Dating at age 44

At age 44, I’ve dated. As mentioned before, I had a period where I was viciously dating. I really like the phrase viciously dating as I find it fairly represents how I approached the whole thing. I threw myself into it whole-heartedly, fiercely, with passion and energy.
My online profile was very honest. I mentioned my kids, showed full length photos, some photos without make-up and was very clear about what I was and was not looking for. No pint getting connected with someone who wanted more children. I had two and was satisfied with that.
I’m short and what is politely termed curvaceous. If someone was looking for tall, thin and blond then they should keep on looking. I was always upfront about my physicality for as much as it’s okay to say that we don’t judge a book by its cover, the last thing I wanted to see was a man’s face drop when my eyes met his. We are not all attracted to every body type. Harsh but true.

Yes, I tried speed dating, blind dates and the more organic ’fancy some random guy on the street’ type of dating. My preferred form was the online dating website – very easy to do whilst sitting in bed in my jammies with a bottle of Sav Blanc and a laptop. I liked the ones where it was more than a swipe left or right on your phone. I’m old school, I know. I wanted to read what they had to write. Good spelling and vocabulary were being judged, trust me. Later on I actually met a gentleman who had a side business helping men write their dating website profiles. It’s something I’ve often thought about myself. Keep that one up my sleeve for later.

Working full time an hour from the city and with two teenage daughters at home meant grabbing a drink after work in the CBD wasn’t a possibility. I was never one to hang out in clubs or go to a live gig so that wasn’t another closed avenue. Turns out the village match-maker doesn’t exist anymore so it looked like online dating was for me.

That said, it was fantastic for making connections and list comparisons but there was no addressing the issue of chemistry. Yes, it exists and yes it matters. Sometimes as I sat down at a table with a date, you could feel a little exciting frisson. Other times, it was more of a fizzle. I was always polite but I hated wasting their and more importantly, my time. Dates were always located halfway between theirs and mine. I didn’t want anyone hanging out in my hood if it didn’t work out. Coffee was the preferable first date that way it could short and sweet. This assumes they passed the flirty email, text banter and intelligent phone conversation stages.

I’m protective of my space. When chatting I’d nominate the suburb over as where I lived. My work was geographically remote so I was safe out there. Once I allow my privacy wall to be successfully traversed, that’s fine but I don’t let people in easily. The trials of the kind you read about it in fairytales weren’t that far-fetched, as far as I was concerned.

My best friend and I had a system. You have to have a system. She always knew where I was and with whom. I’d email her every single detail I knew about the guy, including his online profile. She would know where and when we were meeting. She would text me 30 minutes into the date and I would have to respond. This arrangement gave me a great opportunity to discuss our safety system with date. One occasion, my date and I were getting along so well I hadn’t noticed my phone receive multiple texts and calls. True to her word, she called the restaurant and demand to speak with me. I was in a lot of trouble for that one.

Usually they were impressed I had thought about it enough to have a system. I’d then ask them if anyone knew their whereabouts, just in case I was the axe-wielding homicidal maniac – not them. Damn! They hadn’t thought of that. The keystone of the system was me calling her on my way home to let her know how it all went. This served two purposes. She vicariously lived through my dates and it meant I didn’t sleep with anyone on the first date cause I’m a good girl (whatever that means..)

I met some fabulous people and some not so fabulous people just like in real life. I believe it’s really important to have a safety plan. Someone in the world should know where in the world you are although you may not want it to be your mum. I’ve been multiple people’s safety person and part of me likes the excitement of being in the know. So I do recommend online dating. It was lots of fun. You need plenty of energy and a good spreadsheet to keep track of everyone.


Last year I started having some sessions with a counsellor. It was during my blue period. I was experiencing a very strong attraction to dark, indigo blues. My paintings were being pulled in that direction. I seemed to be drawn to dark blue fabrics and items #myindigoobsession Indigo, cyan, navy, cobalt, azure, cerulean. Even the names of the blue pigments attracted me; their mellifluous sounds haunted my mind.

all artworks my originals

I found myself nesting, actually curling up on the couch pulling the soft blankets in on top of me. The television may have been turned on but I wasn’t. Books couldn’t hold my gaze; their words raindrops beading on my skin. I avoided phone calls and even refused to read text messages or emails. Bailing on prior commitments, I found the clutter of people draining. I attended my job in automatic mode, flicking the switch that would shut off 8 hours later when I crawled back into my nest. The bills still needed to be paid even if I didn’t feel up to it.

I don’t precisely recall who or what finally made me phone the counselling service but I did and a session was set for 5 weeks time. Five weeks could have seemed an aeon away but knowing it was booked in was a comforting thought. Day by day, the five weeks passed.

There’s an odd thing about counselling sessions. Two strangers sit opposite each other in a neutrally aesthetic room on chairs that at first seem comfortable, and one opens the flood gates on the issues at hand. I can see the counsellor sifting through the oncoming waters trying to pick up the pieces of a jigsaw without knowing what the final image looks like.

My counsellor (we’ll call her Kate cause that’s her name) seemed to know when to raise the levy so we could more intimately discuss a point. Knowing the right question to stop me in my tracks, she was adept at asking questions I didn’t know how to answer. One thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years of journaling is that I have a gestation period of roughly 24 hours. I need time to digest an idea and roll it over in my sub-conscious before I can formulate my response. Even when I was dating I found that I didn’t really know how I felt about someone until the next day. Counselling appeared to be similar. The next day, I could articulate what had taken place but straight afterwards, my head was in the clouds.

I managed to get some great clarity on a few issues during our sessions. I may have made the initial appointment after some depressed episodes but we never directly dealt with depression. By discussing a variety of issues, I suspect we dismantled the depression brick by brick bringing the sunshine back in.

Whilst many of my friends may not have ever known that I suffered from depression, which in and of itself can be a trigger word, I have discovered that by talking and writing about it fears of stigma have blown away. It is precisely people like me who are bubbly, talkative and energetic on the outside who others don’t suspect would suffer from anxiety and depressive episodes. We can. We do. I guess that’s the point. I don’t know how I got lost but I talked to a professional, I took it easy on myself and I climbed out of my nest ready to face the world. I still like my indigo blues and find it grounds my visual art but I’m no longer stuck in my indigo obsession.

What if I’d never had children?

What if I’d never had children?

I am by no means saying that I wish I’d never had kids OR that I,in some way, don’t like or love my children. I am just playing with the idea of a future where I hadn’t had children.

I do wonder if I’d have just knuckled down and down the career thing. I doubt it. I remember very clearly being in secondary school and I was around 15 years old. This was probably when you started to have career sessions with the school counsellor. I seem to recall doing those delightfully useless aptitude tests. I can’t even remember what my results of those were. School friends were talking about what university they wanted to attend, which they were going to do and what their working lives would be like. I sat alongside and nodded where appropriate but never felt any future of mine involved a pencil skirt, a phone and a desk.
All artwork my original 

 Being trapped in a city skyscraper for many hours a day only to thrust into the throng of all of those other thousands of city workers before, after and during the lunch hour rush had exactly zero appeal. Even today, I can’t see there’s any job that I would do that could convince me to partake in that daily ritual. That said, I’ve never been a part of Friday after work drinks, water cooler discussions, smoko or other office bonding rituals. One of my brief retail stints was in the city and I did the long train commute. I did enjoy that though for the plethora of books I was able to devour during that time.

So it appears the big business career was ticked off the list early on. Would I have studied more? I don’t think I was suited to Uni life back then straight out of school. I did try two different courses at two different institutions so I did at least try. I felt alienated. Yes, I know many others did too. I felt that they weren’t my kind of people. By that, I mean that I felt I couldn’t relate to them. There seemed to be no common ground to meet upon. I think in essence, that it wasn’t the right kind of course for me at that time. Now, I would look at those subjects not as something to get through but as something that inspires and stimulates. Yeah, I’d be one of those annoyingly enthusiastic mature age students. I wasn’t engaged then but possibly now I could be.

I’m skirting around the issue of whether or not I would have started down my creative path any earlier. I’ve been skimming back over my journals recently (only skimming as I don’t necessarily believe that journals are for being read as much as they are for being written). They go back 12 years or so. I mention writing and where it fits in my life. Further through the pages, I also write about the short painting courses that I was undertaking and the mutual painting group I started. I had small children at this point and there was quite an effort and energy involved getting the children looked after whilst I did these courses. If it was easier, would I have done more of it? I think not. My then husband wasn’t very supportive at all of any of my creative endeavours. I believe he was threatened by pretty much anything that didn’t revolve around him and the home.

Creativity by its very nature involves playing around with ideas and concepts. It’s incredibly messy and often very demanding of my time. He couldn’t have coped with it and I wasn’t pissed off enough to make the massive changes needed to get here. In one of her books, Mirka Mora talks about the selfishness necessary to follow the artistic life. I think she’s right. Art for me involves shutting out all other stimuli, including partner and children, to really concentrate on the thread that I’m exploring.  I struggle even having the radio or music on if I’m sitting down to write. Life experiences have no doubt enriched what I bring to my creative practice so these are not bitter words.

All that said, I’ve met some incredible people via my involvement with my children and I can’t imagine not having my current friends in my life.  Where would I be living? Who would I be living with? Would I travel more? Would I physically look any different? So many questions that can never have coherent answers.

I have two beautiful daughters who I am grateful to have in my life. They are so much fun and have taught me so much about myself and life. Each step in life brings us to where we currently are and I love where I am.

Viciously Dating

It is often said that you meet people for a reason. Well over my 7 years of vicious dating, I met many people. I tried dating in all its many glorious forms.

 First of all I signed up to RSVP which is a well advertised and from my understanding a well patronised online dating site. My best friend at the time ( and luckily for me and her she still is) signed me up over a bottle or more of Sav Blanc. I say it was due to her superior typing and word skills that she did the finger work. Either that or shall was experimenting vicariously through me. … So what to say of those times? I met some lovely people a few of which are still Facebook friends or more. I chatted with some interesting chaps who I’m sure were perfect for someone else – just not me. I interacted with some downright dodgy characters who didn’t even graduate to getting my phone number.

Tired from the effort I thought I needed something which skipped the list keeping stage and jumped straight to the ‘do we have chemistry?’ stage. Speed Dating! Convinced by same said friend, one Sunday afternoon we went speed dating. She swore that friends of hers had done it, had fun and connected with some lovely gentlemen. Well, not one of those lovely gentlemen, were in our session. It appears that we scored the tradies from Narre Warren whose leisure activities stretched as wide as watching tv lounging on the couch whilst drinking beer to huntin’, shootin’ AND fishin’.  

I devoured a few of those popular paperbacks “He’s Just Not That Into You” dating rules and how to find Mr Right kind of books. I turned up looking good even when I didn’t necessarily felt like it. I kept my eyes open to men in all circumstances even in the local fruit shop. And one day whilst waiting in a popular Melbourne restaurant for a friend (I’m always early. In fact if I’m late it just means that I’m on time)I met a man who I spent 14 months with. This was what I termed an organic meeting – all chemistry and no list ticking. He wasn’t Mr Perfect. In fact he probably wasn’t even Mr Halfway-there. We had fun together. We both liked good food and good wine and good movies. I always knew it wasn’t forever but it sure was a fun 14 months.

I even went clubbing with friends which only reinforced that it wasn’t my scene. I have trouble concentrating with background noise, always have. As a mother of 2 teenage daughters, I sincerely doubt that Mr Right or even Mr Almost Right was going to be hanging out in a noisy doof doof club.

So I figured it was back to online dating for me. This time I surveyed my friends. Which sites might be fruitful for the kind of man that I was looking for? Some of the free ones turned out to be big hook up sites which wasn’t what I was looking for. On a side note, I’ve always found that as a semi confident woman, sex for sex’s sake hasn’t actually been all that difficult to find. Certain other sites seemed to demand you fill out essay length forms before anything would even go live.  I found one that was a happy medium. Never one to pay any money, I signed up for my free profile and filled out the necessary questions. Forget that I incorrectly spelt my profile name – not that anyone ever picked me up on it. I was off and running.

One gentleman in particular seemed to continually check out my profile.  Quick check of the photos – ok..Peruse his question responses – nothing to raise any concerns there. DAMN! He’s in Perth. How come his profile states location as Melbourne? Oh, he’s moving to Melbourne in a week. Nice..fresh meat. We connect. We email. We talk on the phone. A couple of weeks later, several days after he moves to Melbourne, we have our first date. I warn him to wear his serious walking shoes as I’ve planned a 4 hour walking tour of my glorious city. He was such a gentleman and after driving him home all I could think was that I wanted to spend more time in his company.

One time I sat down and listed the reasons I met certain men. Moreover, these are the things I learnt about myself while dating these men. Please note the names have been changed to protect the innocent. They are in no particular order and I promise the names are made up so there’s no point trying to figure it out.

Simon – I need someone who is willing to be part of my greater family
Matthew– I need someone with brains as well as a hot body that he knows how to use
Pete – I need someone who matches my inner age
Chris – I need someone who I find sexually appealing
Adam – I need someone who doesn’t spend longer getting ready than I do.
Craig – I deserve someone who doesn’t keep me waiting whilst he answers a work call while having dinner with me
Greg – I need someone who doesn’t refer to me as simply ‘a friend’
Martin– I need someone who is willing to be with me and my children.
Ben – I deserve someone who is motivated and on track financially
David -I want someone who has a strong interest in good food and wine/beer
Jason – I deserve someone who is generous of spirit

All artworks featured are my originals and for sale.

I very much enjoyed my time viciously dating. It was fun. I met some lovely men and some not so lovely men. All said, I’m grateful not to be dating. I love my man and am happy chilling out at home together.

I don’t belong here

I’m living in the wrong place; somehow it just happened. One thing lead to another and there you go – I’m living in a place to which I don’t belong. Please don’t misinterpret me. I love my house. I have friends in the local area. There are some great shops, cafes and public transport within waling distance. It’s visually pleasing, mostly quiet and I’ve mostly good neighbours.  It’s just that I don’t belong here.

I don’t feel like these are my people. I often find myself at odds when discussing ideas or issues. The main thrust of my artwork usually gets greeted with raised eyebrows and an open mouth. Worse – I find myself censoring what I show and (here’s the real kicker) even what I create.

This isn’t where I want to be – literally.
For now, I’ll stay – due to ties that have a natural limited lifespan.

Good thing that I dwell in two places. I also have a part time inner city abode. The vitality and fast pace I find in my other home stimulates and energises me. I appreciate this dual living for how it sustains me for now.

Bucket lists

What do we think of them? Like them or not like them? Do you have one? How up to date is it? How long since you managed to tick something off it?

They can be good incentive to get you up off your butt and out there into the world. Some people really enjoy ticking things off the list. For me, I like to make sure that the items are actually possible to achieve….for me. No point having it full of highly improbable things like travelling to space or running a marathon – neither of which I should point actually appeal to me although I know certain friends for which these are very real events.

Basically mine has expired – not that generally I believe in the old ‘use by date’ concept. Fundamentally I reckon we’ve become lazy and want  someone else to tell us when it’s okay to use a product. Use your brain people!Look at it…smell it.. taste a bit of it. Cheese ‘past’ it’s use by date? – Fabulous it’s usually reduced and now it’s in peak ready to eat condition! My favourite!

I read some interesting stuff on the interwebs recently ( who knew this thing would take off like it has AND be so useful ) about an art project that harvested bacteria from a variety of human sources and developed some cheese from said innovative bacteria strains. 

Now, I know plenty will disagree with me but I was a little let down that the cheese wasn’t actually consumed by anyone. I thought it was such a missed opportunity to close the circle, if you like. Would I have tried it? Probably. I’m not too queasy when it comes to food. Cheese is essentially off milk anyway…

But I digress…gee I’ve never done that before (you, stop laughing!)

So basically I think I need a new bucket list.

There’s a slight problem. I don’t seem to want anything. My life is going so well in all aspects that I genuinely don’t crave anything. It’s particularly annoying for my partner at this festive time of year. 

My list used to include things like – eat a trashy hot dog and drink a beer from a plastic cup whilst watching a baseball game in America, have matzo ball soup in a Brooklyn diner, go to an uber cool NYC club and drink an over priced cocktail that I’d never heard of before. Yes, I see the theme too – food and drink and entirely acheivable.

So what’s on my new list – not much so far. Definitely eating and drinking around Spain and Italy. Visit New Orleans with my man who has great passion for the city. But mostly, I think it’s to do what I’m doing. Paint, write, cook, walk, laugh, read, talk, meet people, draw, play, take joy in each day and more.