Surprise Yourself

I saw this and thought of you.

You, crippled by self doubt.
You, who thought she’d have it all together by now.
You, with the lofty ambitions, and the dreams that never stop.
You, with the desire so strong it keeps you up at night.
Well, I read this and thought of you.

At some point during 2014, surprise yourself.
Then do it again.
And again.
Be bolder. Be stronger. Work harder. Then play harder.

May your year be filled with dreams that become reality, and may your reality be one that, up until now, you’d only dreamed of.

surprise yourself

Pink Bikes, Missing Teeth, and the Perils of Dating at 40

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Editor’s Note: Here’s a blast from the past, and one of the blog’s most popular posts. I think that’s in large part due to how interesting and hilarious it is navigating the dating world as a woman in her 40s. Some people say our standards are too high and some of us (myself included) have a history that proves that those standards probably should have been a little higher…

As I was leaving the grocery store this morning, an old man approached me hollering “hey baby girl…can I maybe…” NO. NO. NO. If you’ve got me by at least 15 years, you should already know that no self respecting woman in her 40s is going to respond to a “hey baby” hurled across a busy supermarket parking lot.  Or would she? Even on the rare occasion that she would, as Rachel alluded to a couple weeks ago, a neck is a desirable trait. And if a neck is desirable, then teeth are a necessity. My parking lot Casanova had neither.

Which brings me to the topic of the day. As we get older, do we “lower” our standards, or do people lower them for us? Of course there will always be men who think they can approach a woman of any age, with whatever game they happen to be playing on themselves at the moment.

Years ago when I volunteered to prepare dinners at a homeless shelter, I remember a young guy coming up to me as I was serving meals and asking me if we could go out. My first thought was, you need to have a place to leave before you can go out. I know, it was harsh, but sarcasm is how I deal with uncomfortable moments. And that was so very uncomfortable. I hear arguments all the time that professional women need to broaden their horizons when looking for a mate, and I’m all for that. But, I think you should at least have a place to stay before you try to pick up a woman. Don’t you?

The other incident that stands out in my mind is once again leaving a grocery store, (what is it about groceries that give old, toothless men gumption) and hearing bike tires screech to a halt as a man I can only describe as being old enough to be my grandfather, slammed what I assume was his granddaughter’s pink huffy bike into the ground. He ran up to me (breathless) to ask me for my number. I wonder if when he borrowed his granddaughter’s bike, he told her that he’d be using it to troll for chicks. While he did get a laugh out of me, he did NOT get my number.

Ok, so in both those cases the answer was pretty obvious, but in situations when we’re approached by men who, years ago, would not have gotten a second glance from us, are we lowering our standards or broadening our horizons when we go out with them? And then there are those of us who hear the opposite, that we’re being too picky. But when it comes to love, life and our future, can we ever be too picky?

Share your thoughts and pink huffy bike pick-up stories in the comment section, on our Facebook fan page, or tweet your response to twitter.com/womenatforty.

Embracing Your “Imperfections”

gap toothYears ago I had orthodontic braces. I wore that metal contraption – rubber bands and all – throughout the last couple years of high school, followed by a year of grueling night-time retainer wearing. If you’ve seen me anytime post circa 1990 then you’re probably wondering if I got a refund. Because today there’s a gap, front and center where my two front teeth used to meet. A big one.

At one point, a lifetime ago now it seems, I thought about re-closing it and my grandmother said simply, “Why close it? If it came back, that means it’s meant to be there. It makes you different.” She said it so confidently and with such assurance (as though she’d heard it from God himself) that I knew immediately she was right. And that validation from her was all I needed to never question the existence of my gap again. Even when some adults have asked if I’ve ever thought about getting it “fixed”.  And even when children (ok, one child) have pointed to their missing front teeth and asked me if the tooth fairy left me money too.  Even then I’ve never once considered changing my gap-toothed smile. More important than the fact that I’ve gotten more compliments over the years than comments, is the fact that I genuinely like my smile.

If only we could pull sweet grandmother wisdom out of our pockets whenever we had doubts about our perceived imperfections. We’d spend a lot less time being unhappy and a lot more time focusing on the things that really matter. What others thought about our imperfections would be meaningless, because what we knew to be true about ourselves would be shaped by someone who’d heard it directly from God himself. Wouldn’t that be a great way to start thinking about ourselves – all of it, cellulite, wrinkles and all?

So what’s your “imperfection”, and how did you learn to love it? Have you learned to love it? Share your thoughts in the comment section, or on our Facebook fan page.

Image Source: Grazia Daily