Well, dear diary, it was my birthday yesterday. So I took the day off from all things social media, save for Mr Facebook where birthday greetings were popping up. It is nice to get those messages, particularly when you live alone. The dog doesn’t much care whether it is my birthday and so I keep telling him, “hey, it’s my birthday, come give mamma a cuddle”. Sure he cuddled me – but not because it was my birthday.
I had high expectations, dear diary, for this birthday. There would be loving attention from my new paramour, and we would have finalised our arrangements to meet and celebrate our birthdays which were weeks apart. Oh wait – none of that was real. That’s right, dear diary, I was consigned to spending the day ALONE, yet again. Sad? Well, not really. Let me explain why.
On Monday evening I had dinner with good friends. Fairly new friends, but friends like I never had before. Ok, so actually, that is not quite true – I did have one (still do but never see her these days as we don’t live close by and she is always super busy) but I haven’t had friends that do so much for me and welcome me into their home so regularly – and live just the other side of the park! I found it a little too full on initially, however, this woman – although she continues to infuriate me now and again when she crosses my boundaries (yep, still have those), she is good to me and good for me.
I like her husband too – so it makes for amiable get-togethers. In fact, the only dissension is that our pooches can be quite rowdy together. Here they are when they were less so .. (damn, I can’t get Dillon to look at the camera!).
The morning was an excruciatingly early start, as I had signed up and paid to go to a business network meeting. This was being held at a new local restaurant – and I quite wrongly assumed it was an evening function. I was not best pleased when I realised, but at least I did – and wasn’t a no-show, turning up expectantly in the evening; and being disappointed!
I had the option of going to a Match.com singles night that was being held in Leeds, but decided that it was a bit too far away and that a singles night did not justify the expense of the train and a hotel.
So I spent the day quietly, reading my birthday messages and drinking cocktails. Slurp. I bought some delicious cheese from the local shop and had one of those lazy days that are a luxury.
At teatime, I decided that I would treat myself to a banquet of chinese food via Just Eat. I received a text notification at 18:05 to say my food was on its way. I was still waiting over half an hour later, and as I abhor poor customer service, this put me in a bit of a whingey mood. I was convinced the food would arrive cold, and having taken a closer look at the reviews, was also convinced that it would not taste good.
Several phone calls and IM chats later, my food arrived 50 minutes after the text notification. The appetisers were indeed lukewarm, however, the remainder of the meal was hot. It was just a shame that I was unable to recognise the shredded cucumber and veg that was meant to accompany my duck pancakes – I found them later.
The celebrations don’t end there though – I’m off to a nearby city Thursday with a girlfriend and I am sure we will have one or two cocktails to mark my birthday.
A momentary moment of sadness
So a full tum and a few more cocktails restored my humour. I did, however, experience a momentary moment of intense sadness. This birthday was supposed to be so different. It was meant to be spent full of anticipation of meeting the guy that I believed would be so important in my life going forward.
I shook this off, and, having finished the cava that was the base for my cocktails, poured myself a rather stiff gin and tonic which was part of the very generous birthday gift that newbie-friend gave me the night before.
I am not one to wallow. At least, not anymore. I used to believe in a good wallow – a visit though, rather than a long stay. Not so much these days. I tend to reflect and then move on – distracting myself with something positive. Much as I did when I started my website and blog to work through my feelings at been duped.
So what is next for me?
I will continue to blog about my dating woes, as long as it pleases me to do so. I have now paid up to Zoosk, as although this is one that I had not rated, it came highly recommended in an article I was reading. So far, I have had some interesting conversations, but I haven’t come across anyone that I want to have a real live date with yet.
As for Match.com – I noticed that cute guy had viewed my profile again. So, I excitedly (ok, well, half excitedly) sent him a THIRD message, simply saying Boo! Ok, so I have no idea why this guy winked at me, viewed me multiple times, and has not responded to my messages. Either he is a fake profile designed to make the site look busy, or he is super shy. I quite like shy men – but like my dogs, I don’t want one so shy that they won’t engage.
It is unusual for me to send two messages let alone three when I don’t get a response. There was something about cute guy though, that made me want to get to know him better. Oh well, another one bites the dust.
The business network meeting that I went to was good, although I thought a little expensive for breakfast (nice though it was) and a small gathering. In fact, the organiser shared that until the lunch time the day before, there were only two people signed up to attend. One of them was me – and the other was actually a friend of mine.
As it turned out, there were some good contacts there that invited me to meet for a coffee, and so I look forward to that next week. Who knows, some collaboration may come of it, but I also know that to want to work with me …. you have to meet me. I’m one of those people that either draws you in or I don’t – and if you are hanging on my every word in a face to face, then it is a good bet that you value what I am saying. One size does not fit all, and it is the relationship (or potential relationship) that you buy into.
Captain McDreamy is no more
The other thing that I did yesterday was cut my ties with Captain McDreamy. It was time to let him go. I no longer follow him on Twitter or Instagram, and I no longer fight his battle by hunting down fake profiles using his images and identity. That after all, is his problem, dear diary.
I will though, continue to out any fake profiles that I come across, whether they contain his image or others. It is a sad reflection that every couple of days at least, I am approached by someone who is a fake. If I suspect as much, I simply ask them what they would say if I told them that I had been duped and that I am now ultra cautious. They soon disappear, I can tell you.
Getting back to the day job
It has been fun blogging about my dating woes, and I think that it is important to keep the message going, as there are women out there who do still fall for these dupes. I will do so now, more from a professional point of view – as an add on if you will, to my professional endeavours. I will continue to share parts of my WhatsApp Romance as I think it would be useful to share the messages that actually hooked me in. Also, the ones where there were ever so slight red flags. So imperceptible that I dismissed them – not out of hand, as I did consider whether they were evidence of fakery, but hey – there were plausible explanations for his hair being slightly longer in one video than the other.
Attending the business networking meeting reminded me what I am good at, and fired up my enthusiasm to get cracking. I had taken a sort of sabbatical in the last year or so as I dealt with a health issue. That is now under control, and I have no excuse for not getting back to the work I love. I had lapsed my professional website domain, but on arriving home purchased a new one. So I now have three to keep me occupied! Each a different aspect of my professional life.
Would that we see ourselves as others do
I have been chatting a lot via IM to a real life friend who lives out of town. She recently asked me for help with a particular thing in her life, and the conversation progressed to – actually – what is the root of any issue that may be present. (I am after all, a coach, right?). I took, the opportunity, though, as part of my endeavour to have her see herself through the eyes of another to ask her what my top three strengths were. She came up with this:
1. Good communicator
2. Excellent skills at writing engaging prose
3. Good at reading people
This is nothing that I don’t already know about myself, but even for confident peeps like me, it is gratifying to have that recognition.
I then asked her what her top three strengths were. At first, as I knew she would, she struggled and resorted to self-deprecation. She did though, come up with three – however, they were more about what she does than who she is. It is clear that my lovely friend, though outwardly confident and bolshy, is lacking in self esteem.
Now I do believe that self esteem is fluid. I know there are times when my own can diminish somewhat. That said, this is less often, and even in very low times where I experience clinical depression – my self esteem remains reasonably intact. This is a welcome change, and reveals to me that what is happening to me is burn out of some kind that has affected both my mood and my thinking, which does become skewed – as it does for all people who experience depressive episodes.
Self esteem, though, is the core root to a lot of ills. We live in such a fast paced society these days where we are bombarded with images of perfection. For me – also somewhat of a perfectionist (but less so these days, I would hope), one of the most revealing and welcome reflections from studying for my masters, was that I learned to do “just enough” to pass. At the time I had been away from work for 3 years (all with a mortgage and no means of support other than a student loan), I had THREE part time jobs. I did not have the time, therefore, to procrastinate over every piece of work.
During my under grad degree – I worked my ass off – not because I was a perfectionist so much, but because I thought I NEEDED to work that hard to just scrape a pass. As it happens, I came out with a First Class degree. My third year, though, was less frantic than peers. The first three months of my first year I played a little more than I worked, so used was I to having to be constrained to an office 9-5. It was a curious sense of freedom to be able to pop into the student union at 11am if I wanted to and have a pint!
After the first semester though, I knuckled down. My second year, I worked equally hard, learning my craft. I had, after all, been away from formal education for over 20 years. This meant, that by my third year, I was so relaxed that I sailed through it, the words of one of my lecturers ringing in my head after I had asked the question: all you need to do to achieve a good degree is work 9-5. Ok, so he did not mean 9-5 literally; what he meant was, that you did not have to work every hour god sent.
My plans for 2018
So, dear diary, my plans for 2018 are pretty much formed without having given it much thought. I will work towards furthering my professional aspirations, and continue to grow my coaching practice.
Oh, and I also have a visit to Canada to look forward to. When a friend moved out there 3 years ago I promised I would visit. It is time to keep that promise.
Well, dear diary, that is all I have time for. Time to get back to some household chores, as they have been rather neglected of late. Then to re-conceive my professional website and get that up and running.
As ever, if anything I have written about here resonates with you, please do comment, like and share.