Life Ain’t All Sunshine and Rainbows

Throughout my life, I have repeatedly been reminded that “life is hard.”  Often, as a child, if I whined and moaned about something that “wasn’t fair,” I was immediately reminded of that fact.  “Life is hard.”  “Life is not fair.”  “Life ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.”  Thank you, Rocky Balboa.  I find myself here, writing about the unfairness of life or other things I find upsetting as a way to soothe my discontent with the world, as there is little I can do to change it.  Life is what it is, and we either accept it and move forward, or, well, I don’t know.  Some people give up, but I don’t really know what that means.  If I am unhappy with my situation and don’t feel compelled to move forward, what do I do, sit here alone until someone comes to evict me?  I don’t see that as a viable solution.  I know someone who gave up.  I won’t let that happen to me.  All that being said, what am I really going on about this time?

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day.  To me, for the most part, all the days of the year are the same.  I find little to celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, and yes, Valentine’s Day.  Aside from Christmas and Thanksgiving, days I have designated for spending time with my family, the remaining 363 days are all the same.  Sometimes I admire my friends from work, who’s culture has taught them to celebrate as many days of the year as they can, often for what I see as no reason at all other than to make a lot of food and drink a lot.  Sometimes I am jealous of their celebratory ways and wish our culture had a significance for so many celebrations, but I digress.  My real reason for writing today goes back to Valentine’s Day, at least superficially.

While I say the day is meaningless to me, especially since I don’t have a girlfriend, it’s hard to avoid the societal flood of stimulation regarding the day.  My store was decorated since the 1st of the month with hearts and cardboard cutouts of cupids shooting arrows.  Everywhere you looked, there were heart shaped boxes of candy and pictures of young people lovingly holding hands and generally being happy with one another.  Try as I might, feeling lonely this time of year is inevitable.  As I have said in the past, I am constantly trying to improve myself, or make changes to who I am to be the person I want to be.  Some minor changes have been successful, but more often than not, I find myself back at the drawing board every few months, making lists of things I want to accomplish to make myself a more outgoing, likable person.  Each day I creep closer to an age where I won’t be able to do any of the things I want to do.  I have given up on being an athlete, although sometimes my body suggests maybe I had been one in the past without realizing it and now I have to pay the price.  I will never be a rock star, I will probably not backpack across Europe, (ok, that was never really a dream of mine, but just saying) and unless I really sit down and focus, I will never write a novel.  My one attempt was a very humbling experience.  I guess I should be proud to say I tried, but it was more or less an epic failure.  I only showed a few people, and while they did not crush my ego, the reviews were not great.

One of the people I showed that ridiculous novel to was a girl who I would never have met had I not worked with two of her sisters at McDonald’s.  I never told anyone this, not even my closest friends until recently, that I always had a schoolboy crush on this girl.  When I first met her, she was probably 16 and I was probably 23.  Clearly, I didn’t feel comfortable talking to her, but there was always something about her that struck me.  There was something about her personality, even as a teenager that appealed to me.  Because I was friends with both her older and younger sister, I managed to talk to her occasionally, but it was always in passing.  Over the next few years, I would see her sporadically, but never held any hopes that anything would ever happen between us.  She actually requested to read my novel, something that both shocked and pleased me all at once.  I was nervous about letting her see it, but gave her a copy to look over.  She never returned it.  In fact, unless she threw it out, she has the only copy of that crap that is not in my possession.

We were MySpace friends and then Facebook friends, and every once and a while, she would “Like’ one of my posts or I would comment on one of her’s, but usually nothing more than that.  For a while, I knew she was dating someone, an older guy I think, so I kept my distance.  Sometime after her 21st birthday, I realized she was single and I would sometimes think of trying to start a conversation with  her, but as the days went by I found it harder and harder to think of a way I could strike up a conversation with her without her thinking I was a little odd.  While she had dated an older guy, I am about 7 years older than her and while I am on her Friend’s list, she may just think of me as some random guy she knows because of her sister’s.

On Wednesday, I found myself sitting here in my apartment, two months shy of turning 32 and having no prospect of a relationship in the foreseeable future.  My sister is working on 8 years of marriage, my brother and his wife are expecting their 1st child this summer, and my youngest brother is pretty serious with his girlfriend.  What is it about me that keeps me single?  After some thought, I realized it’s my own fault for being single.  I see plenty of people in relationships and I think that they very well may be people who simply wanted to be with someone so they settled on whoever came their way.  This is not to say they are not happy, nor is it to say I am willing to settle, but perhaps I needed to either be less picky or more forthright.  One of those two options would probably get things going.  As I sat here, I thought about this girl.  (I think it better not to name her for now)  I thought about the times she and I did talk face to face, and I thought about how she made me feel.  I thought about her pictures on Facebook and how they made me smile to see them.  I put on a good show as far as my hardened emotionless exterior, but deep down, this girl’s smile melts my heart.  I am good at pretending I don’t care, but the fact is, I was longing to send her a message, but I was terrified of what could happen.  If what I thought was true and she thought of me as nothing more than a friend of her sister, than asking her out could be fatal.  Then again, she was single and had talked to me on and off in such a way that I was convinced she would at least be open to the suggestion we get a drink or something sometime.  After pacing around my apartment for about an hour, I mustered the courage to send her this message: Do you like coffee?

My hopes were she would say yes and I would slowly ask her a variety of questions that would lead to me asking her out for a drink.   Not too surprisingly, she said she was not a fan of coffee.  Ok, strike one, but I was not ready to give up just yet.  Somehow I had mustered enough courage to confidently plow forward, despite a rough start.  We went back and forth a few more times, each time surprising me when she replied.  With each response, I let my spirits rise a little, a fatal mistake when it comes to matters of the heart.  Finally, last night, sometime after six in the evening, I sent her a message suggesting we go for a drink sometime, as I thought it would be fun.  As of this moment, just after ten in the morning, she has not responded and I doubt she will.

Girls have a tendency of not replying to things like that if the answer is going to be negative.  On one hand, it avoids any awkward confrontations while basically still getting the answer across.  I suppose, as she did reply to all my other messages eventually, I could hold out hope, at least for the rest of today, that she may respond, but given my track record, I am highly doubtful.  What I am starting to wonder is, what do I do wrong?  I mean, given my success to failure rate, it has to be me, not them, who is doing something wrong.  I see plenty of pairs that I can’t believe are together.  I know I don’t have a lot of money, so I am well aware I need to cross any women off the list who are going for money over love.  I am not a GQ model, this I know as well, but I am not a slob.  I dress simply, I shower regularly, and I am not overweight.  I can’t change much else about my appearance, but again, women who are going for looks or money alone are not my type.  I know a lot of people see me as being uptight, and I know very well I am incredibly shy, but both of these features are things I try to overcome around my friends, and I thought perhaps she knew me enough to see I was not such a terrible person.

Sure, girls say all the time, “I’m not looking for a boyfriend right now,” and that may be the case, but it seems that is just a great excuse until the right guy comes along.  I’m trying not to get down on myself and I’m trying not to be disappointed, but it just feels like once again I have taken a shot only to miss badly.  I had even given thoughts to talking to her sister to see what she thought before I made any kind of move, but I was worried that would go badly for me.  I laugh when my friends at work say they want me to find someone, but they never seem to know how to help me out.  I don’t expect someone to just fall in my lap, and I guess it would be nice if some of the people I know knew a single woman who might be interested in me.

I won’t use those dating sites.  I’ll admit I gave it a trial run a while back, with no success and have resolved never to spend money looking for a date.  I haven’t entirely given up on this girl and I am hoping against all hope that maybe she is just thinking over what I asked and maybe she’ll give me a shot.

I was determined to be in a good mood as much as possible despite anything that happens to me from now on.  I was angered by my boss the other day, but I took a deep breath, stepped back and said I would not let him ruin my day.  I don’t want to get down over the possibility that I put myself out there again only to be shot down, so I am trying to keep a positive outlook, but like I said, with 32 looming around the corner, I feel I really need to get serious about this life thing.  My friends are getting married, having kids, and establishing themselves, if that makes any sense.  I still feel like I am in limbo and I need to find something to stabilize me.  I saw this girl as my chance to get stabilized just a little bit.  I guess I need to rethink my plan and decide what I want to do now.  Wish me luck.

~ by James on February 15, 2013.

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