Swiping through Instagram, this stopped me: “You attract what you believe you deserve”. And it made me think, what parts of my life am I dissatisfied with, and what am I doing to change that? I work hard at things, like in an all-out, balls-to-the-wall way. I am very intentional about every choice in my life, and have a clear picture of what a want, both for myself and for my children. But there are things that just aren’t working for me, and so I have to ask myself, do I truly believe that I deserve what I want? And how can I change my mindset, my belief in myself and my own value, to create the change that I need in my life? Because it all starts in your head, right? In having a clear focus, and then manifesting that which matters most to you.

I know what I want most, I know I deserve it, and there is no room for compromise. I have been given a second shot at getting things right, and I’m going to do that.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I know how empty rings can be

Will I ever get married again? Truly, I love the thought of it – making that commitment to another, saying to someone, “I choose you, always”. Weddings are all about our best intentions and hope for the future, public declarations of gratitude and fortitude and hope. But marriages; marriages are much more complicated. The marriage is what’s left when the first blush of falling in love passes, and the last of the wedding cake has been eaten, the rice swept away. The marriage is the day-to-day, here-I-am, leaving socks on the floor, finishing the last of the milk…and the arm that hugs you tight in the middle of the night. Marriages are a public statement about a private life; a legally binding obligation. It’s so beautiful when two people decide to tie themselves together, but I think it’s equally beautiful when a couple simply decides that they are a couple by their own definition. When every day, they wake up, look at the other, and decide to stay. When each day is an active choice to maintain the partnership because they want to be together; when walking away is an option and they choose not to take it. I was in a long marriage with a good man who I loved and who loved me, and I was so lonely. We married because we thought we were a good fit, because we had common goals and ideals, and because we wanted a family. And we were a good fit, and we still share common goals and ideals, and we created a wonderful family. But what we lacked was the waking up and choosing each other all over again. We became invisible to each other. We took each other for granted, and we became disconnected. From the outside, we looked perfect, functional, happy. On the inside, we were empty, left with the shell of what we had hoped for. It’s the saddest thing, when a marriage fails, and long after the pain of the tearing apart has passed, there’s still a scar; there always will be.

I know how empty rings can be. I also believe in commitment, and love, and choosing one another every day, forever. Does that mean I’ll get married again? Honestly, I don’t know, and only time will tell. I would like to say yes, but for right now, I’ll just keep choosing to stay.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wish come true 

Fairytales and handsome princes and wishes that come true – so many of us little girls grow up dreaming of that. It’s fantastical and magical and for many of us completely unrealistic, luckily, because who wants a fairytale when you can have something real? You know my story. I’ve talked about it a lot, and I’ve talked about starting over, and trying to balance dreams and reality and hope. I’ve told you about how I want goosebumps and partnership, and really good fights. But you know, I’m not sure I ever really thought that that was possible; I think a part of me might’ve thought that I was asking for too much. Then one night, when I was out with friends on vacation doing everything that I usually do, I stumbled upon somebody who changed all of that for me. I wasn’t looking for him, and he wasn’t looking for me, but there we were. And we started talking, and we didn’t stop, and the fact that we live 1200 miles apart didn’t really seem to matter; we just chatted, and took our time, and got to know each other. To me, who gets scared so easily, it felt safe and easy. So safe, in fact, that when he suggested a month later that we see each other, I felt comfortable saying yes. And so he got on a plane, and flew east, and we had our first date. And the next month, I got on a plane, and flew west, and we had our second date. We have now had three dates. Adding it up, it’s less than twelve days that we’ve had together since Thanksgiving, and I give thanks for every one of them. And you know, it’s not a fairytale at all. It’s hard work, and I’m often frustrated, and often lonely, and it’s totally worth it. It’s real, and it challenges me. It challenges me to trust, and to lean in, and to face my demons and tell myself they’re mine; they’re the voices in my head, and they’re my obstacles to overcome. Every day, I notice how difficult this is, and also how easy. He’s not a handsome prince, and he’s not here to save me from some malicious dragon, and this is not a fairytale; it’s better, because it’s real. He’s beautiful and flawed and funny, and we are kind to each other. We have difficult conversations that we don’t walk away from, and we each appreciate the other’s sticking it out. It’s not easy, and it’s not a fairytale: it’s better.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A love story, and a parallel

My sister and I joke that our parents have ruined us for love. This is their story. Before I tell it, though, I have to say that my sister and I are not ruined at all; just the opposite, in fact – what we want is rare, and possible, and we know this to be true because we grew up with daily proof.

My parents met in Cape Town, South Africa in the early 1970’s, at a going away party. My mom was newly divorced, and I was very little, maybe 3 or 4 years old. At the party, they started talking, and then talked some more. She thought he was super sexy, in his tight bell bottom jeans, and interesting, and she loved his warmth. However, the going away party was his, and he was moving to Canada the next day. They exchanged addresses and agreed to write to each other, but she wasn’t hopeful; Canada is a very long way from South Africa, and was even further away in 1973, with no Internet and poor phone service. But then, the letters started arriving, and they were wonderful. Filled with stories, and drawings, and descriptions of the people he was meeting and all the new things he was seeing…all of which was completely foreign to my mom. Our life was very different from his. We left Cape Town and moved to a small university town in the Eastern Cape, near where my mom grew up. She needed to go back to school, and as a single mother, needed the support of my grandparents. I was happy as a clam, living a in a tiny pretty house with my pretty mom with a pretty garden, with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins nearby. I was oblivious to the fact that we had no money, and that my mom was lonely. But, you know, we got by. I helped my grandmother organize her sewing desk and pick avocados in her garden, and played in my grandfather’s wordworking shop while he carved all kinds of beautiful toys, and clocks, and bowls. I’d make toys out of the wood scraps, and go home with wood shavings stuck to my socks and treats in my pockets. And still, the letters came, fat. Every time a new one arrived, my mom would light up, and I would see her savor the words, re-reading, tucking away for safekeeping. She would write back, telling him about our life, her studies, and hopes, and the books she was reading, and about the politics that were shifting in our country.

I don’t know how long this went on for. As I said, I was happy in my own bubble of sunshine, and oblivious. But the day came that they decided that they needed to see each other, and so my mom packed up her warmest sweaters and flew to Canada. And these two people who had spent mere hours together, realized that they were in love. All those long months of nothing but words had brought them from sunny Cape Town to Vancouver, and then down the coast to San Francisco, where by mom bought herself a multicolored Afghan dress and he bought her a red enameled ring with tiny white daisies painted on it, and they climbed the steps of the courthouse and married each other.

That’s how their story started, and how it continues. Today, they live in Connecticut, where they recently installed a hot tub on their back patio, and where they have a small couch in the TV room because they want to sit close to each other. Of course it’s not always easy, and they’ve had their rough patches. And they also still have all those letters, tied with a ribbon, and tucked away.

The New York Times recently published the article To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This. At the core of it is this idea of taking the time to know someone. To share, and be receptive to their sharing. To pause, and listen, and appreciate. That’s what my parents did. And knowing that, it helps me see things in a new, brighter light. Distance is only a logistical problem, and no more; feeling connected to someone is so much greater than how often you’re able to touch them. And so here I am, repeating my parents’ story for you, and telling you that everything is possible. Just, love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.


Posted in commitment, divorce, motherhood, parenting, single parents, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What do you want?

What do you want? Really, you? Not influenced by the could’ves or the should’ves or the worry about what others may think…what do YOU want? When your pride or ego steps aside and your eyesight becomes clear, what do you see? It’s a tough question to answer, because we all feel so much pressure from every facet of our lives. We don’t want to hurt or disappoint; or to be hurt or disappointed. So we say yes when we mean no, and take on more than feels right, or good, or that we have time for. And sometimes, too often, it means that we stay in relationships that perhaps are simply not right for us. Something feels slightly off, but it’s a little hard to put your finger on exactly what, and it’s easier to avoid the conversations, to avoid the conflict, to avoid ourselves. I faced this challenge when somebody, a man I was intimate with, told me he didn’t want to date me. He wanted to be intimate, on his terms, and that was it; nothing personal – while he liked me fine and enjoyed hanging out, I just wasn’t who he was interested in having a romantic relationship with. OUCH, right?! And at first, I was really bummed. I was so tripped up by my ego that it didn’t occur to me to consider what I wanted. And when I did, I realized: I didn’t want to date him, either. I liked him fine and enjoyed hanging out, but did I see a future? Nope. Not at all.

A girlfriend of mine had a similar experience, except hers went like this: she was on a date with a man, and things became intimate, and she wasn’t comfortable with that and it wasn’t what she wanted. But she didn’t stop him or say no, because she was so focused on what he wanted, that she lost sight of herself. In the middle of having sex with this man she barely knew, she decided it was easier to just go along with it than to stop him. And then she was angry with herself, and hurt, and felt violated.

This isn’t a conversation about about women’s subjucation to men, or about sexual relationships, or romantic ones, either; it’s about using your voice to assert what you want. Don’t go along with things that feel a little off, of very off, or just plain awful. Give yourself the gift of quiet space to listen to your heart, your soul, your pulse; to hear your inner voice tell you what you want. Put that in your pocket or someplace safe, and be sure to look at it often. Honor yourself, and remember what you want.


Posted in commitment, love, relationships, starting over, working women | Leave a comment


Do you believe in magic? I do. It makes the world more beautiful, all that potential for the unexpected; all that possibility. I also believe in science, and facts, and logic…but it seems to me that more you know about how flowers blossom, or hearts beat, or poems are written, the more you have to scoot over a bit and make room for the unexplainable.
My younger daughter was sad tonight because my older daughter doesn’t believe in Santa anymore. My big girl is 11, and is challenging many things; mostly herself. My little girl was sad, because she loves the ritual of Santa, and the beautiful story that unites so many people who make an active choice to believe in something completely fantastical. She wants to believe, and I suspect and hope she always will.
There’s magic all around us, and if you want to see it, all you have to do is open yourself up to possibility. That glorious sunset, or the way the air feels right before Spring starts, or a small child who smiles at you in a grocery store, or that shiver of a first kiss…it’s all magic. I choose that. I choose to believe in magic.
Merry Christmas, friends.


Posted in beauty, Christmas, Kisses, love, motherhood, parenting, relationships, Uncategorized | 1 Comment



So I’m not the youngest or smartest or prettiest chicken in the coop, but I do okay for myself in the romance department. At least, I thought I did, until a friend told me recently that I have an expiration date. Like milk, I will begin to curdle, and he estimates that this will happen in about 18 months to 2 years from now. That’s when the scales will tip, and no men my age or younger will be interested in me any more; in fact, very few men will even look twice, and those that do will resemble one of my grandpa’s bowling buddies. Well, DANG. Pretty harsh, right? And there probably is some truth to it, except that the entire premise is wrong, because it all implies a terrible shallowness that I refuse to accept.

Here’s what I know: beauty is in the heart, and I don’t mean that in that tired pithy “skin deep” way. I mean that beauty is actually an enormous word, and captures the essence of who someone is. Their intelligence, humor, wisdom, empathy – and when you love someone, it’s those parts that you see. When I was with the wrong man, who was physically incredibly handsome, I would always notice that his nose was a little small for his face, or that there was something weird going on with his hair. And I have been with other men who were less physically fortunate, and yet who were breathtakingly beautiful to me. I loved that crooked tooth, or the jagged scar, or even the little tummy pooch…because it was theirs. And that’s love, real, un-shallow love, the kind we all want.

Last night, I was talking to a man I used to be intimate with but who has transitioned into the most wonderful friend. He’s gorgeous, and makes the waitresses fluttery every time he looks their way, but that’s not the point – this is the point: we were talking about love, and what we want from it. And for both of us, it boils down to loving someone so much that we really don’t know what they look like. Because if you get there, you’ve really reached the highest state of acceptance; you’re so focused on their humanity, that all else falls aside. Love isn’t blind at all….it simply helps you see the parts of a person that matter most.


Posted in beauty, commitment, love, relationships, starting over, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

We run together.

I took a slightly different route on my run yesterday morning, cutting down 40th Street. Moving past the unfamiliar houses, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a powerful deja vu. Looking around trying to figure out what triggered it, I realized: this is the route I took with Holly when were training for our first marathon (read about mine here). It was during the year my marriage was ending. We began training in the summer – June July August September. My husband moved out in early September, I ran the marathon in early November, and filed for divorce about two weeks later. Through the turmoil, Holly was beside me, logging the miles. Sometimes I would talk about it, but mostly I didn’t.  She knew there was something wrong, but also knew when to ask questions and when to simply be quiet. Our running, and the friendship that she and I developed, was a light for me.

So during my run yesterday, I was thinking abut that – about the friendships that form when you run with someone. I’ve written about this before, as I think it’s a great allegory,  and because the friendships I have with my running partners are the most profound I have ever known. When you run with someone, you see their everything. You see their very best, their greatest potential, and you see the dark spots that they probably don’t reveal readily. Maybe it’s because of all those endorphins we release, making us a little bit drunk and helping us drop our barriers, to lose our “mute” buttons. Once somebody becomes a running partner, they’re a friend for life, and occupy a place in your heart that is quite different from where we keep other friends, no matter how dear. I know this isn’t true only for running; it’s true for all sports, but the mine is the only sport I can speak to.

A few weeks ago, someone named Lisa Harris spoke at an event for Back on My Feet, a group that utilizes the sport of running to transform the lives of people coping with homelessness. It’s hard to describe the emotion in the room as she spoke about the program, and the participants who have chosen to dedicate themselves to changing their lives. Back on My Feet has volunteers who commit to running with the program participants multiple times per month, every month, always with the same group, and you know what happens? Amazing, powerful friendships are born. The homeless man who last year was lying, unwashed and unkempt, beside a dumpster in an alley – the man your eyes might settle on for a moment but who you would quickly look away from – blossoms. There’s a video here that illustrates how truly remarkable this is, and another here that features participants describing the program, and what it meant to them. The common theme for all of us is Never Give Up. We don’t give up on each other, and we don’t give up on ourselves. We keep our promises, and if we tell our running partner that we will meet them on the corner at 5:45am, we will be there, no excuses. Why? Because, as Lisa said when talking about BOMF and the Boston Marathon, we run together. We, all of us, are a team; we’re on this path together. Last year, the bombings at the Boston Marathon traumatized everybody involved, and this year, many of them went back to finish their race. As runners, we all ran with them, shedding tears and sharing their triumph when they crossed the finish line. And what I have grown to realize is this: that every running partner I have ever had is STILL running with me. Holly was with me yesterday, Tara is with me every time I go south on the Towpath or when my legs find their stride and I feel effortless joy, and Des is with me…well, pretty much always (she and I are currently training for the Chicago Marathon this year).

Ask me again why I run. And then come, and I will show you.


Posted in commitment, divorce, love, marathon, relationships, running, single parents, starting over, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I have been thinking about contracts: the agreements that we have with friends, family members, lovers – those “understandings” about how we engage with each other. Some contracts are formal, but most are not; they’re unwritten, and often unspoken. For example, if my mom discovers that she is sick, she will email my sister and me all the pertinent details, and then my sister and I will call her to discuss. None of us have ever spelled this out, and we don’t need to. It’s just the way we do things, and it works for us.

However, often contracts are built on assumptions, which is shaky ground. I assume that you understand my motivations, or you assume that I understand your intentions, and suddenly we find ourselves hurt, or angry. This was made very clear to me last week, when I accidentally hurt someone I care deeply for. Simply, I didn’t realize how she felt about a man, and I over-engaged with him. I was not flirting, or trying to get in between them, and I had no idea that I excluded her in any way. I was oblivious, and she thought I was being callous. We got in a fight and when we talked about it the next day, the conversation was short: “I had no idea”, and “How could you not?”. Well, simple: I didn’t because we had never talked about it. She and I hashed it out and made a plan, so we can avoid this particular conflict in the future; we have a new contract.

The most complicated contracts are the romantic ones, though, aren’t they? All those feelings and hormones get so tangled up with expectations and past hurts and future hopes and…well, it’s not pretty. Honestly, we’ve all been there. I’ve had a complicated time with one specific man, and it’s always because of that same silly reason: assumptions. I make them, he makes them, and we have never once defined our expectations. Recently, I was angry and accused him of game playing and dishonesty (actually, my words were “mammoth amounts of bullshit”, but why split hairs), and he argued. In his view, he’s been transparent with me, and more honest than he’s ever been with anyone. So how can we both be right? Because we both are.

I bell went off in my head. He is the way he is, and I cannot expect him to change; that’s unfair, and choosing to engage with him means accepting him the way he is. If I agree to engage with him, then it essentially means that I accept the terms of his contract. And there’s the rub: I don’t. I don’t reject him, I simply reject his offer. He has the right to live his life in any way he chooses, and I have the right to decide that doesn’t work for me. Seeing our relationship like this gave me a clarity that I have never had before. This time, I’m not angry, simply resigned. This time, instead of slamming the door shut in a fit of rage, I’m shutting it softly, with love, and no regret.

Posted in commitment, love, relationships, starting over, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Enormous apples

I signed my divorce papers on Valentine’s Day three years ago. “I just signed”, was the text I sent to a friend. “Meet me. 7p. Wine”, was her immediate response. That evening, as she and I sat in a cozy bar surrounded by happy touchy couples, I thought about my future. I was 40 years old, had two little girls, and no job: I was petrified. I was also excited, and very hopeful…after all, when there’s no turning back, all you can do is keep moving forward.

I have moved forward. Those first few months were total crap, but I got through them. I bought a house, got a job, my girls and I planted a flower garden. I tried to date, and found it excruciating. I ran another marathon, and then another after that, started to enjoy my job and eventually even became good at it. I learned to surf, and started to ski again, too.

I remembered who I am, realized who I’m not, and stopped apologizing for either.

One day I was having a conversation with a friend and she told me that it was time for me to take a bigger bite out of the apple. But here’s the thing: I don’t just want a bite of the apple: I want the whole thing. That night three years ago feels like ages ago now; I am a different person, and grateful for it. I am also grateful to the friends who stuck by me during some dark periods, and who steered me clear of danger when I made poor choices. I am grateful for my daughters, who are now nine and ten years old, and who wear me out and fill my life with joy and perspective. I’m grateful for this second chance, and for finally knowing how sweet that apple can be.

Happy Valentine’s Day, with love.

Posted in divorce, love, parenting, relationships, running, single parents, skiing, starting over, surfing, Uncategorized, Valentine's Day, working women | 1 Comment