Losing Litigation and Lasting Love: A patience lesson lurking for 8 years and 6 months

   
 

God? George? Anyone up there? Are you listening?!! Such a complex compound question that was prevelant and ad nasuem in my head for the better part of 8 years. Lucy is not patient.! Never has been and never will be.
  
My mother laughs at me and is throughouly discouraged by the fact that I can’t remember some of the good times we had pre-Anthony, and I’ll admit my short term memory is much better than my long term memory.  However, there is one event that occurred 9 years ago with my late husband that sticks in my head like glue. From that day on, I knew that George was going up to heaven with an adamant calling to teach me patience, which meant I would have to wait much longer for things I really wanted.  Ok, brace yourselves for some sadness, but it fits my tale and gets better, I promise!  George had Been on hospice for 1 month and was getting weaker and weaker and thinner and thinner each day.  He could no longer take medicine by mouth so I had to apply some greasy pain gel to his wrist that would be absorbed by the skin. And I had to put Saran  wrap around the wrist so the gel did not escape.  Now, who knows how frustrating Saran wrap is?.. Just try it dealing with it with one hand? I don’t really have to tell you how much I hate it!  So, I am trying to comfort my dying husband and was getting really frustrated and wanted to throw the wrap out a window.  George, who was withering each moment, somehow got the strength to utter the rather harsh toned words “Be patient”; the only words he had virtually said all day and which took the little strength he had left.  Iknew from that moment that was going to hand deliver the message to God (who I’m sure already knew!) that impatient Lucy needed to be taught some serious lessons of patience;  that meant there would be a lot more waiting as I knew George was my angel and would not let me settle, out of the sabotaging impatience I had.

Fast forward, not too fast, post George. I found myself smack in the middle of a insurance defense firm, litigating. I just keep going. At Lucy speed too.   I quickly saw that litigating was 1/4 acting, 1/4 games, 1/4 bluffing and 1/4 never ending circuitous journeys. Not my style, at all!   I am the direct, real, black and white, no games, let’s get this done type. As i kept going more and more, it was clear that I was getting myself stuck in litigation quicksand and there was no way to get out. So I keep on swimming, unwillingly learning how be an actor, see grey, play poker and games and be content with the long circuitous route to the same result that could have been accomplished 1 year prior via the straight route.   I never really did realize why I jumped from job to job; of course in hindsight it is all obvious. My heart, passion and natural skills were always  against the wind, instead of flowing smoothly with it. 

But I kept going. Litigation was all I knew and there was little chance of proving to anyone that I could be good at something else. Yet, I still prayed..God? George? Anyone? ARE YOU LISTENING?! Get me the hell out of litigation before I explode.  I was convinced after the 1st year that they were NOT listening. My pleas got stronger and more desperate.  Damn husband of mine… He was always so stubborn and he is enjoying teaching me patience. I was not!! Don’t get me wrong, I regret nothing and believe there was no wasted time, but enough was enough 3 years ago! Or was it? 

Post George love was different too. After 6 years back on the dating scene, the whole thing was different. What is the online dating scene? I did not like it from day one! … Reminded me of litigation.  More acting, games, poker faces and bs. Wonderful!!!  Men men men….all of a sudden they were complicated and morons.   The dates I went on and the ones I got serious with- it was always a rollercoster of the anticipatory climbs and the stomach dropping declines. I learned a lot about myself and other; what to do and what not to do.  But the puzzles pieces never really fit together. For a while, in each relationship, the puzzle pieces looked secure when forced together, but when  I picked the entire puzzle off the floor to admire the “masterpieces”, it readily crumbled in my hands. 

But I kept going. An eternally optimistic homeless romantic can’t just sit on the couch and wait.  There was no time not to be proactive!  I did sit on the couch watching sappy Hallmack love movies in between dating disasters to keep me motivated.  So the hopeless romantic side compelled me to dive deeper into dating quicksand. I prayed. God? George? Anyone? ARE YOU LISTENING?!  Find me an attractive, intelligent, emotionally intimate, funny man who will put me on a pedestal and spoil me .  This request was a more agonizing … Like taking candy from a baby, I knew what I was missing as I had it once before.  I still got no response from the higher beings, just more incomparable puzzle pieces.  I have no regrets and my time was well spent as I have great memories of all my “fun” but I was not getting any younger and enough was enough! 

Fast forward 8 years and 6 months. Just like that, I got a job offer for an amazing job that has nothing to do with litigation, with a great company and employees and a salary I fought for. Again, just like that, after 6 very good dates, an intelligent, attractive, funny, emotionally intimate man, who already has me on a pedestal, told me he loves me.  My head is spinning. Literally.  Fast moving, never misses a beat, Lucy, is flabbergasted. Really!!! Not joking! 8 years and 6 months of a barrage of pleas and prayers and nothing.  But within the  following month, everything I had prayed and pleaded for?!!!  There is no logic to explain that! It’s divine intervention. It’s George intervention!

As I am writing this, I still can’t believe it. Can someone pinch me?!   Even after all this, I will never truly be patient. That is just not me. Besides, impatience has its silver linings too… But that is another blog! But what I have learned is that patience, even if detested, is necessary for a life worth living.  The things I have learned in the 8 years and 6 months are immeasurable and intangible. Some of the people I met have been extraordinary. The lessons I’ve learned are invaluable. I don’t regret a second. Nothing has been wasted time. This last month proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that God does listen and so does George,  if you ever want to call on him. The sometimes frustrating, long and ‘unfair” journey is not to punish you or make you crazy, but to ensure that when the things that you have been praying and pleading for drop into your lap in a very short time frame, you will be 100% ready, willing and able to accept them without doubt or hesitation. I may be flabbergasted but I am ready. The question is : are you? 

  

Be happy,

Lucy

The Hot Mess: To Date or not to Date…

..That is the question. Ok, it’s not the best Shakespeare, but it begs a question that I’m not sure even he, in his carefully crafted verse and prose, would have dared to answer.

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So, I will.

Sunday morning at 1:00 a.m, after a afternoon of advanced enlightenment and a long first course with a Southern Suitor, leaving me with simultaneous feelings of a desire for a second course, butterflies, naked vulnerability, hesitancy and a protective nonchalance is, of course, the perfect time to tackle such a question!

Today’s afternoon was filled with interactive monologues about respecting all people, ensuring your actions take future generations into consideration, continuously reaching a bit past your comfort zone to share with others,  and using your personal power to guide the energies around you to work positivity for you.  This “enlightenment” talk was prefaced upon the larger ideas of yearly energies, collective consciousness, using your guides to direct you and putting goodness into the universe. I came out of today’s lecture with a sense of better purpose and certainly a bit more enlightened and trained to rely more on my “right brain.” For those of you who don’t work with abstract concepts (a/k/a “left brained” folks), today was essentially as follows: 1/4 true courage and vulnerability meets 1/4 Buddha type spirituality meets 1/4 intuition meets 1/4 “bat shit crazy.”

What is “bat shit crazy” you ask?  Well, I can’t take credit for that phrase as I just heard it tonight. Jack’s* (name changed) ex-wife was “bat shit crazy.” They divorced over a year ago and have a 4 year old, adorable, daughter. Of course his ex was some kind of crazy…. that is always what men say on a date with a women they are trying to impress…right?!! Well, lucky for me, he spared me the gory details, but he told me a couple of her post-divorce crazy actions and warned my that there is drama involved with her.  I guess, the extra, unsolicited information about her intensifies the garden variety “crazy” to “bat shit crazy.”  Oy vey… the date with Jack was already extraordinary.

I am not quite sure how we got on the topic of my day of enlightenment, but he could barely contain himself. This Southern gentleman was trying to be composed and respectful, but the unmistakable “burst” smile (think: “I really want to bust out laughing but I know that would be a deal breaker) told me that he thought my entire forenoon was “bat shit crazy.”  Lucy, the left brained lawyer, will conceded to the 1/4 part as stated above. And although I thought he was on the dangerous precipice of the pot calling the kettle black, I felt very vulnerable and naked.  But as per the discussion today, I dove into as concrete an explanation of the abstract afternoon as I could (even though my left brain dominance was secretly having trouble digesting some of it), as part of “reaching outside my comfort zone to share with others”.  My courage saw me through the discussion, burst smile and all. I decided to practice, right then an there, “respecting everyone”, even Jack thought I may be a bit “bat shit crazy.

Next was the potential dangerous subject-  my marriage. A little preface here… I am generally a private person and prefer not talking to near strangers about my 6 year fatal roller coaster ride with my late husband. I also maintain an unwanted stiffness and guard to me on a first date. Earlier, Jack said he could tell and called me out on it. 20 minutes later, I felt very comfortable with him (my guides were giving me a good vibe) and, as I was feeling enlightened, I opened up more than I usually would have. I went fairly deep…. We talked about our respective marriage “tragedies” and I spoke about my experience with many men in the terms of the  stigma of a being a young widow to a man twice her age. He likely knew that divorce with a “bat shit crazy ex” and a child had its own stigma for a woman and I made sure to let him know that I knew this already.

So, after two cups of large tea (the reason I am still up at 2 am!) and his 2 cups of coffee, he wanted to go to a Diner.  I was shocked that we survived this long… I must be very pretty   On the way to the Diner, he noticed my limp. Oh Shit… Bombshell #2 of the night. In fairness to me, I really only have 2! So, I tell him I have Cerebral Palsy (CP) and he says he has a friend with MS… Phew… This may not be a big deal after all. I point out that unlike MS, CP is not progressive.. That was the end of that conversation. He tried to mitigate his embarrassment about eliciting two bombshells on the first date, by joking about what his friends will say about his “feet in his mouth.” I was not bothered and told him I thought it was better to get the “biggies” out in the first date… Right?!

Maybe not…going to the Diner, I felt a slight shift. It was about 11:00 pm and I knew he had to get up for church in the early morning and still had a 45 minute drive home.  He was visibly tired.  Although I offered to just go back to the coffee shop so he could go home, he wanted to go to the Diner. So, the shift could have been because he was tired, but I was not, and still am not, convinced.  I knew we should have ended it on the caffeine high at the coffee shop!  Conversation at the Diner got pretty deep again; it naturally went that way. I mentioned something about my upcoming high school reunion in light of my past, dealing with cancer in the midst of law school and resulting widow story, and I didn’t think I want to tell “everyone” something so personal and have a great desire not to be defined by my tragic past; it was what is was and it’s over! I mentioned my strength in dealing with my CP and the tragedy in an effort to highlight that people have “baggage” and as you cannot change it, I was open to other people with “baggage;” after all, it is not the past that matters but how you handle the present and future that matters now. Then, somehow we were comparing “baggage” and Jack opined that his “bat shit crazy ex-wife, divorce, current drama, and daughter  could not compare my Widow “ness”, preceding tragic time and CP. Was that a backhanded complaint?! Because if it was, I jumped on it as if slightly insulted and reiterated it’s not the baggage that matters, but whether you let that baggage impede a new relationship or mishandle it in another way.

At 11:30 pm, we drove back to the coffee shop so I could get in my car and go home. He was a gentleman and exited the car to give me a hug. I thanked him for coffee and chili (my snack at the Diner) and told him to get home safe. I also said have a good trip to a Texas ( Jack was heading to his homeland for work on Tuesday with daughter for a week). I texted him when I got home and again thanked him, told him he was a Southern gentleman, which I liked, got a good vibe from him, if we didn’t talk before Texas, have a wonderful trip and maybe I’d be lucky enough to hear about it when he returned. As of 2:13 am, there was no response, but he does have to be up at 8:15 am….hmmmm? I don’t really have to tell you want this optimistic hopeless romantic is deluding herself into believing, do I?!

The end of the date just didn’t live up to the chemistry at the coffee shop. There was playful contact at the coffee shop and positive body language. It was a good sign that Jack wanted to pursue the date further to a second cup of coffee and a Diner. He paid for everything without batting an eye. We hadd a good laugh at the coffee shop about “Hot Messes.” He was surprised I knew the term as he said it is a Southern Phrase…. Last time he underestimates Lucy!! But, I can’t take credit for the phrase being part of my early vernacular. It was my friend Ebony, a comedian in her own right, who schooled me on the phrase and her examples hilariously impressed on me that “A Hot Mess” is at least equal if not worse than “bat shit crazy.” So, when Jack told me that he was “A Hot Mess,” I politely disagreed, but secretly was wondering what was underneath the “best behavior first date” attire. It couldn’t be as bad as a Ebony described?!…. Oy vey!  Another entitlement lesson that we did not touch on today: unless you are perfect, don’t judge others. Ok, but “a bat shit crazy ex-wife with a good amount of drama” and an admitted “Hot Mess” Jack, is a lot to refrain judgment on… but in my heightened stage of entitlement and possible over sharing, which left me vulnerable and naked, I was determined not judge.

I am not sure if the Diner “shift” was significant. Dating makes me an obsessed, over analytical, insecure crazy woman sometimes… Ok ok, ALL THE TIME. Are you happy now?! Enlightenment lesson 500… “Be completely honest with yourself.” Yes, dating can also make a woman “bat shit crazy.” That is usually temporary. One thing I know is that I was real tonight. Sincere. Genuine. Lucy. Yes, I’m sure some of you readers have criticisms on what I did wrong during the date (I have one of you in mind at the very least!) The enlightenment group maybe a 1/4 “bat shit crazy” but every time I walk out of the group, the 3/4 remainder teaches me to care a bit and bit less of what others think of what I do, if I do it from a place of truth and sincerity. With a renewed sense of enlightenment from this afternoon, I went on the date with courage, vulnerability, spirituality, intuition and a little “bat shit crazy” and told my story.

In these 8 years, I have learned that being a widow and having CP, make me an automatic Hot Mess for some men. Many of those same men are Hot Messes themselves.  Everyone was a Hot Mess at some point in their lives and will be again. The problem is when people judge you people based on the mess. The question is not why you were/are a Hot Mess, rather, it is what are you going to do about it. Are you going to keep the mess fueled or are you going to recognize your Hot Mess “ness” and put it in the past and move forward? If the answer is the latter, I will give Jack a fair shot. In my case, I have been and will be again a Hot Mess for many reasons, but my Widow status and CP have never been and will never be two of them. Any man or person who thinks I am a Hot Mess because of those two uncontrollable life experiences, is a chronic Hot Mess, as shallow and baseless judgments are not temporary states of mind and will erode a relationship before it starts.(For all of you readers, substitute Widow and CP for you own uncontrollable life experiences).  These  persons should be avoided at all costs. It’s still a day or two too early to figure out if Jack is wise enough to make the same decision that I have, but I have a left-brained no fail equation for correct answer to the question for all my readers….It’s really quite simple:

1) The Hot Mess is willing to put the mess in the past and make a fresh start = YES

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2) The Hot Mess is fueling the present with more mess =NO

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3) The chronic Hot Mess has shallow judgment issues = HELL NO.

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Got it? Good. Now I can go to bed!

Be happy,
Lucy

Europe: A disabled defense attorneys dream destination. True or false?

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No, this is not a test. If this were a real test, you all passed this “non-test” just for reading my new blog. Are you wondering what the answer is?? Well, read on.

I have been to Europe a handful times two in less than 20 years. Specially, Italy, Austria, England, Ireland, France, Hungry, Spain, Slovakia, and recently Greece. I can’t wait to plan my next trip! A return to Italy, Ireland and France and new trips to Holland, Czech Republic and Turkey will keep me busy for 10 years or so.  So, you may think it’s logical that, after nearly 8 years of friendship, hearing about my wonderful European travels and a trip to a Europe with me, my friend Robert is convinced that Europe is my dream destination and I’d bid au revoir to America forever in a New York minute, if I won the lottery (or married an extremely rich man). You think you know a person after 8 years of friendship?! But alas, probably from my sarcasm, you have gather that he FAILED the “non-test.” Not that I am keeping score!

For anyone who knows me I have left hemiplegia. Just writing that sounds much scary than it is (The phrase IS just handy enough to shut up overly noisy, rude and inappropriate people….you know the kind!). Basically, it’s a form of Cerebral Palsy. Of course, it is really just a technical annoyance for me as my mind thinks I am superwoman much of the time. Try telling a stubborn independent 4 year old with the use of one hand that she can’t tie her own shoes… Lord did I try!!! Well, that spirit has followed me for 37.5 years and I am usually up for any challenge! Which brings be back to Europe- It is always somewhat of a challenge.  Nowhere that I have been in Europe is truly “handicapped accessible.” Yes, they have some elevators, but oh my goodness, Otis did not make it to Europe! Rather, European elevators are sometimes so scary that I’d thought about renting a parachute to get down to my floor.  The elevator in the building I was working at in Vienna was so “dated” and scary that I choose to risk life to enter and exit my 3rd floor office via a dizzying spiral staircase (See picture below). Wouldn’t you?!

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See, Europeans don’t need good elevators because they walk up and down every flight of stairs in their path. And trust me, there are a lot!  (No wonder why European woman have the best butts and legs!). We have all gone up and down a flight of stairs at least a few times in our lives, right? Well, if you haven’t been to Europe, you may have no perception of the type of stairs I speak of. And many times, you don’t just “walk” up and down stairs-  you “climb”up and down stairs.” I have found three general “stair sets” in Europe:

1) There are steep and narrow steps, kind of like those really dangerous basement steps in your grandmother’s 1920 old farm house. You know the ones that you walk down millimeter by millimeter.

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2) Spiral steps. It’s like a multilevel parking garage of steps where you get so dizzy going round and round…. Only your feet are nowhere as grounded and heavy as a car, which could lead to falling flat on your face.

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3). Steps with long landings (“landing steps”). They are usually on the way up a mountain, Duomo, Leaning Tower (of Pisa) or other large churches. So the 100 steps that you are walking up is akin to 200 because each landing (approx. 25 feet) equals another step.  After the first 20 steps, you need to keep chanting “I know you can, I know you can!”

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Whatever stair set you are faced with, you watch with precision each move your feet make as laziness or lack of observation could land you on your face, on your back or dead, as you’ve fallen of a mountain. Or, in another extreme case, trampled by a donkey.

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In nearly 20 years of going to Europe, I have seen maybe a handful of handicapped people and I question if they were European. Surely, the ratio of handicapped American babies to handicapped European babies born cannot be so disproportionate that there is no need for handicap accessibility in Europe?! I have often thought that Europeans keep handicap family members hidden… While that assumption may be unfair and untrue, Europe does not make it easy for the handicap to experience many of the grand sights that European countries have to offer.   During my recent trip to Greece, I walked up and down steep and slippery marble (on a dry day!) and cobblestone to get to the Acropolis in Athens. While there was a rumor that there was a handicapped entrance, it was nowhere to be seen and not well advertised. In Mykonos, I walked through a narrow labyrinth of cobblestone uneven small streets with no benches, railings and barely enough room for a wheelchair. Yes, there were cute shops and amazing sea views with a gorgeous sunset, but that’s not my point! In Santorini, I took a full day boat tour, docking in 3 ports where the only way up the mountain was via walking steep landing steps while avoiding running into donkeys or riding a donkey. I walked over a mile up and down a rocky Volcano, walked 150 “landing steps” up and 150 “landing steps” down a mountain and if that were not enough, up 280 steep “landing” steps to the top of Oia (beautiful sunset worthy!). Was it all worth it?! HELL YES. Would I do it again? HELL YES. Would I ever let my left hemiplegia stop me? HELL NO. However, for a right-side dominated, balance challenged, one usable armed, left foot limper like Lucy, I am thankful I did not fall off a mountain or fall and break my leg. In this modern technological age of “easily being able to do anything,” is it so hard to make it possible for truly physically disabled people to experience the same beauties that I did, even if it took a bit of ingenuity and work?!

Let’s talk about getting from island to island via ferry.  Beautiful and peaceful once you got on the ferry.   However, avoiding being trampled getting onto the ferry by massive ferry goers (think: getting a TV on Black Friday at Walmart), not falling on my ass getting onto a mobbed escalator while balancing a 45 lb suitcase , and carrying my 45 lb suitcase up 8 stairs to the top deck ( I did have some manly help on this… Thanks Steve W and Mac!), was very challenging for the balance challenged, one armed (with tennis elbow!) Lucy. Oh and we took 4 ferries in case anyone was wondering.

I can’t let this story end without talking about the showers in the Greek hotels (Spain was a bit better but not by much!)   If they are a microcosm of the showers in households in Greece, I’d be very unclean!! All showers had wands. I prefer heads that are attached to the wall myself, but if I were to have a shower with a wand, I would have somewhere to mount it!! Yes, you know where it am headed here. The showers had wands that you had to hold in one hand and wash/shampoo with the other. That begs the million dollar question of how you take a shower if you only use one hand?! The simple answer- the bathroom turned into a lake, mostly bypassing my hair and body. Oh it was fun!!

The first time to a new country is sometimes challenging and frustrating. And there are things I cannot change that maybe I would. But I deal with the country the best I can and make mental notes so when I go back I may choose to do things a bit differently, having the knowledge of how things will be (i.e. take a plane from Athens to Santorini!). However, notwithstanding the woeful tale I’ve told, I LOVE Europe…. I love the little cafés, I love the history, I love the architecture, I love the more laid back way of life, I love the romance and so much more. I will go back again and again and will deal with the lack of handicap sophistication. Do I like it? NO.  Do I think Europe should get their act together? YES!  But, I will not complain (much). Going to Europe and experiencing time and time again the frustrations of countries that don’t acknowledge the frustrations and limitations of physically disabled people, makes me appreciate America and how sophisticated and enabling we are (still much work to do, but that’s another blog!). I do LOVE America too… Just in different ways. I certainly love my shower as well as the OTIS elevator that takes me to work. When I have to walk up and down stairs, I can generally expect a straight stair case with a railing that I can “walk” up and down. What a luxury!!! So, as a disabled person, I greatly appreciate America.

Also, as a professional, I greatly appreciate America. I am an insurance defense attorney. I work for an insurance company representing insured’s (turned clients) that have been sued. Approximately, 75% of my cases involve trip and falls on sidewalks, fall downs on stairs or slip and falls due to snow and ice. And in 50% of those case, I scratch my head and think “YOU IDIOT!… You were not paying attention to where or how you were walking.” The amount of persons that fall over the tiniest of cracks in a sidewalk, or down non-dangerous stairs while wearing 2-3 inch heals, or slip in a parking lot on snow after purposely walking through it, is astonishing. And they get paid 9 times out of 10!  America allows this (personal opinion purposely omitted!).  What do I think?   The cobblestone streets, steep staircases, windy staircases, “landing steps” and  in Europe are real dangers. One must observe where they walk. If one falls, 8 times out of 10, it was their fault for not paying attention to the open and obvious conditions. They get up and dust off because, for reasons not part of this blog, Europe is not as litigious as America. So, there are no $ signs in their eyes. Therefore, I am grateful I live in America, because “but for” the American justice system’s leniency and tolerance of litigious folks who don’t watch where/how they walk, I probably would not have a job. Also, when I get back to America to defend my cases, I am fully cognizant of the care it took me to walk the cobblestone streets and stairs and use that as a catalyst to make the person that expects a payout, albeit his own negligence, more uncomfortable and aware that I take defending my clients very seriously.

So, Robert, you failed my test. America IS this disabled defense attorney’s dream destination for the reasons above and more. The lessons learned, and ones to take away from this blog, are to enjoy life to the fullest and stop complaining. Experience different things and places to fully appreciate what you have. Turn frustrations and challenges into blessings.  I made it to the top of a volcano for gosh sake!!

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But I know, and you must remember, that a dream destination is not defined as a wonderful holiday location without complaints, but is defined as a destination where family and friends are and where love outweighs all else.

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Be happy,

Lucy

BACKWARDS

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Haven’t you ever eaten dessert first?! I’ll admit that sometimes I have and there is usually inexplicable feelings that come with eating dessert first. It’s similar to the grandiose feeling of “I did something that I wasn’t supposed to do and damn proud of it, simultaneously with a succulent feeling like “God, this is GOOD.” You’re feeling so good that you almost forgot about dinner. Until it arrives….

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about my 20s and 30s and have found myself stuck, realizing that I’ve eaten dessert first so many times that I feel like I’ve missed out on many dinners, and the ones I’ve have tried were not as satisfying as they should have been if I had enjoyed them before the dessert. As I am trying to catch up on late dinners, while enviously eying the desserts that I once enjoyed and want again, I realize I am a bit stuck. Those grandiose and succulent feelings lose their appeal after you’ve had one too many deserts without dinner and I wonder how I let that happen.

So, what is wrong with going backwards in life to find forward? That is basically how my last 15 years have gone. I was thrown into a glorious pool of desserts in my 20s only to have them taken from me close to 30. And for the past 8 years, I realized that while I was eating glorious desserts, the dinner choices have changed so much that I neither recognize them nor really like the choices. But I have been trudging through the menu, looking for dinners I really like in an effort to “move forward” to get “back” to the great desserts. Although I have found dinners I could tolerate and made the best of, they don’t come close to desserts I’ve had. I very much want to get to those desserts, and I can see those desserts being eaten, so why can’t I get there?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had an AHA moment (cue Oprah). Going backwards to move forward wasn’t bad because I experienced an incredible amount. I’ve always held that a short life should be packed with as much fun, learning, growth and different experiences as possible. I’ve lived up to that! But I realize that in my quest to move forward, giving up moving backwards was not the answer. If I kept moving backwards, I would have made it to forward when the time was right a/k/a the best dinner and dessert ever! But in my quest to move forward, as I thought I was “righting my past dessert first habit”, I actually have found myself lost on a path that, although “forward,” is perpendicular to the backwards route and the desserts I see ahead are the ones I know I don’t like!

So, what will I do. Go backwards again. Find my way through the dinners to the succulent, grandiose feelings and taste of those desserts. But on the way, I will keep my perspective and realize the backwards is the new way to forward. For those of you that know what I did a few weeks ago, THAT WAS MY BACKWARDS. I know it got a few eye raises, but that’s ok. For those of you that saw me at Karaoke last night, THAT WAS MY BACKWARDS. I know I sounded very much less than perfect ,but that’s ok. For those of you that know how incredibly Black and White I am, THAT IS MY BACKWARDS. I know you fruitlessly try to convince me to see grey, but that’s ok. I love you anyway!

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about- I know my analogies can be crazy- don’t try to figure me out from one blog. Just do me one small favor… If you are stuck in life for whatever reason, and everyone is telling you to “move forward”, try going backwards instead. I know it is working for me (patience is a whole other blog!) and it is only when I was told to “move forward,” thought had to and was scared not to, that I got lost. Backwards is filled with bittersweet, wonderful, hurtful, and risky experiences and lessons, and if you keep your perspective, it will lead you to the best dessert ever!

Remember this famous poem’s sentiment….

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost never did say which way he traveled on that wood, so why not Backwards!

Be happy,
Lucy

AROUND THE CORNER

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It is Saturday afternoon. I could not wait to write this blog…in fact, I almost plowed down slower drivers on this beautiful, ordinarily, "Sunday in the park kind of driving" day… Yes I know, I'M IMPATIENT… no surprise there! (the concept actually ties into the blog). More importantly, when the mood strikes, IT STRIKES…with passion too!

This morning, yes, at 9 a.m. on a sacred Saturday morning, I was seated in a small crowded conference room for a 3. 5 hour LONG CLE (legal education) program on Premises Liability…..ZZZZZZZ. So, I, like 95% of the attorneys in the room, brought something-my iPad- to keep my from snoring! Since I am a tiny bit of a Facebook junkie (very tiny), I played on Facebook, only to find a BRILLIANT blog on Huffington Post that not only resonated with me greatly, for reasons that stem far beyond the subject of the blog, but it inspired me to write my own blog about impatience, synchronicity and being the right person, in the right place, at the right the time. Actual synchronicity at play! The blog, entitled A Letter From the Love You Haven't Met Yet, by Emily Bracken, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emily-bracken/a-letter-from-the-love-you-havent-met-yet_b_5195511.html is, again, a BRILLIANT (“love”) blog, to help explain the waiting, sometimes agonizing, behind meeting the “RIGHT” relationship partner. Honestly, the blog stung a bit to read as “sometimes agonizing” to impatient Lucy is more appropriately ” extremely often agonizing” because my relationship life in the last few years has been either DOA (Dead on Arrival) or WFWMRHO (With Fatally Wrong Man, Recognized Through Hindsight Only). As an aside, neither of these unfortunate scenarios stops this optimistic and happy, “sometimes Pollyanna” , Lucy from enjoying life (see “Happy”…:http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM). But the blog’s message expands far beyond the “love” arena and applies to all of life. Although this is a hard lesson for an impatient person like me, Lucy, it is easier to understand after really paying attending to how synchronicity has played out in my life in the last year. I used to only focus on my impatience as a constant in coping with things that don’t happen as fast as I’d like. It was the book “Unbinding The Heart,” http://unbindingtheheart.com, by Agapi Stassinopolous that had me start to pay attention to how things are “coincidently” timed to all fall into place. Agapi wrote the book based on her Greek upbringing with her sister Arianna Huffington and her Greek mother. She writes about her Greek mother teaching them about synchronicity when their lives were not always playing out like they had planned or even wanted. Her, mother, a perceived strong and wonderful mother (akin to mine) was 100% right…. There are no coincidences ( I am adamant about that) and things happen when they are supposed to happen. It’s amazing when I really started to look at the happenings in my life, not through the lens of impatience, but through the lens of synchronicity, that isolated incidents, “things that did not make sense” and/or seemingly impossible amounts of waiting, serendipitously, albeit in hindsight, appeared intertwined, logical, and occurring at the perfect time. This realization certainly does not take impatience away- I am stuck with that forever- but it acts as the lemon after a shot of cheap tequila.

I love how the “love” blog is heartwrenchingly and heartwarmingly honest simultaneously. The part the most resonated with me, hence the name of my blog, is that your optimal XYZ (insert your subjective wish here) could be down the street,on Facebook, in the local coffee shop, or as close as around the corner. This applies to anything in life- a partner, a job, an opportunity at greatness, having a child, publishing a book, etc. Bracken is right in her blog; it’s not fair that you have to wait so long and endure mistakes, heartbreaks, tears, negative emotions (I do note that you also learn tremendous amounts and grow from these things). However, the brilliance of the blog is her shifting the focus to why waiting is worth it. If you are still waiting on a partner, job, a child, etc., you are not ready a/k/a “your best self” and/or the gift is not ready for you. I’ll go further to add that you will not fully appreciate the gift in your life until you are, or he/she/it is ready for you. This brings me to a story….

Last night, I was reading some old emails, 2 to 3 years old, that I exchanged with Ralph (name changed). Lord, how my life has changed, well professional anyway… I was lamenting about how being a litigator was not my “cup of tea” and I did not see myself as a attorney for more than 5 more years. Actually, the feelings outside of the emails were much stronger. For various reasons, I was fed up and almost at my legal breaking point. It wasn’t until my impatience had gotten the best of me and I was ready to take the GMATs (glad I didn’t) that I was told essentially that I was a bad lawyer and found myself as the loser of a deal made for because of greediness. Being unexpectedly fired put a crimp in my leaving the law plans. I had no time to think about the isolated bad luck I just had. Unhappiness took last priority as my many bills were first, second, third, etc. so, I hustled and got a job.

I took my first offer; the law the firm practiced was completely different than the last 6 years of law that I practiced, but hey, I needed a paycheck. But before I officially started the job, I went on one last interview in Jersey City. I HATED JERSEY CITY. I had already accepted the offer, but was working out salary and was not confident in my negotiating skills (yes, I’m a lawyer). Therefore, I really thought nothing of the interview as I was just curious, hated the city and was sure I had the other job. The first week of my new job was good….learning new skills and earning money every hour. But it was not litigation, and I was not thrilled I would be in the office most of the time, unlike litigation. Then, it happened; a phone call for which I had to sneak to the bathroom. It was the HR manager from the Jersey City company; a few days later, I got the official offer letter with the exact salary I wanted, for which I did not ask. WHAT?! Was this really happening? I only told all of my friends years earlier that I wanted to work “in house” with a certain salary. I never thought it was really going to happen! But after my “bad luck isolated incident” three weeks earlier and my serious plans to get out of the legal field, now this?! Another isolated incident that may make me miserable again, I thought. And you know what they say about too good to be true…. Well, a few weeks after I started, I left work at a decent hour, did not stress over insane billable hours, got along with my coworkers, got praised by my boss and adjusters, was forced to deal with the dilemma that I had to use 10 vacation days by the end of the year, which led me to book a family trip to Antigua, and was told I could work from home when needed . OMG!!! IS THIS REAL?. I thought. YES!!! After 8 years of agonizing and impatience and experiencing all those, and more, of the same sort of things in the “love” blog that aren’t pleasant, I realized that every prior job, however tedious, boring or insane, gave my the legal experience I needed for this position. Every bad boss and craziness made me appreciate this liberal company and not take it for granted or abuse it. The crazy billable hours of the past made me hustle and thus, able to handle a 75 to 85 case load. I could go on, but you get the point. As an aside, the most ironic reason I am a successful “in house” defense attorney….ready for this….. MY IMPATIENCE. Handling 75 to 85 cases as a person who does not like to wait for anything makes it surprisingly easier to keep on top of cases and make sure things get done. AH HAHA MOMENT!…. Nothing professional, prior to today, was an isolated incident and all the negative things were preparing me for the blessing in disguise that proved not to be too good to be true. Oh, and my biggest vice became a huge asset! Go figure. (Over a year later, I am still happily swimming in the litigation pool and realize that it is not all sharks! ). To think, that this position was around the corner from me for years, both when the company was in Paramus ( as I live in Bergen County) and Jersey City (as my former job was in Newark). It only took me 8 years to get around the corner. (I have not been as lucky in the “love” arena, but, I am confident synchronicity will work its magic again, maybe just as close). As for working in Jersey City, there has to be some downside to a great job, right? It’s not all that bad, but I still weigh the pendulum towards not liking Jersey City. Yet, as I have learned and must remember, synchronicity is always on my side and there is a reason for working in Jersey City. Instead of complaining about traffic, I’ll embrace it and change my focus to the gifts that may be right around the corner….

Right Time, Right Place, Right Person… Three words that sum up the “love” blog and my blog. Simple as that, right? Well, not really. There will always be the demons… Each to his own. For me, it is impatience and “ants in my pants”. RRR and synchronicity are real and I hope my long-winded blog has shed some light on your life and helps you to see your journey through the lens of RRR and synchronicity rather than impatience. Remember, next time you take a shot of tequila, chase it with a lemon. I promise, it will leave a better taste in your mouth!

Be happy,

Lucy

I REFUSE….

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When I was young, I was told that I was not allowed to refuse anything. That is not how a young girl/woman should act. It’s closed minded, selfish, stubborn and unladylike (I’m sure there are other appropriate adjectives). I was brought up to be open minded, liberal (oh lord yes), commpassionate, able to share, altruistic and the like. My parents did a darn good job too, aside from some unforgiving idiosyncrasies that they passed to me. For example, and thanks dad!, I am quite stubborn. It gets in my way….. It’s like a massive rock that you struggle to move and when you finally do, you stop to take a breath and close your tired eyes only to open them to the rock blocking your path again. And I sign…. “Here we go again.”

Up until very recently, I never realized how my “massive” stubbornness has helped me. And it was only when I was face to face with a significant “other’s” ( it’s like facebook’s “it’s complicated” designation) own stubbornness (imagine the competition!) that I saw the gifts in my stubbornness. The gifts are in what I REFUSE……. There are 3 critical things I REFUSE in my life. And those refusals have made all the difference.

I REFUSE TO CLOSE MY HEART…. Sure we have all gotten hurt, sometimes badly. And it’s not pretty… I know! But the heart is where the love is. If you close you heart, sure, you may avoid some temporary hurt, but you have closed the door to giving and finding love. The temporary contentment with not feeling hurt is far outweighed by the long dagger-like ache of the consequences of shutting out love. I know I am being a bit abstract here, but here is an example I could write a 5000 word blog about (but I won’t)….. Take a person who has had a heartbreak in the past, and therefore, he/she closes his/her heart. Sure, s/he may sigh a breath of relief when the “crazy chic/dude” s/he dated for 2 months left without getting into his/her heart, but fast forward 10 years later…. Mr/Ms. Closed heart is sitting on the coach alone, watching reruns of Seinfeld, at 1 am, rather than cuddling with the love of his/her life and mother/father of his/her children. It is far better to risk temporary hurt than to close off love, which pain will be everlasting.

I REFUSE TO BE A “SHOULD’VE QUEEN”…. let me explain…. I’m sure you have been in a situation where you said in hindsight “I should have done this or that…” Come on, we all have, including me!!! And sometimes it is inevitable and, at the predecessor time before the “should have” , you were blinded by the trees and missed the forest. We are human and that is allowed! But, I am talking about the situations where you don’t do something you “should do” because you are too proud, too arrogant, too fearful, too manly, too stubborn, too unforgiving, too afraid to admit your wrong, too afraid to take a risk, too lazy, etc. It’s like you get in your own way. “Should’ve” leads to the logical following “what if” . Do you want to go through your life asking “what if I did what I should have done???” Avoiding 95% of “should’ves” is really not hard, but it takes a real insight into the situation, an insight into who you are and/or courage to follow you gut to do what you should do before it becomes a “should’ve.” And don’t forgot, to lack the courage to refuse to keep your heart open (see the first I REFUSE), you will be cursing yourself with “should’ves” all your life and the “what ifs” will drive you bonkers and cause the very (and magnified) hurt you were trying to avoid.

I REFUSE TO ALLOW THE PEOPLE I LOVE TO NOT KNOW HOW I FEEL….. Lucy is an emotional person….duh! As if you all did not know! I read an article recently about silence in the context of relationships. It was an article about divorce, but the message was that silence can corrode a relationship. Duh! …Communication Is the key. I have written about this before and will not belabor the point I am so passionate about, but why not tell the people in your life that you love them, that you cherish them, that you are grateful for them, that you would be lost without them, that you appreciate them? Kind words go along way both for the givers as well as the receivers. Don’t take any day for granted either. If you want to tell them, do it today! Tomorrow is not promised. As I sit here writing this, 2 days before GMH’s bday, I wish I had a “tomorrow” to tell him what a blessing he was in my life. I got 6 years of tomorrows with him, but they ran out. They will with your loved ones too,either by death or by stupidity…. Yes stupidity….. Lucy tells it how it really is!… If you are stupid enough not to tell the ones you love how you feel, they have two feet and can easily walk out of you life and because you did not follow I REFUSE 1, 2, or 3, YOU are the only one to blame for the consequences. Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell someone how you feel. If you are “too embarrassed”, reread this blog until you get it!!!!!

So, yes, my stubbornness is a gift and there are many more things that I REFUSE, but these are the more important ones on my life. I REFUSE is a blessing! so, what do a YOU REFUSE???

Be happy…
Lucy

Special

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I am not really into New Year’s Resolutions because I feel as they are temporary goals and by February 1st, they will be no more. I think Life Resolutions are a better way to integrate the things that you have learned over the past year into your life. Life Resolutions change you on the inside as trite as that may sound. I am not much in a eloquent or fastidious mood. On this New Year’s Eve, I am admittedly melancholy as the holidays are over and two recent contrary admissions have rocked my comfort with a relationship off its already shaky rocker (which I hope to stabilize). And ironically, it’s that relationship that lead to a blessing that I never saw coming via an introduction to a very sweet lady.

As an aside that will help with my story, I greatly admire the young and the elderly. It’s their innocence and ability to give and receive happiness. Life is simple….smile a lot, be happy to see the people around you and enjoy the moments. The young and elderly live as if everything is a gift to be shared. Unfortunately, at around 10-12 years old, children start losing their innocence due to the walls, ignorance, fears and insecurities they see adults using in every day life. And children have no one to mirror but the adults in their lives. On the other hand, the elderly realize how short their lives are and probably have experienced the consequences of the walls, fear, insecurities and ignorance. In their last years, they can’t be bothered with BS and want to share the love that the walls, fear, insecurities and ignorance took away for too long. They know in their souls that love is greater than all else and they will value their short time left by giving love to others.

Enter Rose* (named changed), this 98 year woman who I knew was an amazing person 10 minutes after I met her. It was an early summer bbq and I was the new girl. Who was I and what did I have to do with her family? Those would be my first two questions. I’d probably start making premature judgments too. It’s a bad habit. But no, not her. She had the biggest smile I’d ever seen when she meet me and she sat with me, the stranger, for most of the bbq and we talked like friends of a few months rather than 30 minutes. I can’t tell you how special she made me feel when my nerves where shaky and the person I wanted to cling to was off smoking (butterfly-filled stomach churning nervousness was the obvious choice over the foul smell of smoke!) I had such a good time because of Rose and slowly I became more comfortable with the once strangers around me. She made me fee like part of the gang that day and I made faster friends.

I’ve seen her a handful of times since that bbq at his family events and every time, her face lights up with a big smile at the sight of me and she gives me a huge hug. I really am not that important of a person, but I feel like I am around her. I certainly never feel ordinary! She talks to me as if I were a long time good friend and has never conditioned that on anything. And I dare to say that if she learned I was liberal, liked “hoity-toity” things (ask her grandson), liked the cold, and thought Cabbage Patch “Dolls” are totally aprpropriate for little boys (inside joke), she would smile at me, hug me and talk to me just the same. Making a person feel special requires courage and a love in one’s heart that exists in spite of walls, fear, insecurities, and ignorance in the world. Rose obviously gets that. She is 98 and we have to keep the conversation simple, but that is the beauty of it. We are special to each other, and petty things like politics and superficial likes and dislikes are irrelevant. It’s the walls, the fear, ignorance and insecurities that impede being special to someone. Once adults know things about you that may be different than them, that is usually when walls go up, ignorance breads fear and insecurities close one’s heart. The beauty of kids and the elderly is that they don’t know what these things are or know that they are nothing in the face of love.

I hope I see Rose again and many more times. I’ve grown to love her, but that was not hard! The love and compassion in her heart shows and makes people feel special. I’m told that she was teacher into her 80’s and although I did not know her then, I dare to say her kids loved her as much as they did GMH. You cannot put a price on making someone feel special!

Rose got my a very nice Christmas present. Although she did not remember my name, she knew that I was her grandson’s “friend.” It was of no monument to me that she didn’t remember my name; she remembered that I was special and that I must be special to her grandson. That was all that mattered! It wasn’t until a few days ago that I had an epiphany… THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS! I am guilty as we are all. I let walls, fear, insecurities and ignorance shine over love sometimes. And it is not a flattering color on me! I think people in my life know I love them… I say it all the time… but that’s not enough. Rose taught me that you must make people in your life feel special if you want to keep them an important part of your life. Never treat people who you love ordinary. THAT IS A LIFE RESOLUTION FOR ME. I am not limiting it to people in my life though. Can you imagine simple gestures that we could all do to make people feel special? Smile at a stranger, wave at a co-worker down the hall, look up from your iphone in the elevator and say hello, give a homeless man your socks on a cold winter’s day. Simple things really. And if you know someone next to you is “different” in some way, WHO CARES!, make them feel special anyway. You don’t even have to know someone’s name, just know by making someone feel special, you just might change their life. People innately want to feel special. By making them feel special, you are showing them that you understand what it means to feel special. That breads love, acceptance, security and bridges. Our differences make us unique and attract people to each other.THAT IS SPECIAL. Recognize differences as special and you’ll find it easy to never treat anyone you care for, or anyone who has not harmed you, as anything but special (at least in some way).

In the last 8 months I’ve learned the most important relationships only thrive if the participants are made to feel special. From now on, I will make the ones I love and strangers feel special. That will take courage but if I remember that love is stronger than walls, insecurities, fear or ignorance, it will be easy. And for those of you who think that the (mis)judgments that we have made about each other entitle you to prevent someone from feeling special, just know those judgments will not return love or make you feel special. Choose to make people feel special over making judgments and you will get the same back. Who is with me?!

Happy New Year!!

Be happy,
Lucy

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