Editorís Note: Chenango Countyís favorite best-selling author Maggie Shayne joins the ranks of Evening Sun contributors this week with an au courant advice column thatís just a tad different than ĎDear Abby.í
Whether itís relationship guidance, tips on modern romance or just throwing her two cents in, Maggieís got an answer for everything in ďShayne on You.Ē
Iím a 40-something, white divorcee who is thinking about perhaps trying to date again. My problem is this: I never was one for the bar scenes, and am certainly not for them now, so where/how do I meet men in a small, midwestern city?
The only place to find a perfect man is in the pages of a romance novel, where the men are created by women for women. But maybe I can help you come close.
Unless youíre looking for a one night stand, or to wake up in Mr. Wrongís apartment (which is probably a bedroom at his momís house) you should skip the bar scene.
For long term prospects, figure out what kind of man you want, and then go to the places where that kind of man would be. You want a successful businessman? Join a country club and sign up for golf lessons. You want a studmuffin? Join a gym. You want someone bookish and smart? Sign up for some classes at your local college and spend more time at the library. Just figure out where the man of your dreams would spend his spare time, and go there.
Look for someone who enjoys the same things you do, though. Donít go rappelling into the Grand Canyon, only to remember halfway down that youíre afraid of heights, just to impress an adventurer. You might be happier with a librarian.
Donít count out your women friends for help on this either. They know you best, after all, so let them know youíre open to fix-ups.
Before you do anything else, though, sit down and make a list of the qualities you want in you man. Be greedy. Re-read it every day. Add to it as your desires evolve. And know, beyond a doubt that heís out there waiting. Try to shift your attitude and your focus from what you lack (I donít have a man, I want a man, I wish I had a man, Iím lonely for a man) to the excited anticipation of what you know is coming (Heís out there, Iíll find him any day now. This going to be so fun, so amazing, so wonderful!) Most importantly, have fun with the things you do have in the meantime. The more positive your attitude, the quicker the things you want in life will come to you.
Iím recently divorced and have re-discovered the love of my life Ė my college sweetheart. This is truly a bone deep, peaceful, and yet magical and exciting love that I am compelled to nurture. But the cost is great.
Our ex-spouses are having a very hard time with our relationship. Our adult children are struggling to accept this all consuming relationship that has suddenly taken over their parents. It seems like everyone around us is hurting because we are in love and Iím feeling so incredibly selfish.
Lately Iíve been thinking that Iím taking my happiness at the cost of everyone else and that is not the type of person I am. I believe that what you put out comes back at you. Am I going to pay a heavy price in my future for taking this happiness that comes at such a great cost?
Thanks for any help you can give me.
A searching soul
This quote is hanging on my wall in large letters:
ďWhat other people think of me is none of my business.Ē
Forget about the exes. Screw the exes. And if the kids are adults, do you think theyíd give up their true love because you decided to pitch a jealous fit? I doubt it.
You can spend your life trying to make others happy, and succeed only in making yourself miserable. Their happiness is their responsibility. You are only responsible for your own.
Hereís another quote for you to print up and hang on your wall, from a very wise guru. ďSelfishly seek joy, because your joy is the greatest gift you can give to anyone. Unless you are in your joy, you have nothing to give away.Ē --Abraham
You want to know the meaning of life? To have fun. To relish every second of the journey. To experience every joyful, wonderful thing life has to offer.
Happiness isnít a condition based on surrounding conditions. Happiness is a choice, one each person makes for him/herself.
Love your kids. Be there for them. But donít sacrifice your own happiness for them. Joy is contagious. But so is misery, so guard your happiness like the treasure it is, and donít let their negative attitudes bring you down.
Celebrate what youíve found. It deserves celebrating. Donít insult it by letting stuff thatís none of your business get in the way.
Do you have a question for Maggie?
E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And sheíll answer it in a future column!
(All letters are anonymous)