Thursday, July 14, 2016

Love Challenge

It was one of those silly things that get passed around Facebook. I had commented on a friend’s post. The post was meant to fling humor and bring smiles. My friend is funny like that and so it was mission accomplished. There was mention in the post of a challenge, a love challenge. I am always up for spreading love. You know this. What you might not know is that I am also a sucker for a challenge. Guess how many jellybeans in the jar? Sure. Spend five days kicking my diet into gear? I need to do that anyway. Sell five hundred dollars worth of lipsticks to win a lipstick pin for my lapel and a round of applause from my fellow cosmetics consultants? Consider it done. I have won jewelry, gift cards, movie tickets, kitchenware, luggage, and hot air balloon rides as a result of the challenges I have met. So, a love challenge? Count me in!

I discover, however, that I cannot participate in this particular challenge. The goal is to post a photo of you with your spouse or your significant other for seven days. Having neither a spouse nor a significant other, I can’t even post one day.

I am learning to be single.

I took myself to the beach the other day. I have no problem doing things on my own. I have always rather enjoyed it. An afternoon at the movie theater, a beautiful dinner at a corner table, hours in the coffee shop penning essays and finishing up my latest read, a long car ride down an open highway. I have never understood those, partnered or not, who do not enjoy time in their own company. I have never understood those fearful of being alone in a crowd. Anyway, the beach. So, I’m browsing a shop in town. You know the kind I mean. It is one of those with the sort of trinkets you think are a good idea at the time but will have no place or practical purpose in your home. Among the painted rocks with inspiring messages, the heart-shaped geodes, the humorous cocktail napkins, and the beach-themed fabric-covered refrigerator magnets, I spy a shelf full of wine glasses covered in sparkles and adorned with clever sayings. Among them is Divorced and Having the Time of My Life.

Given that it was empty, I stared at that glass longer than any sane person should ever look at stemware.

Divorced? Yes. Having the time of my life? Is this supposed to be a party? Am I supposed to be proving myself? Are there “Time of My Life” standards to which I have to measure up? My entire life has been spent measuring up. I no longer have interest in that. As for proving myself, I won’t be doing that anymore either. Oddly, despite the advice to the contrary, I don’t feel the need to show anyone, do anything, be anything, or accomplish anything. For the first time in my life, I just feel like being me. Whether anyone is okay with that or isn’t. Partying and having the time of my life as defined by some imaginary criteria for all newly single women are not among my top priorities.

I feel I am supposed to appear sad, morose, because I am no longer coupled. Either that, or I am to be uncharacteristically slutty and searching. I don’t feel either. Yes, I sometimes would like to sit on the couch watching a movie in the arms of someone with man smell. No, I don’t hate men. I rather like them. But neither do I feel the need to compromise my heart or my world just to have someone to ride shotgun on a day trip to the lake.

So, I’m thinking now about this challenge, about this love challenge. I may, just for fun, post seven days worth of photos of nothing but me with my cat. Single lady humor? I may be getting the hang of this.

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