hidden but immeasurable ripple effects. 

Our lives don’t have a distinct beginning middle and end the way some might think. We are a creation that started way before our entry into this world; we create through our choices all day long that carry long-term effects that we can’t always see in this lifetime; we leave this world not knowing who or what is different because of our actions.

My book is still out in the cosmos, not yet a substance one can hold. But I know it’s out there, just as it was the moment I spoke about it over dinner with two dear friends. The fact of my book only grew stronger the moment I put pen to receipt paper—a formal commitment between the Universe and me.

When we give birth to a life, there is so much more than the birth itself. It is a labor of love from conception to manifestation and beyond. Each of us has the gift of free will to create and foster his or her own labor(s) of love. Feed that idea, nurture it and it will grow.

Never underestimate the hidden power of your actions to manifest your creative dreams.

Identifying Our Hunger

Decadent Chocolate S’mores Crepes

Back before our new normal, I LOVED going to Coco Crepes—you know, sitting down in an actual restaurant with actual in person contact. On one of those visits, my sister joined me. She was hankering for one of Coco Crepes’ (and decadently delicious) dessert classics: s’mores—replete with crushed graham crackers and toasted marshmallows.

We had finished our divine crepe dinners; I still desired something sweet, but the s’more crepe wasn’t going to do it for me. But my sister DID want the s’more crepe and wouldn’t get it unless I shared it with her.

So I did what any good sister would do, I agreed to her gustatory request. And while the calorie-high decision might seem innocuous, it demonstrates the inner workings of me. The crepe-I-didn’t-want-in-an-effort-to-please symbolized my relationship with big sis’.

What I was hungry for had nothing to do with the crepe and everything to do with pleasing my sister. 

And my sister’s hunger for the campfire reminiscent treat? She had just flown in from New Jersey on business. She was presenting something major to a huge crowd of medical professionals the next morning. It didn’t surprise me that her stress levels were working overtime, causing her to crave high levels of sugar. And there is nothing more psychologically comforting than the idea of slow-roasted marshmallows drenched in melted chocolate and crushed graham crackers to create a (albeit temporary) sense of carbohydrate calm from an adrenaline storm inside.

As we have the gift of time during our pandemic, consider the connection between your dietary choices and your emotional state. This is not an opportunity to judge, but a moment to consider and make choices that potentially serve you better. 

A friend recently had a fight with her spouse and, despite the lockdown order in her state, grabbed her three kids and went out for Baskin Robbins. “I couldn’t take it.” Again, there’s that connection between stress and the food choices we make. But was she really hungry for the frozen dairy dessert or was it a temporary salve to the underlying conflict in her marriage she wants nothing more than to avoid?

I encourage you to consider what your hunger is telling you. With my sister, despite the fact that we are grown women hovering around menopause, I’m still the little girl who craves her big sister’s approval and love. But the truth underneath, when I hit the coronavirus pause button: I know she loves me whether I join her in devouring a s’mores crepe or never touch one again!

Food for Parents and Kids of All Ages

During this pandemic, while doing our part to stay home and flatten the curve, I stumbled upon this poem my son had written at nine years of age. The genius of this assignment is its simplicity, it’s ability to extract one’s perceptions and personality preferences through present tense verbs: I see, I cry, I dream.

While many of us are still homebound, I encourage you to nourish yourself and your family members with this poetry “workout” of sorts.  We have all seen the GIF pictures flooding social media now of people going into their respective fridges every ten minutes, irrationally hoping to find something new to eat. 

But more often than not, we are hungry for connection and understanding—particularly during this unchartered world of COVID-19. Why not try to feed yourself and your loved ones by fostering that connection and understanding via poetry?

Here’s what I’ve created:

I am apart but never alone.

I wonder if our new normal will ever feel normal.

I hear the news in the background like a garbage compactor that never shuts down.

I see hope in the angels on the frontlines fighting to save humanity every day.

I want the pandemic to unite, not divide us

I pretend I can go to my mailbox without fear

I feel for the planet

I worry about what comes next

I cry for humankind

I understand my parents more each decade

I dream about sitting in a restaurant with family and friends

But the most important thing I do is see each day as a new opportunity

                       My Son’s Poem in 3rd Grade

Cooking with Coronavirus

Roasted Red Pepper and Lentil Soup–Yum!

Wow—my first official blog post is here…in the midst of a worldwide pandemic! No wonder I had time to cook up the tasty soup pictured here. 

Food and relationships—they go together like bread and butter. The epiphany came to me several years ago, after parting ways with my ex. I found myself hungry, starving actually. But it wasn’t for food; when I sat with the sensation of desire, I discovered that I was desperate for connection. 

Suddenly, a flood of food references percolated (see what I mean?? Coffee anyone?) in my head:

Boy I’m in a pickle!

              I’m craving a sweetness I don’t know how to find.

             I’m ravenous…for company.

             My upcoming book (launching July 2020:), The FriendshipDiet, explores the physical, spiritual and psychological metaphor between our intimate relationships and food. 

            The Friendship Diet requires us to look within, to explore the emotional terrain of ourselves in order to better understand our past and current relationships—what better time to reflect than during a worldwide pandemic!

            I leave you with an easy recipe I created based on a combination of my inner nutritional guidance and what I had on hand during our current stay-at-home order. Just like a relationship, you’ll notice that the best soups require time—something we are gifted with right now.

Roasted Red Pepper and Lentil Soup:

Ingredients:

1 pint of sweet peppers

1 cup of red lentils (rinsed well)

1 cup of grape tomatoes

2 cups of chicken or vegetarian broth

½ an onion (roughly chopped)

Directions: 

Sautee the onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil/butter/avocado oil/canola oil

Mix the peppers and grape tomatoes with ¼ tsp. of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or others above)

Roast peppers on a baking sheet for 20 minutes at 400 degrees

Place broth and washed lentils in a pot with the now roasted peppers, tomatoes and sautéed onions. Allow to simmer for up to an hour.

Using an immersion blender or regular blender, mix the ingredients together until a thick soup forms.