Dating Younger Men

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Precursor: This is written from a hetero/gender normative viewpoint which is my life narrative, but I do believe it is applicable to all folks.


This post has been in my notebook for some time. It’s no secret on my home team that I date younger. I’m not talking 1-2 years younger. I’m talking about 4-6 years younger….and at one point this year 7 years younger.


And when you live in a society constructed with social norms that as a woman your love life is dictated by your biological clock, which at times means ideally dating older or the same age...it can be a little stressful.


And I will admit that today and in recent times when I’ve dated guys 5 years younger than me, I’ve often caught myself saying… “But he is SO young” “I look SO much older than him” “What if people think I’m his big sister...or his MOM”...Oh it’s bad.


Insecurities run rampant. But the truth is, I do look older, because I am older...and I am learning to be ok with that.


Because you can be a 40 year old man dating a 25 year old woman and no one bats an eye. But when you’re a woman older than 25 dating a younger man...people have all the opinions in the world.


Call it being a cougar. Call it robbing the cradle. Call it whatever you’d like. But dating younger, I’ve had much healthier relationships than dating men my own age or older. This isn’t ALWAYS the case, but this has been my personal and general experience.


So, I compiled the main reasons I’ve enjoyed dating younger the last few years:

I have a youthful energy and heart...and it is easier to make a younger guy have mature moments and conversations than it is to have an older guy set in his ways view my energy as who I am rather than not being "mature" or "serious" enough.


They respect my world doesn’t revolve around them. That I have my own life, my own friends, my own bank account, my own goals. He is part of my life, but not the center of it.


They don’t find any of the above as competition, or feel inferior or feel "less of a man"...


Younger guys brag to their friends about me, but not only in physical terms, most often it has been about, "She is so great at xyz"...and it is so refreshing to hear they're proud of me rather than intimidated.


They typically haven’t lost their soul on the corporate climb or their ethics to the dollar sign.


They also want to go stargazing with me at 1am...and yes, they also still have jobs to be at by 8am.


And they also want to stay in and drink wine and maybe later hit the bars with our friends.


Most are still less jaded about life. They offer a fresh perspective into my own life. They also make sure I am taking care of my whole self and prioritizing my needs after taking care of others. I’ve actually found me being less of a “mother figure” like people think it would be like when dating younger men...and I’ve been viewed as more of an equal partner.


And just because they're younger doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to “settle down” or not be committed or be a Dad some day….Actually most of the younger men I’ve dated want ALL of those things.


I find that many of the stereotypes of dating younger men...aren’t true, and something I’ve really learned is that age doesn’t mean much...but character does. You can be 33 or 23, but that doesn’t determine if you’re a good significant other or will treat your partner with care and love.

So...this post was probably more for me today than others, but accepting that I like, date, and some times just prefer dating younger.

Role Modeling & Self-Care

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Role modeling and Self-Care…

Both are almost an over-used, watered down sentiment that we use every chance we get.

And so many years later, so people have really shaped my idea on self-care and role modeling that I could write a separate post per person each day for the rest of the year - grateful for people who let me know some hard truths when I need to hear it.

Today's post was written mostly from my lens as a woman. Because we have different struggles. Different expectations. Different truths. Different narratives when it comes to role modeling and self-care.

I’m still learning and it’s really hard to role model and practice self-care, especially in the type of career I'm in - essentially a 24.7 camp counselor…it's hard to practice until students start to tell me they’re worried about me. Or that I don’t take enough time for myself. Or that they are genuinely concerned about my well-being.

And then I realize the awful habits I am teaching them. The habits that have ultimately made me miss weddings, baby showers, birthdays, funerals, impromptu dinners, dates, phone calls and the like.

And that is not something I want to teach my students. That is not something I want to teach my clients, friends, coworkers, or family.

It’s something I want to UN-learn myself.

And in the last 1-2 years, I have taken better measure to make sure I am there. That I am celebrating a precious baby. That I am making an effort to celebrate someone’s new promotion at work. That I take the time to plan a surprise birthday party for a friend.

And finally, I have been thinking so much on how as a woman I show up to my self-care. How I show up in role modeling to people. And how to stop apologizing for being.

As a woman, the world tells us to be confident and go without make up and exude our natural beauty! Then, part of the world is telling us to LOOK PUT TOGETHER! As anyone comfortable in their own narrative, we know whichever you choose, both are great. If either make you feel confident, show up in that.

These days, I show up however the $(%^ I want to show up. It’s my self-care and I will show up in whatever attire and energy I choose to. I will show up in my womanhood in however I feel like that day.

And I will let the words flow from my mouth in whatever sequence, vulgarity, or grace that it may.

This is NOT an excuse to be disrespectful, to bring bad energy to a room, or to be irresponsible. It is permission to myself to create authentic space and be in that space with others who allow me to be.

It’s also permission to some times work late because in some regards that is my self-care/role modeling. By taking care of something I’ve worked so hard to maintain. And other days, it means re-scheduling meetings or allowing others to run my ish' so I can celebrate a friend’s birthday on a MONDAY.

Whatever the type of self-care, it’s not always on the weekends or in the evenings. It’s any time I choose it to be if I listen to my body/soul and what they actually need.

And whatever role modeling I am exuding - I want it to be transparent. I can still have a lot figured out and it is ok to admit I have even more to figure out than I thought. AND THEN SHARING THAT with others. And being real.

And not always answering “I’m good” when someone asks how I am doing. But also not over sharing with people who aren’t interested in how I am doing – Because they’re only interested in the information I can share so they can share with others.

I’ve been evolving in both of these practices.

And today, I showed up in all of my beloved womanhood, as is, with no apologies to follow.

FUN

Sunday, November 5, 2017


FUN.
Social media is funny.
I post the lively, fun, usually out and about moments.

But in reality, I work a nurse's hours.
The majority of my days are spent 12+ hours working with little to no breaks and usually rushing and overlapped events until I come home.

And if I let it….

That's what my life becomes. 

To do lists, frantically running around, getting things done, sending emails, scheduling and hosting meetings...becoming a tapped out person with an underwhelmed soul.

SO. With that said…it sounds simple...but I just wanted to add FUN in my life. 

I know, so simple right?...But I live in extremes. I am either having the time of my life or I am so buckled down I forget that I have a life outside of my career(s).

So, I bought a pink glittered notebook with blank pages and no lines. 

And every day, I color out my day. 

My art and handwriting are not cute, at all by the way.

And surprisingly it still has been my favorite daily ritual.
Adding fun was inspired by yet again, Present over Perfect.

Before handing off the book Present Over Perfect to a friend, I re-read some of the chapters I highlighted, and this "candy throwing" page resonated with why I decided to add some no lines, overly dramatic glittery notebook fun into my daily ritual.

Because I want to throw candy...and not just at designated candy throwing times:

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival - Chinatown

Monday, October 9, 2017


I love Chinatown in San Francisco is the largest one outside of China - which obviously makes me feel like it's the most authentic experience I can get without traveling abroad. It's rare folks take credit card, speak English, and for the most part, I appreciate that much of this area is untouched and less gentrified. The streets are narrow. Kids to senior citizens are singing and playing games in the parks. So much energy. So many knick knacks, food, music, and dancing.

And too fun not to share our accidental pit stop:








September Highlight Reel

September 2017.

September always feels like the actual ending of Summer. 

This year, it was also filled with reunions, long established ones and ones that are just beginning. 

September also introduced me to new music - like The Might Oaks and Yung Grizzly (Both on spotify).

It meant spontaneous movie nights, random road trips, and on the fly nights out dancing in the Castro.

But it also meant time to reflect. More journaling, blogging, and deeper conversations with people I didn't expect to go there with.

I laughed until I cried at least every week.

Rolled my eyes a good dozen times too.

Felt enormous gratitude for people who have always protected me and had my back.

And most importantly, September, as usual gave me a lovely, but very short highlight reel:

Went to one of my student's rap concerts...on a Wednesday. Also, found another small venue I liked - The Complex in Oakland.
Served w. my church for love week: Rennovated a teachers lounge, cleaned storage room, put together gift supplies baskets for folks at a middle school.
Explored a new coffee shop

Reunions with old work bae 
Oakland PRIDE and First Fridays / Crystal moving to the Bay
Introduced to new music via Emily: The Mighty Oaks. Also, found a new music venue I liked - Swedish American Hall.

3rd Annual Giants Game with Jordan and Nelson

Narcissist dating

Monday, October 2, 2017


...After years of working at a talent agency and then going rogue, former clients and I talk more than just about their industry. We talk about their love lives...and it has been an interesting result of the tough love conversations I've had after noticing certain themes around professional or collegiate athletes, musicians, or anything that gives you instant access to people who flock to you due to your social capital or income.

....And after my own experiences as well as watching this cycle from both ends of the spectrum in my professional and personal life, I am at the bottom of my patience bucket. Most people will say, "you write so raw" or "you're the realest"....Well, it is about to get very real.

I share this for those who are the 'fame' people and also for those of you who chase the 'famers'....Because I want to point out how vicious this cycle is. Obviously, not everyone is like this and there are plenty of exceptions.

To my 'fame' folks:

All my former clients now friends and vice versa, this was their #1 criteria in looking for a partner: All wanted a partner who was Independent.

This one made me laugh...Every 'fame' person said this...but in reality, they still did not understand why an independent partner didn't just end up at their doorstep.

Reality check.

NO INDEPENDENT PERSON IS WAITING FOR YOU.

Independent people are not waiting for you to text or call them. They are busy with what is called a LIFE. With real friends....and a real role in the world...and guess what? THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR TOUR SCHEDULE, YOUR PHOTO SHOOT, OR YOUR GAME AT LEVI STADIUM.

Independent people already have their own thing going on. It doesn't matter if they have less money than you. Have a "smaller" status in their career if they have one at all. Independent people care the kind of person you are. You'll have to EARN their trust. They won't follow blindly.

If you lead with your status and occupation, YOU ARE LOOKING FOR FANS. For admirers. For followers, likes, and shares.

-

To my folks who are labeled as buckle bunnies, jersey chasers, groupies, and the ones that run after the emotionally unavailable tortured artist....

Reality check,

Stop being that person to feed their inflated popularity.

You're not doing yourself or them a favor.

They only like what you can do for them - give them their 15 minutes of extended fame. Once you have done this for them, they see little to no value in their lives.

So, if it is not a real and deep connection...cut your losses that never was a loss in the first place.

People obsessed with their own self-brand and 'fame' are constantly branding themselves, exhibit 0 empathy, and only prioritize themselves and their wants/needs over their families, friends, and humanity.

Does this sound like something you can live with forever? I would hope not.

-

On the real.

J.

Ex Jealousy

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Denver: The Populist
This post has been a long time coming. I want to say any of my ex or break up stories are like 2-3 years old. I'd never post about anything recent and certainly not without their permission.

That is called a lawsuit.

After getting permission from the 3 main character of this story, I wanted to write about my own experience on jealousy of an ex - especially with the influx of conversations I have had with people ranging from fresh break ups to still healing from years out, I feel you y'all.

-

When I was jealous of my ex.

All the things we already know such as social media being a battle both in and out of a relationship, (wrote on social media and happiness in 2014 HERE) it's a miracle we have any functioning and trusting relationships.

Being jealous of my ex, really stemmed from the question, wasn't he supposed to be suffering like me?! That loser.

A few months after our break up, he was already dating around...including a former client of mine from pageantry. I found out from where? None other than social media, on snapchat.

To bruise my ego even more, he had gone to the Rosebowl game and watched my friend clench the title, Coachella, Vegas, Hawaii, Europe (A trip I planned for the two of us originally), The Superbowl (our friend won that year, but because I had a panic attack thinking of spending an entire day with him and his new girlfriend, I didn't go, although I had a free ticket...), job promotion, and to top it off he was also recruited for MTV's The Real World...(he later declined although being a reality TV star is in his wheelhouse, sorry Z, you know this to be true).

I was so outrageously jealous, it hurt.

His life seemed so perfect...

Doing the 'right' things. Seeing the 'right' people. Making a *#$ ton of money.

And as for me? At that time, all I had to show for was a string of failed rebound relationships. I even hurt someone I consider the one that got away (my home team agrees). I was miserable in my job, and struggling as a whole person...spiritually, financially, physically, I even looked haggard and sad.

Let's be honest, we all joke about winning the break up...but it's a real feeling and I felt I was losing, and that I should beg for the mercy rule.

And then one night, I learned one of our friend's passed away.

Suddenly our ego's and who was "winning" the break up, didn't really matter.

Being there for our friends, our dozens of mutual friends, was a bigger deal....and from that year we spent time in the same birthdays, engagement parties, gatherings, flying back to Denver for our friend's memorial dinners, and the like.

Even though it was difficult to share some of the same spaces and friends, we did find what works for us...and gave us space to still show up for our people while not getting caught in our own break up drama.

One night, we were in Colorado, in this hotel for our friend's memorial, our mutual friend brought up that I seemed jealous of Z's life...and I admitted I was...and in response he said, all those experiences he has are awesome, but you know what else is awesome?

...That your Mom is beating cancer (she was diagnosed 2 mos prior). That you have a healthy baby nephew. That your brother found a person he loves and never thought he'd meet. That you have a lot of people who love you for more than what you can do for them. You have deep friendships that are like family. You took time to grieve and grow. And he took his time to party and rage. You took your time figuring out what's next and what is. He took his time to avoid dealing with his emotions.

...and then for the tough love, he said,
your ex's life isn't any of your business. None of it is your business from how much fun he is having to how much he isn't visibly grieving to how amazing his new girlfriend is. It's none of your business because he isn't actually part of your life, he exists in it only because you let him....
Ouch. Hard to hear. Hard to feel, but it was the jump start I needed to cut off communication. To cut off mutual friends that weren't really mutual. To stop investing my energy into a person that existed in my life, but wasn't part of it.

That's when the jealously started to decrease. When I let the dead things officially die off, the new part of my life started to re-open to new experiences and people. I had a capacity that could freely attach itself to whatever was meant to occupy that space. Silly things like, I actually did like folk music, beer gardens, trivia, my annoying hipster friends, and other things that I hadn't considered if it weren't for a new found space that had let dead things linger.

And now? I'd say we are both winning at our own lives. Apart. Not in constant communication or much at all. No social media stalking. Just two people genuinely happy for the other person in all of our big milestones. Two people who are grateful for some very funny memories that led us to today.

If you're finding yourself jealous of your ex, I hope you take my friend's tough love and encouragement. Maybe his advice isn't for today, maybe it's for later, maybe it was for 2 mos ago.

Much love, this one is a tough one. You got this. We (your community) got you.

You're invited

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I used to go on adventures by myself. But then I got assaulted and I barely would go to Target by myself.

I’ve come a long ways in 3 years. I used to pride myself on being able be my own best company. I’d invite myself to adventures. Waited for no one. Never wished my life away. Lately, I don’t even remember the last time I did something alone or was alone. I don’t remember the last time I invited myself to be my own best company.

So, on Saturday, I woke up, and invited myself on a road trip north. No destination. No time limit. Drove until I found something interesting to look at.

I drove north on Pacific Coast HWY 1 through the magical fog and the small coastal towns that hug California’s rugged and beautiful coastline.

I ended up stopping in Olema, CA at this little lodge near a stream with lots of outdoor chairs and logs to read and write. I spent time just listening to silence and in nature. 

I couldn’t believe it’s been 3 years since I’d taken a spontaneous self-adventure with no agenda…

Living life in the city is exciting. In October I have back to back concerts. In the last month, in August it seemed to be back to back reunions and parties. I love all the lights, the busy energy, and the eclectic people that reside in San Francisco.

But as someone who is also part country - I also need rural. I need a place that is simple, with narrow roads, gravel paths, no cell service. Nature that is limited or barely touched by any person. A place that grounds me, slows me down, and brings life and my living back to the center.

Just nature and God, which in so many ways I’ve felt are the same thing anymore.

My life although fun and liberating, has also lacked self-rituals and consistency. I’ve spent the last 1.5 years building mostly horizontal, which has been rich and full of exploring, but I haven’t spent much time building vertically.

So, stay tuned, you’re definitely invited. 

Photos from my time in Olema, CA:

I'm a fraud

Friday, September 8, 2017



SO...

A few, a lot, MANY of my family and friends called me out on my no dating 2017 rule.

Hey, I was doing great up until May. 5 mos sober of dating...

I didn't even make it half the year. I'm laughing out loud because...well I wanted to call myself out since I posted on my blog I wasn't going to date in 2017.

In fact this Summer I said, I just want to flirt, talk, and just you know have a fun Summer.

Now even more funny, I was boo'ed up from Memorial to Labor Day. The official kick off and send off's of Summer.

Ironic.

I roll my eyes at people who say, "When you're not looking, that's when you'll find someone!"...

And I was doing that maybe a little too well for 5 mos. Dodging anyone that wanted to slow down and form a relationship...I would actually say EW out loud.

Literally the last thing I wanted.

Here comes Summer and I was in one of the most healthy relationships I've had since I can remember.

So. Letting folks know I'm a fraud.

Guess I can make all the predictions I want and life will show up the way it wants to.





Existing in August

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

*My blog is going through a face lift, keep with me y'all.

"I know when you are prioritizing yourself and when you are giving too much to others"... As my mentee / friend was speaking life into me this Summer...

One of the most common phrases in my industry of higher education, especially in Student Affairs, we say, "We don't exist to our family and friends in August". Eluding to the fact we are spending hours upon hours and weeks in a row working with no time off. I am not exaggerating when I say we are working from sunrise to the wee hours of the night...again, typically with no time off.

And talking to my dear friend A, who is in their first professional position, they said, "*$@% that. I am going to exist in August. I am going to exist to my friends in August. My life is not going to disappear in August"...

And as the last 6 teams I've prepared for some type of training in their essentially "summer camp" for 10 mos role, I can't believe I just didn't do that....exist in August.

It's so unheard of. It's almost rebellious...in all the best ways possible.

I've been in conversation in and living in this theme for the last year or two of peace, feeling whole, creating space, experiences over things, and all these mantras that without a doubt have instrumented my life into what it is...

But existing in August?

Now that certainly is about to be a challenge.

....I wrote the above the last week of July...Because I wanted to see if I actually kept my word...and although not exactly to a T, I do believe I created more time than I normally do to live life in August! AND you best believe I am going to celebrate that.

Existing in August:
Oakland visits...at least 4 times in August!
Oakland's First Fridays
San Francisco's Pro Soccer Team - Deltas

HA. K from Boston visiting!

Read through some books, wrote, and blogged

Reunited with Bae over Berkeley and challenges!

SLAY: Hip hop party for LGBTQ+, POC, and Allies
Ending August with D's goodbye party


California-versary Year 1: SoDak to LA

Monday, August 28, 2017

Whale watching trip with my parents in August 2011
August is home to so many anniversaries.

But I wanted to celebrate my California-versary first! 6 years, but going on 7 school years (I go by academic years) here in beautiful-beautiful California...literally up and down the coast! 

I want to honor August as a "fresh" start for so many educators and students starting another year, but I also want to honor people who are in transition, just graduated & a little lost..

In May, newly minted graduates are promised this wonderful life post high school, college, or advanced degree. 

But no one ever tells you about the growing pains of leaving home, or the home you created at college, or to not have access to all of your closest friends you've been making for 4+ years.

So, that is why I wanted to recognize my California-versary first.

August 2011: I was 22, barely finished college, I packed my belongings that barely fit in my car and drove from South Dakota to Los Angeles county. Besides being absolutely terrified, scared I'd hate my graduate program & never make any friends ... dramatic ... I also was homesick my first year.

I may had posted about all of these fun new adventures in Southern CA, but in that same caption, I'd also get back in my car nostalgic for college, the comfort of my parents, and the aching to be around familiar friends. I had also ended my first relationship ever in that season too - my emotions were clearly winning...

My Grandma had also passed a week before I left for Los Angeles and on top of that, I was healing from a broken leg that I broke 24 hours after my college graduation. I spent my summer in physical therapy, high off pain killers, grieving my first break up, and living in my parents basement. What a dream post college right?...

I was supposed to move to the Bay Area for 3 mos for an internship prior to starting a graduate program, but that didn't happen due to my broken leg.

When I arrived in Los Angeles county, I was living with a stranger. I didn't know anyone except for those I knew from pageants. My cohort in my graduate program were my only friends, but at this point I hadn't met most of them.

When my parents flew back to South Dakota, I sobbed in my new room. It hit me that they were just visiting and weren't staying. I had lived away from home often growing up, but I always knew I was coming back at the end of Summer.

That first year was rough. 

I cried all the time. I FaceTimed my best friend in Alaska on Friday nights for hours at a time. 

Other hard adjustments included being in a city that was starkly different from my rural upbringing. Everything cost money. There were no seasons. The list goes on.

In that transition, I wish I could say I found myself. But most of the first year was spent breaking me down to build me up again. It was a year of learning life was not about me..in some pretty harsh ways, but looking back in the most humbling and heart struck ways.

But I did have the most fun job - essentially community work where we employed college students into non-profits that benefited the community. I had a bomb boss who to this day, I can say has been a mentor and friend, someone who was on my final capstone committee, and recent Momma to the cutest baby. You can read her blog HERE.

Eventually, I became close with people in my graduate program. I now live for our mini reunions, group texts, random calls and reach outs, and I can say they are part of my home team. I rarely make a major life decision without their blessing and prayers first.

I explored Los Angeles and Southern California for everything it was. Whether it was a Disneyland pass, exploring every sandy beach, concerts at the Hollywood bowl, hosting visitors at least every other weekend for my first year there. Falling in love with monotone weather, ethnic food choices, and finding out how much I could be thrown into the unknown and come out with a #$%^ ton of experiences and relationships that would shape who I have been in my 20s.

It really is a Happy California-versary to me, even with year 1 in hindsight.

Sending love to all my students and people in their first transition out of school.
You are going to make it.
Be patient with yourself.

I always liked remembering all of my best moments were happening and are yet to come.
How amazing is that?

My almost proposal

Friday, August 25, 2017


Some people meet their sweetheart young, some are with their first love of their life.

I am not that person. 
I let a break up leave me bitter and detached. 

But a lot has happened in the last 2 years, and although I rarely think about this person now, all the cliches (Can people really change? & relationship timelines are trash!) I learned the hard way was from my relationship with this person. 

-

"I bought you a ring."
 Not something you wanted to hear from your ex post break up.

A few months after our break up (okay we broke up like 3, 5, who knows how many times), he let me know he had bought the ring. 

He said, it was right on time
 On time?

Our timeline of being engaged, living together in the city / me getting a job in SF, and married by the time I was 28 with a kid by the time I was 30.

I turned 28 in March, and although my life looks nothing like the life we projected, hearing he bought a ring based on a timeline (and I am sure out of guilt) made me re-think who creates these relationship timelines anyway...because they are garbage.

If a couple wants to get engaged after 3 months of dating, amazing. If a couple wants to be together and not get married, awesome. If someone wants to not do any of the above, it is no one else’s business.

So, in the last 2 years, I stopped caring about these imaginary timelines and unrealistic expectations that come with the "rules" of love.

Because does love really go by rules?

And because I am a secret rule breaker. I knew exactly what I was signing up for with this person...and I signed up anyway. I knew prior to my almost proposal that this person was not someone I'd marry, but I wanted to make things fit so badly because 1) It was on the "timeline" for my life and 2) I thought I could change him.

I thought I could make him settle down. I thought x,y,&z would make him change into exactly what I thought he should be.

Well, since that is not how love or relationships work, I learned that after several failed attempts to “make him a better person”, I FINALLY decided to listen to my home team and my gut…

So, I left. 

And after having a devastating year on top of a messy break up, I became bitter and detached. 
But at some point, I also started creating a life that I loved. One full of honesty, connection, and kept promises. I even let the bitterness turn into wisdom.

With time on my side, I also realized I loved that he was wild. I liked that he did not give one #$%@ about anyone but himself. And later I realized I needed him to give a few #$%@'s and maybe be less wild.

But that's not who he is. And that's not who I really want him to be. I would have never fallen so hard for him in the first place if we weren't so different.

So, I left; left for a life that I feel connected to, free of the societal upkeep and learning to love people for where they are and not what they could be. For loving myself for who I am, and not what I thought I should be.

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