Living Happily Ever After


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A Good Word

I had the opportunity to attend a speech by Dan Clark at BYU this week. He talked about adversity.

Dan Clark lived through some. He wanted to be a professional athlete and attended college on a football scholarship. He was projected as a number one draft choice for the NFL Oakland Raiders but cracked his 7th vertebra during a tackling drill which ended his football career. Doctors projected a 10% chance of recovery, at best, but after several years he did recover and started speaking to high schools about his recovery. He spoke for Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign, has written 21 books, has spoken to thousands of people around the world and has accomplished so much in the years following his “adversity”

Every life will have its share of adversity: affliction, bad break, bummer, burden, calamity, can of worms, catastrophe, challenge, crisis, crunch, difficulty, disaster, distress, downer, drag, evil eye, hard knock, hard time, hardship, hurting, ill fortune, jam, jinx, kiss of death, misery, misfortune, mishap, on the skids, pain in the neck, poison, problem, reverse, sorrow, suffering, the worst, tough luck, tragedy,  trial, trouble (or whatever you want to call it.)

But I’ve come to learn for myself it has a purpose.

“Adversity introduces us to ourselves,” Dan said. So true! You become acquainted with a lot of things during adversity–your true self is one of them. And I believe that if you choose to handle your adversity correctly and make the choice to overcome it, it will be a worthwhile introduction. Because I’ve seen it for myself and have seen it in others, as well, that “you can make setbacks, comebacks.”

“Comeback is a good word, man.” (Mickey Rourke)


The BIG “Board Breaker” (And A Bright Spot)

There was a time in my life when the following board breaker would have been, possibly, the ultimate humiliation.

But it’s funny how your perspective changes when you discover the man you have loved, trusted and been married to for 20 years has been running a Ponzi scheme, stealing millions of dollars, is heading to prison, and shatters your world very publicly ending in a divorce publicized in local and national media. (Just what every young girl dreams of. Not!)

Given the fact I’ve lived through what I believe is one of the more tragic yet embarrassing experiences, at least in my world, I’m not sure I have it in me to be mortified any more. Thankfully I’m unable to be embarrassed, because I’m still single and the following board breaker illustrates what single women are up against.

Single men.

Sometimes rejection.

Possible humiliation. (If you haven’t already lived through an ultimate humiliation, that is.)

One night, I went to a single’s dance alone. I danced, met some new friends, and then headed out for a break. When I returned, a song from the 80s that I loved was playing. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I decided to ask someone to dance. I looked around, found a man near me, asked, “Would you like to dance?”

And he said, “No.”

I was shocked! I never expected THAT. My parents taught me to never say no, regardless of who the boy was or what I thought of him. And there I was, rejected! Just like that. I know I’m not the biggest catch, but clearly, that man was not raised by parents. Lol.

I’m sure the shock showed in my face because he tried to explain that he’d had his eye on someone all night and wanted to catch her as she came off the dance floor. But it didn’t really help me. I couldn’t prevent the following thoughts: “What bad manners! How rude! What a loser!” And finally, “Well, you can’t expect to appeal to every one… especially VERY ordinary single men!”

I decided those dances didn’t work for me. And then, like Mr. Board Breaker who wouldn’t give up although his audience is cringing at his failure, he’s swaying on his feet from beating himself over the head with a board time and time again to no avail, I tried another dance the following month! (I know–slow learner.)

I danced, met some new friends, took a break, and then an 80s song I loved came on as I returned to the room. I didn’t want to miss the song, so I decided to ask a man to dance. What are the odds of a man saying no when you ask him to dance? I’d already experienced my “once in a lifetime” rejection at the last dance, so what did I have to lose by asking a man to dance a second time?

Apparently, what little dignity I had left because I asked a much less ordinary man to dance and HE said no!

He had an excuse, too. He said he had injured his leg and couldn’t dance. (Then WHY had he gone to a dance?) But at least he was nice, friendly, talkative and shared some singles information with me for the next few songs we didn’t dance. He told me to friend him on Facebook and he’d introduce me to lots of single people and singles activities. I tried to believe his excuse was real, and I didn’t see him dance once the entire night, so maybe it was the truth. But it was still a rejection!

At a subsequent dance I saw the same man (Reject #2, lets call him), this time dancing, and thought, “Hmm! His leg must be better.” I didn’t give him the evil eye or anything, I didn’t even stare at him, but before I knew it, the song had ended and he made his way over to me and asked me to dance–three songs in a row. So maybe he rejected me for a legitimate reason? Or maybe he was just trying to make up for his initial bad manners! Lol.

Too bad I’m not a gambler. Sometimes I have incredible luck. I mean, what are the odds of asking a man to dance and getting rejected? And getting rejected two dances in a row? For that matter, what are the odds of marrying a man who does what my former spouse did?

Lucky me.

However, a bright spot in the single life, a bit of glue that helps me hold it all together and keeps me going in the social “game” of dating and the unexpected life that is now mine, are singles lunches. (And I owe them to the second man who rejected me. He told me he’d introduce me to some great single people and singles activities and he did.)

Singles lunches are the best thing I’ve done as a single woman. They’re the most fun I’ve had, too. It’s just a group of singles under 45 years old who get together once a week for lunch. A different restaurant every week. You pay for yourself. And right up front the group informs you: don’t come to fall in love; just come, eat lunch and make friends.

The lunches are no pressure. They don’t cut into my evenings or my time with my children. I’ve only met friends there. Kind friends who text or call me to check on me occasionally or to let me know of a great activity I shouldn’t miss. Those lunches are my oasis in the desert of my single life! (A little dramatic, I’m just trying to emphasize how great I think they are. Thanks, Adam, for inventing them and coordinating them. I have loved participating in them!)

A bright spot amid my share of board breakers!

And yet, the dating continues despite the board breakers.

I just can’t give up searching for that happy ending.