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02/21/2010

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How am I lucky? Well, I think I am incredibly lucky because I have a husband that I love and who loves me. I have a beautiful daughter (who turned 12 today!) and a career that leaves me happy and fulfilled.

People around me say that I am unlucky. They laugh at my 'unluckiness'! I tend to have stuff going wrong a lot of the time. They always joke and say "Shit happens. And it's always happening to you." I've been told my life could be a soap opera... not good for the self esteem!

I met my husband at work. We were both married to other people. Long story short-we both ended up divorced. We were told we should date and laughed because we were best friends and knew WAY too much about each other. We knew it could never work. We were wrong. Our 15th anniversary is in April. I really despise him at times. But, I love him more than life itself most of the time. It's a crapshoot. We banter like nobody's business. And it's fun! And everybody around us finds it as entertaining as we do. He isn't who I imagined myself spending my life with.

Someone told me once "it isn't whether or not you can live with someone. It's whether or not you could live without them." There couldn't be a truer statement...

Right now I feel lucky that you had a great new post online just in time to thoroughly engage me and distract me from my own "this household is disastrously disorganized/I have way too much to do" late-Sunday-night feeling of being overwhelmed... As for the book you discussed, it made me realize that I tend towards a very pragmatic state of mind concerning relationships. Not that I don't believe in or value or celebrate or aspire to romance, but it occurred to me just now that my main feeling of romantic achievement in marrying Thom was that (other than it feeling right, good, etc.) it was far more romantic than how my parents' meet-and-marry story had always been presented to me. (I.e., they met on a blind date, and after a respectable courtship interval and some frank conversations, they mutually agreed that they weren't getting any younger, both needed spouses in order to have a family, and that they should therefore get married to each other. SUPER-romantic.) It also occurred to me just now that I have no earthly idea how my grandparents met each other, how long they courted, or whether they even liked each other when they got married. (We're talking about old-school mainland China, circa 1920-1930.) Unfortunately my grandparents have all passed away, my dad has Alzheimers, and I don't know his siblings at all, so I may never get the real story, certainly not on his side. And it's rather sad that it has NEVER occurred to me to ask my parents what _their_ parents' romances had been like, because I assumed that there had been no romance involved at all. Wow! Depressing! Or, liberating... because I think that people, especially women, put a lot of pressure on themselves by having rigid expectations concerning how much romantic love and soulmate-finding there might or might not be in store for them on their particular journeys. Maybe it's the term "settling" that gives a connotation of weakness or failure. Maybe it's more a matter of reaching resolution amid a complex set of circumstances. As a good friend of mine would say, as long as you're mindful of what you're doing and why you're doing it, you can "powerfully choose" things/actions/situations that don't match some abstract ideal, because you can't live your life in the abstract.

Sarah, I started reading your blog because I'm also 37, single and childless. (Yeah, hi.) I struggle a lot with this question of whether I've just been too fussy. I feel like I don't have a whole long list of specific requirements, or that I'm expecting some big romance. All I want is to find someone I actually WANT to get married to. Someone that feels right and I think I could have a workable partnership with. Am I being completely unreasonable???

So, I don't feel personally lucky, but I do have a story to relate: For seven years I have been good friends with a woman who, in all that time has been single. This year she met a lovely man who is kind, successful, solvent and her intellectual equal (he doesn't do banter so much, but he does do a good line in conversation :). She also turned 40. (Of course,it's true that she's all unsure about whether he's right for her :)

Thanks for reviewing this one!! It's on my to-read list, and I love how you apply it to your own life... That helps me see that I might enjoy it, too.

I, too, want to disagree with everything in this book just because of the title. But then I think, well, maybe she's kinda right? Ugh, Ugh, UGH!

I’m lucky because I’ve had the time to learn about and grown into myself and through this to become deliberate in my life.

I think I'm lucky because I met my husband when I was in my mid-20s. I don't think I've been as lucky professionally but I think career success has less to do with luck than hard work and talent (although luck also plays a small part).

As for "settling", I think that we all 'settle' in one way or another. Some women are pickier when they're younger -- dreams of the One and all that -- but I also think many of my female friends got pickier when they got older. Suddenly there was a timeline to have kids and/or to get married. They were usually more successful by then so a guy with less career success was no longer a candidate, whereas if you met in your 20s, you may marry someone with less financial stablilty with the hopes that their career will take off later.

Meh; as Venn diagrams go, I'm 41 and willing to date 34-year-olds and 38-year-olds. And "sticking like glue" didn't help me land my first or second choices in the marriage derby; the women I was dating and wanted to marry clearly had some say.

On the other hand, I wouldn't date Lori Gottlieb.

New to Starfish Envy. Such a happy discovery. Looking forward to return visits!

I'm lucky because I have all my teeth and my socks match. That is about it for today.

I'm lucky for a ton of reasons, though some days its hard to remember them (can you tell I had a bad day at work?). I have a terrific husband and 2 amazing sons and I love our home.

But, getting there was hard work. As in, I did it all wrong. Married Mr. Wrong twice (Steep learning curve there!) struggled with infertility, etc.

I know this sounds annoying and trite (I'm a do-er, I get it) but for me it had to do with understanding that I can't always MAKE it happen. It had to do with getting older and wiser (and yeah, couldn't get knocked up at 25 to save my life, but 35!! SURPRISE!). It had to do with learning not to need it so much that I was living in desperation and willing to dress anyone up as Mr. Right. And, learning that I deserve better.

So, I think you've already learned the hardest things. The rest will happen, or won't. In terms of your soon to be child, that you CAN make happen. There are a ton of options as you already know. So go, be happy, be mommy and let the rest take care of itself.

I've been doing personal ads since they involved letters written by hand on pieces of paper, and yes, age is HUGE in determining the number of responses you get. What particularly annoys me is that the age gap goes up. I was thinking once I got to 35 or so I could date younger men and they'd be past using sippy cups, which kind of makes sense demographically, but no. Right now I'm 47 and men interested in me start at about 55. And a lot of them don't take terribly good care of themselves, either, so you've got to really wonder how many miles they've got left on them.

I'm starting to realize just how lucky my mom was--she married a 35-year-old when she was 40 and they've now been married 48 years and I think on the whole it's been good for both of them. I don't think she was expecting to get married, and I know when she got married she didn't expect to have children, but it all worked out.

I'm lucky in so many ways, but I didn't realize that until I finally stopped waiting for things/people in my life to be the way I thought they were supposed to be and started noticing instead how great they already are.

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My Books (with Elizabeth Craft)



  • 'Bass Ackwards and Belly Up' and 'Footfree and Fancyloose' tell the story of four best friends who commit the ultimate suburban sin: putting off college to pursue their dreams.

    Publisher's Weekly said: "Full of romance and adventure, laughter and tears, the story is a reminder that veering from the straight and narrow road doesn't always lead to a dead end."

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    • L.A. 2009. I’m stuck in traffic on the 101 freeway, listening to Isabella Rosselini on NPR. Isabella, for some reason, mentions that starfish are one of those rare species that can reproduce asexually, and I realize that if I could do that, I wouldn't have to worry about finding a boyfriend/husband. I wouldn’t have to internet date! I wouldn't have to figure out if I want to/can/should have a baby/adopt a baby/child on my own. I wouldn't have to stress about things like FSH levels, or weigh my feelings on in vitro versus adoption. I would just have a baby. Thus began my starfish envy.
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