love, age and other ramblings

Valentine’s Day is a ridiculous holiday. Yes, I am single and I think that most singles would agree with me; however that fact that I am single is not the reason for my vehement dislike for this day. I admit, I do get a bit green with envy at the romantic gestures of friends’ husbands and boyfriends as I head out for yet another
Girl’s Night Out in which my single gal pals and I awkwardly laugh and joke about singledome when it’s pretty obvious that we all just want to bury our heads in our glass of wine, curl up in the fetal position and have our own solo pity party. Throughout the night you can hear us saying statements such as: “I like not having to worry about someone else.” or “It’s so nice to do whatever I want.” or “I love my alone time.” Too bad we are all secretly sneaking glimpses at the sweet, loving star-crossed couples surrounding us at every corner; wistfully hoping that it will be us next year so we don’t have to endure another VD as a lower class citizen, aka; single woman in her 30s.

Even when in a relationship my disdain for VD held true. I tried to convince myself of the absurdity of the day and to not have any expectations as my then “manfriend” wasn’t much of a romantic anyways. Right. Allowing oneself to have zero expectations on Valentine’s Day is as easy as popping a zit in the middle of your back. I would play it off as no big deal, but inside I fervently hoped for a romantic getaway or a surprise night out on the town or, yes, even an unexpected proposal. Year after year it was the same obligatory flowers, wine, chocolate…but I did get some nice lingerie one year. Yippee. I was appreciative of course, but couldn’t help but to be slightly disappointed. After all, this was the one day a year that he really had an opportunity to show me how much he loved me, right? See that’s why I abhor this holiday. Every day should be Valentine’s Day,
yet people leave it to this one time a year to do something extra special for their other half. That’s lame.

This VD a high school student that I tutor came to see me for one of her sessions. Of course, her English teacher gave her a collection of writings to acknowledge this blessed holiday. We read a depressing poem on marriage, some lyrics to a love ballad, a review of The Taming of the Shrew and an article titled “Mr. Good Enough”. At first when I read this article it really pissed me off. The author talked about how women are too proud to “settle” so they choose to be alone and that this is a downfall to the whole feminist movement and women’s independence. A downfall? On the contrary, she argued, women should settle…Mr. Good Enough is really just that; good enough. Wow. She went on the say that women who wait for Mr. Perfect end up waiting their lives away and that if they just settled for Mr. Good Enough they would end up content and complacent in their lives as Mr. Good Enough will make a good enough partner, a good enough father and a good enough husband. Mr. Perfect, she explained, does not stay perfect forever and cannot keep up the expectations of staying perfect, thus eventually causing extreme disappointment in the relationship/marriage. The article’s targeted audience was definitely women in their thirties (me) and she emphasized that we are not being honest with ourselves when we say we’d rather be alone than to settle; that every woman wants to be someboody’s wife and if we say otherwise we are full of crap.

During the initial read, I couldn’t keep my anger at bay. How dare she say that I am not being honest with myself! Of course I am going to wait for Mr. Perfect because, goddamit, I deserve him! And if we never find each other, well then that is just fate and I guess I’m destined to be alone…I can handle that. Settle? F that. I almost did that and now, in hindsight, I realize how miserable I would have been. Who is this lady anyway? Some bitter single lady that wants the rest of us to suffer with her? Interestingly enough, once the dust cleared I kind of saw her point. I don’t agree with everything she had to say, but a tinge of truth could be deciphered. After F-squared I had to change my song and dance. How can I admit that marriage, kids and a white picket fence is something I still want? That dream was taken from me and now, ironically enough, the thief is living it…living my dream. That’s not easy to accept.

Here’s the thing that I have realized: I have several dreams that I want to fulfill in this lifetime. My move to Japan is one of them. I have always imagined myself in a far off country; learning a new culture and experiencing as much of the world as possible. My mom loves to tell the story about how when I was little I wanted to be Christian singer and travel the world in my own private jet while feeding the poor. My American Idol for Jesus dream may be over (sorry mom), but I am faced with an amazing opportunity that I simply cannot let slip me by…and maybe I’ll even toss out a couple loaves of bread while abroad so at least 1/2 of my original dream stays true to form. Yes, I want to be married to Mr. Perfect for Me. Yes, I want a family. Yes, I want the house with a baby’s room and an office and a kitchen bigger than my bathroom (oh and while I’m at it a walk-in closet would be nice!). Yes, I want to join the Mommy clubs and compare birthing stories and my breast pumping schedule. I admit it and I’m not afraid to admit it. What I won’t do is wait around for it. I have spent the last two years picking up my broken pieces which, in my opinion, is way too long and now I need to do for me. This next chapter is going to be amazing…I can feel it! And wherever Mr. Perfect for Me is, I will find him eventually. Who knows, maybe he’ll be in Japan.


Panic at the Disco

Upon initial acceptance of the offer to uproot myself and start my life anew in Japan, I was nothing but elated. I couldn’t hold my excitement in and I often caught myself daydreaming of riding my bike to work and speaking Japanese with the locals as I shopped the corner market for my fresh fruits and veggies. I couldn’t stop smiling as I shared this amazing news with my family and closest friends. The adventures I would soon be faced with and this new life I was imagining brought a flutter to my stomach and I couldn’t wait to begin.

Then one, dark, cold and stormy night a few weeks after the “handshake” I had a face-off with my long, lost nemesis, Panic. Ok, maybe Panic was conjured up by a bit of recreational sampling, but that is neither here nor there….Panic was in my face regardless of how he got there. I think this was my worst bout yet and I’ve had many. I was trying to fall asleep when my mind literally started swarming with questions. It was like the floodgates opened and I couldn’t even concentrate on one before another entered, then another, then another…Then I could feel the sensation in my entire body. If you’ve experienced this type of panic attack you know exactly what I am talking about, if you haven’t then I hope you never do. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone…I mean that. Think about that feeling you get when you just realize you forgot an important appointment or when you “almost” get into an accident. That rush of adrenaline shoots through your entire body in a split second. Now imagine that rush you feel in those situations shooting through your body, only it keeps shooting back and forth, back and forth like a frickin pinball…it doesn’t go away…just ricochets off every corner of your body. My heart pounded so hard it felt that my chest would burst and I struggled to take in air while trying to rationalize the irrational thoughts that were plaguing my mind and keeping me from sleep. How will I know where to go? What if I get lost? What if Rufus doesn’t make the flight? What if I can’t take him? What if the whole thing is a scam? What if I get there and I’m stuck and I can’t leave? These questions/thoughts wouldn’t stop…not even for a short break and I knew it wasn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

So what does one do when they are having a panic attack in the middle of the night? Duh-they wake up their roommate! Poor Courtney, there’s nothing that can be said or done to ease one of this feeling. I was bombarding her with questions like: Why am I doing this? How could I be so stupid? How did I think I could do this? What was I thinking? All questions she couldn’t answer of course…although she gave it her best effort. She watched as I paced and yelled at no one in particular for my poor decision making; moving from the fetal position to child’s pose then back to pacing. Finally after 2 1/2 hours of sheer insanity (I think Court had already dialed the looneybin) I finally took a Xanex. Why did I wait so long you ask? Well, rational thought is pretty much an urban legend when in the midst of a panic attack. As the wonder drug kicked in, we perused websites and learned a few essential Japanese phrases to help ease my worry and in no time at all (Courtney’s version would say otherwise), I finally fell asleep.

My tune has definitely changed since that awful night. I am still excited and looking forward to this new change, but the thoughts and questions from my panic episode still linger. Of course, I’ve weeded (no pun intended) out the really irrational ones like “How will I know what train to get on from the airport?” or “Could this be a scam?” because I’m pretty sure I’ve got those covered at this point. I also know that Rufus, my biggest concern, will be fine. The questions that remain now are more along the lines of: Will the people I meet be as close to the caliber of those currently in my life? Will I fall in love with the culture or find it so awkward that I truly cannot wrap my mind around it enough to embrace it? Will I love my job or regret that I didn’t go for a general ed position like I had hoped? Will I be involved and find the right group of people to spend my time with and travel with? Will I be as miserable as I was when I first moved to San Diego? These are legit questions at this point and they really cannot be answered until I get there….they are the unknown. A few of the answers are also up to me and how I respond to this change and if I allow myself to open up and truly accept all possibilities. That part is up to me. I think the positive that came out of my miserable night with Panic is that I now understand the magnitude of this decision. I’m still proud of my decision and know it will truly be an experience of a lifetime. I am finally doing what I’ve always dreamed of…seeing the world!