Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You can take a Mulligan in golf. Not so much in relationships.

I am a huge fan of 30 Rock – smart, funny, and I respect their use of inside jokes. For those that don’t follow the show, they recently had a plotline where one of the lead characters was going back and re-evaluating her previous romantic relationships. Longer story of why she was doing this but it basically comes down to someone telling her that there are not really all that many “types” out there and by that point in her life, and it’s likely she had already met the one for her. Now, I don’t know if I would agree or disagree with that but it did get me to thinking. Lately I have become way too aware that this phenomenon of going back and seeing if maybe you overlooked something in a previous relationship, or maybe the timing or something else was off before and could be better now, re-visiting people from your past to see if maybe there was something still there worth considering. Well I can tell you that this phenomenon is real. And it is most definitely NOT just the ladies who set out digging through their ex files.

I don’t know what the F it is, but people have been coming back around in my life like some sort of weird boomerang that I could have thrown out years ago that somehow eventually returns to smack me in the back of the head. Hey, I am all for being green but Reduce-Reuse-Recycle should not generally be applied to people and relationships, know what I mean?

People who left my life at various points in time. Ranging in levels of seriousness of involvement. Varying lengths of time we were together. None of these things give any clear indication of if or when someone decides to make a return appearance. I wish I could say as I got older, I understood guys more. I actually think the reverse is true. I am more confused today then ever before.

These weird occurrences started a couple years ago. I was just coming out of a serious relationship and the break was one of those bad ones. Longer and more drawn out then it needed to be and a lot of hurt and anger on both sides. About a month later I was contacted by an ex who was going to be driving through my neck of the woods on a drive home to see family and we should get together for a drink. Since he and I had broken up years before, we honestly and truly had been able to salvage a friendship after our romantic relationship ended. That definitely did not happen instantaneously and was aided by him living far away. And I honestly and naively thought it really was just having a drink with a friend. Please keep your mind out of the gutter, it was all very PG rated, but it was more than a drink. He was also coming out of what sounded like a pretty painful breakup so it was probably that we were both in bad places and it felt comforting. We have still kept in touch over the years that followed, even me flying down to visit him a few times. Those are times when your head tells you that you should know better than to do something that ridiculous. But your heart just wants to feel that sense of being totally comfortable with someone, even if it is for a weekend. And sometimes you let your heart win.

The following year I was leaving an old job and getting ready to start a new one. I was sad about leaving the friends I had made at the old job but really looking forward to starting something new that I thought would be really challenging, a position which I could work hard at and do well in (this became my start of law firm hell – good to know there was a time that I was looking forward to it!) From out of nowhere, another ex got in touch with me. We had remained friendly – our relationship ended nicely enough, the timing was just bad and he moved away shortly after things ended between us. I guess a recurring theme here is you can remain friends or stay friendly if you live a sizable distance apart! We had always kept in touch here and there after he moved away. Then out of nowhere he gets in touch with me and says such nice things, things that sound like he’s reading a movie script. He had been thinking about me so much and wonders about what could have been. All those sorts of things that I don’t care how cynical you may be or how hard your edge is – you melt a little. Or as I remember doing at the time, you melt a lot. I was getting talked into canceling my plans for the weekend and taking a last minute trip down to see him. We spent time emailing; we spent hours talking on the phone. And when the time come to really make a decision, to see if I thought we could make something like this work, I said no. I got scared that there might be a catch, scared of taking such a huge risk. I felt like I was having that same conversation with myself – my head vs. my heart. And my head made the better argument this time. I thought being a grown up meant making tough decisions so that’s what I did.

Things have stayed quiet for a while. Then all of the sudden, people start showing up again. Maybe it’s a Facebook effect – some friends and I often joke about guys we had gone out with or been otherwise involved with “kicking around” on our facebook pages. Commenting on photos, writing on our walls. But the people who have come back around lately are not the result of Facebook. I wish that were the case so I could easily explain this recent outbreak and be done with it.

One is someone I dated about two years ago. It was a fun, non-serious little fling of a couple months. Something I knew was going nowhere, but it was happening at a time where I needed the distraction and wanted something cheap, fun and easy. Like knowing you should go home and fix a healthy dinner and then saying “screw it” and going through the drive-thru instead. Anyway, this guy has actually had a few nicknames bestowed upon him, but the best one would be MDIYL. That stands for “My d*ck is your loss” – that’s the text message he sent when things between us were ending. Clearly no one can ever accuse me of not being able to pick classy winners! He was someone who was I think 32 at the time and acted like he was going on 22, so it didn’t surprise me – I actually laughed pretty hard and enjoy telling that story just to see people’s reactions. He came around out of nowhere a couple months ago, writing me to apologize about how horribly he had treated me and how he had always felt so badly about it and was really ashamed of it. Wow, okay. I just figured maybe he was on whichever of the twelve steps it was where you make amends. Okay, that's nice enough, hope he feels better getting that off his chest. But then he emails me again recently – out of nowhere – about driving past my old neighborhood and how am I and what am I up to this weekend and maybe we should get together and grab dinner sometime. Huh? I think girls get a bad rap for being a little looney tunes sometimes, but clearly crazy goes both ways. I haven’t talked to you in years. You actually texted me that your d*ck was going to be my loss. It wasn’t. Do we really need to discuss that over dinner? Yeah….I’m thinking no.

And that brings us to the present. Things with the most recent guy, well they did not exactly work out. I feel badly about that and am obviously disappointed, but it’s all okay . But then about a week after, he emails me. Chatting, bullsh*tting like nothing happened. I get the whole “I hope we can still be friends” business, but let’s be real. Nine times out of ten that’s something we all just say and don’t truly mean. It’s like asking someone how their day is going and you probably could care less. But you ask because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do. So, ok….I guess I should know from my past that yes, you can actually be friends. But it doesn’t happen a week later. And if my previous track record is any indication, this guy is clearly going to have to move far away! To be fair, I think he's a great guy and you shouldn't NOT be friends because it didn't work out. But I think you need to give it more than a freaking week, no matter how short or long lived the relationship was.

So I am not even going to try and say that this long rambling post had a point or offered any insight. Sorry about that, folks. I have just been scratching my head about all this lately. So I will send it out there into the universe and maybe somehow I will get some answer giving me insight as to why this happens. Here’s to hoping the Universe’s sign of choice is not having one of these fellows drunk texting me over this long holiday weekend because that would be not cool. You hear me, Universe? Not cool.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sorority House Time Machine

I recently went back to my college sorority house for the annual Senior Dinner. No, I am not one of those weird old ladies just hanging around the sorority house trying to relive my “glory days”. I was invited as a guest after I recently agreed to be an advisor to the chapter. I am sure this decision will provide me with loads of headaches and needless drama…but all of that makes for some of the best and funniest stories so I will give it a try for a year and see what happens.

So after the dinner is over and everyone is enjoying their cake and coffee, each of the girls stands up to say what their plans are for after graduation and a favorite sorority memory or what being in the sorority means to them. And I admit that I got a little choked up listening to these girls talk about meeting their best friends there and that they would all be in each others weddings someday and moving into apartments together after graduation and all of their rosy sounding hopes and dreams for the future.

I got choked up because I remember when it was me sitting there – all my plans and dreams for what life was going to be like after leaving college. And here I am, MANY years later, and not a lot of what I thought or even planned has come to be. Now, don’t get me wrong, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. Not all of us want the same things at 32 that we thought we wanted at 22. I just thought my life would be a lot, well different. It’s nothing about having a more glamorous job, or being married vs. being single, or any sort of crazy timetable I had set up for myself about what age I wanted my first child by and my second child by and all of that. I was never one of those girls. I have always been pretty independent and never really worried or even thought about there being guys or babies in the picture to worry about.

But my 32 year old self was sitting there listening to all these 22 year olds full of hope and smiles and wide eyes. And I just felt kind of sad. I had kind of forgotten about a lot of the goals and hopes that my 22 year old self had because I am well past the point where I had to make some tough admissions that some of them were just not going to happen. I envied their ability to look at everything that would be possible for them because it was all there in front of them. A blank slate so to speak that they were going to go out and put their mark on. I found myself being a little envious, and wishing I had my own blank slate right now or had that same sense of excitement and anticipation about what was going to happen next.

I was lucky that I got to have a time in my life where I lived in a castle, with a bunch of great girls all around me where there was always someone to talk, commiserate with or go out with. Had dinner served every night at 5:15 and my biggest stress was probably finding a date or a dress for formal. The view from there was pretty damn good – anything and everything seemed possible. Now I worry about bills to be paid and finding enough hours in the day to get all my work done. Sometimes dinner doesn’t happen until 9 at night and it’s a bowl of cereal because I am too tired to cook a real dinner. I miss my friends and having people around me to talk to and spend time with because now we are all separated – by miles or jobs or families or children. I wish I knew then how good I had it. Because some days, I would give anything to be back there.
So I need to do something to find my inner 22 year old. I don’t know what that is exactly. I’m hoping it doesn’t involve Jagermeister or bad decision making. But seriously there should be a way to still have some semblance of that “anything is possible” attitude. That excitement and anxiousness about turning the page to find out what happens next. I need to find it soon so my older self doesn’t look back at me now and feel any shred of disappointment.