Being Single Doesn’t Seem to Suck

Before I start this conversation, I need to make it absolutely crystal clear that I’m open to finding a(nother) penguin and settling back into traditional domestic bliss one day.  When the kids and companies have grown up, I plan a quiet life of travel and family, returning to some remote part of New Zealand sporadically between international do-gooding adventures.  Being an activist isn’t something I think you can retire from, ever, so I really will need someone who gets just as angry at injustice as me, and really wants to join in on attempts to make wrongs right for people and the planet.

Screen Shot 2019-05-15 at 6.41.51 AMNot today though!  This week, while Phteven is overseas, I got to see all the incredibly cool things about rocking my role as a single working mom.  There’s plenty that sucks about it too, but why complain about the less than fantastic bits, when I can tell you about the magic.

Most of the magic seems to emanate quite clearly from our kitchen.  This is where we exchange stories of our time in the trenches of school and work.  It is where the kids show me their slick dance moves and Daniel wows us with his daily rundown of memes while Stephanie throws around her gymnastics hoop. James refuses to eat his dinner but always finishes his cucumber and carrots. These are my moments, and I can’t tell you why, but I was never quite as present with the kids when the marriage was on a downward spiral.  The older kids have both taken the time to say that the last few months have been some of the best they can ever remember with their hot mess mamma.  We even have inside jokes and memes about the kids now being from a “broken” home.  As a family we deal with the tough stuff with a lot of dark humour and a heap of real talk.  You don’t have to agree, but it seems to work for us better than letting things fester and fizz until they explode.

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We are not broken.  We are actually blooming and enjoy making great memories with and without their dear old dad tagging along.  Everyone is on their journey, and this is ours, and for the most part, it feels like it is going pretty well.


So, in a typical day, later in the evening, when the kids are settled in for sleep I get to work a bit and NOT watch Game of Thrones (seriously, I just don’t get it) while I chat to my tribe of goddesses and gorgeously kind guys and gals all over the earth.  I also benefit from a solid support crew that I have met over the past couple of years in the single and actively dating situation. Friendship, sound advice and inside jokes abound while I’m reminded of fantastic moments in museums, parks and quirky cafes, or just rambling for hours in cities all over the planet.  Single suits me.  It is not the long-term strategy, but for now it occupies the very few free moments between work and family quite nicely.


I have observed though, so many of the women I worship who are single steer well clear of dating.  Some because they have been hurt horrendously, others because they just can’t fit it in, or they tried and have had too many false starts or epic fail first dates. If you are one of these women, I’d encourage you to rethink your position.  If you’re incredibly clear on your boundaries and terms, there’s magic and connection, even if it you don’t find your match in some formulaic rom com script. I hope you are able to steer clear of creeps and jerks, and your gut and friends will help you with that, but it is a fascinating exercise in observing the human condition.  Seems we stand to learn a lot from people outside our standard circles. Get friends to vet potential suitors, and always trust your instincts, but maybe consider participating with the seemingly millions of single professionals on the often scary, but undeniably interesting human courting rituals scene.


The other incredible magic is the closeness, comradery, and connection with my single friends, both men and women.  We have an understanding, and even create our own language and vernacular to cover the colourful tapestry of time tending to our broken hearts on bumble or blind dates.  That’s not fair.  Just because someone is single does not mean they are nursing a broken heart.  Some people are incredibly independent and we all have to find our balance and our truth.  You are on your path, I am on mine, but I am absolutely ecstatic to be enjoying the rambling road with other single friends, who I maybe didn’t see so much when comfortably coupled.  If we treat people transparently and with respect and have a terrific tribe to get truthy with us, this is a really great journey.  One of the tightest of all these connections is with my sister.  Our marriages ended in close succession and we have both known each other’s ex-partners since the very beginning, and neither of us are taking sides or vilifying our exes, just coping with daily life and dating conundrums has brought us closer than we have ever been.  It’s kind of an unexpected bonus.  Ten point for both of us!


There will be a time when work meetings and mayhem do not chew up most of my moments, and when that happens I hope I get to bump into my own customised perfectly imperfect partner.  Not everyone wants or needs that, but I thought it was high time I had and shared an opinion about returning to the strange state of singledom. Is singledom a word??? Autocorrect seems to think so. So YAY for singledom!


Have a great day out there, and be kind to each other. Everyone you deal with is on their own journey.  Good luck on yours and be kind to others while they are soaring or struggling with theirs.

Be Your Own Hero

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I find it quite impossible to put into words, just how floored I am by the strength of many of the people (particurly women, there, I said it!) I am blessed to know.  They keep going through all manner of personal and professional struggles, melee, and storm.


And I’m genuinely bothered when I think that somewhere, when most of us were small, (particularly girls I would argue) some indoctrination left many of us with a notion that we could and should let some big strong force outside ourselves; perhaps a rich, healthy good looking stranger with powerful connections, or a fairy god-person, arrive and rescue us from our toil.


Guess what.  That fine cup of hubba hubba with a trust fund is struggling through their own battles.  They are all kinds of broken just like anyone else.  Oh, and the fairy god person’s only actual power is spitting back the magic and strength you’ve already got locked in you.


The only person who is ever actually going to get you both into, and out of, any bind you find yourself in, is you.


I’m not saying to suck it up buttercup, because my stars I know from personal experience and watching struggles from the sidelines and cheering sections of so many lives, that sometimes things are just a stone-cold struggle.


You did not earn, nor do you deserve all the grief or challenge you are handed.  Sometimes, the best and kindest people on this earth are handed a cup of cold sick to swallow.  In other (seemingly all too frequent) instances truly cruel and callous cauldron’s of evil seem to go from strength to strength by ignoring the basic rules of human kindness and preying on people for their own gain.  It sucks.  It is not fair.  And you are not alone no matter how lonely and fed up you might be feeling.


I mention in nearly every blog that each person is fighting their own battles, most of the time we know nothing about.  No matter how put upon or cruel you feel you’re being treated, it so often stems from something and the only way through is kindness and Love.  When roadblocks are being built along a path, even if the person or entity doing the building or digging is clearly making things harder for you, just think about the architect of the difficulties.  Stop, and think to yourself as you pity the destructive force making you scramble, who hurt them?  Most (maybe even all, bar psychopaths) people are doing the best they can, and only seek to hurt or destroy in a futile effort to quiet the echoes or screams of things that hurt and destroyed them.  They are not the hero in your narrative, you are, and no hero in real or imagined history, has ever done anything worthwhile without facing down a few villains.


Your time to shine is quite often going to be served to you when you’re quite decidedly through with shining, and in the greatest need of a rest.  This said, I sincerely urge you to keep going and be patient and hopeful because life is actually tough and full of stuff.  And sadly, any heroics in this life are only possible when things are falling apart around a hero’s ears.  There will be times that are rich and terrifying with darkness. There will also be times of blinding light.  Lights often require some sort of fight to switch on I have found. The only way to clock challenges laid in your path, is to be your own hero, and simply keep going.


There’s no silver lining without a cloud, and there is no fix to life being confusing or painful at times.  What there is, and always has been, is time.  It also doesn’t seem reasonable to suggest that time will fix the truly life altering difficulties or grief that is dealt to you. Time won’t patch up the potholes or pain along your path, but time will reward you with wisdom, joy and new chances to be and feel magic.  A hero like you must keep true to instincts and your own truth, no matter how bumpy, dark and terrifying it may get sometimes.


I think, if you are still with me, and reading this, you may be thinking about the things that are threatening to break you today, or have seemed menacing or unimaginable in the past.  Chances are, I do not, nor does anyone else, truly grasp the magnitude of the  mountains you’ve moved.  Nobody but you knows what you have had to let go or cling onto as you scaled cliffs and conquered rocks.  What I definitely do know, is that you are here now, reading my characteristically cathartic ramblings.  And I know that you’ve almost certainly been through the dark and the sun has broken for you before, and it will again.  The cycle will continue inexhaustibly for the rest of your (and everyone else’s) time on this planet.


Sadly, no matter how vehemently you try to control or understand the world around us, you’ll only ever have the power to write your own narrative, and be the hero in your own story.


If you stop and think of every truly remarkable person through history, and probably all those you know as the bastions of hope and kindness in your own life, you may actually see that they’ve been through some heavy stuff. You may also see that l it is the battles that are the hardest fought that yield the sweetest tasting victory.  Having things handed too easily to us can often end up in hollow or empty victory, decidedly uncool to celebrate. 

You may already know, Lottery winners (over 70% according to my scouring of the Internet), regardless of the size of their winnings, end up in a worse financial state than they were before their statistically improbable win. I’d also challenge you to find many people who have peaked in their career, life, family or any pursuit, who just sit back and stop striving, struggling and questioning their position and existence most of the time.


So, I urge you to find your dream team, your tribe, or your motley crew and practice your heroic deeds together.  Stay true to the lessons and moral compass you’re carrying with every scene, chapter, and plot twist.  Think back on all the times you’ve kept going, and how good it felt when you did.  You’ll go farther faster if you fortify your fight with other heroes trying to switch lights on and not extinguish them.


And there’s going to be plot twists.


And things are going to be too much at times.


But it is up to you to be the hero that you wish would be a hero to you.  And yes, cheesy as it may sound, resilience may prove that you were the hero you needed the whole time.


Good luck on whatever your quest might be.