Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Accentuate the Positive - Minimize the Negative"

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Being single, I know it can be tough, especially if you're alone.

When I grew up I had a large family. My mother had four brothers who all had kids, and we'd get together every holiday as one great big clan. I remember my mother's cooking, and her great raisin tarts that were our holiday tradition (boy I miss those). Now my parents are dead, her brothers are all dead, my cousins are married and thousands of miles away. I haven't seen any of my cousins, except one, for over 12 years, or my brother since 1996. My cousins are disbursed in the U.S. in a variety of places, and we never talk to one another. I rarely talk to my brother either, except during the holiday season for short phone call.

Not having a mate is hard during the holidays. Family is important to me because I have such fond memories of the joy of the holidays with them. However, being single, I still feel that there's another half missing, a large hole beside me that I can't seem to fill, no special person to share it with or pass the mash potatoes to and smile at those I love.

When I pick up my National Geographic magazine and look at the slums in some third-world country, I do so to remind myself how lucky I am -- blessed, though alone, to have a roof over my head, a good job, a weekly pay check, a wonderful hairy dog, food on my table, a car that runs, my health, my writing, and close friends at work. On Thanksgiving, it's time to focus on what we have - not on what we don't.

As Johnny Mercer's song says, "Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative." Sure some of you may still have painful emotional areas in your lives, but you need to put any pain into perspective. Today you are not at a place of total destitution or despair. I'm thankful every night I crawl under my warm blankets and go to sleep, I'm not out on the streets under a bridge. Sure I don't have a warm body next to me, but I know I'll wake up, Lord willing, to a new day with new possibilities and new opportunities ahead of me.

So alone on Thanksgiving? Choose today to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Finding Self Worth

Well, let me start by saying I've received correction from a reader that men who choose younger women are not particularly doing so because it strokes their egos. It was the writer's opinion that younger women possess a certain "energy" older women lack, which they can find attractive. I could possibly argue that point, since I work over 40 plus hours a week on my regular job, work another part-time job from home, manage my blog and website, go to a gym almost daily, speed walk on treadmills, pump those weights, clean my home, take out my garbage, shop for myself, take care of my car, feed and walk the dog, and dispense all of my current energy into my own single life. Having said all that, I'm not sure what particular energy a younger woman would possess that I don't (unless of course you're referring to between the sheets). But, I'll let that argument drop and get to my blog for the week...

...which, by the way, brings me to the topic of finding worth in ourselves as singles. Depending on how we view our singleness, whether a blessing or a curse, it could affect how we feel about our own worth as individuals. Let's face it, we have people who look at us as deficient because we're unmarried. Then there are those of us who are divorced, who probably have that thumb and index finger to our foreheads in the shape of an "L" calling ourselves "losers." Then on the other end of the spectrum you might be like Steve Carrell in the movie Evan Almighty standing in front of the mirror every morning saying, "I'm successful, powerful, handsome, and happy." Self worth is all about how we view ourselves in the mirror of life.

Unfortunately, the world through media and advertisements sets for us their standards of worth and value as humans. Those standards usually include good looks, ideal weight, youthful appearance, and money. The reality is the majority of us do not possess all those ideals, and finding self worth can be a real challenge in the world today. Being loved, needed, accepted, and recognized are those things that build self worth in us as individuals. Some singles, however, don't have others giving them the positive feedback they need to feel good about themselves.

So what's the answer? Do we stand in the mirror every morning declaring we're successful, powerful, handsome (or beautiful), and happy or do we dig down deep inside of us and find that self worth in ourselves. I've learned that self worth must come from within me and how I believe my creator views me. As a Christian, I know I have value because Jesus saw enough worth in me to take my sinfulness and pay the penalty on the cross. Every day I have to remind myself not to let the world define who I am or, for that matter, the next man I might meet who doesn't find me attractive or skinny enough to be of value to him. My worth belongs to the one who created me, and I refuse to let the world and others define my value.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Two-Edged Sword of Single Life

I find living the single life to be a two-edged sword. It has its positives and negatives. I've truly struggled with being single for years. I've been divorced now going on nine, have had only one relationship since then. I've met men at online dating sites and they've come and gone as quickly as a click of a mouse. Most of these men have been on there for years. I have no idea what they expect, besides younger women to stroke their egos. All the men at work are married and those who are not have alternative lifestyles. There's 5,000 people who come and go at my church, and 40% of them are single...but we never talk or cross paths. The single group has a whopping 30 or so in it. I'm not sure where the other 1,970 other singles are hiding.

As far as family goes, I have one brother 2,000 miles away who I haven't seen in 10 plus years. No other siblings. My parents are long gone and buried. I have one son, who is married and busy with his own life. As far as friends, who has the time? I work 40 plus hours a week. Come home, try to take care of the rest of life. I occasionally try to hook up at people with church. I recently thought I'd go to a new Sunday class to meet other people, but I was the only person to show up. So I never returned. I have friends at work, but they go home to their husbands and children. The singles there are young, who have families to surround them.

So out of frustration, I figured that there has to be a lot of other people out there like me, who either love being single, trying to survive being single, or are just trying their best to find a mate. This blog gives me purpose. It gives me something to do besides look at my dog and watch meaningless TV shows every night. I might as well try and embrace that which I hate the most and try to help other singles in the same boat. Being alone.