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Happy Mother's Day - Already?

Hey – we haven’t even finished off the last chocolate bunny or marshmallow chick – and it’s time to think about what goodies to give our mothers on their special day. . . . . next weekend!  Time hasn’t just flown, it’s done so on a supersonic jet! 
Okay, we’ve known somewhere in the back of our minds that it was coming, and soon.  But practically piggybacking on top of Easter? 
Well, apparently, yes. 
So let’s shift gears from baskets filled with candy to boxes of candy. Or flowers, jewelry, brunch, dinner or other “mom” favorites to be lovingly shared.  And when you think about it, aren’t we actually lucky to have so many gift choices, as well as the media, to help us celebrate Mom?  No, I’m not being facetious; I really don’t mind the so called “commercialism” of Mother’s Day.
I understand the concern many people have about holidays becoming too commercial, and that the original or true meaning of the celebration will be lost in the interest of financial gain.  Even Anna Jarvis, the woman most often credited with having Mother’s Day recognized as an official holiday, was ultimately enraged by the commercialism of the day.  She was quoted as saying, “I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit."  
By the way, one acceptable definition of commercial is “suitable or fit for a wide, popular market.”  I’d like to think that celebrating mothers is popular with a wide market, since - Hello! - we’ve all had mothers at some point in our lives.
If we want to really show our mother how much we appreciate and love her, of course we can do that any day of the year.  But there is also camaraderie in knowing there is one special day in which your mom is sharing these sentiments with mothers everywhere.  And let’s face it, most of us probably don’t show our mothers how much we care for them often enough. So, if we get a nudge from a commercial venue to remind us to acknowledge our love and appreciation for mom at least once a year – where’s the harm?  And, as this year, when Mother’s Day pounces on us out of the clear blue sky, I’m grateful for the nudge.
So, for all of you mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and best friends who have been like mothers, I celebrate you.  Enjoy your day with all the other nurturing, beautiful mothers of the world.  And thank you for being in mine!

Great Places to Meet Single Men - Not!

Great Places to Meet Single Men!  This banner headline can get more attention from women than a sandwich at a picnic can get from ants! And it’s no wonder.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009, there were only 88 single men for every 100 single women over the age of 18. And the gap widens over the age of forty. Stacked deck, anyone?
Even with the Internet beckoning to us, there are many single women on both sides of forty who would like to meet a potential mate in person before beginning a relationship. Therefore, much has been written about how and where to do this. Here are five suggestions I’ve come across recently: business conferences/seminars; car, boat, and RV shows; libraries; weddings; and hosting your own singles mixer. Sounds good in theory, not so good in practice.  Here’s why.
            (1) Business conferences and seminars.  Having been in business for years, I have attended many of these functions.  I can honestly say, the single men who also attend are there to work – not flirt!  They are usually ambitious men who are climbing the ladder of success, earning points with their bosses, etc.  Does this sound like men who are there to meet women and begin a meaningful relationship?  Unless they are twenty years old, and you are really hot, probably not! 
            (2) Car, Boat and RV shows.  These are usually filled with single men.  And most single men are there with their buddies, whose full attention is on the cars, boats, RV’s, and the very young, nubile models who are sitting in or on the cars, boats and RV’s.  
Enough said.
            (3) The public library. This one has me saying, “Really?”   It is presumed that intellectual, frugal men visit there routinely.  Well, perhaps they do, and that’s good if you want to hook up with an elderly, retired gentleman living on a fixed income, or a young student who’s too broke to buy his own computer.  Personally, I’d rather take my chances at the coffee shop in Barnes & Noble, where at least the presumed intellectuals can afford a mocha latte!
            (4) Weddings.  I have always enjoyed weddings, and will attend even if I barely know the bride and groom. But, have you ever seen a movie where single men attend weddings just to hook up with a hot chick for a one-nighter?  Funny on film, not so fun in reality.  Let’s face it: we women love weddings because it means one of our own got lucky and found Mr. Right.  Men love weddings because it means they may get lucky
and not have to become Mr. Right!  And eventually, you can run out of friends and acquaintances who are getting married.  So, unless you want to be a one-nighter or a wedding crasher, your options here are limited.
            (5) Last, and definitely “least” is my personal favorite, “Host Your Own Singles Mixer.” Invite your girlfriends and have them bring two single male friends.  Well...if any of my girlfriends knew two eligible, single men, (a) they wouldn’t need the mixer, and (b) who said they would want to share?  Again, enough said.
Okay, so the reasons why these may not be the greatest places to meet men don’t mean they couldn’t work for you…serendipity does exist!  Just realize that attending anyplace that is recommended as a “great place to meet singles” with the expectation of actually meeting one will usually disappoint.  It has been observed that many single women over forty who have happily remarried, or are in a successful relationship, have met Mr. Right while simply going through the everyday process of living.  Yes, meeting a potential mate is a numbers game – and if you want to win, you have to play. But play by your own rules, follow your instincts, and don’t rule out serendipity!

Still Learning!!!

Most of us have heard the proverb “Physician heal thyself.”  As a child, I used to picture my family doctor putting a cast on his own arm. Well, in a way I suppose that’s one version. But through the years, the meaning has changed for me. I now interpret it to mean, “Put what you know to be true into practice, and start with yourself.”  Well, this is sound advice, but not necessarily easy to follow. 
Those of you who have read my book, "How to Survive in the 21st Century as a S.S.O.F.F*",  know that I still struggle with this one. It’s often easier to help others than to help yourself. I’ve discovered one simple fact: maintaining my own well-being is hard work!  And coming from a relationship that gave me support, to doing it on my own, is even harder. 
This is why I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping in touch with the friends and family who support you. It’s easy to become discouraged if you’re not getting positive energy from outside sources. We are all connected as human beings, regardless of our beliefs.  We need this connection at a basic, spiritual level. One definition of spiritual is “closely akin in interests, attitude, outlook, etc.”  That’s where friends and family come in. 
I bet you’ve always been there for many of them over the years, and now you need to allow them to be there for you. I tend to find it difficult to graciously accept the support of others.  Embarrassing but true!  Many S.S.O.F.F*’s find this difficult as well. We’re so used to being needed that we can forget how to need.  Being in need is not a bad thing, just unfamiliar.  And remember the word “gracious.”  It keeps you from feeling “desperately needy” and it gives others a chance to be genuinely supportive.
Emotional healing takes much longer than physical healing.  So be patient with yourself.  Allow time and friends to assist with the process.  Always treat yourself as you treat others, with empathy and compassion. Another proverb, “Charity begins at home,” is also a good rule to follow.  And remember, you are not in this alone! 

Valentine's, Love and Friendship

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, I know many people say “It’s too commercial;” “I don’t want to be told when to buy flowers;” “Valentine’s Day Sucks!” (a recent quote from a dear friend in Iowa), or, “It’s too much pressure to be romantic on demand!” Blah, blah, blah. Well, come on now – if you don’t want to participate in the spirit of Love, which includes giving, receiving, being a part of . . . . on one specific day of the year -  then don’t. But please, don’t ruin it for the rest of us.  Thank you.
Now we all know there are many kinds of “love” and one of the nicest, with the potential to last a lifetime, is the love between good friends. I had the privilege of hosting a party Sunday for several good S.S.O.F.F* friends!  It was our first official get together since the release of my book “How to Survive in the 21 Century as a S.S.O.F.F.*  And, of course, my friends are the ladies who contributed their personal experiences and observations to the books “S.S.O.F.F* Vignettes.” 
It was such fun to see the camaraderie between them, even though many hadn’t seen each other in years! Granted, they all have being “suddenly single and over forty” in common, however, each differs in background, careers, and lifestyles, to create a unique, diverse, fascinating group of friends. I am so grateful and honored to be a part of this circle, and truly hope we all keep the connection “alive and well” for a long time to come.
So. . . .  to the Valentine Scrooges out there: “You need to take a minute to really think about those you love and how often you acknowledge this without the help of a specific day to remind you. And if it’s not often, or maybe never, then for goodness sake, let Valentine’s Day give you the nudge you need to ensure your love lasts a lifetime!”

There Is No "T" in S.S.O.F.F.*!

The acronym S.S.O.F.F.* was created by pure serendipity. Being “suddenly single, over forty and female” was my situation – and the alliteration was irresistible!  I was pleased with the reaction I received from others when I defined S.S.O.F.F* for them. However, a few of my friends had suggested adding a “T” to have it read as “ssofft.” But that would be misleading. The S.S.O.F.F.*’s I know are not soft!  Quite the opposite. It takes strength to survive as a S.S.O.F.F.*  My fellow S.S.O.F.F.*’s have an amazing amount of inner strength and resilience, which isn’t always obvious on the surface. May I remind you of Sandra Bullock and Camille Grammer?
The S.S.O.F.F* chose her lifestyle of wife and mother and really enjoyed the feeling of
warmth and security this environment provided. She worked hard at making it appear effortless. Believe me, it takes a very strong woman to pull that off! And even greater strength and fortitude is required when that lifestyle is destroyed.
The word soft is often equated with being feminine, having a gentle quality, soothing, graceful, etc.  And this is great!!!  But soft can also be seen as weak, ineffectual, or malleable. And that is not the definition I want associated with a S.S.O.F.F*!
So, please leave the “T” off the S.S.O.F.F.  Hey, maybe I should add another “S” for Strong.  S.S.S.O.F.F.?  Think about it!

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