Why I Choose Fitness

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I don’t talk about it much on this blog but I am – and always have been – an avid exerciser. After 30 solid years of fitness, it’s just part of who I am now. I’ve tried all the fads and classics throughout the years: Running, ballet conditioning, karate, Tae Bo kickboxing, various styles of yoga, step workouts, gym workouts with Stairmasters, weight machines, various Beachbody workouts, various Jillian Michaels workouts, P90X, and now HIIT. I’ve been on a HIIT kick for the past 3+ years.

I work out because it helps me feel awesome and because:

  • I’m trying to combat the 3-5% of muscle loss per decade as I get older. (Source: WebMD)
  • I am constantly striving to be in the best shape of my life. In fact, I am better shape now in my mid 40s than I was in my 20s. From someone who has always been active, that’s saying a lot!
  • It helps my range of motion and flexibility. If I don’t exercise regularly, I feel 80 years old. I recently learned that this phenomena has been proven in research studies. “Movement fights pain and regenerates joints.” (Dr. Jade Teta, 2017)
  • I love pushing myself.
  • Maybe one day I’ll finally have amazing upper arms.
  • I’m trying to outfox my genetic heart problems, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure… and it’s working!
  • All the adrenaline burning is great for stress relief.
  • It helps me sleep better.
  • I am solid for the first time in my life, i.e. my body doesn’t jiggle when I run.
  • My endurance is through the roof. I easily ran a 5k with my daughter last fall without any training and didn’t even feel sore the next day. The endurance comes in handy for day-to-day activities as well as for copious amounts of delicious sex.

All said, however, I don’t look very muscular or even like someone who has exercised most of her adult life… and I probably never will. However, I apparently look fairly fabulous, i.e. I always received lots of comments from past dates, past lovers, and past boyfriends… and I get frequent compliments from Hayden.

The extensive benefits always keep me coming back for more. As I get older, regular exercise is even more important than ever.

Momentum

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This article “Less of the Same” inspired this post.

I feel as though I am [finally!] successfully making big strides in overcoming my anxious “doom & gloom” relationship communication style.

In the past, I’d get upset and hurt by something without even discussing it and be adamant about ending the relationship. I was belligerent and stubborn. It is well-documented on this blog and was extremely noticeable when I was still seeing Tex.

Now, I am getting creative and actively trying to change past patterns. With Hayden, I am making a deliberate choice to slow myself down and talk things through… to question why I’m upset and hear his side of the story. I’m curious; I’m asking the questions I wasn’t asking before.

I am amazed at the difference it makes.

I am learning! I am more careful. More deliberate. Less reactive. Less reckless.

I may not ever have a secure attachment style but I am certainly less anxious than I was before.

Afterglow

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Hayden arrived at 7 pm last night… a little later than usual. He usually arrives between 6:15 and 6:45. I was a bit annoyed because the kids were ravenous.

We went to a neighborhood Japanese restaurant and gorged ourselves on teriyaki beef. Back at the house, we watched an episode of Last Week Tonight and Six Feet Under before turning in early. Hayden packed an overnight bag and stayed overnight despite it being a weeknight.

We had lots of sweet and tender yet electrifying sex, including once in the middle of the night. Yum. I am sexually sated today (a rare phenomenon!) and basking in passion’s afterglow.

I’ve forgotten to mention this until now… but I have been experimenting with different makeup techniques lately. The results are incredible. About a week ago, I read an article about makeup tips for women over 50. I’m not over 50 but I thought I’d try out 3 of the tips anyway: 1) Wear a matte neutral lipstick, 2) Use a plain beige eye shadow (i.e. don’t contour!), and 3) Dot black liquid liner at the base of the top lashes and use just a touch of light neutral pencil liner along the bottom lashes.

My regular makeup routine is to wear a shimmery lip color, use at least 3 eye shadow colors for contouring the eyes, and use a solid line of liquid or pencil eye liner over the top lashes only.

I have proof the new technique is an improvement by the sheer number of men – including strangers – that have been doing a double-take since I started using these techniques last Thursday. Additionally, when Hayden saw me on Thursday night, he said, “Wow! You look really nice.” Nothing was different except the makeup.

There must be something to it.

The Story Behind Hayden’s Brother

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Last night, Hayden recounted his visit with his brother on Saturday night. And his brother’s English girlfriend. He said he hadn’t realized his brother’s girlfriend was still in town until he was on the train to Berkeley and was re-reading his brother’s texts.

He hung out with both of them that night playing board games in a bar and then stayed overnight at his brother’s house when it got too late to take the train back to San Francisco. He had a good time despite being awoken by his brother’s cat at 4:30 am.

I carefully said, “You seem perfectly fine to hang out with my family but you’ve never invited me to meet anyone in your family. Why? Why didn’t you invite me to meet your brother yesterday?”

He responded that his brother is his only family that lives locally. I knew that. He said that he has never introduced a girlfriend to his brother. The reason: his brother is a misogynist.

He recalled two stories where his brother blatantly offended women, one of them being Hayden’s ex-girlfriend.

  • About 10 years ago, Hayden was on the phone with his brother. Hayden was with his then-girlfriend. When Hayden put his brother on speakerphone, he mentioned that he was there with his girlfriend. His brother responded with, “Oh yeah? What’s that cunt doing?” Hayden was mortified and immediately hung up on him.
  • Another time, when Hayden and his brother went to visit family in their hometown, his cousin invited a few female friends. At one point during group conversation, his brother referred to all of them as bitches. As you can imagine, the comment created quite a bit of drama.

Hayden said his brother knows the lewd comments bother him yet he’s never apologized. He just laughs and changes the subject.

As a result, he says he doesn’t trust his brother to act like a normal, respectful human being around me. He said, “I’m not trying to keep you from my brother. I’m trying to keep my brother from you.”

He got really worked up and was visibly anxious. He said, “Geez, I didn’t realize it bothered me as much as it does.” I can certainly understand why it bothers him. I wouldn’t feel comfortable introducing Hayden to someone who I suspected would make inappropriate, outright rude and offensive comments.

I told him, all things considered, I didn’t care if I met his brother. I can hold my own and handle inappropriate comments but I certainly don’t want to subject myself to blatant rudeness if I don’t have to. That’s no fun.

How his brother has a girlfriend is beyond me. Hayden acknowledged that it’s possible he has changed but he doesn’t want to take any chances testing out the theory. Fair enough.

I asked him if his brother knows he’s seeing someone. He said absolutely; his brother knows all about me. That was comforting.

In other news, I told Hayden that our 1 year anniversary is coming up soon. He said he knew we met in August 2016 but didn’t know the date. I told him I’d go into my 2016 calendar and find out. Today I texted him the actual date: August 23, 2016.

He replied, “What should we do to celebrate?” I suggested dinner then stopping in at the bar where we had our first date. I won’t even have the kids that night – score! Maybe I can plan something romantic as a surprise. Any ideas?

Damn, I can’t believe it’s been a year.

Side note: I just changed the slogan of this blog from “diary of a San Francisco serial dater” to “dating, sex, relationships, & self-discovery” because I feel it’s more representative of what this blog is about now. Today I realized that I’ve probably been in a relationship for longer than I’ve been dating since splitting from Mars. Plus, I’ll probably never serial date again. It was perfect for me at the time – and I had a blast – but I’ve changed a lot since then.

A Weekend of Annoyances

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I am feeling annoyed about almost everything right now. Maybe it’s from too much family togetherness.

I’m hoping that I’ll feel better after writing it all out. Most of this is not about dating, sex, or relationships so feel free to opt out. (I know this blog is about dating, sex, and relationships.)

This post will be long!

My mom, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew were in town on Friday night and most of Saturday. Hayden, Mars, and the kids joined us on Friday night. I ordered pizzas and we all hung out here, talking, eating, and drinking wine.

Hayden was his usual charming self and seemed to fit in well. He’d met my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew once before but it was his first time meeting my mom.

Eventually, Mars and the kids left, my mom went to bed, and my sister went to put my nephew to sleep so it was just me, my brother-in-law, and Hayden chatting until Hayden left at 10:30.

My brother-in-law was drunk. After Hayden left, he raved about how much he liked Hayden. He thought Hayden was sarcastic and witty; qualities my brother-in-law values. Then, he eventually said, “He seems much younger than you. How old is he?”

He was surprised when I told him he was 31. He said he thought he was in his mid 30s. (My brother-in-law is 34.)

Then he gave me his unsolicited opinion on how it was a matter of time before we broke up. Hey, this isn’t news to me. Hello, I’m a divorcee! Break-ups are inevitable. He insinuated it would be due to the age difference, which I think is bullshit. It’s impossible to foresee the future.

He also mused about my “magical vagina”, which was a bit offensive because it implied that Hayden was with me only for the sex.

However, he was drunk and I didn’t feel like explaining my love life to him or justifying my choices. Plus, it’s none of his business. He also got on a “trash Tex” kick which I thought was pretty ridiculous.

Then my sister woke up from putting her infant son to sleep and came out and continued the nit-picking. Geezus. The gist is that she thinks I’ve changed and that I’ve lowered my standards. WTF?! She did not like Tex at all. She has no reason to dislike Hayden other than the fact that he broke up with me once before. It’s an infuriating double-standard because her own husband broke up with her multiple times before they got married.

Plus, I think it’s ridiculous to think she knows in which ways I’ve changed and how I’ve supposedly “lowered my standards” when I haven’t dated in about 20 years. She was a teenager at that time. What did she know about my standards back then? I can only recall one boyfriend that she actually liked upon meeting. Hell, she didn’t even like Mars for the first year or so we were dating!

I had been drinking and was tired but mainly didn’t become livid about these personal attacks until after I’d had time to process the conversation.

The next morning, my mom told me that she thought Hayden was very nice. Once again, his age came up in conversation. When my mom found out he was just 31, she seemed surprised and said, “Good for you!” Why does everyone make such a big deal about his age?! I don’t. I am not with him because of his age.

I need to grow a thicker skin about this because it’s bound to happen again and again.

I am with Hayden now and was with Tex in the past because I deliberately chose them. They are and were not a default. Yes, Tex was socially awkward and weird… but we had a very intense connection and I felt emotionally nurtured during the best of times. Yes, Hayden is young… but he’s not the youngest I’ve dated.

In both cases, I cherry-picked both Tex and Hayden after dating dozens of guys. I have dated the worst and the best of the Bay Area. I am hardly inexperienced.

I can’t say the same about my dating experiences from my teens and 20s. I think my sister is mostly just upset that I’m divorced and in a much different place now.

In hindsight, I wish I’d defended myself in all conversations. I have a terrible habit of becoming offended and agitated by things well after they’re said. As a result, I replay conversations over and over in my head and imagine the things I wish I would have said. It’s really unproductive and exhausting.

Yesterday, we all went to the De Young museum to see the Summer of Love exhibit, then to our favorite neighborhood restaurant afterward. When the check came, I noticed that the sodas and iced teas hadn’t been tallied. I brought it to the server’s attention and Mars and my sister jumped down my throat, saying I shouldn’t have said anything at all.

Are you fucking kidding me?!

But when my daughter said, “Yeah, Mama, why did you do that?!”, I snapped. I turned to Mars and said, “I’m only being honest – you don’t think it’s important to teach our kids honesty?!” Everyone dropped it. As they should have.

Last night, Mars and I took our daughter to see the Perseid meteor shower. To escape the fog, it meant traveling over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin and up Mt. Tam at the peak of the shower (i.e. midnight to dawn). I picked them up at 12:15.

A conversation with Mars pissed me off and only highlighted while we’re not still together. He fights dirty. He brings things from the past into current conversations for no reason other than to take focus off the things we’re fighting about. Also, he won’t apologize. I can think of only one time in the history of our 16 year relationship where he said he was sorry… and that was when we were still dating.

I was pissed but, this time, I made a deliberate choice to shut down the conversation. I could have given him a piece of my mind but what for? It wasn’t worth it to me. Thankfully, this time I’m not replaying the conversation wishing I’d said something. Nothing needed to be said. The funniest part is that he probably thinks he “won” and “shut me down” because he threw in his snide remark when in reality I know what he was doing and how dysfunctional it was.

By the time we got to Pan Toll Ranger Station, I was severely carsick despite driving. I am very familiar with the twisty mountain road up to ranger station but this was the first time I’d done it in the dark – a whole different ballgame. I was dizzy, nauseous, and had a terrible stomachache.

I stumbled after them in the dark and up a hill where we set up a blanket to watch the sky for the next hour or so. The Perseid was pretty amazing even though we didn’t get full visibility due to the bright moon.

I asked Mars to drive my car home on the way back because I was so sick.

I was back home and in bed by 3 am. Then I started itching. Oh holy hell, did we sit in a patch of poison oak?? A Google search confirmed that I probably wouldn’t experience a rash for a few more hours if it is indeed poison oak. I couldn’t sleep but that might have been because I’d had a cup of coffee at 8 pm in prep for staying up late. The itching was driving me mad so I got up and took a scalding hot bath. Surely, if I had been rolling around in poison oak, it couldn’t hurt to wash off the oil from the rest of my body.

The bath calmed me down and I finally fell asleep at 4:30 am. I woke up at 8:30 this morning. I’m exhausted.

And now I need to lug 3 large loads of laundry to a laundromat because my dryer broke 2 weeks ago and my landlord still hasn’t fixed it. Fuck me.

Hayden is coming over tonight at 6:30. I’m disappointed he didn’t suggest coming over earlier. I had hoped he’d want more alone time before the kids arrive at 8. Once again, I’m feeling dissatisfied with him and our relationship but it might simply be because I’m annoyed in general. As you all know, he saw his brother last night but didn’t invite me. I need to find out why and hope I get the opportunity tonight.

The stomachache hasn’t resolved and now there’s a new concerning symptom. Google search results were scary. So now I’ll have to schedule an appointment with my doctor.

When it rains, it pours.