When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

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I do hate to start things off with a cliché but, well when the shoe fits…damn there’s another one…  In life, we move…and we move on.  Why do we move or why do things change?  Not necessarily because we want them to, but rather because they have to change.  Relationships grow old…stale and so we have to move on.  Unfortunately, I’m not only talking about the relationships you have with your spouses (or significant others, should you also have never been married), but I’m also talking about your friendships and acquaintances.  We all have different relationships in our lives that meet different requirements and which fulfill different needs.  We should all be so lucky to have a gym buddy…someone who helps motivate us to go to the gym, someone who supports our bettering ourselves…as well as those nights when you both choose to take a night off to get some frozen yogurt instead because it is the mental health you need to also care for.  We should also all be so lucky to have a friend who we can meet for coffee or a walk when we need to bounce ideas off of.  Someone who, like family, is always there when you need to chat about a bad hair day or a guy you just met or a shitty boss.  

But we also need to have a lot of acquaintances…people we can do things with, like go to see a movie with occasionally or someone to meet for dinner/lunch/drinks every few months.  This person normally shuffles in and out of your life as frequently as maybe 5 or 6 other such people.  They enjoy your company and you do theirs…they enjoy getting out with you, maybe discovering a new restaurant with you or with whom you can share a good bottle of red wine…something that always promotes some really good conversation.  I always smile when I think of these people because I remember what fun I had the last time I saw them or how much we laughed…the more wine we drank…or how much they support my crazy antics and how I just love sharing them with these friends just to help them laugh!

I have been forced to cut friends loose in the past…sometimes due to changed living circumstances and sometimes just because we lose touch…but that does not necessarily mean that I don’t still think of them and remember them with fondness.  But it’s not those people I am referring to here either.

‘Cause I gotta tell ya’…we all have another kind of friend…and don’t even try to deny it.  We all have friends we keep around because we feel we’re obligated to stay friends with them.  It may be because we’ve been friends with them for umpteen years or because our mothers were friends so it’s like we’re carrying on a legacy.  Or, at least for me, it could be because we don’t get them.  We can’t really understand them…why they do the things they do…what reasons they have for behaving the way they do.  And even if we get their scars…understand why they may be how they are, why does that still make it alright?  And should that give them carte blanche forever?!?!  When should they start having to answer up to their actions and what they say to, or against, other people?  

Or does it need to be that they do something against us, first?  Something that breaks all the “friendship” rules in our book before we can say to ourselves…”We’re done!”  We refuse to spend another minute of our precious free time doing things for them because we’ve realized that they wouldn’t do the same for us!”  

And it is these people who, to me, can also represent those doors that keep opening and closing in our lives.    Yes, many people use this cliché to refer to jobs passed or serious relationships.  Everyone needs closure before they can move on to a new job or husband or girlfriend.  But what about those friendships that were just digging a hole in our hearts for all those years which we ignored.  Friends we kept waiting to fulfill their end of the friendship game of tennis…and always fell short.  Friends who actually have made us feel as taken advantage of as many of us have felt during many of our love relationships, as well.  People who can only truly be happy for us when something good happens, so long as there’s something in it for them.  

Those are the friends I am talking about cutting loose…with a sledgehammer!  And I don’t know about you, but I’ve recently decided that my first priority needs to be about me and sometimes that means that I cut loose those who are sucking me dry in order for me to make room for a positive addition to my life…an addition who will only cause good things to happen to me without them thinking of themself first.  

So as the cliché says, “When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens”… slam those doors shut…every single one of them and be open for what comes next.  And if that means that you have to spend a night home alone every once in a while, so be it…you’re so much better off than when you fill your life with superficials just to satisfy the wrong need.  

What do you believe?

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7040000598_dHow to change my beliefs…  How to erase negative thoughts about myself…  What do I consider to be positive reinforcement?  What would be a reward for the decisions or the actions I’ve made or taken?  What would that look like?

They say that our beliefs are based on rules or examples set for us as children.  Well, if that’s true, then what about my childhood lead me to believe that being in a relationship/marriage with a child was the route that I needed to be on?  Why did I always believe that it had to be my ultimate goal when nothing about my life ever lead me in that direction?

happy-successful-woman-against-sunsetI’ve had long term relationships but as I entered them, it was not with the intention of my eventually being married to the guy.  But then something would happen…I would start thinking that was just the guy I’d be with forever.  Why?  Because I was completely devoted to him and he knew it and maybe had never felt so close to a woman before so it just made sense for both of us?  Then when the relationship goes bust, I feel all deserted and abandoned and alone and incapable of making my own decisions…deciding where I want to spend the rest of my life, where I want to travel to or even eat for dinner.  Incapable of remembering what my plan had been before I met the guy to begin with.  Or should I just be making a different plan?  What would that look like right now?

imagesWhen I compare the overall state of myself after the relationships to the state of myself before the relationships, I do consider myself to have been in better financial condition, maybe even with a stronger head on my shoulders…having just experienced a long-term relationship during which I matured and grew older during.   I look at the jobs I had after the relationships and compared them to the jobs I had before the relationships and consider myself to be a better earner who is more pleased with what I was doing to earn it, using my education more and challenging myself more mentally than I did before.

But why do I believe that now I am unworthy of being in another, long-term relationship, superior to the last ones?  Just like after the end of my last unsuccessful relationship?  Why do I believe that I am now “used goods”?  Leftovers that no one would want?  Since my ex didn’t want me, then why would someone else want me?  What in my childhood taught me that?  Was it just all the crap my brother used to flap about his immature teenage relationships that just stuck, since no adult ever gave me dating advice?  Or the fact that my mother always stayed instead of trying to find the man who gave her the attention and devotion she deserved?  Or even gave being single a try?!?!

I look around me at the women in my life who are in relationships (most married) and the number of them who are happy is very few.  They seem to make excuses for their spouses and maybe stay because there are children involved…one of the reasons why my mother always stayed, I believe.  So, in the end, I should feel bad for having kept that woman in a relationship that never satisfied her just because of me and my brother.  Sorry Mom!

Maybe, had she never been married, or had she never had children and so eventually left my father, she would have found that happiness she deserved.  My mother was not in her element.  In what way?  Well, she was just never on the same page or wavelength as those who surrounded her for so many years.  She kind of existed in her own reality of positivity and self-preservation in the most self-less way she could have.  She didn’t care what the neighbors thought of her and never tried to measure up to them.  She was always reading and filling her mind with stories of all types by some really great authors…ones I’ve picked up in the past 12 years and wished I had read while she was still alive so we could have chatted about those books.  Maybe that’s where my beliefs come from?

tumblr_static_tumblr_static_dm6exogeezkk4s8ws44ggsokc_640I am extremely positive (like my mother) and nothing thrilled me more than when I lived in NYC and was always the single (while always dating someone) free spirit who just did what came to mind at the moment.  Though it wasn’t enough…which was why I walked away from all of that to travel to Mexico to dive and where I met someone who had seemed to fill in all my empty spots…until now.  I believed that I didn’t need anything else so long as he and I were together…and now we’re not.  So now what?  Do I go back to where I came from to earn the money I used to earn and where I could just blend in with people more like me…single, free-spirits without a responsibility or care in the world?  Or do I stay here in Mexico where everyone is in a relationship and who treats me like there must be something wrong with me since I’m not?  Or is that just in my own “belief bubble” and is that the belief I need to change and stop allowing my imagination to run away with itself?  

Maybe I should give it till the end of 2017, see what happens here and within my own personal and professional life before I rush into any hasty decisions.  NYC will always be there for me and will always welcome me home with open arms…but before I go running back there, I still believe that I have some unfinished business here.

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What language do you speak?

I still don’t get it.  I have never considered myself to be needy…never thought of myself as someone who necessarily needs approval for all of the things I do or decide to do with my life…success or failure.  I’ve also never blamed anyone for my failures.  Circumstances, maybe, but I put myself into them.  I made my life decisions, no one else did, so on days when I found myself laying on my face, I didn’t say it was anyone’s fault or that it was someone’s resposibility to pick me up.  God knows that was the first lesson my mother taught me!  …how to get back on the horse…of course, I don’t remember why she taught me that at such a young age.

Regardless, I do still have dealings with other people.  I may work alone or for a company rather, that employs just me, but I also have investments I made with various members of my immediate family.  Yes, it was my decision to make those investments so the fact that the money was completely lost is no one’s fault, except my own and so I would never hold anyone at fault, except for myself.  But at the same time, these members of my immediate family still don’t seem to understand why it’s so important to repay debts to me.  Having taken advantage of my overly generous nature when I, of course, lent them money when they needed it, I now sit here, asking myself what kind of a person would I have been had I not lent my own brother money to help him buy a house for his family?!?!  

Of course, then I also ask myself how I didn’t expect that same brother to basically tell me to “Go scratch” when I asked him to maybe start paying me back that money.  Seriously?!?!  What does that mean?  I always read funny sayings about how the best way to lose a friend was to lend them money.  Hahaha!  But not my brother!  He’s such an honest, stand up guy!  I must have misunderstood.  Right?  Maybe not.

Now, several years later, after years of fighting and crying and insults being thrown back and forth across phone lines and through gossip chains and through other deals that were thrown in my face to take responsbility for…I pray that something good will come out of it.  Maybe my father will witness this whole transaction and at least, I don’t know, take pity on me or my plight to get my money back.  Help me to understand from what perspective my brother may be dealing from or at least help me see where I must be misperceiving, some comment or action made against me…only to be told how it’s just my fault…how I should just learn to forget the past and move on.  Why can’t I just stop fighting with my brother?  Really?

God, I hope my mother just flipped in her grave!  I live my relationship with my brother and father while experiencing such frustration because we all came from the same household…my brother and I grew up in the same house.  So he must have at least witnessed it when I learned about the difference between right and wrong! How my mother would have sold her own body to pay back a debt…regardless of how small.  I know my brother saw that…I know that his wife saw it while she practically grew up in my mother’s house as well.  Yet, I am still made to feel ostracized by the only members of my immediate family still existing.  Continuously being made to think that I must be the crazy one to be expecting such things as a debt to be repaid or an apology to be expressed for the almost racist comments made to me over the last 6 years by people who are so damn ignorant that I am embarrassed to say we’re even related!  

But why am I raving like this on such a public forum?  Because I need to put this whole thing into the rear view mirror…like so many other things in my life…and this just seems like the best way to do that.  So please, don’t pity me…don’t feel sorry for me.  It was my fault for being the overly generous sibling, instead of the bitch I’ve turned into for being made to feel like the jerk with unsatisfied expectations.  Smack me once, shame on you…smack me twice, shame on me.

Peace out!

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Renter or Owner?

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There really are two types of people out there…Renters and Owners.  What do I mean by that?  Come on, you must know!  We really are two different types. There are those who just don’t…or can’t…find something to tie themselves down to.  They may seem courageous to the outside world…always moving…making fresh starts where most would succumb to a feeling of defeat.  But when they move on…they still don’t tie themselves down to anything permanent.  They stick with something temporary…an apt that they just pay rent for…neighbors they don’t make lasting relationships with because they know they won’t be there forever.  They don’t shop for anything permanent because when their lease is up, it’s all getting trashed anyway.  

Personally, I’ve always been a renter.  But I’ve always longed to be an “Owner.”  I want to find a place where I can grow old.  I want to lay down roots some place.  I want a house that is set to my design…the style that I have in my dreams…I’m tired of still being (in my opinion) forced to pay rent to some other owner to live in their house.  

I tried once to own a place…but that didn’t really work out that well for me.  I feel like I should have gotten an “E” for effort…but I really didn’t deserve it.  I would think that once you have a “permanent” place, then it makes you think more permanently…you choose a boyfriend who may be around for a while…instead of the next cute drug addict you meet.  (I was young…still believed I could talk a guy off drugs…whatever…I learned my lesson.)  

But now I look at the life I’ve had since the end of that relationship 15 years ago…and I am living in another country, have been paying rent ever since, and still have not found the place where I want to lay down my roots yet.  I always think that my next move will be my last…then another relationship ends and I find myself needing to move just to be able to make a fresh start…another fresh start.  Anytime something like that happens, there are always butterflies in your stomach and the thought that maybe going back would be easier.  And then I have to remember that when things appear in the rear view mirror…they need to remain in the rear view mirror.  It doesn’t mean that maybe one day there isn’t a chance that things could be better or different with the people in your life…but it does mean that you still need to change.  You need to stop relying on other people to help you lay down those roots.  

It’s clear to me now.  In order for that to happen, I need to do it alone.  That’s how I was raised…that’s what I was taught…the only person…the ONLY person…I can rely on…is myself.  And that’s for happiness, dependability, love, trust…all those things people look for in their significant others.  If you are not happy within…it makes no difference how many jokes your man comes with!  They aren’t going to make you happy for long.  And as much as he adores you…you must love yourself first before anyone else can get in.  If you have a lot of self-hatred within yourself, it doesn’t matter what that man says.  There’s no beating down that wall into your heart.  

I wish I could be different…more trusting..more open to the love of someone else.  But it’s amazing how much more content I am when there’s no one in my life with the right to judge me or share with me their opinions of my faults.  I see my faults…I recognize when I am rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless, etc….but I also see when I am compassionate, loving, supportive, respectful and just plain nice to others and I feel like those qualities outweigh my bad mood moments when I’m probably just taking a low blood sugar out on the person next to me.  So for now, yes, I continue to be a renter.  But I do see that I need to overcome this obstacle we call “life” by myself.  Once I have crossed over to the other side and have become an “Owner” of a house where I can lay down my own roots, I’m not saying that I won’t let anyone in.  It’s just that I need to do all that before I should even consider it so that I can better identify myself as the person I am…not the person I want to be.

What generation are you?

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sinatra2I never remember which generation I truly am…is it X or Y…I can’t remember.  But I can tell you that I am the generation that grew up before cell phones and computers.  I learned how to make a friend by shaking their hand and looking them in the eye to see if they were someone I could trust.  I am also the generation who listened to the Frank Sinatra show every Saturday night…having grown up in a small apt with my family of four where we only had one radio and my father was who decided what we listened to on Saturday nights.  At the time, sure, I was the kid who would chime in with my brother, “Not Frank Sinatra AGAIN!”  And then we would sit and listen to that Italian crooner from New Jersey sing about life and love and bad luck and of course, New York, NY and Chicago!

Now I’m 41 years old, and one of my favorite things to do is to listen to Frank Sinatra.  It brings me back to the days of when I listened to the lyrics of composers such as Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hammerstein and George Gershwin who wrote about how “I Get a Kick Out of You” or “Shall We Dance” or “I’ve got a Crush on You” even the brave lyrics sung about how “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”  I now find myself singing right along with Frank Sinatra

“I get no kick from champagne,
Mere alcohol,
Doesn’t thrill me at all,
So tell me, why should it be true,
That I get a kick out of you.”

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“When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark”

And I realize that this was who taught me about life, about love, about loyalty and fear,these were the words that I heard so many times and were repeated in my ear, for so many years…words that I still hear today.

“I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate
A poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race”…because that’s life!

Children today don’t see the world like I do or did…but how can they?  They grow up idolizing people like the twerker or the Kardashians or the one who always needs a hairbut…Bieber.  What an idiot!  These people are not teaching our children lessons like the ones that I learned while listening to an AM/FM radio.  At a time when we all had record albums that we had to handle with care and that all began with that static sound in the background.  (A sound you never hear anymore because now it’s considered to be an imperfection.)  We learned how to grow up into the person we were because we didn’t know any different.  We spent time with each other, and we adjusted to each other and we all got along and we weren’t glued to a TV set with 1,000 channels.  (My first TV was in black & white and if you wanted to change the channel, between the 7 channels we had, you had to get up and turn a knob!)

So what generation am I?  I’m the Sinatra generation and I want to spend my life singing about “Falling in Love” and “Picking myself up to get back in the race” and about “Wishing on a Star” that I’ll meet a “Stranger in the Night.”  Because that is what life is about.  I will never be perfect, I’ve been up and down and I’ve made my mistakes.  But I plan to spend my life continuing to hold my head high because I know that I’ll never walk alone…if for no other reason than just because that’s what Ole Blue Eyes has always told me.