For the Rest of Us

Hung out with an old friend for the first time in a while. One of those people whom I only see a handful of times a year (shameful, as we live in the same city for crying out loud), but still, no matter how long it’s been, when we finally get together we inevitably end up giggling like middle school girls at a sleepover.

Tonight, he introduced me to the magical land of Tinder—the “swipe left” / “swipe right” dating app phenomenon that has led to millions of hookups and, who knows, maybe a couple of actual meaningful relationships?

(For the record: I didn’t join.)

I’ve never been ballsy enough to try online dating. No matter how desperate I may have felt between boyfriends, I just couldn’t make myself follow through with signing up. Besides, it seems to me that online dating works for people who either want to get married tomorrow or get laid, like yesterday.  And I’m hovering somewhere in between.

Got me wondering: Why isn’t there a dating site for the rest of us?

Instead of doing what dating sites normally do, allowing you to put your best face forward, The Dating Site For The Rest Of Us would cut through the bullshit and get down to brass tacks.

(I’m 31 over here. Momma doesn’t have time to waste.)

No more well-lit selfies or slimming side-view photographs. On TDSFTROS, your profile picture is an honest “I woke up like this” mug shot. Bed hair, makeup smudges and all. Because, if everything goes according to plan, that’s the version of you they’ll be seeing anyway.

We forego all the niceties like, “My favorite film is Casablanca” or “I consider myself outdoorsy,” and instead tell the cold, hard truth. Like “My favorite movie is actually Stick It” or “I’m outdoorsy…by which I mean I don’t wear deodorant or own a car.”

(Wouldn’t that be helpful? You hang out in the dating world for the better part of a decade, and it’s time to get real.)

Your personality profile includes all the shit you keep carefully concealed in the early stages of courtship. Such as:

I’m afraid of commitment.

I’m reaaaaaally into cats.

Whoops! I’m gay!

I enjoy The Big Bang Theory.

But it also contains all the good stuff that you keep hidden at first. All those idiosyncrasies that truly endear you to someone when the timing is right.

Your shameful binge-watching habits.

Your shared secret prejudices.

Your favorite 2:00 a.m. snacks.

The jig is up. We all have our faults. Wouldn’t it be nice to finally own up to them, and find a special someone who can actually handle them, rather than pretending to be normal for months, only to have it all unravel once the truth comes out?

Once upon a time, I was an idealist. I have watched a lot of Meg Ryan movies. And in spite of personal evidence to the contrary, I still love the idea of love.

Meg Ryan You've Got Mail

“What will NY152 say today? I wonder.”

But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to get real. The truth hurts, but the truth also helps. (Cheez-its. My 2:00 a.m. snack is Cheez-its.)

Fall Forward

This morning. It happened. I felt it happen.

FALL.

Lying in bed, awake at 7:00 a.m. for no good reason on a Saturday (Sorry, friends with kids. We all make our choices. I may die alone eventually, but by god, right now I’ll sleep in if I want to!), I took a conscious moment to soak up the early morning sunshine and sink deeper into my covers while I could feel the less-than-50 chilliness outside.

In other words, I put my phone down and just was. This felt good. Unfortunately, it also felt a little unusual. Like revisiting a forgotten landmark from childhood. “Stillness,” my weary brain rejoiced, “Oh yeah! This is what that feels like.”

FALL.

For many reasons, my favorite time of year. Sweaters. Pumpkin donuts. Candles. Leaves changing. Fall festivals. Halloween. Crisp air. Cider. The start of a new TV season. So many things.

Spring is a time of natural renewal, but fall also feels that way to me too. This year especially, I feel restless for change. I want to put down my bad habits once and for all, and pick up the aspirations that I so want to do but so carefully avoid.

To quote the super-catchy summer anthem: I wanna get better.

FALL.

My favorite time of year, but also a time I dread. Because shorter days signal almost inevitable oncoming gloom. I recognize how melodramatic that sounds, but seasonal sadness can turn me into a hot, hot mess. Lack of sunlight and general cold-weather lethargy can make my private tendency toward melancholy moods more dire.

It’s scary, frankly. To live in your own haunted house.

But this year I wonder whether things could be different. Maybe it works like childhood fear of the dark. If you walk up to your inner darkness and say, “I’m not afraid of you!” does the darkness start to feel less scary? More friendly? Just another part of life, like the light.

It’s worth a try, at least.

I’m reminded of a quote I saw on Pinterest somewhere (which, try though I might, I can’t find attributed to anyone besides a multitude of tumblr pages). It’s probably from some angsty YA novel, but I don’t care:

If they can move on after summer, so can I

So here’s to a better fall, my friends. When life gives you gloom, make gloom-onade. (I fully expect to see that quote on Pinterest someday.)

best worst idea

Just went running in the rain — yes, on purpose — and it really is the best worst idea. Not crazy / lightning / downpour style rain, of course. Just a nice little summer-night sprinkling.

And, man, it feels good!

Skittish about damaging my iPhone, I didn’t bring along any music. I hardly ever run without headphones now, but once upon a time, it was all I knew. I even ran my first half-marathon that way (2 whole hours, guys! how? why??) and it was my fastest time so far, funnily enough.

Something about falling into the trance of the rhythm of my breath. Letting my mind wander where it wants to, without the helpful distraction of songs or podcasts. It’s meditation. (And can also be maddening, don’t get me wrong. Have you noticed how little time you spend alone with just your own thoughts? It’s a jungle in there!)

Within minutes I was transformed back to high school, in my earliest running days, looping the u-shaped pavement of our neighborhood, with nothing to listen to but my feet on the ground and the air in my lungs. (Didn’t have a Discman. Those things were bulky, awkward, and still skipped. We can all admit this now. It’s time.)

I started running back then to “stay in shape” (hahahahaha. Shut UP, perpetually size-4 high-school me. Shut your DAMN. MOUTH.) and I got the bug for real my junior year of college, which is also the first time I ran with an iPod. A bulky, first-gen brick-sized item by comparison now, and I had to carry it because I didn’t have an arm band or anything, but it was a revelation. (Didn’t hurt that it was my boyfriend’s iPod. Is there anything better than a little voyeuristic love-drunk music-snooping? The Garden State soundtrack was in heavy rotation that year, I can tell you that much.)

photo (5)

There’s something so nice and freeing about a little rainy-day run. Leaving the house knowing I’m going to get rained on. Doing it anyway. When I first started running and writing about it, I was constantly finding little metaphors for life. I can’t help it! They’re right there! Tonight’s would be something along the lines of: Don’t always shy away from the potentially messy or uncomfortable things. Those things can also end up being the most peaceful and fulfilling, and almost always a better decision than staying inside.

And also puddles. Puddles are also fun.