Thursday, November 21, 2013

What will be...

What will be, will be.

I can do all the right things, and I can make mistakes.

Either way, I can not control the outcome.

Today I'm trying to reach peace with my imperfect life, to grasp its beauty, to love it as it is.  I'm trying not to be caught up in the tough moments, not allow the difficulty to define me.

I haven't heard back yet from that job.  I do not know what they will say.  But as I think of it, I'm trying my hardest not to pin all my hopes and dreams on it.  I want it - yes, very much.  But what will be, will be.  And I will create my life, somehow, some way, and none of this defines me.

I'm about to go for a run on this beautiful, clear, frosty morning.  I'm not as Zen about all of this as I'm trying to be, but I am trying.  What else can I do?

My mother says, "Let go, let God."  Her faith in that expression is unwavering.

I'm trying to do all of the right things to create the life I want for myself, but I'm also trying to let go and accept what is and what will be.  That's new for me, and it's uncomfortable....but it also feels right.

Breathe in, breathe out.  Is there anything else that I can do?  Yes, I can apply elsewhere (I will).  Yes, I can keep a good attitude.  But this one, this job, I'm turning to the universe, and I will try to accept whatever answer I receive with grace.

Thanks for putting in a good word for me.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Roller coaster - going back up!

This evening I got another email, this time saying that I was a finalist (what? I wasn't already a finalist?) for the other job, and they'd like to talk to me for a half hour on Monday.  We're talking salary, and we're close enough with our numbers to be interesting.  Apparently the team loved me...and my fingers are crossed.

But I feel like this process is aging me.  I'm exhausted.  The rejection, the hope, the fear.

And this is my life we're talking about here: my career, which is very important to me, but also my financial stability.  I'm thinking in four week increments right now, and it's terrifying.

I want to have grown up finances.  I want to have a grown up career.

I am ready to be back in the workforce, juggling a million balls, rather than cowering at home watching television shows that mean nothing to me.

This feels like an identity crisis, and I like to think "In a year, I'll look back and be happy about how it all worked out" but right now, well, I'm in the thick of it, freaked out, and wondering how my life got so crazy.

Deep breaths.

Runner Up

I got the first call, from the dream job.

I'm fabulous.  I really made a good showing.

I didn't get the job.

The person who got the job has ten years of experience that I do not.

There are silver linings and I got lots of praise yada yada yada but you know what?  This sucks, and I'm sad.



I try to imagine my life next week.

Will I be posting on Facebook some perky but resigned message like, "Getting closer!  The last job interviews didn't yield the job of my dreams, but I am convinced I'm on the right path.  Looking ahead for the next opportunities - wish me luck!  So grateful that I'm a finalist, that good organizations recognize that I am a contender."

or will I be posting, "Yippeeee!  I begin work at __________ next week, and I'm so excited to light the world on fire!  Thanks, everyone, for supporting me through my career transition.  Can't wait to dig in!"

or will I simply crawl into my bed and shake, unable to say a single word to anyone?

I can't imagine any of it right now.  I fear that the third option is the real one.  It's the one filled with self doubt, fear, anxiety, sleeplessness.

I have consulting work I'm behind on (it's only a few hours a week, deadly dull, and I haven't caught up).  But right now I'm going to go for a run and try to shake my malaise, because I feel so stuckstuckstuck I can't stand it.  I "know" I'm not stuck - hey, I just did multiple rounds of interviews, and I *am* a contender - but I can't shake the feeling.  My reserves are getting lower, in many categories.

Maybe if I go for a run, I'll shake the feeling, get the Wonder Woman feelings back, fill with optimism and a can-do attitude.  I'll come back from the run and do the consulting work, dash to the grocery store, take care of business.

Good wishes still welcome.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Two interviews last Monday.
One interview Tuesday.
One interview Friday.
One interview today.

I am a finalist for two positions, and whatever will be will be - all those interviews are for the two positions, and whatever is done is done.

On Friday I was flying high, feeling like I'd given a great interview.  But last night I barely slept, and at 4am I was wide awake, fretting.

I gave it my all today.

I think I may have come off like an over-enthused puppy.  Or a braggart - look at me, look at me, I'm awesome, look at me!  I fear I may have annoyed MYSELF let alone the two people interviewing me.

And now I want to crawl into a hole - okay, bed would suffice - and hibernate until this is over.

Please wake me up when there is a fantastic job offer, okay?  Otherwise, please just let me whimper for a while.

That really took it out of me.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I'm a confident woman.

I know that I have what it takes to succeed in life: smarts and a good education, a kind heart, a solid set of core values, persistence and optimism, a great social network and a supportive family.  I realize that I have been blessed in many ways, and that I have every reason to succeed.


Except that when it's all on the line, I start to feel like a total fraud, a sham, a disaster.

I'm waiting to hear back from my interview last week, and I'm preparing for my interview tomorrow.  Today I had to take some online tests for the interview tomorrow, and they were simplistic, and yet I worried that I would fail.

Confidence out the window.  Heart racing.  Fear surging.

This is just part of the process, I think.  Find me one person who doesn't experience doubt, and I'll be surprised at their existence.

But knowing that we all experience fear, doubt, and insecurity doesn't make mine any less real.  My heart is racing, and I question whether I'll ever be able to land on my feet.


One foot in front of the other.  I will make my life happen, and if it's not to be this week, then maybe next week.  Time will tell, and until then, I suppose I'd better get used to living with doubt and fear, unless you have a better suggestion!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Yet more thoughts on online dating

I caved, and I put my profile back up on OkCupid.  It's just too entertaining to see who clicks on me, who contacts me.  It's slightly addictive, and while I'm not sure that's a good thing, I guess I'll own it.  It's fun to feel popular, and getting the notes "so and so has marked you as a favorite" and seeing messages come in, well, it's good for a girl's ego, and hugely amusing. 

Amusing?  Yes. 

For Halloween this year I went as Wonder Woman - I've long considered her my alter ego.  I love saving the world, I fought as hard as any superhero to fight cancer, and I try hard to keep a backbone filled with integrity and I love the lasso of truth.  What's more, she's an Amazonian warrior, and it is rumored that Amazonian women often had mastectomies to make it easier to draw back their bows.

Hey, I take comfort where I can find it.

Anyway, I finally, after years of thinking about it, bought a Wonder Woman costume and wore it to an annual Halloween party that I attend.  The online reviews (I couldn't find one in a store) were good, and one said, "It was a bit more modest than I'd hoped - I wanted to be sassy but the skirt hit my knees!" and I thought "Perfect!" because it's a family party.  However, that person, as well as the model depicted in the costume, must have been six inches shorter than I am, because on me it was shortshortshort.  I had to wear running shorts under it, because if I simply leaned over, my backside was exposed.

I posted a picture of myself as Wonder Woman - in the hands on hips, legs slightly apart, bold pose that she's famous for - as my primary photo on OkCupid.

Oh dear.  Not a good judgement call.  Good for the ego, perhaps, but it sent a message that I did not intend.  One message read "Halloween?  I was hoping that was a bedroom costume!" and that summarized pretty well what the rest of them implied.  Clearly, the gents were looking at one picture and contacting me, ignoring pretty much the entire rest of the profile.  Often, the match percentage was well below 60% (OkCupid sends the warning "Y'all got issues").

Getting a dozen or more messages per day does not help one to find a romantic partner if those messages are from people that I really do not have any desire to meet.  It is actually helpful that a 22 year old thinks that I'm hot?  Or that a married guy who is looking for a friend with benefits (hey, at least he's honest, but YUCK) finds me exciting?  What about the guy who asked me if I really enjoyed my plain?  (Not my typo, his.  Being a smart aleck, I couldn't help but respond that I preferred mountains to plains.  He said, "No, your invisible plain!" and I let it drop.  I don't want to be mean, and I shouldn't have written back in the first place.)

I changed back to a "regular" photo, a headshot, with no costume in sight.  I'm sure that the number of messages that I receive will fall, and I'm okay with that.  I kept the Wonder Woman photo, but now someone would have to scroll down to find it, so we'll see if that helps.  I like my Wonder Woman side, sassy and strong, a little sexy, but it's not the only part of me, and to find that picture they'll have to see me in a running outfit, in a little black dress, on a hiking trail.

It may be a numbers game, and more interest is better....except that it's not.  I want to find one man worthy of my attention, not dozens of men who are poor matches.


I did some web surfing to find out what men think of online dating, and I found some pretty entertaining responses.  There are entire chat forums dedicated to teaching men how to get laid through online dating.  What I thought was super interesting is that these guys are paying attention: there were those who advised "if a chick says that her life is great, lots of friends, and she has a zillion interests, don't even bother writing her" and "go for the girls who say they're bored" and "look for the boob shot selfies".

My profile doesn't draw too many of those guys, and I'm glad.  I am anything but bored (bored? who has time to be bored?) and I don't come across as a pushover.  (I'm Wonder Woman, remember?)

I do draw a fair number of Nice Guys.  A note for Nice Guys: never, ever, ever write a message to a woman saying "You probably get too many messages to even notice me..." Confidence is attractive, and if you think that you're not worthy of notice, why would I want to notice you?  Please also do not use bland terms like "I'm a nice guy."  I don't want a "nice guy" because I want someone who is on fire with loving life.  Show me you've got some character!  Show me that you know who you are.  We're in our forties, and we know what we want.  Right?

And if you read about how I love swimming in alpine lakes on long hikes, and how I enjoy camping, and your idea of nature is a walk in Central Park before lunch....then why are you contacting me?  Conversely, if your idea of dressing up is putting on the jeans with no holes in them, do you really think that a girl who shows pictures of herself dressed for the theater will find you a good match?  Please, own who you are, and accept who I am.  Do you really want me on your case saying, "PLEASE come hiking with me!" or "You're not going to wear that downtown, are you?"  No.  And I don't ever want to say those words.  We're not a fit, and that's okay.

Speaking of which, if you are old enough to be my son, or my father, I'm not going to write you back.  Do you really want to be a story I tell my girlfriends about your utter unsuitability?  I don't care if you're a gazillionaire, or if you are super hot, I'm not going to write you back.

I have learned to sort through the dealbreakers quickly, too.  If you sound like Mr.Perfect, but you want to start a family, I'm not your lady.  If you look fantastic, but live 100 miles away, I'm not going to get started.  If you're not-quite-divorced, I'm going to let you work through all of that before I'm willing to meet you.  (Call me in a year.)

And I'm sorry, but chemistry matters.  A lot.  If I'm not attracted to you for one reason or another, I'm just not.  I am sorry for that....but I'm not sorry, too.  I do not expect everyone to be attracted to me, but when you write me I know that you're drawn to how fit I am, to the fact that I look younger than I am, to the fact that I smile a lot.  It's not shallow, it's just the reality, and the gentlemen writing me feel the same way, whether they admit it or not.  It amuses me to no end when an overweight man contacts me and only mentions my looks: if you place such a high emphasis on looks, then why aren't you taking care of yourself?

Another note for the gents:  Smile.  Seriously.  If you have five pictures, and not one of them is smiling, you look humorless, bleak, and pessimistic.  Is that really how you are?


I am online, and I have a profile.  But I'm not initiating messages, and I'm not accepting many dates.  I say "no thank you" a lot, and I'm okay with that.  I'd rather be by myself than with the wrong person, and I've gotten better at identifying the wrong people before we even meet.  It saves everyone a lot of time in the end.  :-)

I'm not better, or worse, than the men who are contacting me.  I am not here to judge whether they are good people, whether they are worthy of love (we all are).  I only know what I want, and what is a good match for me.  I think if we were all honest about what we wanted, we'd have a better time finding it.

I am glad to receive some attention online - I'm human, and it's nice to be flattered.  But I'm also glad that I'm okay being alone, because it looks like it could stay that way for a while.


Ladies, what are your online dating experiences?  Advice for others?

Gents, what about you?  How is your online dating?  Advice for others?  Feedback?

Saturday, November 9, 2013


It was quite a week.

Yesterday I interviewed with a fantastic organization.  I know that it went well - deep inside me, my heart and mind are both at peace that I gave the best interview that I was capable of giving, that I made a good impression, that I gave it my all.

I looked around their offices with a bit of hunger: hunger to be part of an organization that I believed in, doing good works that change people's lives.  Hunger to change my own life, as well.  And hunger for smart colleagues who share my values, who laugh with me over coffee, who brainstorm around tables, who then go out and change the world.

It's getting closer.  Yesterday was a taste of it.  Will they offer me the job?  I have no idea.  I feel strongly that I am a great candidate, but these things are what they are, and perhaps there is another great candidate, with more experience than myself.  That is out of my control, and it is what it is.

On Tuesday, I will repeat the experience, only for a job that I want even more than the one yesterday.

It is exhausting sometimes, this life of mine.  Yesterday evening I felt like I was in a fog, and I didn't climb into bed so much as fall into it.  This morning, I've delayed my run a big, because gallons of coffee while lying in bed, my dog at my feet, and my daughter (and cat) sleeping in the room down the hall, seems like a picture of bliss.  I am grateful to rest, to regroup, to have some downtime.  Next week, I will interview again, I will find more jobs to apply for, to be excited about.  I will network. I will try to move forward this life of mine.

But today, I rest, and dream of the future that is starting to feel within reach...

Thursday, November 7, 2013


These interviews have me feeling squirrely.  It's hard to focus because I keep thinking about them, not about looking for other interviews, or the tasks at hand...

But what if I actually got The Job?

With a reasonable salary, and benefits, and vacation time?  And colleagues and meaningful work and an organization that is well run?  With a good commute, intellectually satisfying work, and work that changed the world?

Ohhhhhhhhh.  That sounds good.  Very good.

What if I started saving for retirement again, and didn't go into debt?

What if I could plan vacations?

What if I could look people in the eye and tell them what I do with pride in my voice?

What if my life felt stable and solid again, not so up in the air?

The odds are against me in some ways.  I know that.

But I have faith that it will work out.

Mostly.  I struggle.  But I'm working hard on that faith, and I do have faith in myself, and that the universe is on my side.

The next few days are important.  And scary.

I'm hopeful.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Five Day Plan

Things are getting interesting.

Two companies are courting me for similar job descriptions - the job description that I most wanted, the one I thought was out of reach.  And these are world class employers, and I don't have a single connection to them....I applied cold over the internet.

Oh dear God thank you.  Thank you.

I feel validated.

It is not easy to be in my mid-forties and switching careers.  There is so much at stake, but I believe in my heart and soul that I am meant to be on this path.  That doesn't mean it's not scary, though.  It's terrifying.  My meager savings (I've been divorced less than a year for goodness' sake - and we all know I came out of my divorce with no money!) is almost gone, and unemployment is small, and if I don't figure it out soon I will be in a lot of trouble.


My resume is getting attention from good people.

Executive and director level folks that I know in the field are telling me that I've got what it takes, that I'm a great candidate.  But some little voice inside me said, "maybe they're just being nice?" and I worried that despite their great feedback, encouragement, and support maybe I didn't have it.

But the interest I'm receiving makes me feel like I HAVE GOT IT.

I've made it through the resume screen and the initial interviews, and next up (Friday, and then Tuesday) are the panel interviews.

One of these jobs really, really, really makes my soul sing.  It makes me shaky to think of it, actually, because it's so damn exciting.  It's work I believe in, work that I know I could do well.  Work that changes the world, that is meaningful to me.  It's for a great organization, and combines many of my experiences and talents.  I'd work with amazing people.  And I'd be at a great organization with good standing, with career potential, with interesting, smart colleagues.  I met the man who could be my boss, and he was sharp and personable and a great communicator, and I know I could learn from him.

And then he emailed me the benefits package, and I nearly started drooling.  The benefits are simply extraordinary - rock solid.

Is it strange to covet a retirement plan?

I know it's not strange to covet good medical.  And the vacation/sick/personal/holiday leave.....oh my gosh it's almost European.

There was another job I wanted, one that was related to cancer, and now I think I want this one even more.  Cancer takes it out of me - when people hear my story, they want to know who my doctors were, they want me to give them the magic that kept me alive, and it's so hard for me to do that without going back to those dark places.

But this - it's got spirit, it's got life, it's got something powerful in it.


I will try to give both places my all.  I will try to get two offers, and accept the one that best suits me.  I will do my best.

I know I could lose them both.  For the job I want the most, I am one of four, or possibly five, final candidates.  I know that I connected, but others may have connected, too.

Over the next few days, I will have to get my head into a very, very, very good place.  I will have to be as sharp and clear as I've ever been.

Please send love and prayers.

I am ready to change the world, and if this is my path, I would feel so incredibly blessed to take it.

Dear God - please?  Pretty please?


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Five Year Plan (edited)

My whole life, I have been filled with plans.  I have written more five year plans than I care to count.  I have planned the big picture, and I've planned the small picture.

I used to believe that I would die at the age of 100 in Bryan's arms.  I thought I could will that wish into being.

Few called me a realist for that one.

Right now, my life is up in the air once again.  Or is it still?  For aren't all of our lives up in the air?  The diagnosis that changes it all, the phone call, the indiscretion (yours or someone else's), the bank statement, the job offer, the loss, the gain, the children or lack of children, the lovers or lack of them....aren't all of our lives whims of fate, out of our control?

The best laid plans of mice and men...

We can plan.  We can save, and plot, and strategize, and ration, and spend, and sometimes our plans come true.  But ultimately, fate plays a hand, and it is a rare soul who lives out his or her five year plans, one after the other.

I no longer know what my five year plan is.  It's terrifying.  It's liberating.

I think I am slowly, uncertainly, hesitantly coming to peace with the idea that it's okay that I don't know what my future holds, and that what I can do to influence my future is limited and imperfect.  That perhaps it is not a failure on my part, but simply the impossibility of prediction...and that maybe, just maybe, it's okay.  That perhaps things will turn out far differently than I plan, but that maybe that will be okay, too.  Or maybe better than okay.

I've definitely believed in the idea that our actions shape our lives, and I like that idea: if I work hard, behave nicely, and make smart decisions, then things will turn out well.  But we all know that sometimes it doesn't happen that way, that bad things happen to good people, and that there are no guarantees.  If I could figure this one out, I'd be much wiser than I really am, and I haven't figured it out.  But maybe I can reach tentative peace with it.  Maybe there are forces bigger than myself - God, the universe, fate? - and there is some bigger picture that I am a part of, even if I can't see it.

There is freedom in turning that over to something bigger than myself, to admitting that I am not in control.  I can steer the wheel, I can make decisions, and those decisions matter....but what happens on the road in front of me is not mine to command.

I don't "get it."  I do not understand why I needed to have cancer, divorce, or now unemployment, in order to progress through this life of mine.  But I know that cancer taught me about strength and resiliency that I did not know I possessed; I know that divorce has freed me not only from a marriage that hurt me more than it helped me, but divorce also freed me to become a person I should have been all along.  What is it that unemployment must teach me?   Whatever it is, I'm open to the idea that there is a silver lining to it, that perhaps this is yet another metamorphosis, and that maybe I will come out of it better than ever if I only heed the lesson.

We can't choose our lessons, they come to us.  But what we do with them is our choice, and that is where our plans kick in: we alter course, we learn the lesson, we try a new direction, better than before.

Here's what is ON the five year plan.  You don't expect me to stop wishing, dreaming, you?  Just because I know it won't happen the way I plan, doesn't mean that I don't know what I want.

- Employed with work that makes my soul sing, because it is meaningful to me and to the world.  (Not other people's opinions, but the world itself.  I want my work to change the world.)

- Financially self sufficient, responsible, with enough left over for some extras, including travel.

- A happy, well adjusted daughter, who will be in high school, getting good grades, with good friends, moving towards college.  She and I will have a solid, loving relationship, based in trust and humor.

-  I will remain a runner, with lots of half marathons and a few marathons under my belt.  A quick ten miles will be within reach on any day.  I will be healthy, strong, and well, and cancer will remain in my past.

- I will serve on boards and committees to volunteer for organization(s) that touch my heart.

- I will travel the world.

- I will do all of this with a man of integrity, humor, intelligence, compassion, and good looks at my side.  When he walks in the room, my eyes will light up.  When he sees me, his smile will reveal how smitten he is in return.

So many things to want, to wish for, to plan for.  I have some control over my career, and I continue to plot, to network, to interview, to learn.  I will be the best mother I know how to be, and hope that my relationship to Katherine is a reflection of that.  I will commit to those early morning runs that keep my body strong and potentially keep cancer at bay.

But love?  Success?  The future?  It is not mine to predict, nor is it anyone's.  And yet I try.  But I'm also trying to let go - to accept it as it is, even as I try to move along my path.  I shape my five year plan, knowing that it will change, that it will appear differently as it unfolds, that there are things in my future that I can't possibly imagine, no matter how hard I try.

I won't give up on my five year plan.  But I'll try to keep adapting it, accepting the inevitable changes, hoping that even the twists and turns lead me to a good place.

One foot in front of the other.  Lots of deep breaths.  Leaps of faith - so many that I feel like I'm flying, or sometimes freefalling.  Accepting this is a challenge, and it's one I'm working on.


How do you deal with uncertainty?

Do you have a five year plan?  Have your five year plans come true?