Category: dating

Super Date- Nanowrimo

A super date from my novel
A super date from my novel

So I Nanowrimo is coming up and I thought it would be fun to post another section of my last book.  In the story the 2 characters have spent a lot of time together but have never actually been on a date, so the male character decides to set up what he calls the ‘superdate’.  This is an all day affair that tries to help the female character conquer her fears, make her feel bold and empowered.

Remember this is a romance and it is not supposed to be realistic. Dating can be anything but super but I thought it was fun and these stories require a little bit of fantasy so enjoy.

With lunch done there are a few more hours of work and then it is time for the big date.  Oliver comes up to me and is visibly excited and this makes me excited! 

“Let’s go!” I squeal with delight.

Oliver makes me close my eyes as we pull up to a big cement building. As he guides me inside like a blind person I feel anxious with anticipation. 

“Open your eyes!”  Oliver says.  I look and at first am disappointed when I see what looks like an old grimy gym.  “Where are we?”

“It’s called American Boxing.  You can do boxing, mixed martial arts, kickboxing, whatever” he says with enthusiasm.

I give him a skeptical look.  Sometimes I wondered if he saw me through some type of magic filter.  “I don’t know if I can punch and kick like that” I say pointing to the all of the boxers who seem to kick and punch so hard and high. 

“You don’t have to be like them but trust me you will love it.  I bet you’ll become addicted to it.  Give it a shot”.

“Ok.  Why not!”

The teacher is named Isabella and she is a stunning athlete with rich Latino features and a big smile.  I look at her and look at me in the mirror and then look at Oliver.  I don’t get it.  You could date her, I think, what are you doing with me? Anticipating my thoughts he gives my hand a little squeeze and a kiss on the cheek.  I melt a little bit. Whatever he wants me to do I will try!

“First you wrap your hands” he says handing me a long pink roll that looks like an ace bandage for an ankle or wrist.

This looks tricky but with his help I get them over my hands until I look like a pink mummy. Then the red boxing gloves come over the wrapped hands.  It feels heavy but not as awkward as I might have expected.

Isabella holds up 2 punching mitts and shows me how to do a basic jab, undercuts and round kicks.  At first I worry about punching Isabella in the face but she seems to catch everything I do.  After about 15 minutes of awkward kicks and punches I forget where I’m at and it all feels more natural.  Kick, jab, and kick, uppercut, jab, and kick.  Before I know it 30 minutes has come and gone and I’m gasping from the exertion.  I’ve even forgotten about Oliver for a second but I look over at him and his mouth is agape.  “Whoa!  You were awesome!  I think we have found your gift!”

“Really?  You really think so?”

“Yes, it was awesome!”  Isabella agrees.  “We will definitely have to get you in here again soon.  Let’s set it up!”  I can’t believe that anyone thinks I can be good at something like this and that maybe I am?  It’s just an activity I never even considered.  It is so exciting!

“All right.  Let’s set up another appointment.”  I grab my phone from my purse and schedule ‘Meet Isabel’ for later that week.

I’m so thrilled by my unexpected success that I give Oliver a big kiss in front of Isabella and everyone.  It feels exciting and passionate.  Perfect for a super date!

“Ready to move on to the next adventure?” Oliver asks me?

“What else could we be doing?  This was awesome!”

Back into the car we go and he makes me close my eyes again. 

“All right.  Phase 2 has begun.  Open your eyes”.  I look and it’s another cement building but after having so much fun the last time I decide to give Oliver the benefit of the doubt and head inside. 

‘We are going to learn how to shoot! This is something I’ve never done so I thought it would be fun for both of us” he says.

“I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that! This is awesome!” I say with delight.  I have always wanted to learn how to shoot.  Strange I know but true!

Our instructor Ray gives us the massive ear covers and teaches us how to aim, shoot and withstand the force of the shot.  Keeping the target relatively close I take aim and fire! The bullet goes in the posters shoulder. 

“That’s good for your first time” the Instructor says.  Oliver tries and has better luck closer to the heart.  Wet a couple rounds for each of us and honestly at the end my shoulder and arms are sore (especially after the boxing!). 

“That was awesome! I loved it!” Then I add “Thank you so much” I give Oliver another kiss. 

“You’re kind of cute with a gun.”  he says with a wink.

“Gosh I love you!” I say with a smile and give him another kiss. 

“I love you too!” he says and we head out of the building.  All it took was shooting and boxing but we had both said we loved each other.  The big L word!  This was definitely the best day of my life!  I can tell that he is thrilled with the moment also.  His smile says all the work on the super date was just made worthwhile!

“One more stop!” he says with excitement.

“What, no.  This is enough!” I protest.

“We’ve got to eat something! He says.

Again he gets me into the car and makes me close my eyes.  And again he tells me when to look. 

When I open my eyes I see another cement building.  At first I don’t get it and then I see it is Mel’s Wing House.  What on earth?

When we get seated Oliver will not let me order but places it at the front desk away from me.  The wings arrive and they look delicious but before I dive in Oliver gives me a warning.

“These are the fieriest wings they make.  You’ll love it!” 

With great trepidation I pick up a wing and take a bite.  “Oh my gosh!  That is so hot!”  I grab a drink of milk and Oliver laughs.  My eyes are watering and my mouth feels numb. 

“Try one more and here are some lighter ones as well but the spicy really does have a deeper flavor”

After about 3 of the spicy and a few of the mild I can start to appreciate the experience of eating the spicy wing.  It shocks you but that is part of the fun of it and eating above all things should be fun shouldn’t it?

“It’s delicious!  Thank you.  I’m so excited to know about this place.  It is totally the type of place that I would never have gone to on a date before but it’s delicious.”

“Why wouldn’t you have gone here on a date?” he asks

“Because it’s messy and unladylike.  I would have been afraid of spilling on my clothes.  I had about 3 items I could order on a date and most of them required a lot of cutting with a knife and fork.  No fingers.”

“I’m glad we met in the way we did.  You weren’t trying to impress anyone and neither was I.”

“Me too.  We could always be real with one another.  Once you are caught crying about your mother visiting it is hard to be not be real” I say with a smile. I had sauce all over my fingers and my lips felt fiery with all the heat.  When we kissed his lips felt spicy and it made my whole body tingle.  It was certainly clear to me why Oliver had picked this restaurant. 

As my body and mouth started to cool down I could feel the chili peppers in my stomach. I hope I didn’t get sick but luckily the wing place had frozen yogurt as well and that helped cool everything down.  It was all unforgettable!  The whole night was unforgettable.  It really was the super date.

“So you did it.  Best date in history! I only have one question for you…” I say with a flirty smile.

“What’s that?” he asks

“How are you going to top this?  Setting the bar pretty high for the first date don’t you think?”

“That’s how I intend to do things! Set the bar high and keep jumping over it”

“I have one more question for you” I say with a slight degree of awkwardness.  This is the big question.  “Why me?”  I couldn’t help for a second to think of Isabella at the gym.  “You could have anyone you want.  Why me?”

“I could ask the same thing of you.  Why would you a master’s graduate want to be with someone who is a college dropout?  Believe me I’m every bit as insecure about that as you are about your weight. “

“But that doesn’t matter to me at all” I say in amazement. 

“See, I feel the same way about you.  Will you finally believe me?” he says

I look into his eyes deep inside. I have to know for sure and I finally I know.  He is the real deal.  He really loves me as much as I love him.  Wow.  I still can’t believe it!  

“I meant what I said earlier.  I love you! I’ll never be perfectly secure but maybe if I am loved by someone as great as you it will get better. It’s been such a long year I don’t know what I think about myself.  On one hand I feel strong and the other it has been a very weak year. Panic attacks, anxiety and more”

Another kiss and I look down and ask one more question “What would you think if I still quit my job?”

He looked surprised but nodded “Even with all the changes Rich has installed you still want to change?”

“Yes, I just keep getting this feeling that God needs me somewhere else.  It won’t be right away but maybe at the end of the summer? Who knows why God wants us one place or another? I couldn’t tell you but I keep hearing the direction to ‘make a change’.  I’ve been hearing it for three years and I can only ignore it for so long.  Believe me I know what it feels like to push against what God wants you to do and it is not a pleasant experience.”

“If that is what God wants you to do than he will prepare a way for you to accomplish it? Go for it!” he said with more enthusiasm than I expected. 

“It seems crazy to quit a job with benefits and good pay in this economy but I’ll end up having another panic attack if I don’t follow what God has in line for me.”

“Who cares what other people think?  Your family and friends will support you and that’s what matters.” He says

“You are right.” I feel like this was the lesson I have to keep relearning again and again throughout my life.  “Don’t’ care so much about what other people think” my mother used to say.  Caring what others would think of me had caused my panic attack and yet I couldn’t quite get it out of my head.  Perhaps nobody can but I will try and do better at it.  I know my life would be a lot happier if I could figure out that one thing.

“I’m not sure when I will make the announcement but it will be such a crazy day.  I think I will talk it over with my Dad while he is here because the last thing I want to do is appear ungrateful”

“That’s that caring what other people think thing again…” he says.

“Oh yeah, darn it but it is good to be considerate of other people’s feelings” I say in response.

“True.  Just be cautious and don’t use other people’s opinions as validation for your own self-worth.  That is the most important thing.  God should tell you who you are and your value not any person, even me” he says.

“Do me one favor” he adds “give me a couple days heads notice when you are leaving.  That might be a good time for another super date!”

“Deal! If it’s anything like this night I am in for a treat.  It has honestly been the best night of my life!  Thank you so much!” I say with glee, giving him one longer, soft, still a little spicy kiss.

“By the way, I think it might be a good idea for us to implement a new rule, I will call it the 20 seconds in heaven rule.”

“What is that?” he asks with a questioning expression.

“It’s that we cannot kiss for more than 20 seconds especially when we are alone.”  I then explain that I made a promise to God years ago that I would remain morally pure until marriage and it’s just too darn fun and exciting to kiss him.  “I don’t want to risk breaking a promise to God.”

“That’s going to be hard but I agree. Most of the married couples I know who waited seem to have the best marriages.  I think if we work together on this we can do it.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever loved you more than at this moment.  Let’s do it!” and then we kiss maybe longer than 20 seconds.  It will take some getting used to!  At least we are heading in the right direction and on the same page.

“Life is certainly going to be interesting the next few months.  I’m curious to see how it all turns out” I say with a sigh.

“Me too.  Curious and excited!  Let’s go home.  I’m exhausted. “

So that was the end of the super date.  The great thing was each part of the date was repeating many times in the months to come.  I started going to the boxing gym at least twice a week and the wings joint became a regular favorite.  I would certainly never look at hot sauce the same way.  Probably the greatest blessing of the super date is I learned ways to release adrenalin, aggression and frustration in healthy productive ways.  It was so exciting and I was so grateful for Oliver to introducing me to every part.  My rapid heartbeat lessened with each balanced happy day and I became all the closer to being an anxious free, happy person.

Ah, the good a super date can be!

If You Love Kids Why Don’t You Get Married?

All 5 of my nieces are above average in intelligence and vocabulary, and I’m not just saying that as a proud aunt, its true.   My oldest niece reads a book a day and can converse on a variety of topics.  Sometimes I think it is hard for her to be the oldest and spend so much time with younger, less mature minds.

I think I have a pretty good relationship with my nieces despite the fact that none of them live near me.  That said, I know there is a lot of my life that seems like a mystery to them.  I live in Utah.  I’m not married.  I don’t have kids.  How can that be?  In fact, the last couple of years every time I see my oldest niece she says ‘Rachel, why aren’t you married?’.   Yesterday it was ‘If you can take care of all of us little kids, why don’t you get your own little kids to take care of?

Ah the simplicity of youth.  I wish marriage was the result of readiness or abilities.  Unfortunately there’s this annoying thing called choice and chemistry…Sigh.

Sometimes I wish I could just have 4 or 5 options and just pick one and make it work.  This randomly meeting the love of my life thing isn’t working out very well.  Set ups and online dating provide few dates so I am left just trying my best to answer my nieces question.  What do you say? Here’s how the conversation goes?

“Well, I can’t have kids until I get married and I can’t get married until I fall in love”

Her response “Well why don’t you fall in love?”

My response “I’m ready but sometimes it just doesn’t happen”

She looks at me skeptically and adds

“If you don’t get married and have children how can you be happy?”

Sigh…I’m sure many young moms are thinking this kid has no idea how hard it is and that is true!  However, there is also great happiness.

I finally have to say

“I don’t know why I haven’t fallen in love, but I hope I will someday”

Still with worry another niece says:

“You should just adopt your own babies”

“That would be fun but hard to do all alone” I reply

Then the conversation wanes. If only there were better answers to all these questions.  And yes, I’ve tried online dating and its not for me.

That’s what I hate the most about dating is how impotent it makes me feel.  There is this big life goal that I know will add to my happiness (even eternal happiness) and there is almost nothing I can do about it.  How do you force love?  Force someone to love you?  You can’t.  You just have to hold out hope and be happy.

It’s just frustrating to have such a big thing in the human experience that is so outside our control.  I sometimes feel like I’m missing out on the most human experience.

To have lived and never fallen in love? Is that a life at all?  Art, music, movies, books would say no.

I know that it is, but it still makes me sad every now and then that I don’t have a better answer to “Why haven’t you fallen in love?”

Why indeed?  Only God knows.

hold-up-heart

My Dating Resume

So yesterday I posted my dating resume to the blog and it got a ton of hits.   Originally it was more of a joke than a serious dating idea but maybe I’m on to something? My friend suggested I simply the post the resume and that seemed like a good idea.

So forgive the repetition but here goes.

Here’s some things about me to recommend me to your single friends out there:

I’m in my early 30s and look like this

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I’m a great athlete and love beautiful lakes, rivers and oceans.  Swam 5 open water swims with 2 more to come this year.

DSCF0497

I also can kick most anybody’s butt. I’m tough as nails.  MMA is my specialty.

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I’m also a great reader, philosopher and deep thinker.  Love good conversation and debate.

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I also love the arts, movies, music and theater and the symphony.  Here I am after performing at Hale Center Theater

dscf0348

I take great joy in writing both this blog and my recently completed nanowrimo book

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Looking for a great cook?  I’m that too. I love to entertain and form groups.  I’ve had a book club for over 3 years and I give cooking lessons to my friends.

rachel-at-party

The finished product.  So good!

I’m also a great friend and aunt. Loyalty, honesty and friendship are everything to me. Always have been.

My friend Emily and I at a book signing

My friend Emily and I at a book signing

Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii.  Dear friends

Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii. Dear friends

Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii

Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii (I love Hawaii and love to travel)

miriam

My niece and me
My niece and me

I work from home for Poler LLC and love being my own boss and having freedom

Lastly my faith is everything.  Without it I would just be an anxiety ridden, unhappy mess.  I would sooner give up breathing than give up my faith.

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So there you go.  That’s my online resume for any guys out there to read.  I think I’m pretty great.  Not perfect but got a lot going for me.  I’m fun and try really hard to be a good friend.  I work hard, am honest and I know what my many flaws are and am working to do better.

So if you know someone who is single show him this page and then let him decided for himself if he wants to be set up with me.  That should make your life easier.  Who knows right!

Anyway,  That’s me.  Find me some dates people! 🙂

Modern Mormon Dating Woes and a Resume

Its no great secret that my church is a church of marriage and family.  After all, we have an entire proclamation on the family and have fought tooth and nail for traditional marriage to be protected and encouraged.  All that is good and wonderful but where does that lead the rapidly growing group of single adult members of the church without families? Well, you can either hack it out alone ignoring much of the doctrine that doesn’t relate to your life or you can

DATE!

(or some mix of both to survive).

The second option is hard.  Its hard to find people to go on dates with.  That is my constant problem.  And yes, I’ve tried multiple online resources and nothing.  I’ve asked my friends to help me but evidently they don’t know many singles which I get.  Hmmm.  Who else? Don’t go to singles ward any more so could meet someone at the gym or at swim stuff or something like that but its hard.  I signed up for a matchmaking service but it is based on the men and they haven’t matched me yet.  They make a big deal about being ‘active’ which is a nice way of saying skinny because nobody thinks of someone like me as ‘active’. even though I am.

So where does that lead me? Ok.  Back to option 1.  Hack out a good enough existence for yourself and ignore the second part. Make the church work for your life because you know it is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet and you don’t care that a large part of doctrine you can’t practice yet.  Ok maybe you care a little but everyone wants companionship some of the time.  You don’t have to be a robot because you are single.  So you do your best to take what you can and develop a strong relationship with God and hope that someone sets you up with a friend or you bump into Mr.  Sunshine.

Part of the problem with set-ups is my friends say things like ‘I don’t see you two together’.  I wish they would let me be the judge of that.  I had another friend say ‘you wouldn’t want to go on a date with just anyone’.  Unless he’s a rapist and murder I probably would let them buy me dinner.  The standard doesn’t have to be so high.  I can learn something from a date even if it isn’t ‘the one’.  Plus, how do I know ‘the one’ if I haven’t met ‘not the one’.

I wish I could have a bunch of dates and get  a flavor for what I want.  I really have no idea.

The problem is when you do finally get a date your expectations tend to be a little out of whack because you haven’t had one in 6 months.  You either think this person might be the one, really likes me or, has big potential, instead of just a casual date.  Usually that’s a nightmare.

Even if it is a nightmare date you have so few that I’ve found myself hoping the rotten date would call me again after it.  I don’t know why but it feels better to go on another rotten date than nothing.  Silly but true.

I’m embarrassed to admit the last date I went on was last October and that was only after rather incessant begging to my friends because I didn’t want to go to a reunion alone. We had a great time.  I enjoyed it immensely.

What made me think of this is I have season tickets to the Scera Shell and they are having Josh Turner coming next Tuesday.  It crossed my mind- this would make a great date activity but could I for the best of me think of a guy to ask? Not so much.

Its a problem.  Where have all the good men gone?  Where are you hiding?  I’m a nice girl!

Here’s some things about me to recommend me to your single friends out there:

I’m in my early 30s and look like this

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I’m a great athlete and love beautiful lakes, rivers and oceans.  Swam 5 open water swims with 2 more to come this year.

DSCF0497

I also can kick most anybody’s butt. I’m tough as nails.  MMA is my specialty.

DSCF0896-001I’m also a great reader, philosopher and deep thinker.  Love good conversation and debate

988662_10151621772677239_175637564_nI also love the arts, movies, music and theater and the symphony.  Here I am after performing at Hale Center Theater

dscf0348I take great joy in writing both this blog and my recently completed nanowrimo book

934051_10151563520112239_1137825993_n

Looking for a great cook?  I’m that too.

The finished product.  So good!
The finished product. So good!

I’m also a great friend and aunt. Loyalty, honesty and friendship are everything to me. Always have been.

My friend Emily and I at a book signing
My friend Emily and I at a book signing
Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii.  Dear friends
Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii. Dear friends
Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii
Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii

miriam

Lastly my faith is everything.  Without it I would just be an anxiety ridden, unhappy mess.  I would sooner give up breathing than give up my faith.

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So there you go.  That’s my online resume for any guys out there to read.  I think I’m pretty great.  Not perfect but got a lot going for me.  I’m fun and try really hard to be a good friend.  I work hard, am honest and I know what my many flaws are and am working to do better.

So if you know someone who is single show him this page and then let him decided for himself if he wants to be set up with me.  That should make your life easier.  Who knows right!

Anyway,  That’s me and that’s the state of dating at my age.  Its darn to impossible.  So in the meantime I am hacking it out on my own.  Hoping for a bad date if I’m lucky.  Sigh…

I Hate Love Songs

love songs

Ok that really isn’t true.  I am all about love songs, but sometimes I hate them.  Sometimes I want to scream at the radio with impatience and frustration.

My single friends- don’t you sometimes feel like there is this big part of life you are missing out on?  Like there is an inside joke that everyone elsegets but you?  I know I do.  So much of what you see in movies, music, theater and novels centers around romantic affection, whether it is lust, infatuation, break ups or constancy.  Now before you start reassuring me that marriage isn’t so great and that I should be grateful to be single, ask yourself this would you want to be in my shoes, for real?

I am not wanting to seem ungrateful but sometimes I worry that I will miss out on this big part of being human.  If you were to believe the media a persons sexuality is the most important part of who they are (hogwash if you ask me) so where does that leave me? I’m happy with my life but at times it feels like I’m missing out.  (I know I’m being repetitive but I can’t think of any other way to say it).

I am not writing this to engender a pity party.  I’m just being honest and admitting that sometimes I feel sad that I don’t get to experience romantic love, or that I haven’t too this point.  I guess I get tired of pretending like it doesn’t affect me or that I’m not allowed to feel sad about it because “other people have it way worse”.  If that were a valid reason for not feeling emotion,  nobody would feel sad about anything ever, and that’s not human.

So I’ll just say it- most of the time I am fine being single, but sometimes I feel sad.  There you go.

Most of all I wish there was something I could do.  Like some big secret I could learn that everyone else has figured out but I haven’t been clued into.  I meet people who seem to be so difficult and yet their lives have been full of romantic affection.  It makes me wonder what they are doing and I am not doing?  I know there is no answer to this question and it is all in God’s hands, but still I hope I’m not doing anything to make it not happen. I worry about that sometimes

When it comes down to it I wish I had control, but I don’t.  I wish I could have all the blessings of a temple marriage but it’s not looking good right now (haven’t been on a date in months).  Again, don’t feel sorry for me.  I’m just trying to be honest about how I feel at times.

It seems natural to me that I would have moments of longing for a partner. Doesn’t everyone want love and companionship? I’m no different.

Basically, I would like to fall in love and get married.  I’d like to have companionship.  I’d like to get married in the temple.  I’d like to see how I’d do in a relationship because I think I’d be pretty great.

Am I wallowing in it? I don’t think so, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my moments of envy, regret and sadness at my single life.  Not as much as some girls, but I am human, and I feel all emotions in my own way.  Sometimes it seems like it is not socially acceptable to feel sad, frustrated, angry, remorseful and that those feelings are explained away or not taken seriously.  I get that dwelling on them doesn’t help things but to pretend like they don’t exist isn’t helpful.

So, yes, sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes being single sucks.  Sometimes I long for a kiss goodnight or a squeeze of my hand from a person who really loves me.  Sometimes I feel sad, angry, upset and melancholy.  I know God is looking out for me and all will be well but I do feel the full scope of human emotions and deal with them in the best way I can.

There I said it.

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No to Online Dating

This is not news to my facebook friends but I thought I would explain why I recently said no to online dating.  Every 3 or 4 years I get desperate and try online dating again.  I see friends that it has worked for and think ‘why not?’.  Then it always drives me crazy.  I just never seem to be able to get any one to look at my profile or chat with me.  This is super depressing but I finally realized that I don’t think the system is for me.

Here’s my problem with online dating.

You start out with a huge pool of people creeps, normals, exceptionals and everything in between. Now you can take the approach of one of my friends and just date everyone in her area but I am personally not willing to risk the creeps and idiots.

That aside there has to be some way of winnowing things down to people who might be compatible.  How do you do that? Well, online dating would suggest you use a variety of filters to narrow characteristics of the man you want to date.   They offer a number of categories such as appearance (height, weight, color hair, ethnicity, race), money, job, activities, religion, hobbies etc.

This is where I have a problem. An online profile is basically just a resume for dating and ask any HR rep, they will tell you  resumes show almost nothing about a real worker’s potential.    Everything can be right on paper and be completely wrong. Its not until you meet the person in an interview that you get a feel for who they are and if they might work.

The problem is that when looking for a partner in life the qualifications don’t really matter or tell you much.  In a job at least the filtering process should guarantee a certain level of skills and abilities.  Unfortunately the characteristics of a compatible spouse is pretty hard to pin down.  We all think we have ‘must haves’ but when presented with the right person they often are completely unexpected.  What matters is that chemistry and spark.  Even in just my friendships I can’t put a finger on why I am friends with some and not others.  My friends are very different but they all have a chemistry with me and we just work together.  Pretty ephemeral concept to put in a search engine.

For instance, my parents have almost nothing in common as far as interests, hobbies, even personality traits.  There isn’t an online dating service out there that would match them up.  Yet, 35 years have come and gone and they are a good match.  They are a good balance to each other.  In the world of dating you are trying to find a compatible spirit.  Someone who thinks the way you do and wants the same things you do or at least supports your choices and desires.  That is pretty hard to work into a search filter…

So instead we are left with stupid differences that don’t matter much at all such as I don’t like heavy metal music, horror movies or fantasy novels.  Does that mean I could never love a person who likes these things? Of course not, but they are the only filters I’ve got to use.

Basically online dating forces you to look for someone who is exactly like yourself.  Who has the same interests, beliefs, hobbies etc because that’s the only filters you’ve got! I guess you could look at people who are the opposite of what you like but that doesn’t seem good either?   What fun is dating someone exactly like you?  Who is really married to someone just like themselves and how boring would that marriage be?

The other problem is that everyone ends up being the same, and the different one’s are usually pretty scary.  This further dilutes any power of the search filter. How do you sort things out when almost every answer is identical?  Every guy likes the outdoors (I’m not a camper) and being active(whatever that means).  Every girl likes to read, travel, hang out with friends.   How anyone, man or woman, picks a profile and says that person looks worth contacting is beyond me?

In the end, you are forced to focus on superficial things like appearance, education or income.  And we all know these are huge determinants of great character and a worthy mate…

I assume that men are forced to do the same thing because I never get any interest in my profile.  I think it is because I am honest about being a full figured girl.  That removes me from the superficial filters, which in reality is the only one any of us have got.   I have tried online dating 4 times in my life (like I said I get desperate) and I have never had a guy contact me that was legit and interested.  Never and I really do try.  I have never had anyone respond to my inquiries.

So, I’m done.  No more.  I will just have to meet people another way.

I hope my friends will set me up with their friends and do some of the matchmaking for me!  I am also super active in my community whether it be swimming, working out at the gym, volunteering for Mia Love campaign, book club, my 10 year BYU reunion committee, 3 callings at church, and volunteering for festival of trees…There is no more time to do more!

I’m really excited about a company I recently heard about called Utah’s Matchmaking that hosts events for 30+ singles.  They have a weekend in October with 4 dates and I hope I get picked!  It would be a really fun way to actually get to know people.  Plus, it would just be fun anyway.

The right guy will come along, if it is in God’s will, and I just know it is not going to be through online dating for me.  Glad it is worked for so many of my readers and friends but it is just not authentic enough experience for me.  Even speed dating is better than online because at least you get to look into a date’s face and get an idea for who they might be.

I have to be able to look into someone’s eyes, see their smile, and find out what they really want out of life.  If they happen to like music I do or swimming so much the better but it does not matter to me.

So there you have it.  No more online dating for Rachel!  (Remind of this post in a couple of years when I get desperate)

Ah, Young Love…

So I posted this on facebook yesterday and nobody else seemed to think it was funny, so now I will try my blog (I had just gotten bad news so maybe I was searching for a laugh. More to come on that later).

It cracked me up that this event is even necessary…

This was at our local library and I found it amazing.  Are there really so many teens jaded and ‘down on love’?  Clearly there are.

When I was a teen I had no confidence of finding true love (or even being liked a boy- it still kind of boggles my mind that anyone would go all ga-ga for me).  My main problem was not getting asked to school dances (there were only a few a year and so they were big deals.)  Most of the time I would just ask someone and have a good time. Even if I felt sad about not getting asked I’d hardly call that ‘hating cupid’ or being ‘down with love’.  These are problems that I see for 20’s not teens, but clearly I am wrong, and I find that amazing.

I don’t know if I would want my teenager to find true love.  Are they really at an age where they are ready for it?  Sometimes but boy can it cause a lot of problems too. I wouldn’t want my kid to be ‘down with love’ or ‘up with love’.  I’d want them to just focus on their education and enjoying that time of life.

Teens out there- there is plenty of time to be sad about romance.  Save it for later and enjoy your life!

Interview Part 2

I know you are all anxiously awaiting my next entry in this trilogy of interviews, so I won’t keep you any longer.  Here goes…

Marriage/Courtship-

What do you think makes a good marriage partner?  I think it is just that, a partnership.  There shouldn’t be a sense of domination in any way.  Nor should one spouse feel overly defined by roles or responsibilities but the entire marriage should be a joint responsibility.

Too many people lump the decision of having kids and getting married together.   The two should be separate choices.  You should ask the question do I want to be with this person if we don’t have any kids at all?  Then you can say as a separate question will he be a good father?  That said, I really can’t imagine anyone that I would want to marry that wouldn’t also have the qualities of a good father but I think the 2 questions should be separate.

To me a good test of a relationship is will the person sit through something they don’t care for just because you are in it.  I’m not saying they have to love it but is your participation enough to count them in.  This is true for both people in the relationship.  He better get used to sitting through a swim meet and cheering and I can go fishing or do whatever outdoorsy thing he loves.  The other person’s happiness should make you happy most of the time (we all have our moments).

Another test- does the person make things fun that would normally be a drag.  For instance, I’ve always said I want to go dancing with my boyfriend.  I hate dancing, so if I can have a good time doing that we have genuine chemistry.  Maybe that’s silly but there you go.

Finally, the best couples I know have an intellectual chemistry which is tough to define.  Do you find the person you are with interesting? Not that they have to be interested in the same things per say but do they approach problems with a similar vigor, are you fascinated by the world?  Do you listen to each other in a complimentary way?  I could never be with someone who thought I was dumb or vice versa.

Why do you think so many marriages fail?  Actually in my life not many do.  Amazingly enough at 30 not one of my friends that I have seen get married has gotten divorced.  I have met friends after they were divorced but never seen the entire process from someone in my peer group.  Even in the Mormon church it seems highly unlikely that there wouldn’t be 1 couple.  None of my cousins or siblings have gotten divorced. Perhaps that will happen in this decade but so far so good.

I think when marriages do fail it is usually because of selfishness.  People begin to feel that their needs are more important than their spouse, and a partnership becomes 2 separate entities coexisting.  Every situation is different and some times people just aren’t compatible but I think usually there is some kind of selfishness involved.

How can you comment on marriage as a single woman who has never had a relationship?  Well, it doesn’t take getting shot to know it is not a pleasant experience.  Some things you can extrapolate as an observer of life and human nature.   I’m sure I will learn a lot when it is my turn but a girl can’t spend 3 decades and not develop any of her own ideas on the topic, so there!

I also have relationships that while not romantic have taught me something about how they work.

Family-

What is your ideal family?  I have no ideal.  I have never been a dreamer in that regard.   I’ve only had one time in my life (BYU) where an expectation lived up to lead up.  Most of the time it is best to take things as they come and be grateful for what you’ve got.

Will you be happy unmarried, without kids?  Yes. It has never been a big dream of mine to get married or have kids.  There are lots of reasons why but all I’ve wanted since I was a toddler (literally) is to be on my own, making my own life choices.  If the situation comes I will be happy and grateful but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being happy if it doesn’t.

If you did have kids how would you want to raise them?  What is important to you in parenting?  I believe that kids should be in the world but not of the world.  So, yes expose them to movies, literature, friends, education, but do it in a way that maintains their innocence as long as possible and allows them to have true fun.  I don’t think kids should be manipulated to be mini-parents.  They should be guided and counseled but also feel free to express their own views and ideas.  I want my kids to know that I like being with them and that they matter to me and to God.

I do love the homeschooling movement and feel if done well it can give your children the best opportunity to flourish.  You can communicate with your child in a way that no teacher can (as wonderful as they may be).  The argument against homeschool is always a social one but I feel this is silly because public school can be just as much of a social nightmare.  Any education requires monitoring by a parent and an active voice that makes actual learning the priority, not the grade received.

I love that with homeschool a parent takes ownership of how and what is taught to her child. She takes ownership of her child’s peer group, social activities and moral teaching.  Not that they don’t have those things, as some might claim, but they are guided by a parent.  There may be some who want to offer their children up to the alter of community good but not me.   It may seem odd for a single girl to have an opinion on homeschool but I think you will find there isn’t much I don’t have an opinion on!

(I will add that clearly homeschool doesn’t work for every situation.  I’m just saying that it would be my first choice if given the chance).

What did your parents teach you about parenting/life?  My mother continually teaches me to nurture others.  She is a very selfless person.  In fact, she even gave up her freedom of movement when restricted to bedrest for most of her 6 pregnancies.   This was a very difficult time for our family but she taught me that sacrifices are the most golden family moments.  Its like on my mission- the moments where I had given my all, were the one’s where I became a true missionary.  The moments in a family where you give all is when you are a true family.

My Dad teaches me each day to find joy in the journey.  I get stressed out with the details of life.  I put loads of unneeded pressure on myself and always have.  He has always been someone who can see a way out of stress and is a true optimist. He also has a zest for life that I admire and hope to emulate.

Friendship-

What do you think is a true friend? In the quest to save the family sometimes I feel we could focus more on friendshiping in the church.  Especially in the single-world friends have been a huge support for me.  As wonderful as my family is when I think of the trials of my life I can also see a friend who was there to see me through.

I’ve also had so many laughs with friends over the years.  A true friend loves and deserves love back.  A true friend sacrifices time to be with you.  A true friend has chemistry that just works.  A true friend listens when you need to vent and gives you frank counsel when required.  A true friend you could see every day and yet go years and still have that connection.  A true friend should not be work in the traditional sense.  It should be a happy work. (Its actually hard to describe a true friend, but you know it when you see it!).

One of the things I have struggled with in the last few years is maintaining an active social life.  It used to be so easy for me to gather people together.  Now it seems so difficult.  Even to have lunch with a friend can take weeks of planning.  I wish I had one friend I could call on a Friday night with nothing to do and do something.  That almost never happens.  People are just too busy.  Even getting people to come to book club or other activity can be so hard.  I’ve noticed I have more success with dinner parties or when hosting something for my swim group.  Not sure why but I’m trying to figure it out.  I love to entertain and would love to plan cute get-togethers.  After the year I’ve had I kind of got out of the habit. The Christmas Swimfest gave me a ton of confidence and I already have a Valentines Swimfest in the works.

It just sometimes feels that while friends are so important to me, they are less important for people with families.  There are exceptions which I am very grateful for and I understand the predominance family should take.  That said, it can still be hard and lonely to feel that everyone else has moved on to the next step and you are still in college-mode.  As much as I loved college nobody wants to be at the same spot forever.

Work/Adult Life-

What is the hardest thing to do as an adult?  Finding balance. It always seems that one part of my life is taking over whether it health, work, family struggles, exercising whatever.  Achieving balance is the goal of a lifetime.

In what ways has adulthood disappointed you?  This is such a good question for me because I wanted to be an adult so badly.  I would say the greatest disappointment is the mundanity of life.   I don’t know what exactly I expected but so much of life is routines and doing the same thing over and over again.  Even in the most glamorous jobs there is a fair amount of tedium. Its just part of adult life.

I also wish I had taken more advantage of time off as a young college student to explore or go places.  I think because my parents traveled I assumed I would be able to do that later, and I have been very blessed in that regard, but its hard!  Its hard to find the time, get off work, get ready, catch up when you get home etc.  Its something I should have enjoyed more when I had the chance.

I was also in a rush to finish everything.  I set a goal and I want to get it done now. This is why weight loss has been so tough for me because it is not something that can be done right in a few months.  It takes years, a lifetime really.  I don’t like things that take a lifetime!  Again, I should enjoy the journey more.

If you could have your dream job what would it be?  I think it would be cool to work in a political campaign.  I also love public speaking and think I might take a stab at politics some day. I feel I would be a good advocate for causes I believe in but I am sure the whole process would drive me crazy (again the waiting and the tedium are my struggles!).  Also, I think it would be great to teach college, especially at BYU.  I have pondered a PHD before but there are so few positions in the liberal arts that it does not seem like a good choice.  Still, it would be my dream job.

Are you disappointed to not be doing your dream job?  Yes but I’ve learned that how I work is much more important to me than what I am actually doing.  Working from home and being my own boss is worth any sacrifice- even working in accounting all day!  I get chills and feel nauseated at the thought of going back to ‘cubicle Hell’ as I call it.

My only regret in working alone is I don’t have the chance to mentor people.  I benefited greatly from mentors in my youth and I hope to someday have that chance as an adult.  I’ve enjoyed teaching in my ward the last 2 years and feel I have been a mentor to some of the younger girls (and I feel I mentor my younger siblings) but I’d like to find someone that I can really guide and mentor.

What is your greatest flaw?  Definitely holding grudges.  I grew up seeing the world in terms of bullies and victims.  That’s how I survived.  I learned that people who abuse do it again and I kept them in that spot forever.  There are still people from my life that I struggle with anger and resentment towards.  I know it only hurts me but it is tough.  I get better each year at forgiving and hopefully by the end I will be something like my Grandpa Richards who loved unconditionally.  That is my goal to be like him because he was so much like Jesus.  My relationship with Christ helps polish me each day and that includes grudges, resentments, fears and everything else.

Do you wish you were skinny?  I’d be lying if I said No. As I mentioned in my last post judgement has always been tough for me to absorb and unfortunately being fat carries tons of judgement.  I still feel great resentment at anyone who places a label on me because of my weight.  It would be nice to not deal with these judgements. However, I suppose society would just find something else to judge and I’d have to deal with it.  I do appreciate the strength my journey has given me and being heavy forced me to rely on God for praise because in a few moments that was the only place I could get it.  And maybe I do a little bit of good correcting prejudice and speaking out.  If that was the case, it’d all be worth it.

Well, that’s a lot.  Probably more than any of you care to read but it does me a great deal of good to say it.   The next entry will be on my views on the political and social issues of the day.  Should be pretty fun!   (I have had an interest in politics since I was in grade school and voted in every election since I turned 18.  It is very important to me).

All the Single Ladies

I am not a wedding girl but this has been my favorite wedding cake for years, since high school

The November issue of the Atlantic Monthly is all about marriage and in their words- marriage scarcity. There are lengthy articles full of both statistical and anecdotal evidence but I will try to summarize the ideas as best as I can (I apologize in advance if this is a bit muddled.  My thoughts were all over the place).  The main point is that the numbers of marriages and likelihood of finding a marriage partner is getting increasingly difficult.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/the-new-scarcity/8669/

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/all-the-single-ladies/8654/#.TuocqmHfAp0.facebook

Here’s some stats: (excuse the long quotes but the articles say it so well)

“Half the adult population is single, compared with 33 percent in 1950; and 40 percent of children are born to single mothers. Partly, this may be a result of women’s no longer feeling compelled to marry a Mr. Collins. But it also appears to signal that the rise of women is being matched by a decline, not just of male dominance, but of men.

Their plight is serious; men have seen their median wages for full-time work fall over the past 40 years. Among other consequences of such deterioration is what Bolick calls a “new scarcity” that narrows women’s choices for marriageable men just as their other choices in life broaden. It seems, somehow, cosmically unfair that when the strong-minded women of Jane Austen are at last set free, they are being liberated into our Shteyngartian (a bleak  modern writer) society.”

More:

“Foremost among the reasons for all these changes in family structure are the gains of the women’s movement. Over the past half century, women have steadily gained on—and are in some ways surpassing—men in education and employment. From 1970 (seven years after the Equal Pay Act was passed) to 2007, women’s earnings grew by 44 percent, compared with 6 percent for men.

In 2008, women still earned just 77 cents to the male dollar—but that figure doesn’t account for the difference in hours worked, or the fact that women tend to choose lower-paying fields like nursing or education. A 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that the women actually earned 8 percent more than the men. Women are also more likely than men to go to college: in 2010, 55 percent of all college graduates ages 25 to 29 were female.”

Does that mean the women’s movement was bad and we should go back to the age of ignorant, submissive women?  Of course not but there is a reality that marriage is getting more and more difficult each day,  Even in the highly matrimonial culture in Utah and amongst the LDS church I am amazed at how many young men there are who have little to no interest in marriage.  It is hard for me to think of a man who is as motivated to find a partner as the women I know.  This quote describes it well:

“What my mother could envision was a future in which I made my own choices. I don’t think either of us could have predicted what happens when you multiply that sense of agency by an entire generation.

But what transpired next lay well beyond the powers of everybody’s imagination: as women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind. We’ve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up—and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with.”

I was speaking with a friend on this topic and he pointed out that he has been hesitant to pursue a marriage partner because a feeling of financial inadequacy.   Particularly in a conservative culture like the one I live in there is still the idea that a good husband should be able to provide for a family/wife.

While perhaps this is the ideal I think it is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.  Most families can not afford to be single income anymore and with all their education women are increasingly hesitant to give up their careers for family.  (With some careers the debt incurred to accomplish the career literally limiting women from completely giving them up).

I wonder how many men feel like my friend and worry about providing for a family?  Its interesting to me because its not really what I look for in a potential spouse.  I want someone who will be my partner, so we can overcome challenges together.  I want someone that is my intellectual, not necessarily my financial, equal.  I want someone that I can I have a decent conversation with and who likes being with me. Is that too much to ask?

I certainly don’t expect to be taken care of by anyone (not my style!).   I wonder if this is part of the reason for the marriage scarcity- men see it as a burden, women as a blessing? (that is a simplistic generalization I know but I’m speaking of over-all trends not individuals). I know that children make providing for a marriage more complicated but why not conquer that challenge together? The man shouldn’t feel like it is solely up to them.  Even the stay at home Mom’s that I know are essential to keeping costs down in their marriage so they can live off whatever their husband can provide- its a group effort.

With the women’s movement the entire idea of gender has been confused.  Who’s to say what is male anymore or female?  Again, in general I think this is a good thing but it can have negative side effects. In the old world a woman knew where to look for a likely mate and typically those men would be looking for them.  Now the conventions and dating rules are completely smudged together.  This leads to a feeling of ‘winging it’ and hoping to be hit on the head by an epiphany of love.

“Men were our classmates and colleagues, our bosses and professors, as well as, in time, our students and employees and subordinates—an entire universe of prospective friends, boyfriends, friends with benefits, and even ex-boyfriends-turned-friends. In this brave new world, boundaries were fluid, and roles constantly changing.”

“We are in a period of sorting out, in which old customs and conventions are being stripped away, and new ones have yet to be firmly established.”

Sometimes this sorting out can be confusing.  I think that’s why so many people are attracted to online dating- it seems simple.  They even have ‘compatibility’ systems that supposedly take ‘the guest work out of dating’ (yes, I’ve seen one to many eharmony ads!).  I have tried online dating 4 times to no avail.  It just doesn’t have the human connection I need to pursue men (or be pursued evidently).  This leaves me with the hope of meeting someone randomly (through church or social activities) or being set up by mutual friends (I’ve only been set up 2 or 3 times by friends on actual live dates)…

As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog I am happy being independent and single.  While I’d like to get married I will not be devastated if I don’t.  I think even in Mormon Utah this type of attitude is becoming more common.  After all, marriage is not something you can make happen. If I want a masters degree, I can get one.  If I want to serve a mission, I can.  If I want to own my own business, I can.  If I want to get married…Not so much.  It just doesn’t’ work that way and like the articles say it is the ‘new scarcity’ in America.

Most singles are reminded of their marital status (especially in a singles ward in Utah) far too frequently.  It leaves me feeling impotent and oddly unworthy- like I am 18 forever and can never progress in some viewpoints without marriage.  A couple of years ago at a family Egg hunt I was put with the children hunting eggs.  None of my married cousins were grouped this way.  It is subtle slights like this which can be very frustrating. To be at the time approaching 30 and still be viewed as a child is very annoying.

Sometimes I admit I can be a bit hesitant to approach this topic because I feel defensive about my life choices- that somehow being single makes me less of a person in some people’s eyes.  Indeed, almost all depictions of single women in the media are either as desperate to marry, needy women (every Kathryn Hiegel movie) or cold ice queen corporate executives (Sandra Bullock, the Proposal, Meryl Streep, Devil Wears Prada).

I am not an ice queen and definitely not needy.  My single friends out there, how do you deal with the stereotypes of not being married? Do you feel looked down upon or marginalized?

I think all singles can relate to being condescended to or belittled because of our marital status- something we have little to no control over.  Again, show me the line to get in for marriage and I’ll be right there. Its just not that easy.

Even worse than the condescension is the pity.  Especially people from my grandmother’s generation often look at a single woman and feel sorry for ‘all she’s missed out on in life’…Urgh!  Its not my fault! I’ve never met anyone I want to marry. Nobody even close!

These articles were actually quite comforting to me to see that its our entire society that has moved away from marriage, not just the men I meet!

How can singles support marriage and remain hopeful of being married without becoming discouraged or jealous?  How do you feel like an equal contributor to society when you don’t have progeny to mold?  I have yet to find such a balance.

I wonder how many other women are like me, content to live a productive life by ourselves until we meet the right one?  We certainly don’t feel the kind of financial or social pressure to marry that at one time existed for women.  In general this is a good thing but it can’t be all positive? Women don’t feel like they need men like they used to.  Good or bad?

In truth, a part of me wishes marriage didn’t exist because then there wouldn’t be this big hole in my life (in the eyes of other people).  I kind of live my life as if it didn’t exist that way I don’t feel lacking or sorry for myself or  like I’m missing out on this huge part of the human experience.  I live a happy life and only occasionally wonder where Mr.  Sunshine might be…?

That said,  I would like a partner to face challenges with.  To me it is depressing to think that such opportunities become smaller each year I get older but what can you do?  (they say you have a better chance of getting killed in a terrorist attack than getting married above 40…).

“But while the rise of women has been good for everyone, the decline of males has obviously been bad news for men—and bad news for marriage. For all the changes the institution has undergone, American women as a whole have never been confronted with such a radically shrinking pool of what are traditionally considered to be “marriageable” men—those who are better educated and earn more than they do. So women are now contending with what we might call the new scarcity.

Even as women have seen their range of options broaden in recent years—for instance, expanding the kind of men it’s culturally acceptable to be with, and making it okay not to marry at all—the new scarcity disrupts what economists call the “marriage market” in a way that in fact narrows the available choices, making a good man harder to find than ever. At the rate things are going, the next generation’s pool of good men will be significantly smaller.”

How do you think this marriage trend affects our society? Why do you think there is this divide between motivated (marriage and otherwise) women and men?  How has the changing definitions of manhood and womanhood affected our society and marriages?  What of these changes are good and bad?  What, if anything, can we do to encourage marriage?  Please read the articles. I think you will find them as fascinating as I did. I don’t know if I’ve done them full justice (they are quite lengthy) but at least this can be an introduction of sorts.

The Relationship Test

As I mentioned in my last post I am kind of clueless when in it comes to relationships.  I have no idea how people find each other and what makes chemistry with seemingly incongruous people work?  It is the great mystery of my life!

Forgive the randomness and rambling nature of this post, but I found this ‘questions to ask yourself about a relationship?’ It made me think about my own answers (and add a few new one’s myself).  Here goes:

1. Describe yourself in a single sentence- Rachel is an independent, modern, Mormon woman who loves her life, family and friends.
2. What would you cook for me?- I think cooking together is fun on a date. Interactive foods such as pizza or egg rolls are fun because people can individualize them which teaches you something about their likes/dislikes.
3. What would you like to change about yourself? I can be a bit of a stress-out at times and I have hard time letting go of grudges.
4. If you could have three wishes, what would they be? (no wish for more wishes) 1. Summers in Hawaii 2. Finally get below 200 and 3. Meet my Mr.  Sunshine
5. Do you make friends easy?  With girls I do.  I seem to have a hard time making friends with boys.  I don’t know if I have ever had a platonic guyfriend.  Not sure why?
6. What’s your idea of the perfect date? A perfect date would be a good meal, with good conversation followed by a concert (Josh Groban or Michael Buble if the guy is really trying to win brownie points!).  I like most anything on a date but I hate it when I have to do all of the talking.
7. Where do you see yourself in five, ten, fifteen years? Maybe this is sad but I’ve never been much of a dreamer.  I am happy with my life and current goals.  Whatever else happens is great.  If you ask what I’d like see is I’d love to be married, have a home, maybe a kid.  I do have a goal of being under 200 by the end of 2012.
8. Who is your favorite hero of all time? My Grandpa Richards and Jesus.
9. Do you consider yourself a happy person? Yes. I have a terrible horrible day on occasion but most of the time I feel happy and grateful.
10. What is your greatest trait, accomplishment, goal for the future.

trait- I am a loyal strong friend who will move waters to help those I love.

accomplishment- A Returned Missionary, a BA and an MBA, finished an open water swim in August and have lost over 50 lbs in the last 20 months. Take your pick on which of these is the greatest accomplishments?

goal for the future- someday live by the ocean and live the best life I can. Someone once told me that having a goal to be ‘happy in my life’ was hedonistic and selfish.  What is the alternative? I’d rather be a hedonist than a masochist.

I’d like to be at 200 lbs by the end of 2012.  Also off of Victoza and out of danger of diabetes asap.  I’d also like to write my weight loss story even if it is just for myself.  I want to keep doing open water swims, each time improving my times and distance.

11. What do you look for in another person? I would like someone that I have chemistry with, that’s fun to talk to, that is ready to be married in the temple, preferably a returned missionary, preferably with higher education and career ambitions, preferably someone interested in families.

12. Must have- temple wedding, active in my church, attractive smile, someone who loves me (an absolute must!), tries to get along with my family and accepts the time commitments that come with swimming in my life.  I also need someone who isn’t intimidated by my family’s success or our family company. (No Daddy’s credit card comments!).

I also have promised myself that I will show my fiance a photo of me at my high weight and if he can’t love that person forget it.  I am not going to live with the fear that if I gain weight I will lose love.  That isn’t real love.   I’d love to meet someone who has also dealt with weight loss.  Its hard for people to understand if you haven’t lived it what the experience is like.

The Not Must Haves but Would be Nice- As far as  particular job or degree that doesn’t matter as much.  I’d like someone who I can talk to.  Someone who is educated and interesting.  Someone who has read a few books (even if they are not the same books I like.  I have long believed that readers understand other readers).

Someone who likes movies and music would be a plus. Also, a real tightwad would get on my nerves as would someone who is too much of a workaholic (one workaholic in a relationship is enough!).  It would be nice if they liked the beach.  I am not the biggest video game fan but I love other types of games. Not a camper and Not an animal person. I also have a high interest in home school but we can figure that out along the way!

13.  What is my greatest turn off on a date?  Well, aside from someone who is touchy-feely that doesn’t deserve it, I hate when guys make me do all the talking.  I know I will do a lot of it, but its nice to have the date contribute topics. I’m open to discussing just about anything including politics, sports, travel, tv, books, anything. My favorite dates are when the conversation flows freely.

14. What is the worst date I have ever been on?  Tough call.  I’ve been on some doozies over the years. One of the worst was with a guyfriend of mine (one of the few I’ve had) in college (I can’t even remember his name!) who was always complaining about never getting a second date.  To help him out I agreed to set up a group date and go with him (my sister, Seth, Emily and this guys roommate were the other couples).

First of all this guy shows up late and says he is having to leave his roommates party in order to come with us (despite the trip being planned weeks in advance).  Then he brought his homework on the date.  During the beautiful baroque concert he kept complaining about how tired he was, and how long it was…Then in the end he kept trying to pick fights with me.  I remember I brought up the most happy comment I could think of “Isn’t it great that they found Elizabeth Smart”.  And I swear somehow he found something to argue about that.

The entire date  Emily and Megan kept looking back at me with sighs of sympathy.   That was the worst date I’ve ever been on. (and to make it worse he tried to put his arm around me in the van- as if!). Let’s just say after that loooong night I understood why he wasn’t getting second dates.  I wonder if I am a dating nightmare like him and don’t even realize it? He had no idea how obnoxious he was (or at least not much of an idea).

Anyway, I don’t know if you would answer these questions in the same way I have.  For instance, what do you think is my greatest trait or accomplishment?  I fear asking you what my greatest weakness is!  I am sure the list is infinite and could be produced with some vigor.

If you had to set me up with a person what characteristics would you look for?

(btw, when you find that person I am totally up for set ups).

As I said at the opening, dating is a mystery that I do not understand.  Sometimes I feel like love is a little like Santa Clause- this grand fairy tale I’ve been told since I was a girl but I never seem to see.

Oh well, I am focusing on getting 100% better and swimming in my meet on Saturday (first one in 13 years!).  Then I have Slam the Dam next Saturday!

The right person will come along.  I have no doubts about that.  Really.  No doubts.  He may appear differently than each piece of this test but I’m sure Mr.  Sunshine will be all I need because I’m already happy all by myself. I’m not just saying that to sound strong.  I really am HAPPY ALL BY MYSELF.