Runaway

I tapped my fingers along the outer edge of the steering wheel. It was six in the morning, and I had about twelve more hours of highway laid out in front of me.

Last week, on a whim, I had decided the best course of action, or rather, the only course of action I could take to keep my sanity, would be the comfort of my second home. Somewhere in between the summer months, stress had started to build. Now normally, and especially during the past year, I would roll with the punches; but there was something about these blows over the last few weeks, maybe in the way they were delivered, maybe because they were from different parts of my life, that left me feeling drained.

Ever the dramatic, it’s hard for me not to wear my emotions on my sleeve. Hiding things isn’t exactly my forte, and I take my greatest comfort in talking things out with others when something is bothering me.

But the pressure kept building, and when an opportunity arose to go back to Alberta for a while, I didn’t hesitate to pack whatever summer clothes I could find and head out west. So there I found myself, music blaring, coffee in hand, cruising along the highway with the sun rising in my rearview mirror.

This morning I woke up in my old bed, my dog staring intently at me, waiting to be walked, and experienced a sense of relief I hadn’t felt in ages. I made coffee in my old kitchen, and I walked around my old neighbourhood, a path I had tread a thousand times. I visited old friends, and I relished in the moment as I watched my dog bound through the grass, eagerly fetching a toy.

I take comfort in the familiar. And the everyday life which I admittingly took for granted only years before was now giving me a sense of peace I had been seeking for months.

While it’s always best to face your problems head on, sometimes, if you know it’ll only be for a little bit, it’s more than okay, to run away.

You’re a little weird

“You’re a little weird.”

I paused on the other end of the phone.

“Um, pardon me?”

“You know, like you are for sure not normal.”

I paused again, unsure if I felt insulted or relieved.

One of the reoccurring struggles in my life, and perhaps something that everyone deals with once in a while, is the realization that not everyone likes you. I wrote about why that is okay, but like any insecurity, it can sneak up on you at the most surprising times.

After I hung up the phone on what would be our last conversation, I was much more bothered by the fact that the comment upset me than I was by the actual comment. I thought I had grown. I thought I had found a confidence in the past year that had finally allowed me to accept, without hesitation, the fact that sometimes people simply don’t get along.

And yet here I was. I felt like a little girl. One that had just sat down and smiled at another child, only to have them promptly walk away. I had gone from “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me,” to feeling about three feet tall.

Maybe this was all coming up because of other lessons I had learned in the past year: I let go of trying to put on a face when I meet new people. I used to mold and twist myself to suit someone, often saying whatever I thought they wanted to hear, which never ends well. Eventually, the real you makes an appearance, and it’s hardly fair to blame someone for falling for a mask, and then being disappointed when you remove it.

So the next lesson, which I feel may never end, will be one of self-acceptance. I look back to a year ago, and I think of the hurdles I’ve jumped through to get to a place where I finally feel like myself.

I’ve changed. You’ve changed. People change. And yes, maybe I’m a little weird. But I’d rather be a happy weirdo, ever myself, than a played down version simply to appease others.

And so with that, I will keep being weird, and I hope you will too.

Have a wonderful week,

Diane

 

 

Is it July already?

This is about the fifteenth time this month that I have sat with my laptop open, running my fingers along the keys, hoping that the mere act of sitting down to write would produce something worth reading.

The thing about writing, once the words flow out of whatever part of my mind they come from and find their way onto the screen, is that all of a sudden it makes everything I’m thinking more……real.

Normally this is wonderful, as I am usually excited to share what I’m feeling and thinking through this medium with anyone that will listen. However the past month has been a mixed bag of emotions, filled with excitement, disappointment, happiness, and peace. It was this reason, among barely having time to process some events, that I wanted to hold onto these thoughts for myself a little longer.

I’ve received a few messages, asking where I’ve wandered off to. I’m still here, taking in summer and trying to enjoy the warm air as much as possible before we begin to wake up to the first few days of frost.

The plan, if I was ever good at following one, is to start publishing once a week at the beginning of August. I have a list of things to write about, and hopefully they won’t be too stubborn as I try to get them onto paper.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer.

Talk soon,

Diane

Things I Learned By 30

What a wonderful weekend. I have been looking forward to turning 30 for a while now. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my twenties, but I was ready to leave that decade of growth, uncertainty, and figuring things out behind. That being said, here are twenty lessons I have learned in the past thirty years, mostly by stumbling and finding my way.

1) 99% of what you worry about will never come to fruition. This could not be more true. I used to have this intense anxiety, the kind where I was sure if I didn’t worry about a situation, the worst was bound to happen. I don’t know how much of my twenties was spent thinking up worst case scenarios, but I know that every minute spent in a terrible fantasy, was one less minute I was living my life.

2) There are 3 things you can do when you’re in a situation that makes you unhappy. When I was going through a rough time a couple of years back, my friend Josh suggested I read Eckhart Tolle. At that point in time I was open to trying anything, so I downloaded “The Power of Now” on my Kobo and spent eight straight hours glued to that tablet. Besides realizing the importance of the present moment, the biggest lesson I took away was the choices a person has when they’re in a situation that makes them unhappy. You can either change it, accept it, or leave it. I always try to change it first, accept it if I can’t change it, and then, if I am truly unhappy with it, sometimes leaving is necessary.

3) People will show you exactly who they are, all you have to do is pay attention. This lesson was learned early in my twenties. I was in a relationship where I was constantly making excuses for my partner, and the version I had of him in my head was nowhere close to reality. It was partly my fault, as I held onto the sweetness of the start of the relationship, and was blind to the changes that took place. When I left, I was angry, and told him I felt he had taken advantage of me. He replied, “I might have, but you let me.”

4) Talk is cheap. This one my father instilled in me when I was very young. I remember being a teenager, and talking with him about a friend. “Never listen to what people say, Missy, just listen to what they do. People can make all the promises in the world, but it is their actions that show their true intent.” There is a huge difference between someone telling you they love you, and showing you they do.

5) It is okay to make mistakes. Over, and over again. I follow my heart. I stumble sometimes. I make choices that have me banging my head against the wall, wondering why on earth I thought it was a smart idea. I used to beat myself up for this, and then I realized, this is how life works. There’s no instruction manual, and it doesn’t matter how many times someone older and wiser gives you advice. For most things in life, you simply need to see and figure things out for yourself, even if it leaves you a little bruised in the end.

6) Don’t keep up with the Joneses. We live in a society that is in constant competition with itself. Everywhere you turn, someone else has something better, or newer, or different from what you have. This can create jealousy, envy, and the fatigue of trying to keep up with it all. So, relax. You don’t need everything that everyone has, nor should you want it. Which brings me to my next point…

7) Money truly doesn’t buy happiness. I know what you’re going to say. “No, it doesn’t buy happiness, but it certainly makes things easier.” Yes, I won’t argue with you there. It’s a lot easier getting in my car to go to school or work than it is to add an hour to my commute and hop on a bus. But, does that make me happier? Am I smiling that entire car ride to work? Or am I adding up the cost of my car, insurance, and gas that I spend every month. Yes, money puts food on the table, a roof over my head, and gets me from point A to B, but I’d call that comfort rather than happiness.

8) Soak up every minute you have with family and friends. When I was 23 years old, I once again packed up everything I owned and headed to Alberta. Back then, the thought of a new life somewhere else was an adventure I couldn’t pass up, and I remained in Alberta for the next seven years. While I don’t regret my decision, I do feel as though I missed out on a lot here in Winnipeg. Visits home felt like the city had frozen in time, and soon it became harder and harder to say goodbye to everyone. I am always up for adventure, but it sure is nice to have Sunday brunches with the family, and go for dinner with old friends more than twice a year.

10) You need to be happy with yourself before anyone can be happy with you. Ah, the insecurities of my early twenties. Does he like me? Do I talk too much? Am I not interesting enough? Should I laugh quieter? Do they want to be my friends? I have finally reached an age where I can confidently say “this is me.” What you see is what you get, and if it’s not your cup of tea, that’s okay. Don’t get me wrong, I still get hung up sometimes, but at the end of the day, I am who I am. And if you don’t like it, well, that’s just fine.

11) Not everyone is going to like you. This used to be a huge struggle for me. I like people. I like meeting people. And I like when people like me back. So you’ll imagine my dismay when I meet someone who, for whatever reason, simply doesn’t like me. This usually results in me trying harder to gain their adoration, which, as we all know, works the opposite way we want it to. It was only once I was confident with myself that I realized if someone didn’t like me, it simply wasn’t my problem, or my business.

12) If someone wants to be with you, they’ll be with you. This is more of a dating lesson. I remember teenage Diane, staring at the clock in my bedroom, wondering why ol’ what’s-his-face hadn’t called when he said he would. Listen, if someone is into you, they’ll make time for you. When I’m smitten with someone, I could be rock climbing in the Himalayas and I’d still figure out a way to reach them. Simply put, if they like you, they’re thinking about you, and if they’re thinking about you, you’ll know.

13) Those flaws you see aren’t visible to anyone else. I know this is known advice, but I look back on photos of me from ten years ago and would pay good money to be able to look like that while frequenting McDonald’s. That cellulite that’s on your thighs, or the rolls on your tummy, I cannot express just how much no one else cares. You are your own worst critic, so go easy on yourself.

14) Apologize more, but say sorry less. What? I know, this one’s confusing. I decided to count how many times a day the word “sorry” came out of my mouth, and by the end of it, I was in disbelief. An astounding 84 times, I said sorry for the oddest things. Waitress comes by to take my order, “sorry, but could I have……” Guy holds the door for me, “Oh, thank you, sorry.” Jesus, I need to cut that word out of my vocabulary. Apologizing though, when I’ve truly messed up, is something I am now quick to do. Life goes a lot smoother when you own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for them.

15) Friendships come and go. In high school, it’s almost impossible to imagine not being in contact with those who you’re closest to. Moving a couple provinces away probably expedited this for me, but I have perhaps one friend left from that period of my life that I keep in touch with. People are going to come and go out of your life, just as you come and go out of theirs. As we grow, it’s okay to grow apart from other people, and sometimes wishing them the best and moving on is a better choice than keeping a friendship for appearances sake.

16) Figure out what you like. I have been a relationship person for as long as I can remember. I got my first “serious” boyfriend at 15, and pretty much leapt from one longterm relationship to another. The influence that my partners had in the hobbies or interests I took part in was huge, so you can imagine the wonder that I experienced when I was truly single for the first time a while back. All of a sudden, I was doing things solely for my own pleasure, without the judgement or influence of anyone else. While my last partner was nothing but supportive in whatever I did, this was the first time I was truly on my own. I took up yoga. I grabbed a book and read for hours by the water. I wandered around the city, tirelessly. I jumped out of a plane. I went horseback riding. I started writing. I tried new food. Some stuff I liked, some stuff I didn’t, but it taught me the importance of figuring it out.

17) A little humility goes a long way. Confidence is important, but so is a little humility. I know people who have become successful and let it change them, not for the better. No matter what we have, we are never better than anyone else, and it might be easy to forget that as we reach goals we set for ourselves. It is wonderful when we achieve what we work so hard for, but remember that at the end of the day, we all leave this world with the same things we came in with.

18) Pick up the phone. Texts, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat……are most of the ways people communicate nowadays. With a click of a button you can see pictures of how your friends are doing, or get invited to an event next weekend. Social media has done a lot for us, but it will never replace an old fashioned phone call, or better yet, some good old face-to-face interaction.

19) Tell them how you feel. I have never been one to bite my tongue. I’m not sure if this has helped or hurt me, but I feel it’s important to let other people know what I’m thinking. Maybe I’ve watched enough cheesy romance movies to experience the frustration of two people not being together simply because one of them didn’t pipe up, but I figure it’s better to go out on a limb and tell someone you care than it is to keep it locked up.

20) Do whatever you want. As long as it doesn’t hurt or negatively influence anyone else, just go for it. Live however you want. Love whomever you want. Feel however you want. Know that time goes by so quickly, and to live with regret, is simply not living at all.

 

When is it a success?

We strolled along the riverbank, squinting from the bright afternoon sun. Only one of us had the forethought to bring sunglasses, the other (me) cast my gaze downwards as we navigated rocky terrain.

As was usual when we got together, the subject of dating made its way into our conversation. I was with a friend, he in his thirties, me about to be turning thirty, and we often shared laughs over the first date experiences we shared with one another, sometimes frightening.

This conversation was a little different, however, as it shifted to what we thought constituted a successful relationship.

“If you get married and it lasts,” he said, quite confidently.

I shook my head.

“No, no. It doesn’t have to last forever to be a success. I’ve known couples that have stayed together, although miserable, just to appease others. I wouldn’t call that a success.”

After debating for a while, we agreed to disagree, as we normally did, and parted ways for the evening. But the question of the successful relationship stuck in my head.

On my way home, I stopped at a park to have a little stroll, while I pondered some of my past relationships. “Failure, failure, success, failure.” I wasn’t exactly sure how I was grading them, but I seemed quite sure that I had it right.

Then it dawned on me.

A relationship isn’t a failure if it doesn’t last forever. If there is love; if there is laughter; if there is the feeling of a true partner in the other, I consider that a success. It is only once the relationship turns hostile, when you are so sure the other person is not on your team, that I would ever deem it a failure.

It is not in how long it lasts, but rather the quality of the relationship as it went through its stages. Sure, I realize every couple has their ups and downs. I know that at times you have to fight for it. I know that putting in the effort can at sometimes seem like a chore, only to have the payoff appear when you least expect it.

But I also know when to call it. I know when you have given so much of yourself, that if you gave anymore, you would lose every part of you.

But to walk away from it when you know it’s time, after three, eight, or even twenty years, that is not a failure. It is knowing when the relationship no longer serves the both of you, that you can move on and continue to grow on your own.

 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend,

D

Swing

I fumbled with my golf bag as I propped it up against my car. It was my first time with my own set of clubs, and I was determined to blend in at the driving range. However I may have given more thought to that prior to leaving my house, as I looked down and realized I was dressed in a tank top and yoga pants with mesh panels. I looked more like I was trying to pick up a date at the gym and less like I was working on getting the ball past the acceptable distance for someone to assume I knew what I was doing.

I eyed the open mats on the range and chose a spot far away from everyone else. I knew myself well enough that after one beer, I typically have less control of the words that come out of my mouth if I miss the ball entirely. This is fine when surrounded by friends, but less okay when you’re getting questionable looks from strangers.

Speaking of beer, I made my way to the club house. If there is one thing I learned early on about this sport, it’s that alcohol goes quite well with it. Why on earth do you think I chose it. As someone who finds mimosas a perfectly acceptable breakfast beverage on a weekday, I am more than pleased to be able to drink a beer while I get some exercise.

I set up my little station, making sure the beer was the most accessible item, and started whacking some balls. It was all going very smoothly, until I felt my back begin to tense up. “Hmmmm”, I pondered to myself, “I must need more booze.”

After Corona number two, my club started to make contact with the ball less and less often. I was starting to get frustrated with myself, as the last time I could remember doing this poorly was the first time I had ever swung a club.

“%#*!  @$(*^ # $*$%^!!!!!! (Honestly I can’t remember exactly what unpleasant words I was muttering, but use your imagination.)

I was just about to give up, when I heard a loud sigh come from behind me.

“Jesus Christ, you’re moving you’re f*%#’in legs! Just F%#*’in stay still and you’ll hit the %*^-damn ball!”

I whipped my head around, and found a short older gentleman staring at me. I nodded, resumed my position, and kept my legs still as I swung the ball. I heard that sweet sound when the club makes contact, and the ball flew in a perfect, long line.

I turned around and smiled at him.

“F#&%’in finally”, he said with a wink, “now do that 1000 more times.”

I’m going to need more beer for that.

 

Are those permanent?

I still vividly remember the experience of my first tattoo. After carefully choosing a symbol that 17 year old Diane deemed appropriate to place on the oh-so-popular lower back area (we all know what I really wanted to type there, starts with “t”  and ends with “ramp stamp”), I found myself sitting in a chair, waiting to discover exactly how multiple tiny needles felt piercing through my skin.

The pain was surprisingly not bad, but perhaps due to the adrenaline pumping through me, or the fact that back then I still had this little problem, I felt myself getting dizzy. The tattoo artist, who luckily had the patience of a saint, told me to take a moment. As I pulled myself together, I turned to the mirror to have a look.

“Oh, the outline’s done, I like it like that! You know what? I think we should just leave it. Looks perfectly fine to me. Yup, I’m good. Let’s call it a day!”

He chuckled and told me to sit back down. After another half hour or so, I was patched up and on my way, elated that I had successfully gone through with it. On the drive home, a friend asked me how I was feeling. “Pretty good, but…..I want another one.”

Turns out that feeling never goes away, and it was only a few short months later that I strolled into a different tattoo shop to get the second one. Only this time, I hadn’t done my homework, and the tiny piece of art that now graces my left hip usually results in a face-palm whenever it catches my eye. I had decided I wanted tattoo #2 to be as meaningful as a drive-thru wedding, and ended up choosing a moon and 9 stars, with tribute to the meaning of my name, and my June 9th birthday (ok, calm down, I can hear you groaning from here.) Everything was going smoothly, until my friend, whom I had excitedly convinced to come with me, got a funny look on her face. “Diane,” she whispered, “so, um, there’s 10 stars, but, let’s just say one’s for luck.”

Ten years passed until I decided on my next one, and from there my tattoo addiction sped up a little quicker. The reason I had taken such a large break in-between getting any  primarily fell on the disapproving attitudes towards them from family and significant others, but in the last two years of my life, I’ve learned some things.

We are all so impermanent. This life that we have, the one we’re all trying to figure out, is so incredibly short in the grand scheme of things. One day you’re a kid, dreaming of what it’s like to be all grown-up, and the next day you’re wondering how the last ten years could have flown by so quickly. You’re going to change, you’re going to grow, and you’re going to fall down a million times while you do that. But don’t let your biggest mistake be this: don’t let these mistakes be for anyone else but yourself. Figure out what you like. Figure out what you don’t like. Figure out what makes you happy. Figure out what makes you so incredibly excited, what fills you with so much joy, that you cannot help but grin at the mere thought of it. Figure out what you want to spend your time on. Figure out who you want to spend your time with. Figure out what drives you to get out of bed in the morning, and what lulls you to sleep at night.

And at the end of day, if one of those things that makes you happy is putting art on these bodies that we are all lucky enough to live in, then do just that. If it makes you happy to get a tattoo, or pierce your lip, then do it.

But do it for yourself.

 

Extra cheese, please

As I happily ate my cheeseburger, I made the mistake of glancing down at the wrapper that had been holding it for the approximate thirty seconds between someone slapping it together and me ripping it open like it was an antidote for poison I had just been given.

400 calories? For a tiny cheeseburger? Add my fries and the glass of sugar I had decided to consume with it and I was looking at an entire days worth of calories. “Well,” I said out loud, speaking directly to my food since I was sitting in my car alone, “if I go for a 13 hour walk through the park later, that should totally take care of things.”

It was now a month before my big 3-0, and my goal of dropping 15 pounds was looking…..slimmer and slimmer (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

I quickly began to calculate how much weight I could realistically drop each week to reach my goal. After spending way too much trying to divide 15 by 4 in my head (I’m an arts major, not a mathematician,) I realized I could still fit into the dress I had purposely bought one size too small in, in anticipation that I would somehow find some self-control when it came to frequenting restaurants in this city.

I set a goal for myself and made a mental note to consume more vegetables than the ones I find on my burger. I suppose I’ll also need to start drinking something called “water”, which I recently found out I can drink on its own and is not just an accompaniment for the multiple ceasars I order. I can only imagine the server brings the water in an attempt to offset the bloat from the insane amount of sodium I consume that leaves me looking about 5 months pregnant by the time I leave the restaurant. I know the kind elderly lady was only trying to be friendly, but she looked mighty concerned when the only answer I had to her question of “do you know what you’re having?” was “yes, a good time.”

So, with that, I wrote down a little plan for myself over the next 4 weeks. It also included making the leap from seriously considering exercising to actually putting on workout clothes and following along to whatever overly enthusiastic instructor I could find on YouTube.

I felt good about this plan, as I wandered through downtown Winnipeg on my way to meet a friend for dinner.

“Hi there hun, what can I get you to drink?”

“Strawberry margarita, please.”

I start tomorrow.

Relax

I burst through the doors of the university, immediately feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin. It was a bright, sunny spring day, and I had just written my final exam. Filled with the relief of knowing I wouldn’t have to write another academic paper or take another exam for a good four months, I set out on a quest to enjoy my afternoon.

I got in my car, turned on the engine, put on my sunglasses, and…….realized I had no idea where I was going. All of a sudden, the knowledge that I didn’t have anything urgent to attend to, let me feeling slightly uneasy. I was to start a new job at the end of the week, but I had the next couple of days to do whatever I pleased.

I sat there for a moment, my car half out of a parking space, and decided on a reliable favourite: The Forks. I could wander around, grab a coffee, maybe call up a friend and turn that coffee into a beer, and enjoy people watching. I started driving towards downtown, looking forward to the relaxing afternoon, when the uneasy feeling set in again.

Alright, this is odd, maybe I’ll change the venue. I know, I’ll make use of the runners I have sitting in my trunk and go for a little run (which usually lasts about a block before I decide walking is a much more reasonable activity.) I could get some exercise, stay far away from the geese, and take in some fresh air. I rerouted my car and started driving in that direction, but something still felt off.

Hmmm, alright. It was still early in the day, maybe I’ll go visit a friend downtown for lunch. There were still a ton of restaurants I wanted to try in the Exchange District, and one of my favourite things to do was go for a leisurely stroll while I took some impressive architecture. There was also some shopping I wanted to do, since 95% of my wardrobe consisted of jeans and t-shirts.

The feeling crept up again.

I sighed, took a left turn, and drove in the direction of home.

As I threw on my sweatpants, I took a look at the big blue sky outside. I promptly drew the shades shut, bounced onto my bed, put on Netflix, and felt a flood of relief.

Sometimes, after months of doing it all, the best thing to do is to take a minute….to do nothing at all.

 

Have a relaxing weekend,

D.

Let’s get personal

It had been a while since I went on a first date. My last relationship lasted almost seven years, and I knew the dating scene had probably changed a little bit. It was apparent though that some things, at least, had stayed the same.

Perhaps the most exciting time lies in the messages and phone calls that take place before you meet someone face to face. Nowadays getting hooked up by a friend, or meeting someone online gives people an opportunity to see if there’s a connection before the first date even takes place. The only thing one needs to be careful about with this, is the perceptions that we fill in about the other person. It is easy to make someone laugh, or, in my case, it’s easy to make me laugh, but it’s also easy to create an image of that person that might not be real.

Another thing that you can’t fake in person: chemistry. This one is so important. After texting back and forth for a few days, I went on a couple dates with someone. He was kind, funny, good-looking, and we got along well, but there was something missing. It bothered me that I couldn’t figure out what it was. On paper, and logically, it should have been a match, but there was a spark missing that should have been, and it became obvious.

I reflected on it, surprised at myself for misjudging the situation since I normally deem myself pretty good at being perceptive, and then it dawned on me: I was no longer tailoring my answers to fit the situation. Ten years ago, (or even five, for that matter), I would have convinced myself I liked things, even when I didn’t. “Sure, I love snowboarding! Falling down a mountain for three hours is one of my favourite things to do. Sports? You can absolutely find me sitting in front of the T.V. whenever you have it on. Yes! I’d love to spend three hours watching a science fiction movie while I contemplate why I told you I liked this in the first place.”

The difference, between twenty-one year old Diane and nearly thirty Diane, was that I am now much closer to knowing who I am, and I don’t feel the need to hide any of it anymore.

I like lazy Sundays, the kind where you sleep in, grab a coffee, and wander around the city leisurely taking in the fresh air. I have a short attention span, and the likelihood of me paying attention for an entire movie at home is zero to none. I get ridiculously excited about silly stuff, like the first day of spring, or watching a prairie sunset over an open field. I throughly enjoy going to hockey games, but my motives for attending usually involve beer and a Jets-dog, and less about watching the game. I now am just as content to curl up in a chair with a book and a glass of wine on a Saturday night, as I am going out with friends. I use the term “cooking” loosely, and have much better luck making dinner with a phone and a credit card. I like tattoos, and I like them on me – we are so impermanent on this earth, that decorating the skin I am walking around in with art brings me nothing but joy. I will make plans, but some of my best days have been filled with spontaneity. If I’m on a road trip, I will enthusiastically make a playlist, stay awake for one hour, and then be sleep-drooling for the duration of the trip in the passenger seat. I will only yell if someone is on fire, or if they do something incredibly stupid in traffic. Family has become increasingly important to me, and I have learned through this past year just how much. I want to see the world, not in the comfort of my living room looking at my T.V., but with my own eyes. I can be sensitive, which I always thought was a weakness, but I have learned that empathy is one of the most important traits that a person can possess. If I have a bad day, which are few and far between, they can be easily fixed with wine and good company. I start a lot of things with childlike excitement, but can take a while (or a very long while) to finish them. Simple makes me happy: all I want in the summer is a tent, a campfire, and the appropriate amount of booze from the LC for all of us to enjoy ourselves. The most important thing during any day is to make sure I’ve laughed, I don’t care if it’s at myself, but a day without a smile is a day wasted.

After Mr. Few-Dates and I agreed that we were lacking chemistry, I found myself at my parents house, sitting beside my mom with a glass of wine in my hand.

“Oh I forgot to ask, how was your date the other night?”

I laughed, “another one bites the dust,” I said with a wink.

She turned to me, smiling.

“You know, Diane, I was thinking earlier; I was always sad over the past seven years when you were in Alberta. Every Christmas and birthday that went by when he didn’t propose, it upset me. Not because it was necessary, but because I just wanted you to know how much you were loved. But it dawned on me in church today, that’s not important. The thing I want most for you isn’t for someone else to love you, but for you to love yourself.”

I looked at her and smiled, tears welling up in my eyes a bit.

Thanks, Mom.

For the first time in a long time, I think I do.