Saturday, October 17, 2009

What is the one and only word that says who you are?

As I had previously mentioned, I am reading Eat. Pray. Love. for the second time and it is having such a different meaning for me. I seem to have the ability to relate every character, heroine, love story, tragedy, even horoscope to my own life. Still, somehow a 32 year old woman who leaves a marriage and pursues her dreams in Italy (among other countries) has an uncanny likeness. While I didn't leave a marriage, the end of a 4 year relationship and engagement had the same effect on me.  Of course I have also found my own adventures and love for Italy, but that is a story for another post.

Elizabeth Gilbert discusses with Giulio, a plutonic friend in Rome, about how different cities have their own word associated with them.  Rome's is sex, the Vatican's is power (not faith), New York's is achieve, LA's is succeed, Naples' is fight and Stockholm's is conform.  Gilbert then tries to find her word, a challenge I feel every woman should undertake.  Gilbert knows that her words are not family or marriage -- for this was the life she had just left.  She was also happy (as am I) that her word (and mine) is no longer depression. She then toys with some possibilities -- seek, hide, pleasure, devotion -- and none quite stick.  It is hard to find one word that sums up who you are. 

I was discussing this with a friend and she actually came up with my word.  I don't know if this still counts, after all, it wasn't my creative idea, but it is so perfect. My word is evolve, or more precisely, evolving as it is an action, a process that I am undergoing.  Who I am is changing at such a rapid pace.  I have learned more about myself in the last ten months than I had in twenty-nine years. I have changed my outlook on life, on love, on duty and on happiness. I am evolving into the person, and woman I really want to be.  It may be a little scarier than the marriage word I had once focused so intently on, but it allows for so many possibilities and that is exactly where I want to be.

What is your word?

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Single at a Wedding. Adventures in Tofino...con't.

I have now returned to Vancouver and wanted to share what was a fantastic weekend.  My second wedding as a Single could not have turned out any better and I did not feel ostracized, embarrassed or shamed in the least. Maybe this was partly due to my state of mind, but I think it was largely the actions of the guests and wedding party.

Both families were incredibly welcoming and hospitable. On the eve of the wedding, I met up with the bride's aunts and uncles and they treated me like I was one of their own.  The mother of the bride has 11 siblings, so four were there with their spouses and they mentioned how accustomed they are to having new people come in and out of their family.  By the end of the evening, we were joking that I was "cousin Kristie" and even "Oma" (the 87 year old grandmother) was telling me how I my colouring and personality made me like one of the family.

The wedding day was spectacular.  Until recently I had thought I would want a large wedding where I would be worshipped as the princess of the ball, but the 45 at this wedding could not have been more perfect.  The ceremony was on the beach, followed by a cocktail reception and elaborate meal and wine pairing. The size of the wedding allowed the bride and groom to recognize every single person throughout the speeches and individuals were able to get up and tell stories about the couple.  It was so intimate and I could not have imagined it working out any better.  I made friends with a woman who was there with her husband and darling 11 month old little boy.  He was such a charmer to the ladies and he and I had a special connection.  Again the pangs of wanting children creeped up on me, but I was able to douse the feelings by remembering that my opportunity will come and that it is not a race, despite the societal pressures that claim that it is the "thing to do" at 30. The evening ended with an "Arabian Nights" gathering in a tent on the beach and it could not have been a better ending to the perfect day.

What was so noteworthy to me as a Single at the wedding, was the level of understanding and support of the families and select guests.  For some reason I found myself sharing my very personal story with a few people and they had such faith in my decisions and the path I plan to take. They even told me that they expect to hear updates from the bride at the next family reunion. I felt such a warmth enveloping me and did not feel I had to justify my "status" or feel ashamed for being alone. A person's kindness can make such a difference in the world. I feel so blessed to have been part of this celebration. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Can Singles Survive in a Couple's Town?

I am currently writing from Tofino, British Columbia.  For those not familiar, it is on the west coast of Vancouver Island and is the last destination before a long stretch of ocean and Japan on the other side. It is well known for its surfers and tourists and in my case, a wedding.  I arrived here yesterday and had no idea the beauty that awaited me.

Tofino is also known as a great couple's getaway. My beautiful room has a king sized bed, two lounge chairs on my private patio, two wine glasses, two complimentary breakfast vouchers and one fireplace. Being a Single, this could provide much reason for sadness and anxiety, although I am pleasantly surprised that loneliness has not reared its ugly head.  The bed is large enough for me to stretch out in a starfish and the beach is steps away for me to go on long, romantic walks (solo!).

There are three female Singles at this wedding.  Myself, the sister of the bride and the sister of the groom.  An interesting combination I think.  The bride's sister came over last night before dinner and we popped a bottle of champagne, took some pictures of the stunning setting and sat back to chat in our "couple's retreat".  All things considered, it was a pretty wonderful time.  Today we are going for a bike ride to explore the little town and tonight I will likely relax in my soaker tub with Eat.Pray.Love. (my second reading!)

More updates to come, but I guess my revelation is that a Single in the right mind set can overcome any of the mental landmines she may encounter. So I am off for my run on the beach, workout in the gym and daytime activities in this couple's domain.  Wish me luck!  

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hey Singles! Ever thought of pursuing an office romance?

Office liaisons can lift hearts?or just raise eyebrows | Article | Homepage articles

I have never had any interest in pursuing anyone in the workplace, but I am not against it as long as good judgment is used. I once had two co-workers who are now married. We didn't even know they were in a relationship until he quit and proposed to his office romance. 

There is truth, regardless of age or generation,that our personal and professional lives are blurring more and more. As long as we manage our online and and in-person "footprint", I don' think there should be anything wrong with dating in the workplace. What do you think?

If you are already pursuing a workplace relationship, check out these tips on how to 

Happy dating!

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Are Women Still Looking For Prince Charming?

Are Women Still Looking For Prince Charming?

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A married woman and mother comments on Single in Society

I wanted to share this wonderful comment as a result of the post "Three Women and a Baby". We love hearing from singles as well as marrieds/mothers, so keep the conversation flowing! 

Anonymous said...

It was in fact MY HUSBAND who read your blog before I did and walked me arm in arm to the computer screen. He was moved by not only your articulate and colorful descriptions of your observations of society, but also your hopeful and open-minded conclusions. Apparently married men find single women's insights just as interesting as other single women!!

What thoughtful and challenging friends the two of you must be!! (wink wink!) 

As a new mother, I can completely relate to what you describe. What I find additionally interesting is how pockets of society craft "milestone norms" if you will, that are not in fact norms at all if one just steps outside of the postal code. They are really just comfort zones that women can somehow measure up to in times of uncertainty. Get married, don't, have a baby, don't, whatever makes you happy. I'll be happy that you are happy! 

Bravo to you both. I hope you will continue to shed light on both the real and perceived ideas of women in society in general and in the process of creating dialogue tear down these perceived norms and build lasting and supportive relationships amongst them.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Manolos and Doggie Biscuits

You may recall, a few years ago, our oh-so-favourite Carrie Bradshaw attended a baby shower where her prized Minolos were stolen. Upon deliberating with her crew, she calculated the amount she had spent on bridal showers, bachelorette parties, wedding gifts, baby showers, first birthdays...the list goes on. As a single lady, she never had the party, never had the gift, never had the celebratory drink or cake or hors d'oeuvre in her honour. 

When the hostess was confronted about the missing heels, she reluctantly offered compensation. They were Manolos -- a very expensive shoe -- and the friend balked at the exorbitant price and frivolity of the item. She spoke of duties and parenthood and all the reasons why she shouldn't be required to pay such a sum. 

The end result included Carrie registering for her prized shoes and the hostess grudgingly making the purchase and sending along greetings, as one would when they are celebrating a friend's nuptials. It was a very happy ending for C.B.!

I was reminded of this story today when I heard of plans for a doggie shower in honour of my friend becoming a "mother" to her new "child". Having never wed, she has not had the opportunity to participate in the pre-marital bliss and revelry of the bride- or mother-to-be. The canine celebration will have all the trimmings -- themed invites, catering, gifts, party games, decor -- and guests will shower her with love, admiration and giddiness, just as they would the blushing bride.

While there are still opportunities for bridal celebrations in her future, this single gets to be the guest of honour at her party.  Pics and stories to come!!!  

Thirty and *gasp* single

It started about five years ago. Everyone – and we mean EVERYONE – got married. Being in a university sorority meant we knew a lot of women – some as close friends, some as acquaintances and some simply as recurring names in the endless stream of gossip that permeated our lives as part of the so-called “Greek system.” Back then we were like all the other girls – crushing, flirting, dating, crying, begging, breaking up, getting back together, falling in and out of love and, from time to time, daring to dream of our future weddings. What would the dress look like? How many bridesmaids would we have? And – most importantly – who would the groom be? We were all travelling the same path at that time; all puzzling over the complexities and emotions of “being in a relationship;” all wondering (and worrying) – when would that wonderful, white day, with its “I dos” and promises of everlasting love and happiness, come?

And then we came to that big, fat intersection. You know the one. You can either take a right, hit cruise-control and coast down scenic Wedding Way, where the sun shines and the birds sing and all the floral arrangements match the place settings or hang a left, shift into four-wheel drive and do your darndest to navigate Lonely Lane, a rocky, winding, unpredictable route fraught with potholes, landmines and seats at the singles’ table (it’s the one at the back of the room, in case you didn't know). Read more.