Tag: dating

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)

New Years Eve Sucks

So everyone knows I’m not a woe is me single girl but some days it does kind of suck.  New Years and Valentines being the chief offenders.  I don’t think there are any more ‘coupley’ holidays in the calendar year.

The only thing that makes New Years slightly worse is there is no ignoring it like with Valentines and almost every ‘fun’ activity involves dancing, which I hate.

I have never liked dancing. For starters I have almost no natural rhythm  and I’m not just being modest.  I literally have no natural rhythm. I hate the music typically played at dances. I don’t like club music and find DJs to be obnoxious.  Its also so loud that you can’t talk and you end up either as a wallflower which sucks or gyrating to ‘Everybody Dance Now’ like an idiot. It’s also dark and hard to see anyone so I don’t know how anyone hooks up at a dance but it is the activity of choice for ‘meeting people’ and coupling up in Utah. (Dancing and Utah have a long unfortunate relationship.  They love it there! 😦 )

With dancing out of the picture this year I’m left with the choice of hanging out with my sister and her boyfriend or my parents and their older group of adults from church.  My younger siblings are both doing activities with their friends. I don’t have any friends in California and would rather be hit by a bread truck than go to the YSA dance alone.

So, what’s a girl left to do? Any ideas?

I will probably go to a movie so at least I will be surrounded by people but not have to dance.  (And yes, I go to movies by myself all the time.  In fact, I like it!And no, I will not be seeing New Years Eve because it looks terrible and seeing it on New Years Eve is just depressing).  Normally I don’t mind being by myself.  In fact, I kind of love it!  But on super coupley days it is easy to feel a bit forgotten, left behind.

This is my first New Year in my 30’s and its been a hard year, one I am not eager to repeat.  I am ready for a string of good luck and period of peace (or at least no major medical diagnosis!). I know I’ve had many blessings also but it has been one of the most challenging years of my life.

It seems like 30 is a rough year for a lot of people I know.  It represents a transition both mentally and physically that can be difficult for ‘stay-the-samers’ like me to deal with.

I have never been a big fan of change, especially change I don’t direct and manage, but like a time bomb it comes whether you like it or not!  30 is the first step to being old…Even at church I will soon not be considered a ‘young single adult’.  I will be a ‘mid-single’.  In January I have to change wards and start attending the mid-singles ward, which I am sure will be great but it is a change (which again, I’m not a fan of!).

Maybe I should just plan a trip next year for New Years, go to Hawaii or something like that? That always makes me happy.  Just thinking of Hawaii makes me happy.  I love being home for Christmas but the week after can be rough.  I miss my apartment, car, friends, gym, food, trainer, etc.  At least this year I get my 9 days off of my strict diet.  That’s been a real treat (literally and figuratively).

I wish my family enjoyed traveling during the holidays but my younger siblings would revolt.  I love it! One of my happiest Christmas memories was when my family came to Utah and stayed in our home in Alpine.  It was so nice to not have to worry about all the Christmas stuff and to be able to see my family while still having my own space.  If I had my druthers we’d do that every year.

But I don’t know that New Years would suck any less if I was at home.  My friends and I used to have awesome parties but in recent years they’ve died down. (We used to have great Halloween parties also but that has died out too 😦 ).  For me, parties and the like feel a very college, post-college thing to do.  As a 30 year old woman I find it is so much harder to get anyone together. I have lots of entertaining ideas for cute parties but I’m not convinced anyone would be able to come to a party if I put a lot of work into it.  People are just so busy and have other obligations that are more important by the time you turn 30.

I’m also not sure what it means to be 30.  With other ages the expectations are real clear (20’s college, gain a career). I think it is supposed to bring all those experiences with kids but not so much with me. It’s all a bit of a mystery, the 30’s mystery.

Anyway, don’t mean to complain.  I just wanted to get it out there that New Years sucks and I’m pretending like it doesn’t exist.  Be gone 2011!

To my single friends out there- don’t you agree that New Years is a total drag?

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. 

Boasting?

I hope I don't come across this way!

So recently I had an interesting experience.  In meeting a new person I began to share events from my life.  These experiences came naturally in the course of conversation.  For instance, he mentioned sushi so I spoke about the time I went to a sushi restaurant in Japan.  He asked about my work, I told him about my grandparents and our family company.

As we had extremely pleasant back-and-forth he made a joke about how I should use “daddy’s credit card”.  Suddenly I realized that my sharing had been taken as boasting which was not my intent.  I told him that I have been financially independent since I was 18 and have never had access to “daddy’s credit card”.

School and my mission are really the only major expenses that I have been given help with by my family (which btw I am very grateful for and recognize was a unique blessing many don’t have). For years I have been responsible for my own rent, food, utilities, vacations etc.  I actually pride myself on my independence and self-reliance, which is why the comment felt a little rude and has stuck in my mind these many weeks.

I don’t want to make this seem like a bigger deal then it was because I still had a good time and it blew over.  No problem.   That said- I couldn’t help but ask the question:  How do you talk about your life and share what you’ve experienced without seeming cocky or conceited? I don’t like to over-monitor what I say, I want to be natural, but I also don’t want to ostracize people or give the wrong impression. Its a tricky balance?

Make no mistake- I have had many blessings in my life but I have not gotten a complete free pass- I am not a materialistic diva.  Anyone who knows me knows I work very hard and have even been described as a “workaholic”.  I know there are people who work harder than me with far less rewards but I do try to put out my best effort.

Doesn’t everyone have blessings in their life which if construed a certain way could seem privileged, exclusive or special? Are you just not supposed to talk about such things for fear of sounding conceited? All that would cause is a whole bunch of complaining in conversations and personally I prefer to error on the side of boasting.  I mean other people gush about their husbands, kids or new homes and I’m fine with that even though I have none of those things.  I see it as them sharing the most important things in their life with me not as boasting?

Especially when it comes to my fitness goals things become tricky.  Exercise takes a huge amount of my energy and effort.  No one can deny me that! Because it is so difficult and time consuming, I talk about it a lot and I can see how all that talk could be seen as bragging.   Believe me when I say I still have a ton of work to do- about 100 lbs worth of work left to lose- but I am proud of what I have accomplished so far.

This process has been the hardest thing I have ever done, and I have relied on my friends/family/trainers/blogosphere to buoy me up.  I am sure at times they grow weary of the constant lifting, but I am SO GRATEFUL for it.  It also is partly because of my frequent belly aching that I am particularly effusive when sharing my successes.   I see it as everyone’s success. I really do.

In the end, I can’t control the way people filter what I say; however, just know this- I am humbled and grateful for every blessing in my life.  If I ever come across as conceited or boastful please forgive me.  I promise it is not my intent.  If I was going to boast of anything it would be my amazing family and friends who love me unconditionally- fat or skinny, employed or not, complaining or jubilant,  they find a way to love me.

My “cup runneth over” with blessings.

The truth is I could do nothing, including finding happiness or achieving any goals, without my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  I have the unbelievable gift of knowing who I am and how much I matter to God- this is a gift without price.  Like Peter I say my trial and relationship with God is

“more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”

I feel like the Book of Mormon prophet Ammon when he said:

I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.  Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself but I will boast of my God, for in His strength I CAN DO ALL THINGS!”

Good Men?

I know I just posted yesterday but I was forwarded this article by my parents and thought it was so interesting. (To my facebook friends forgive me for reposting my thoughts on this subject).   I also thought it was well written and very witty.

It is called Where Have the Good Men Gone by Kay S. Hymowitz (evidently it is an excerpt from her book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, which I am very excited to read).  In the article, she discusses the new problem of ‘pre-adult’ men in America.  These are the types of men that are often profiled in movies starring Will Farrell, Seth Rogan and Owen Wilson.  Some women find this type of silly ‘frat boy’ behavior charming but it has always driven me crazy.

Unfortunately, even in the church there are very few single men over 25 that I would not describe as ‘pre-adult juvenile men’. I could give you a ton of examples. For most of them it is not like they are doing anything specifically wrong or sinful (that I’m aware of at least) but they don’t seem to have any motivation in their life. No motivation in their careers, schooling, not to mention marriage or family. (There was a whole crew of them in an old ward I used to call ‘The Ferris Bueller Boys’ because of their immature and annoying antics!).

I think there are 2 problems that Hymowitz doesn’t really mention. The first is what I call the epiphany complex. Many men are expecting to be struck with an ‘ah ha’ moment when it comes to major decisions. For instance, they aren’t content to find a job, it must be ‘the job’. They are expecting to find something that is ‘meant for me’. Until they find that job they move from sales or other work that is beneath them, so when it inevitably doesn’t work they can say ‘oh it wasn’t the job for me’. This is also true with some men when deciding a major. Its like every class has to be perfectly suited for them or they can’t tough it out.

Of course the epiphany complex is most seen with men in dating. Sometimes, especially in the church, if a girl isn’t perfect and scream out ‘this is the girl I’m going to marry’ then they don’t pursue a relationship. A lot of guys miss out on great girls because they don’t get that epiphany they are hoping for and never ask them out.

The other problem is the possibly mistaken cultural tradition that making it in our society is harder for girls. Clearly this was true in the past when women could do little more than teaching and nursing. However, now there are more women graduate degree and law students then men. I think girls are still taught that you will have to work harder to get paid what men get paid. Single motherhood is also frequently portrayed in movies and on television and many women almost plan on it. When I was going to grad school it was always, with a few rare exceptions, the female students who worked harder than the men. In addition, if there were any students that we had to babysit it was the men.  I hated being in group projects with certain men.  It was a near-guarantee they would flake out, and I’d be forced doing the work for two people.  Women are taught to expect such behavior and to plow through it to get ahead.  We understand that things like education and a career will be tough and that we will have to fight for any position we gain in life. I do think this leads to a lot of overworked, stressed out, female professionals that only look to their girlfriends for companionship. At least girlfriends seem to understand.

The other ironic thing is that some guys feel intimidated by women who are successful but what is our alternative? Sit at home and knit? I don’t think so. (no disrespect for knitting intended 🙂 ) The women of the world are not going to wait around for men to be motivated.  We all just have to live the best life we can and hope to find someone who will love us.

It’s all kind of depressing when you think about it but what can be done to fix the situation? All I can do is pray that one of the ‘exception to the rules’ is out there. After all, I only need one!

A Stupid Fear

Today I would just like to expose a fear of mine that is kind of involved with my current weight loss program.  My hope is that through expressing myself I will be able to deal with this fear and move on.  So here goes…

Relationships have always been a mystery to me.  Sometimes the whole “love” concept feels a little like Santa Claus- like one day I will wake up and realize romance is a big myth grown ups like to tell.  It’s hard because I have never been in love or anything close to it.  In fact, it is almost impossible for me to imagine anyone being in love with me.  I say that with a very healthy self-confidence.  I know I’m beautiful and accomplished, but I still can’t imagine anyone falling in love with me (Doesn’t everyone have a few things they are insecure about? This is one of mine).  Maybe romance is something you can’t imagine until it happens.

Part of what makes this tough is I am admittedly naive when it comes to men.  Aside from my father and brothers I’ve had limited interaction with men.  My friends have always been girls- even as a child or teenager.  My crushes have also been few and far between.  I’m not sure why but it seems I don’t meet men I’m attracted to very often.  Don’t get the wrong idea- I’m attracted to men but I don’t crush often. Even the Hollywood guys that other girls swoon over I rarely find that good looking.

Anyway, I am happy with my life.  I love being single and independent, but I think everyone would like to fall in love at least once in his or her lifetime.  So, here’s my fear- what if I lose all the weight and then meet someone.  No matter what happens there will always be the potential for me to look the way I am now.  How do I know that the future person will be ok with the current me? Does that make sense?  In some ways I wish I could meet someone right now.  If someone could fall in love with the plus size me it would take a worry away.  If it happens after I lose the weight I will probably  be a little anxious about my looks. What if I have a baby and end up looking just like I look now will that be a problem for the guy?  I know things like that are more important to guys but it could happen.  There will always be the potential for me to be a big girl and he has to be ok with that. Basically my fear is if I lose weight, meet someone and then gain the weight back will he not love me anymore?

It’s not like I can do much about this fear except deal with it.  It certainly is not going to stop me from getting in shape.  Love is not something that can be planned or organized on my timeline.  It is up to God and my mystery man out there.  We will just have to wait and see what happens, and I will have to conquer my anxieties and fears.