5 Things You Could Learn From Nelson Mandela

Day 342

I just wanted to share this blog I read tonight from David Wygant.  (An internet dating coach I have been following… he actually makes a lot of sense. )  But as I was reading this, I realized this advice could apply to all aspects of your life.

Godspeed, Nelson Mandela.

Enjoy, Gentle Readers.


NelsonUnless you’ve been unconscious for the last few days, you’ll have seen the news that the former president of South Africa, and the man who lead his nation out of decades of apartheid, Nelson Mandela passed away aged 95. While I rarely talk about anything “political” on this blog, there are several lessons about life and love I learned over the years from this iconic figure, which are relevant to what we talk about here day in and day out.

Today I’d like to share them with you. Here are the 5 things I learned from Nelson Mandela along with some of his most inspiring quotes…

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but triumph over it. The brave man is not he who doesn’t feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

So many women tell me they’re afraid of men, or more accurately, they’re afraid of men hurting them emotionally. Maybe you’ve been let down by a guy in the past, or someone took your heart, made you fall in love with them, and then smashed your heart into a thousand pieces. Now you can’t stand the thought of going through that again, so you close off emotionally to protect yourself from men.

You’re so scared of the hurt or rejection you won’t even engage a man in proper conversation, much less approach and flirt with him. Nelson Mandela showed us you can’t make fear vanish. Fear is there to protect us. Fear is a defense mechanism we need as humans to survive.

The key to living a happy and fulfilled life is to realize you can’t live without fear, but you can learn to overcome and beat it. You can’t run away from fear, but you can cope with it enough it doesn’t negatively impact your life.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

In other words, don’t ever give up!

How many times in your life have you said, “I hate men? I’m never going to meet the one. Why do I always get hurt? I’m destined to be an old lonely woman with 100 cats.”

That attitude will get you nowhere in life. I’ve learned over the years that in life, most things are possible if you work hard enough, love yourself, and have a true belief in what you want to achieve. That kind of belief is what got humans flying, took us to the moon, and brought us all of today’s amazing digital gizmos we rely on. There’s nothing stopping YOU meeting a handsome, caring, and dynamic man, who worships the ground you walk on. The only thing holding you back is your mindset.

To achieve anything worthwhile in life you have to have a positive mindset, and total conviction in what you’re doing. I can’t think of many better examples of this than Nelson Mandela. He spent years in prison, but all through that time, he never stopped believing, and never gave up in his ultimate ambition of seeing his land free from apartheid.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

Do you still hate an ex-boyfriend for cheating on you? Do you still blame your ex for your fear of rejection?

How do you feel when you see him walking down the street? Does he make your blood boil? Are you getting angry now just hearing me talking about him?

Who are those negative feelings hurting? You or him?

The only person who suffers when you hold an emotional grudge like that is you. And you’ll never be able to move on into a new relationship, until you’ve embraced past relationships, forgiven former lovers, and learned the lessons they’ve taught you. It doesn’t matter whether your ex was the worst boyfriend in the world. You have to accept your part in the failing of the relationship and let go of any negative energy.

There’s no way you can move on until you do. After Mandela was freed from prison, he could have very easily started an uprising against those who stood against him. Instead, he forgave them and led his people to a relatively peaceful victory. Is there a better example in history of avoiding resentment?

“I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”

In my opinion, other women aren’t the greatest givers of relationship advice. You see, women have this habit of trying to second-guess men. If a guy hasn’t called you for a few days, your friends will all start giving opinions about what’s going on. They’ll tell you he’s seeing someone else, he’s already married, or he’s just a player.

The truth is there’s no way they can know why he hasn’t called. When it comes to relationships, you should get advice from a number of sources. Talk to some of your guy friends. That way you get a balanced view of what’s going on.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

I don’t care if you’re overweight, older, out of work, a single mother, homeless, or whatever else you feel is against you. If you remain dedicated and committed to what you’re trying to achieve in life, you’ll find a way to reach your goals. Somehow, you’ll find a way.

I honestly believe no matter who you are, and wherever you’re from, we all have the power to achieve great things; it’s all about having the right mindset and belief system.

Mandela could have lost hope after 27 years locked away. He could have given up on life, and stopped believing in his cause. He didn’t, and with his incredible mindset, he fulfilled his ambition.

Sure, he had dark beginnings, but Nelson Mandela was a man who knew showed us how to love, how to forgive, and how to open our hearts. If nothing else, he was an amazing communicator, who knew and understood how to connect with people. When you understand how to look into other people’s hearts and to connect with them on a deep meaningful level, there isn’t much in life you can’t achieve.

So farewell Mabida, and thank for the lessons and legacies you leave behind!

What Part of No Don’t You Understand?

Day 302

Some days I gotta just shake my head at men.

If you remember, Gentle Reader, I was “flirting” back in the summer with several different younger men… all of whom turned out to be jackasses.  A couple of them stood me up and one moved out of town before we could meet.  All were only interested in hooking up.   While I have no problem with casual sex, I’ve come to realize hook ups are not my style. 

I am too old for that shit.

So, can someone please explain to me WHY these guys are still TRYING to get me to see them?  “Sam” has been texting me every couple of weeks since July in an effort to re-establish contact.  Get a clue.  You stand me up and then send me unsolicited dick pics and think THAT is going to win me over?  (uh, no.)

Then there is “Neal.” The dude who wanted to bang me once before he moved 800 miles away, sent videos of himself jerking off, (ick…and yeah…I left that out of the blog before. It freaked me out totally) has now sent a friend request on Facebook.  It reminds me of that funny Sprint commercial with Malcolm McDowell and James Earl Jones…

I’m quite sure I had that same expression on my face when I saw that request from Neal.

Even the 27-year-old law student/ex Marine who stood me up on the day I actually “met” Troy has been trying to get back into my good graces. Again…dick pics and dirty texts aren’t going to work on me dude.

Grow. Up.

I admit I flirted outrageously with them. And, I’ll admit if I had met these guys face to face, there would have been some kind of physical contact. I realize now that I was a tad “frustrated” when I was toying with these boys.

I’m glad I came to my senses before I did something (or someone) I would have regretted immediately.

And while I know it’s okay for me (and Troy) to see others at this point in time, I simply don’t want to.  I have been through a series of bad dates with incompatible (although nice) men in the last few months. Enough to make me want to NOT experience another bad first date ever again.

I really am more comfortable seeing one man at a time and seeing where it goes.

You would think after several months/weeks of my ignoring these texts, they would give up. Granted, I should do the polite thing and let them know I’m seeing someone else, so I’m really not interested.

But each of them didn’t bother to show me any respect. Why set up a “date” and then not have the balls to show up…or the courtesy to cancel and/or apologize IMMEDIATELY? Why wait a couple of weeks…a couple of months…and STILL not apologize?

You blew it, dude.

Yes, it is you, not me.

What part of no don’t you understand?

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby.

Day 245

Yesterday was my 49th birthday.

And, I have to say, it was the best birthday I celebrated in years.

I have never made a big fuss about birthdays. A card, a couple of presents, a nice dinner, and of course, birthday cake and ice cream with my loved ones is usually all I want.

So, I had not made any major plans to celebrate #49. The only thing I had on my agenda was lunch with Peter. Over the course of our relationship, we had gotten into the habit of having birthday lunches, since that was the only way we could acknowledge them in person.

Of course, this year was very different from last year. Peter and I had not slept together since February. Our communication was sporadic…maybe a Facebook message exchange once a week. I could see over the summer that he was putting a lot of effort into rebuilding his relationship with HER. They adopted another dog; that he was vigorously supporting her attempts to self publish a book.

Then Troy exploded into my life a month ago, and I realized that my “in love” feelings for Peter had become “love;” love for a friend who helped me through a very dark time. I was ready to move on. While I will always love Peter, the romantic part of our relationship was over for good.

I was merely waiting until I could tell him in person.

When we met at our normal sandwich shop yesterday, we caught up on each other lives. (He passed his certification, by the way!) Finally, he asked me, “Are you seeing anyone, Lizzie? You haven’t been making jokes about bad dates on Facebook, so I assumed you were either taking a break or you were seeing someone you didn’t want to talk about yet.”

Dammit, he knows me too well.

I answered, “I have been seeing someone for the last couple of weeks. It’s too early to tell what’s going to happen, or where it’s going. But, we do like each other a lot, and I don’t think it’s going to fizzle out anytime soon.”

As I’m telling him about Troy, he smiles, and says, “Lizzie, if he is into you, he’s got to be a terrific guy. Be yourself, Angel. Be your wonderful, funny, beautiful self. He isn’t going to know what’s hit him if you do. I sure as hell didn’t.”

At this point, we are standing outside his office building. He gives me one last hug, and says “Happy birthday my Angel. And be happy. That’s all I want for you.”

“That’s all I want for you too, Peter. I’ll always be your friend, no matter what.”

At this point I start to walk away…and I don’t look back. This time, unlike 24 years ago, I don’t feel like I’m making a mistake. I finally have my closure with him…and I can move on without thinking “what if.”

As I walk back to my car, I look at my iPhone, and see I have a text from Troy.

Troy: Any birthday plans?
Me: Just had lunch with a friend, and that’s about it. Sad, I know. The friend was Peter.”
Troy: Oh my. And?
Me: He knows we’re done. He knows I’m seeing someone. And he is happy for me.”
Troy: That was kind of him to acknowledge your birthday.
Me: When all is said and done, he is a good guy. And a real friend. So nothing for you to be concerned about.
Troy: Oh, I am not concerned at all. I only want what is best for you, ever. Period.
Me: This is what’s best for me. Closure with him. And I want what is best for you. Always.
Troy: Thanks. 🙂
Me: You’re adorable. I’m glad I met you and took a chance on you.

No response.

I think, no biggie. He’s working…getting ready for his interview Thursday. He either call or text later.

When I get back to my desk, I tackle the pile of paperwork waiting for me. After a couple of hours, Troy texts me. He asks how my day has been…idle chit-chat. (I do think it’s sweet that he wants to talk, however.)

Then comes this exchange…

Troy: Are you about to leave work?
Me: In about 30 minutes.
Troy: Want to have dinner with me?
Me: How?
Troy: What are you…an Indian?
Me: You’re 200 miles away.
Troy: Currently 92. Oh, wait, my math is wrong. 112.
Me: OF COURSE! What a wonderful surprise!
Troy: It’s your birthday so you get to choose the restaurant.

I about fell off of my desk chair! I’m trying to think of places nearby…trying to figure out what he likes.

Finally he says,

Troy: You get 90 miles to decide. 🙂
Me: This is the best birthday present you could have given me, you know!

I dash home, freshen my makeup and hair, etc. While I was getting ready, I had decided to go with a favorite local Italian place; you can’t go wrong with Italian, after all.

Soon, Troy is knocking at the door.

He tells me he can’t stay overnight–his meeting/interview has been moved up a day, so he has to be there first thing in the morning. He has to leave right after dinner.

I tell him to follow me, and I lead him to Alberti’s.

Alberti’s is your stereotypical Italian restaurant: dark red stucco walls, red and white checked plastic table clothes, candles and flowers on the tables.

It’s packed. When we get inside, we are told we’ll have a short wait. While we wait at the bar, Troy starts to fill me in on the change of plans…and that he intends to stay through most of the weekend with his kids. But, that he wants to see me Sunday…will that work? I say of course!

We are shown to our table, and we settle in and start talking.

Troy looks around and says, “So do you see any one you know?”

I glance around, but don’t see anyone right off the bat. I tell him no, but I’m surprised my chums “Jamie” and “Catherine” aren’t here. They are usually down there once or twice a week.

We place our orders, and start talking. Mostly funny stories about our families, school; typical getting to know you stuff you talk about on a date.

Our food arrives, and we dig in (Eggplant Parmesan for me, an Applewood Smoked Pork Loin with Risotto for him.) I asked when did he decide to surprise me?

He said when the meeting got pushed up a day, he realized he will make it to my town in time for dinner. That’s when he sent me the text asking if I had any plans; he wanted to make sure I was available.

He said, “you really didn’t realize that was what I was doing?”

I said, “No! You took me completely by surprise.” He gives me that heart stopping smile and says “Yes!”

At that point, my friend Jamie walks past our table. She sees me and runs over saying “There’s the birthday girl!” She glances over and is surprised to see an unfamiliar man sitting there. I quickly introduce them and she says, “I just have to get a picture of us on your special day!” Troy volunteers to take the picture.

And I KNOW she’s going to put on Facebook and tag me.

She gets up, and says, “Oh…Catherine and a bunch of us are over there. Come by and say hi to everyone before you go.” I glance over there, and yeah, there is a TABLE of my high school buddies.

Only four or five of my most trusted friends know about Troy. I don’t want to curse things by going public too soon.

I say, “You know I’m gonna catch all kinds of shit from my friends, don’t you?”

Troy laughs and says, “I know. And I love it!” I see Jamie walk by again. She looks at me, mouths “HE. IS. CUTE!” then gives me an evil grin and a thumbs up as she walks behind our booth.

It’s getting late; Troy still has another four hours to drive. The bill paid, we head over to say hi/bye to my high school buddies.

Yup…they are grinning at me and Troy. Oh, I am going to get picked on UNMERCIFULLY!

Oh, well. If they didn’t like me, they would be messing with me, now would they?

As we walk out, I tell him, “Oh I’m in for it tonight.” Troy just laughs and says “what’s wrong with that?”

I say “Nothing.”

We walk back to our cars, say our goodbyes, and exchange a few toe curling kisses.

“See you Sunday afternoon, Lizzie.”

I say, “Drive carefully…and good luck tomorrow.”

Ten minutes later, I’m home.

And tonight, the condo actually FEELS like home. I marvel at how different birthday #49 was from #48.

Last year I was a grief stricken, “bat shit crazy hot mess”; caught in a dead relationship, having an affair with an engaged man, starting menopause, and about to be forced out my childhood home to settle estate expenses.

Three hundred and sixty five days later, I’m single, independent, and have a budding romance with a great guy. While I still have the occasional hot flash and mental lapse, I feel better than I have in years.

I’m surrounded by wonderful friends who care and support me in all my craziness.

I’m feeling like ME again.

And that really is the best gift I could have.

Happy birthday Lizzie! And there will be many, many more!