Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fashion Ewws and Ahhs

I have a pair of black, pointy, kitten-heel Steve Madden shoes that I adore. They go with everything, they're super comfortable, and although the silverleaf lining inside them is peeling off, they're still in pretty good shape. (Although I have had them re-heeled once).

Anyway, as I was examining the peely lining of one today, I decided to look inside, down the little shoe hallway that leads up to the pointy toe. And all I can say is eww.

Have you ever looked into the toe of a pointy shoe? Apparently if you wear them a lot, they can develop a funky film up in that region. Good thing they look so cute on the outside...

Thank You, Ladies

Someone once gave me a greeting card that read, "Behind every great man is a woman checking out his butt." I'm not sure that she's always checking out his rear, but I do believe that there are great women behind most every good man.

And these ladies deserve to be commended.

Because of mothers, sisters, and even ex-girlfriends, us "other girls" are able to enjoy men who have learned valuable lessons about how to treat us. They're more thoughtful, attentive and sensitive. Lucky us.

I wish I could personally thank each female responsible for the betterment of the guys I've dated. Particularly now, I'd like to bow down to whomever made Mr. Wonderful so sweet that he would do things like leave a vitamin and a glass of water on "my" nightstand before bed, massage my neck while I'm driving, magically produce chocolate from his pocket in response to my complaining about a bad day, bring me a cup of green tea when I'm getting ready for the day, and continually kiss my hands, cheeks and forehead while I'm blathering on about trivial things.

Ladies, your influence has led to my brighter days.

And I hope somewhere out there, there's a girl thinking the same thing about me. I hope that during my time with relatives, exes and friends, I was able to positively impact some aspect of their behavior. Maybe they're a little sillier, maybe they use goofy pet names more often, maybe they write their girls poetry. I just hope they seem as incredible to their women as Mr. Wonderful seems to me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Music Makers

Once upon a time in Ireland, four teenage boys got together to form a band. (Actually it was five if you count Edge's brother.) They played and played, never looking for real jobs or losing sight of their dreams to be rockstars. And now, some 30 years later, they are (according to my standards) the most talented band on the planet.

Last night I saw their new movie, U23D, and it was astounding.

The technical aspects of the film were of course incredible—amazing overhead shots of Edge's hands on the keyboard; Larry beating his heart out on the drums; Bono crinkling his face to belt out an opera; sweeping pans of the crowd, pulsating and singing like crazy. And it was all 3-dimensional. But what truly got me (it's what always gets me) was the purity of their craft.

This quartet of men is globally renowned, yet they share so many moments on stage where they just seem like four high school friends—getting high off their sound and hoping to bring smiles to the faces in the audience. They mingle around one another, guitars in hand, seeming oblivious to their fans at times, truly loving what they do like playful little boys. It makes me feel like the Grinch when his heart swells to three times its size.

Although I think U2 does it better than anyone else, that same purity and passion comes through in the work of so many musicians. Perhaps that's why concerts feel like church to me. The music reaches inside and moves me...the melodies touch me and take me to another place...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Big L

I vividly remember the first time I said "I love you" to someone other than a relative or friend. It was terrifying and exciting and strange. I remember feeling like my mouth didn't know how to form the words—like I'd been hit with Novocaine by the love dentist. They rolled around on my tongue like a foreign fruit I didn't want to swallow or spit out. The only alternative was to say them.

So I did.

The funny thing was, I'd been dying to utter them for weeks. They were in there, clacking around against the back of my teeth, wanting to be shouted to my college boyfriend. But I knew I couldn't say them first. That would break the cardinal rule of dating. A girl who speaks the Big L first is likely to scare the bejeezus out of her guy and be met by a choir of chirping crickets.

I suppose this is because men think that if she drops the (aptly named) L Bomb, they are suddenly responsible for her every happiness. And man alive is that scary! If she says "I love you," she probably wants to tie you down, get pregnant, and wear sweatpants for the rest of her life—all while relying on you to make her feel joyful and pretty.

This makes me feel sorry for the L Word. Just because it has four letters doesn't mean it has to be treated like profanity. Like some word you shouldn't say at the dinner table because your guy might choke on his soup and have a minor seizure. And it shouldn't feel like gag-worthy lychee fruit when you're the one saying it, either.

It's a great word and if we could all just strip away the baggage thought to come with it, maybe there'd be more of it in the world. I'm going to start saying it more often to friends and family. And because it seems to slide more easily off the fingers than off the tongue, I'll just go ahead and tell you right now, if you're reading this blog,
I love you...

Monday, January 28, 2008

One, Two, Cha-Cha-Cha

I know, I know, enough with the dancing metaphors. They just work so well when it comes to dating.

In fact, this past weekend I was acutely aware of how much a relationship is like a dance. Spending 72 hours with someone definitely requires some side-stepping and good posture. You have to be able to walk backwards when he walks forwards, keep your shoulders straight when he's wishing he could slump. And most importantly, you can't step on his toes.

It's not an easy feat with every person. Some people just don't move to the same groove you do, and no matter how much you try to keep your steps straight, sooner or later, the top of your shoe gets squished. It's not fun. And you might just want to stomp on your partner to even the score.

But, I think, ultimately a lot of the success of the dance comes from your own ability to pick up the rhythm. Suddenly it gets easier to move to the music and you actually want to learn the steps. You want to spin out and walk away before rolling along his arm to come back in for a dip. You want to let him take the lead and synchronize your stilettos with his, so you never scuff his shoes. You want to lose yourself for hours while the two of you twirl around one another, hand in hand, mesmerized by what you see, hear and feel. You want the stereo to keep playing and playing and playing until you fall to the floor in an exhausted heap...and even then you probably want another dance to begin.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Don't Wanna Grow Up...Do I?

For the last few years, I've been saving my money to buy some sort of living space receptacle. I wish I was talking about a sprawling ranch in Central California, but I'm more so referring to a 1+ bedroom condo in Glendale.

Recently, I've been thinking more and more about the purchase of a home and the truth is, it's freaking me out. Owning something that big—and agreeing to pay for it over the next 30 years—seems like such a huge, adult responsibility.

And really, am I an adult yet?

It seems so much easier to just live in my little $950/month apartment for the rest of my life. Then I never have to worry about making that big payment—or worse—not being able to make that big payment. I could just continue skating along, like a wealthy college student. Stress-free. Not tied down.

But then I start to think about other risks I've taken...other leaps into responsible, adult waters, and the truth is, they've paid off brilliantly. Sure, they were scary, but they enabled me to grow. Grow up, even.

Maybe buying a home will push me that extra step into real adulthood. And maybe I'll like the view from there. Maybe I'll even have a nice view from my new condo...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What to Do When the Shoe Hits the Floor

I looked up "waiting for the other shoe to drop" online and found this story, from which the phrase is thought to originate:

A man comes in late at night to a lodging house, rather the worse for wear. He sits on his bed, drags one shoe off and drops it on the floor. Guiltily remembering everyone around him trying to sleep, he takes the other one off much more carefully and quietly puts in on the floor. He then finishes undressing and gets into bed. Just as he is drifting off to sleep, a shout comes from the room below, “Well, drop the other one then! I can’t sleep, waiting for you to drop the other shoe!”

Funny thing is, I think it's hard to sleep even after the other shoe drops! That darn shoe acts like a pipe bomb in your head, sending thoughts and debris swirling all over the place.

When the other shoe finally hits the floor, you're presented with missing information. The stuff you needed to understand the full picture. But often, the information or answers you're provided with just lead to more questions. Like: If there's potential that me and my special someone want different things out of life, should I cut off the relationship immediately or wait it out to see if we end up meeting in the middle after awhile?

I don't know what to do with these questions. I don't know if time provides necessary clarity or if eventually someone who is unsure about something will become more sure. Or if, at the early stages of a romance, it's completely ridiculous to even be worrying about that irritating other shoe.

Maybe the trick is to grab the shoes and do a tap dance in them, bopping to the beat of the music, living it up while you can. And if you get good enough at your steps, maybe the person who threw the footwear at you in the first place will find you so entertaining and alluring that they'll join you in your dance. A tapper can only hope.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Lessons We Have to Learn

If I think about it, I can look back on every relationship (even the insignificant ones) and identify some sort of lesson I learned. It could be something simple like, I don't really care for boys who cannot properly pronounce the word "library," or something colossally important like, if I think he's cheating, he probably is. Sometimes the lesson is just, hey I'm not hung up on the last guy before him as badly as I thought I was—he helped me move on.

The thing about these lessons, is that if we don't heed them, they'll keep presenting themselves to us. They want to be learned. However, as a relatively seasoned lesson-learner, there are two I think everyone needs to focus on mastering...

1. If you don't value yourself, no one else will. We all want Prince Charming sweep us off our feet, rush us to the altar and plant his charismatic, royal seed in our lonely, weepy womb. However, that does not mean we should compromise everything we think is important to cater to Princie's needs. We should not give up time with our friends or family to be at his beck and call. We should not allow his fickle feelings to dictate our self worth. We're supposed to be the princesses in this scenario—and if he isn't going to treat us as such, he isn't worth our time. Our value is immeasurable. We need to acknowledge this and treat ourselves with the respect we deserve.

2. Always trust your intuition. It is sooooo easy to silence that little voice in our heads that says, "I really don't like the fact that he's discombobulated and always late." Or, "he's great on paper, but I'm really not that attracted to him." We're so anxious to find Mr. Right that we choose to ignore the red flags in hopes that maybe all his other great attributes will turn them green or blue. But if we're honest with ourselves—really honest—we can usually save time and heartache by just admitting he's not the right fit. Your gut knows what's up. Listen to it.

And if you think there is a lesson to be learned from a past relationship, listen to that too. Or else history will surely repeat itself.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What's in a Name?

I love pet names. Sugarplum, Poptart, Angelpie, Monkeyface, Snuggelina, you name it, I love it. I call my friends by silly names all the time and almost have to bite my tongue to prevent myself from addressing coworkers with them.

I don't know where my penchant for these terms of endearment comes from; I don't remember my parents calling each other Honey or Dear. My sister and brother-in-law drop the big H sometimes, but I've never heard my brother or sister-in-law utter it to one another. I wonder if maybe couples' pet names fall by the wayside when they have kids because all the creative naming effort is put into giving little baby Peanut Pumpkin a sufficiently adoring moniker.

Backing out of the offspring and spouse arena, though, we get to the most important use of the pet name...the first-time use. I'm always a bit stupefied the first time someone I'm dating calls me by one of these little gems. It's like DeNiro takes over and wants to ask, "You talkin' to me?" And I have to wonder: Does it mean something? Does that inaugural name-call mean I've reached a new echelon of endearment in the person's heart and mind?

I sure hope so. Because Sweetie without any significance behind it just isn't as sweet...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love

I just finished this insightful, inspiring novel by Elizabeth Gilbert. It chronicles her personal pilgrimage to find happiness by eating in Italy for 4 months, praying and meditating in India for 4 months and combining the two—discipline and pleasure—in Indonesia for 4 months.

This book was like crack to me. I was instantly addicted to Gilbert's story and writing style, and did not want to put the book down.

First off, the travel aspect of the story is so alluring. The thought of meandering the streets of Italy—batting eyelashes at lovely Italian men, pampering the palate with gelato and pizza and wine, continuously hearing the sound of fountains splashing—had my mouth watering. She says that if Rome had to have a single word associated with it, the word would be: sex. Awesome.

The ashram in India sounded amazing too. I always think of India as being chaotic, crowded, hot and dirty. But she paints a beautiful picture of tranquility, where it's not only easy to reconnect with oneself, but also with God.

Bali, where her expedition ends, is not just an excellent tropical vacation spot, but an island teeming with jovial locals and interesting expatriates.

And that's just the physical journey. The emotional and spiritual trek she goes on is even more fascinating and enviable.

We all go through periods of inner unrest, where we disconnect from ourselves, our communities, our core happiness. We become lost and the only ones who can find us are us. I admire Elizabeth Gilbert so much for taking the time—making the commitment—to rediscover her joy and serenity. We may not all be able to travel the world for a year to find our lost selves, but we should continually work to stay in touch with what makes us content—or even better, blissful.

Read Eat, Pray, Love. You'll savor every page.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Value of...Values

Today I had to sit through an 8-hour class at work dedicated to Managing Personal Growth. Some of it was tedious, but there was core value section that I found quite interesting.

We took a test online, had a friend/family member weigh in with what they thought our values were, then did another exercise with someone in the class wherein they assessed our values based on even more questions. (Odd ones, like: Which would you rather be - a shoe or a sock? and Are you more like green or red?)

The purpose of all this rigmarole was to figure out where (and whether) our values lined up with our current jobs. It took a bit of head tilting, but I think I found a perspective that lines up my values and my job description quite well.

But how many people can say that? If you had to list your top 5 core values, would they be supported by your current career? And if they're not well matched, should you be taking steps to find something that meshes better with what matters most to you?

I think the answer is: Yes.

How can a person really feel fulfilled if the biggest chunk of their days is spent doing something that goes against their top life priorities?! I was forced to do the exercise, but I think it's a worthy one for anyone to do—just to gain insight into why you are or are not happy in your current circumstances.

I guess I'm lucky. Writing seems to feed my Pleasure, Inner Harmony, Health, Adventure, and Wisdom-focused spirit. At least for today. Go figure out what feeds yours.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Glass Houses

First off, let me start by clearing the record: Yesterday's post was NOT autobiographical. It was not about me, but triggered by a story someone else told me about someone. I am NOT the girl who slept with the guy on the second date.

That said, I may be just as guilty as she is of being a little wacky. Yes, it seems that after writing so arrogantly yesterday, I too got bitten by the crazy bug. Ah, the irony.

It's amazing how one's rational mind can go from Cloud 9, Everything's Fine to He-doesn't-want-to-see-me-until-Thursday- he-must-hate-me in less than 2 seconds flat. The key here, though, is to try to manage the unnecessary panic and diffuse the situation. I chose to confront the situation a joking way (I don't actually endorse this approach, even though I used it) and just straight up ask Mr. Wonderful if he was getting tired of me—if he was bored with his latest hobby. Being wonderful, he of course said no, that he was enjoying every second of it.

If I could back up, though, I might have employed one of these other tactics instead:
• Talk to a friend and actually listen and let her calm me down.
• Have a logical inner dialog wherein I reminded myself that a little change in routine or space between visits does not mean that a person is sick of you and doesn't want to see you.
• Write a note to myself, purging all the nonsensical thinking onto paper or an email. Verbal vomit always clears the head.
• Go running. This one works like a charm.
• Search around online for interesting dating and relationship articles. These are a great distraction and often very insightful.

Maybe if Miss Second Date Sleeper-Wither had tried some of the above, she wouldn't have been so apt to call/email/text after getting the brush off, thus saving her rep and preventing me from writing a blog about her. Now excuse me while I go take a large dose of my own medicine...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Decrazification is a Must

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Girl meets guy. Girl likes guy and guy seems to like girl. Girl gets drunk and acts kind of goofy and sleeps with guy on the second date. Then girl begins to panic that guy might blow her off. Guy senses panic. Girl gets drunk again and says more weird stuff she shouldn't say. Guy gets completely freaked out. He tells her they're not right for each other. Girl says okay then proceeds to call/email/or text him like he didn't just break it off with her.

Girl: Get a clue!!!

Okay, okay maybe that's too harsh. We've all probably been through this cycle or some iteration of it. When we're not feeling as secure as we should, it's quite easy to fall into the needy trap. And if you throw in the he's-not-interested challenge, you may want to try even harder to hold onto the boy. But come on, ladies, let's have a little self respect!

First of all, if you're going to get drunk, at least try to keep your verbal filter intact. Secondly, don't go sleeping with him on the first or second date unless you've been corresponding with him online for the last 10 months and you've already decided you're enamored with each others beautiful-on-the-insides. And finally, if you happen to break the first two rules, stay cool! Don't get all single white female on him and chase him around like you're the dogcatcher and he's the city's most wanted pit bull. A wise man once told me, "If someone is chasing you, your natural instinct is to run away." Duh! Guys don't dig girls who chase. So if he tells you he A. needs space B. is seeing other people C. doesn't want to see you anymore, DO NOT call/text/email him unless he contacts you first.

Doing so is just crazy. And we don't need to perpetuate the stereotype that our whole gender is crazy. Now put down the cell phone and go read He's Just Not that Into You. If he doesn't want to be with you, you shouldn't want to be with him either. Amen.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My Cups Runneth Over

I think that priorities can be looked at as a series of cups. You have a family cup, a friend cup, one for work, money, health, love relationships. I happen to have one for writing and one for travel as well.

As you go about your daily life, you are continuously adjusting the level to which you fill your cups. There will be periods when say, your health cup may be a little empty (Too much pumpkin pie during the holidays?). Or maybe you're looking for a new job, so your work cup isn't as full as you'd like it. But the goal is to keep your fulfillment levels balanced across all of your cups. Give yourself a sort of tea party of happiness.

To do this, you have to take stock of your cup contents regularly. You have to identify the ones that are looking a little parched, and work hard to refill them. This can be especially tough when you're smitten with one of your other cups. It's easy to over-devote your attention to one.

But when you reach a point where all of your cups are brimming and flooding around you, it is an exquisite feeling. To strike that balance—reaping fortune and fun from your family and friendships, enjoying great success in your career, receiving bountiful returns for the work you do, having time to partake in your favorite hobbies, making time to take care of your body, and being overjoyed by the person who makes your heart beat a little louder—is to give your spirit the nourishment it needs to flourish. And an abundant life is the best life to live.

Friday, January 11, 2008

If There's a Will, There's a Way

Why is it that oftentimes, we are the thunderous black clouds that rain down on our own parades? We have a thought like, "I want to publish a book this year" and the next thing we know, some doom and gloom little voice is lecturing us on how we don't have enough time to write a book, and the literary marketplace is so competitive that we'll probably never get picked up by an agent, and really we're not even that talented so it doesn't matter anyway.

We can become so self-defeating it's sick! But, if we just changed our tune a bit, we could probably accomplish every one of our hearts' desires!

Being that it's still early in this new year, I think we should all band together and agree to look on the bright side—and look for ways to make our dreams come true. Instead of saying, "I can't go back to school because I'm in debt and have too much else going on," commit to finding ways to make your dreams a reality! There is always a way to make things happen—you just have to be resourceful, optimistic and open-minded.

With so much negativity in the world, it's no wonder we become conditioned to squash some of our own best ideas. But life is too short to continue this way of thinking. You deserve to have everything you want in life. And if you devote all your hope and happiness to having it, you will. Your will can make anything happen. You just have to silence the little voice that's trying to hold you back. Believe me...I'm positive.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unseen Freeway Fairies

Ever notice how magical things happen in the middle of the night? You go into work and your overflowing trash can has been emptied. The floor at your favorite coffee shop has been mopped until it gleams. Soap dispensers have been filled. Plants have been watered. Newspapers restocked.

It's as if an army of fairies goes into action every night to make life more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing for the rest of us.

This morning on my way to work, I noticed that a deep pothole on my freeway offramp had been filled. Some little asphalt sprite must have flown by with his magic wand and zapped it while I was at home luxuriating in my warm, cozy house.

I don't think these people—or pixies—get commended (or even recognized!) enough for the work they do. We drive right over their handiwork, fill the trashcans they empty, soil the sinks they scrub. So today I'd like to give them a verbal pat on the back for making my life a little easier and prettier.

Thank you unsung fairy heroes. You rule.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Age Schmage...What's Another Year?

I have a friend who is turning 40. This particular friend is a terrific person who should really be patting himself on the back for gracing the world with his presence for four decades, but alas, he is trying to keep his upcoming age change very hush hush.

This, I do not understand.

It doesn't matter how old you are turning, you should celebrate—not lament—the fact that you've made it another year. Sure, we all have things we think we should've accomplished by certain ages (when I was 12 I thought I'd be married and have a house and kids by the year 2000) but this is no reason to hold back when our birthdays arrive.

We may get a few more wrinkles as time goes by and maybe we're not in as good of shape as we were when we were 25. But those wrinkles are symbols of all the laughs we've had! And our pouchy guts are indicative of how good life has been—how we've been able to eat, drink and be merry!

Really, I think we're lucky to experience these changes. It's like we get to try living in a different body every 10 years. And all the stuff about where we should be or who we should be with? Hogwash. We're exactly where we're supposed to be—or maybe we're backing up a little to do a running start in another exciting direction. Wherever we stand, we should be proud. We should be shouting off the rooftops, "I'm 31 and 3/4 and I'm happy to be here!"

Furthermore, 40 is the new 20. Which means that none of us are even going to be middle aged until our mid 60's or 70's. So I say we all pipe down, stop complaining and hiding, and start celebrating!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

No Regrets

It's so easy to look back on the decisions we've made and think, "if only I'd done this instead..." We wish we would have taken a different path, chosen to say different words, elected to live in a different city. But had we gone an alternative route, we probably wouldn't be standing where we are today. And wherever you are, it's a good place to be.

I dated the same guy all through college—some of my primo dating years. The relationship was tumultuous and heartbreaking and sometimes a lot of fun. But I passed up the opportunity to date cute Newport Beach surfers and Fullerton-based artists. And for what? To end up single after four and a half years.

But you know what? I wouldn't take any of it back. Because I learned a lot about love and myself, and I made choices that led me to my current status: complete happiness. Because of this boy, I moved from Costa Mesa to Montrose...thus leading me to seek an internship in Glendale...which led to my first job in advertising out of college. If I hadn't been dating him, I could be a bleached, botoxed Orange County wife now! To that I say: Thank goodness I didn't date around in college!

We can all look back and identify situations we could (or should) regret. Bill probably regrets Monica. Britney probably regrets not wearing panties. But all of our experiences—even the bad ones—provide us with lessons and sometimes the motivation to launch us forward.

Don't regret. Look for the reasons why the decisions you made were the right ones.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Exclusivity Dance

I had lunch with a male friend today with whom I meet every month or two to discuss the world's greatest mystery: relationships. He and I get together, put on our sociological and anthropological hats and try to discern the meaning of—and proper approach to—each of dating's elusive dance steps. At some point during our discussions, we always end up admitting that neither of us has any idea what we are doing.

Today's conversation was all about timing. When do you start calling someone every day? When do you break it off if you're uncertain about the person? When do you know you two are a couple if it's going well? And if you're not sure about any of the above, when is it safe to broach the subject with the other person in the relationship?

We agreed that the bottom line is decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis. However, we also stumbled onto something that seems so obvious but felt a bit revolutionary—and extremely important.

When dancing your way into a more serious relationship, you have to make a concerted effort to cultivate the friendship.

This takes some of the urgency out the "whens" and, more critically, builds the kind of foundation that every relationship should have. Being friends enables you to enjoy the downtime more, to have the awkward conversations more easily, to let your guard down and be silly. I believe that all of these should feed the desire to be exclusive with someone. If you can be yourself and act like a dork around them, they're a better match than that complete hottie whose pants you want to rip off but can't carry on a conversation with. And the best part about becoming friends is that there's no right or wrong time for it to happen. You can start working at it on day one.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Alovely Alone Time

There's nothing better than spending time with your main squeeze. Hours and days can evaporate in a blur of cuddling on the couch, eating take-out and sleeping with your foreheads pressed together. It's fantastic.

However, equally fantastic is what happens when you leave the love nest and go back to your own apartment. You get to be all alone...

And although the flavor is a bit different, this too can be a delicious passing of hours and days. You can exercise smack-dab in the middle of your living room, leave your sweaty hair in a ponytail, make a cup of your favorite tea and curl up to read a captivating chick book for as long as you want. You don't have to answer to anyone. You don't have to impress anyone. You can have spinach in your teeth and stubble under your armpits and it doesn't matter one tiny, little bit.

Everyone needs this time. Everyone needs to be comfortable in their aloneness. When it comes down to it, you're all you've really got. And if you can't pass the minutes enjoying your own self, you'll be passing up some of the best time of your life.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ghosts of Christmases Passed

A friend sent me a quote yesterday that said, "Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." The quote had been sent to her by her ex, who was admitting that even though he knew their relationship had failed several times, he couldn't help wanting her back again.

Falling out of love can be a tightrope walk similar to the one you tread when falling in love. The difference is that you're flanked by rational, move-on-and-let-go sensibilities and insane, but-wait-maybe-it-could-work nonsense. And at some point, all of us indulge that crazy side. We may not act on it, but we all consider—if only for a moment—what it would be like to reunite with our ex.

If we are fortunate enough to completely jump off the tightrope and take to bouncing on the rational trampoline below, we still run the risk of being haunted by our exes—especially if they're tangled up in the irrationality safety net. They can't see clearly and the next thing you know, they're calling you, emailing you, writing you poetry and telling you they made a huge mistake and don't want to live without you.

This would be the time to consider the quote noted above. Doing the same science experiment multiple times usually doesn't miraculously yield a new result. Sure, people can change, but often the dynamics between two people stay the same forever.

So if a ghost from Christmas past comes a'texting or a'calling, ask yourself a few simple questions:
1. Why do I think this will be different than it was before?
2. Why did I choose not to be with this person?
3. If things fall apart again, will I be better or worse off than I am now without them?

Then call your best girlfriend and get her read on it. Sometimes we need someone to spot us when we're walking that fine line. A cute little parasol comes in handy too...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Aaah Amor

Falling for someone really is like losing your balance. You have to be careful or you could topple to the sidewalk, split open your head and watch every last stream of sense trickle down the gutter. It's like walking a tightrope—caution to one side and crazy to the other.

But oh how incredibly tempting it is to dive off the rope to the crazy side. Throw your cats in a Trader Joe's bag, grab some flip flops and changes of underwear and show up on his doorstep shouting, "I'm here! I'm crazy about you! I never want to leave!"

The first days and weeks and months are so delicious you just want to pour the other person into a glass and drink them.

I think this is one of the fantastic things about love (or its earlier stages "like-like" and "like a lot"). By design, the schmoopy, dreamy first days serve as the foundation for the hard stuff ahead. So that when you two have your first fight or your 100th fight, or you're up to your ears in dirty diapers or home repairs, you can hearken back to the memories of the early days. You can remember that there was a time when the person you may want to strangle now lit your fire like no one else.

If this is the case, if initial bliss is the savior for later frustration, I believe that it's crucial to soak up every moment and burn it into your memory. The worst that can happen is that your mind will be filled to the brim with sweetness and maybe a little bit of crazy...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Run Free in 2008

This morning on my way to work, I crossed paths with an escaped horse. She was trotting up the street, riderless, wearing horsie legwarmers and holding up a line of traffic at least 6 cars long. She looked thrilled to be free—enjoying a morning walk without anyone directing her to speed up, slow down, turn right or left.

The twinkle in her big brown eyes made me think about the possibilities for 2008. Maybe this should be the year we all go a little wild. We could all push ourselves to do something crazy and new. Run a marathon. Take salsa lessons. Volunteer for the Democratic Party.

Or maybe just open our mouths and set free our own voices. Say the things we've been too afraid to say. Speak up to the people who hurt us. Tell the people we love how deeply we really feel.

That horse (let's call her Brenda) is a shining example of what we should all be doing: Getting out there and exploring new avenues.

Curious about an international city? Save up and book a trip! Interested in learning to cook Moroccan food? Sign up for a class! Tired of sitting at a desk all day? Apply for a new job that lets you get outside more often!

Each day presents another chance to experience something new. And if we don't nudge open the gate or hop the fence every now and then, we'll miss out. So put on your legwarmers and start trotting! It's a brand new year!