Divorced Dads

Math is not my strong suit, but I would guess that at least 40% of the men in my online dating pool are divorced dads (and another 40% want children…).

Once in a while, I hear the distant echo of friends and family saying “Be more open-minded about dating men with children.” So I half-heartedly try to persuade myself to try dating a divorced dad. “Just try it,” I say to myself. And my self replies, “No, you are happily childfree. You don’t even want your own children, so why would you want to deal with someone else’s?”

Not to mention an ex-wife, ex-in-laws, etc.

I readily admit that my baggage monogrammed with the letters ACOD (adult child of divorce) plays into my hesitation as well. Parental divorce sucked at 24; it would be hard to watch a toddler or teenager go through it. And I would find it nearly impossible for the dad to win in my book: if he didn’t see his kid very often, I would think of him as a deadbeat. But if he saw his kid a lot, I would feel like second fiddle. And who wants to feel like second fiddle?

I don’t think that a woman who is open to having her own children would feel the same way about it. Maybe a woman with happily married parents would feel different as well.

I know that some people say that it’s better for children if their unhappy parents divorce. Maybe it’s better in some ways (especially if abuse is involved, of course). But I wonder how the current and recent generations are being affected by the high divorce rate. Is the divorce rate destined to keep climbing?

Continuing in the childfree vein, I just came across this great essay written by a single, childfree artist a few years ago. He talks about a phenomenon that hits middle-aged folks, which I can definitely relate to.

And my friend Anya, who writes a great blog about childfree life and dating, invited me to guest post recently. I wrote down my top ten reasons for being childfree. Check it out.

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15 States

 

I recently traveled to the Northwest for the first time, for a friend’s wedding in Idaho. Curious about how many states I’ve been to vs. number of countries, I made a list. Idaho is the 15th state I’ve been to; I’ve been to 12 countries. I have some work to do in the States!

For some reason, I had pictured Idaho as a relatively flat and ho-hum state. Was I wrong. I flew into Boise, which is surrounded by foothills. I mistakenly called them mountains, and a local guffawed and said, “These are just foothills.” The wedding was two hours north of Boise. It was a beautiful drive through tree-blanketed mountains and open fields with grazing cattle, and along rivers, The wedding was on a lake at a state park, so it was lovely, as you can imagine.

Sunset at Payette Lake

Sunset at Payette Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way to Idaho, I stared out the plane window for the majority of the time. The topography was amazing: the deserts of Utah, the Rockies. I had a connection in Seattle and was stunned by the majestic Mount Rainier. I was reminded of how absolutely huge this country is. And how tiny the New England region is compared to the western states. I’ve gotten a taste of the west and must return!

I had some time to kill before my return flight, so met up with a friend in Boise for dinner. When I mentioned wanting ice cream for dessert, she said these three magic words:

Ice Cream Potato

Of course I had to have one.

Ice cream potato

Ice cream potato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a perfect ending to my first trip to Idaho. Who else has been to Idaho?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmetics That Kill

 

Well, maybe that’s melodramatic of me to say. But cosmetics might be killing us softly, on top of pesticides, toxic cleaning products, hormones in our meat, etc., etc.

Environmental Working Group has some handy guides to help us avoid the most toxic sh*t out there. When I checked the cosmetics database, I found that the Cover Girl lip gloss I’ve been using for years is pretty toxic. Buh-bye, Cover Girl!

So now I’m looking at ingredient lists of personal care products as well as food products. Consumers have power…spend the extra money on natural products. Your health is worth it!

Resilience

 

I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t know anyone affected by the 9/11 tragedy. It’s hard to believe that it was 12 years ago.

I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t know anyone affected by the Marathon bombings. It’s hard to believe that it was almost five months ago.

People whose lives have been affected by these tragedies—by any tragedy—must draw upon their resilience to grieve and then move on. Whether they lost a loved one or were seriously injured, their life is forever altered. They grieve and move on to honor what their life once was. They are a reminder that you never know what life is going to throw at you. A reminder that all we really have is today. This moment.

Today I read about the survivor tree near Ground Zero in NYC. I don’t remember hearing about it in the aftermath of 9/11. But this tree, which was severely damaged, was found during the cleanup. It was relocated to the Bronx in order to be given a chance to recover, to grow again. The tree grew about 20 feet and has been returned to Ground Zero.

And today, seedlings from this tree were presented to three communities that have recently had their resilience tested: Boston; Prescott, Arizona; and Far Rockaways in NYC. I think it’s a beautiful symbol.

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Last Sunday, I witnessed thousands of people celebrating and displaying a fierce resilience. Last Sunday, I walked to raise funds for cancer research. Many walkers wore personalized T-shirts with photos of people they’ve lost or people who are currently fighting the disease. Many walkers were survivors who wore buttons reading “I’m Living Proof.” And I was not prepared for this: many walkers were walking for their children who have cancer.

I guess I haven’t thought much about pediatric cancer, because it hasn’t affected me. Many of my friends and acquaintances are dealing with cancer in some way…but they are all adults. When I saw a child who was maybe a year old with her parents, who held flags with her photo on it, I thought, how could this be? A young man of 12 or 13 spoke during the event program. He spoke of getting cancer at 9 years of age and going through two years of chemo. It’s hard enough for adults to be resilient when faced with cancer. How do children, and their parents, cope?

It was an educational and empowering experience. Our thoughts were also with the Marathon bombing victims and their families as we walked the last few miles of the Boston Marathon route.

The day wasn’t all about fierce resilience and reflection…it was fun too! I walked with two friends who have been personally affected by cancer in numerous ways. I’m glad to have shared this experience with them.

 

jfw 6

Team Higgins 2013

 

 

No-Vacation Nation

 

Did you know that the United States is the only developed country that doesn’t legally mandate that workers receive paid time off? Whenever I’m reminded of this, I want to go picket outside the White House or call up politicians and rant and rave. The United States doesn’t even mandate that employers provide paid holidays!!

Read this article and try to overlook the fact that it wasn’t proofread. This situation is infuriating. It doesn’t matter if we’re too broke to travel anywhere for vacation. It matters that we have TIME OFF from work. And that we take the time off! Apparently many of us don’t even use the paltry vacation time we are given. I have been known to stockpile vacation days, saving them for the next trip to England that I take. But no more. I am taking that time.

Check out this brief report and remember to pick up your jaw from the floor when you’re done reading.

This article also reminded me that less than half of the U.S. population owns a passport. Travesty! Let’s get traveling, folks. Who’s planning a fun vacation, either domestic or international? I’m going to Idaho next week. I’ve never been to Idaho so I’m looking forward to it!

 

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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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