Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: dating

So You Are Single On Valentine’s Day? Show Yourself Some Love!

Don’t miss this amazing article by Julie Morris who has guest blogged on here before! If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, then here are some awesome ways to celebrate you! This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen on being single on Valentine’s Day! Enjoy! 

Show Yourself Some Love

by Julie Morris

Nearly half of the country’s population doesn’t plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. And, while some of those reticent romantics have significant others, many Valentine’s Day holdouts will be spending the holiday solo. For those folks, February 14 might mark an opportunity to offer themselves some tender loving care to boost their mood and bolster their mental and emotional health year-round.

Be Your Own Date

Here are some suggested solo activities that don’t involve romantic dinners or red roses:

  • Spend the evening browsing the racks at off-price stores like Marshalls or T.J. Maxx, which will be less crowded since they aren’t exactly prime spots for the average Valentine’s Day outing. Plus, at least one retailer’s research found snagging a bargain can actually raise shoppers’ heart rates. So you don’t even need a hot date to get your pulse pounding.
  • Settle in for an extended reading session. Rather than reading magazines or blogs, bury yourself in a book for a while. Reading books, in particular, boosts brain power and can protect people from cognitive decay later in life. Reading also has mental and emotional benefits. According to research cited by Reader’s Digest, reading books, especially fiction, increases empathy and emotional intelligence. And honing these social skills can lead to more frequent and more positive interactions with others, which can lower stress levels.
  • Sign up for an exercise class that’s usually packed. If that barre or kickboxing class always fills up faster than you can save a spot, Valentine’s Day might mean a few regulars will skip the sweat session in favor of an indulgent dinner date. Working out will elevate your heart rate and lift your spirits by increasing your output of endorphins and other natural mood-boosting brain chemicals.
  • Volunteer your time. Studies show donating your time can decrease your stress levels and risk of depression while boosting your sense of purpose, fulfillment, and self-confidence. It will also help put your own problems into perspective and connect with your community.

 

Treat Yourself

U.S. consumers are expected to shell out an average $143.56 this Valentine’s Day on jewelry, an evening out, flowers, candy, and clothes. So, if you won’t be spending any cash on a significant other, maybe you can splurge on something for yourself. Here are a few ideas:

  • As a single person, you might not be giving or receiving roses this Valentine’s Day. So why not use the sweet savings to give yourself some indoor plants that will help add some greenery to your environment until winter winds down completely? Plants can help purify the air in your home and also add to oxygen levels. Studies have also shown plants propagate productivity and boost concentration and mood while lowering our stress levels. Check out these tips from Redfin on how to optimize your home for stress-free living.
  • Invest in a yoga mat or other tools to encourage mindfulness practices. For example, you could download a meditation app or enroll in a set of online classes to help you develop a daily meditation habit. Or order a set of pocket guides with titles including “How to Sit,” “How to Eat,” and “How to Love” by Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.
  • Purchase a gratitude journal. Try recording three things you are grateful for and three things you were able to accomplish each day. If you have a hard time sticking to the happiness-boosting habit, consider downloading a free app that offers inspiration and advice for maintaining a journal.

So celebrate yourself on Valentine’s Day with some activities and small splurges that will warm your heart.

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.

Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book. To contact Julie and find out more, please visit her website at http://juliemorris.org/.

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You Don’t Lose Until You Quit Trying

Today I have this lovely guest post from B. Lynn Goodwin, who wrote the book, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62. A little more about the book and the author is at the bottom of this post!

 

You Don’t Lose Until You Quit Trying

My husband introduced me to his favorite phrase, “You don’t lose until you quit trying” from the driver’s seat of his Mazda back when we were first dating. He used it to tackle business problems, used it when he was dating a woman before me, and still uses it as a reminder that bolsters my confidence.

The only time it didn’t work was when he was dating a woman who loved him but wasn’t “in love” with him. Come to think of it, maybe he did win, because he wouldn’t have found me if she said, “Yes.” We met each other after I met my husband, and she’s glad we’re together.

How does this philosophy work?

If you can’t open the lid on a glass jar, try again. Try harder.

o Put on more pressure as the left hand goes one way and the right another
o Run the lid under hot water
o Look for a tool to help
o If necessary, ask a neighbor with stronger hands to help.
o Eventually the lid will open, and maybe you’ll make a new friend in the process.

If you can’t turn the key that you’ve put in the lock, try again. Still no luck?

o Move your fingers so the pressure on the key is redistributed.
o Take the key out and spray the lock with WD-40.
o Push in against the door and try again.
o Maybe even ask for help?

Both are real-life scenarios. I’ve used my husband’s hands and my next-door neighbor’s screw-top opener to get a lid off a jar of caramel sauce so I could finish making a dump cake. I’ve twisted a key in the lock of an old sticky door near the bay, and when nothing worked, I knocked on the back door. Trying differently often solves the problem.

“You don’t lose until you quit trying” is meant to inspire people. Make the philosophy work for you and let it help you examine alternate methods for getting what you want. Here’s one more example.

How does a 62-year-old woman who’s never been married use this philosophy with a two-time widower seeking his third wife on . . . Craigslist?

You’ll know if you read Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in Indie Bookstores, who can order the book through Ingram.

Our best advertisement is word of mouth. If you like the story, please tell your friends and colleagues. Want to do more? One or two sentences on Amazon, telling people why you recommend the book, would be fabulous.

And why am I promoting my book here? Because you don’t lose until you quit trying.
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B. Lynn Goodwin owns Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com. Her memoir, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62, was just released by Koehler Press.

She’s written You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers and Talent, which was short-listed for a Literary Lightbox Award, won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was a finalist for a Sarton Women’s Book Award.

Goodwin’s work has appeared in Voices of Caregivers, Hip Mama, Dramatics Magazine, Inspire Me Today, The Sun, Good Housekeeping.com, Purple Clover.com and many other places. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, and she is an editor, writer and manuscript coach at Writer Advice.

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What You Deserve in a Significant Other

I should start this post with a couple disclaimers: 1. I’m not talking about any individual specifically, except myself.  2. I realize TV and movies are not real (just in case you think: oh no, this time, she’s really lost it).

When I first began this blog, I mentioned I would post about dating. I had a funny story about a “zero” date I went on, and that’s about all I’ve posted.  I haven’t written much about dating since.  It’s so personal, isn’t it? And you never know who’s going to be reading this blog!

But I had an epiphany, and so I must share it. If it helps one person besides myself, then any flack I get for this post about Gilmore Girls will be well worth it.

I am on a Gilmore Girls binge, thanks to the world of Netflix. One night, while putting a desk together from IKEA, I watched several episodes from season 3. In this season, Rory’s best friend, Lane Kim, who is Korean, wants this guy she likes, Dave, who is NOT Korean, to take her to the prom. Her mother does not approve, only because Dave is not Korean, and Mrs. Kim is very strict and religious. So, Dave dresses up in a suit and comes to see Mrs. Kim:

 

So my epiphany: don’t settle for someone who would not “read the Bible for you in one night.” Do I want someone to read the Bible? No. But I want someone who would go to the effort of everything Dave does in that wonderfully written scene. And I will point out, everyone–male and female–deserves this effort.

Everyone deserves someone who would dress up in a suit and make a formal presentation to a strict mother.

Everyone also deserves to find someone they would do this for–because it works both ways. Do you currently have someone in your life you would go that extra mile for? I know this kind of effort isn’t for everyone. People have relationships for many different reasons–something to do, sex, fun, compatibility. But if you want someone who loves and cherishes you, and you want to love and cherish someone, then that’s what you should look for, and that’s what you deserve.

I’m not giving up until I find it.

 

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MOPS 28 Day Truth Challenge Days 22 to 28

Well, it has taken me more than 28 days, but I am finally finished with the MOPS 28 Day Truth Challenge, and I have to say–I’m proud to have finished! So let’s get on with it.

Day 22: Banishing Ghosts: What is the best smell in the whole world? What is a nostalgic smell for you?

Answer: I really like the smell of Bath and Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint Soap. I have no idea why. I did work there for a while one Christmas season, and that was a particularly fun and joyful Christmas season. It also used to be in the bathroom of a close friend of mine. It makes me feel calm. As for a nostalgic smell–I like the smell of leaves burning, which reminds me of my first couple years of teaching when I lived in a small town, and you could burn leaves there. It also reminds me of fall, which is a great time of year.

Day 23: Campfires and Confessionals: When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone?

Answer:  The first thing that comes to mind is dating. So I guess that is what’s out of my comfort zone–but actually I don’t think it is anymore. It was, it definitely was. But I am lucky to have met someone very nice who is also understanding and seems to get me. So in going with it and going outside of my comfort zone–all actually paid off, which I think happens often when we step outside our comfort zones. I hardly ever hear anyone say: I stepped outside my comfort zone and it was terrible.

Day 24: Hearing God: What distracts you most from being present in  your life?

Answer: My thoughts about what we should be doing or that I’m not doing enough or what could I be doing better or what’s going to happen next? My thoughts keep me from being in the present–and I’ve noticed a couple of times, my phone–or the social media on my phone also distracts me.

Day 25: Forget-Me-Knots: Tell someone five things you love most about them and then hug them for longer than is comfortable. 

Answer: I will have to do this in person–not for the blog. 🙂

Day 26: A Dazzling Unfolding: Write down three things you want to become an expert in.

Answer: Well, I would like to become an expert in. . .practical parenting (you’ll see why in a minute), living within a budget, and living a balanced life (with exercise and healthy eating).

Day 27: The North Star: Describe a reoccurring dream you’ve had. What do you think it is trying to tell you? 

Answer: The most frightening, reoccurring dream that I have ever had is one where I am driving on a Bascule bridge , and just as I get to the middle, it raises up and my car starts to slide down. I have also had a reoccurring dream where I’m sitting on the side of a river, at a cafe, and I watch an airplane crash into a bridge. So I must have something with bridges.  I think these bridge dreams speak for times in my life when I have been crossing over to a new place or going on a new life journey, whether it’s my age, my job, my relationship status, adulthood–and I have had some trouble with change, so the difficulties with the bridges in the dream could symbolize that.

Day 28: Good Things Run Wild–One Big Thing

My one big thing is two big things: I am taking Katie on the little spring break trip to Kansas City AND I am going to start focusing more on writing posts about Practical Moms. 🙂 I don’t have that clearly fleshed out, but I’ve decided to just start on it instead of waiting–because I generally work better that way!

 

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