The Love Experiment: Day Four/Reciprocated

29 Apr

We ran into each other in the office kitchen first thing this morning. Her making oatmeal in the microwave and me filling a cup with ice water. We both were starting our third week on a project as part timers. We worked on separate teams, however, and our paths hadn’t crossed since that first day.

She gave me a big smile, direct eye contact, remembered my name. Before I could mentally love her, she was already sending me acceptance and support. We compared what we had learned, and I realized her team was learning things my team needed to know.

As we parted, I tried to remember her name. Fortunately, they keep a staff roster online complete with photos — even part timers. Let’s just call her D.

Much later that afternoon, we ran into each other in the restroom and laughed at the idea we were on the same schedule. We talked for many minutes out in the hallway. I learned she was about the age of my daughter and had a 4 year old. She wanted the part time job to become a full time job, with benefits.

She told me I needed to become the next director, that I looked 15 years younger than my actual age, and that I had style. I wanted to hug her.

I felt mentally loved.

The Love Experiment: Day Three/Crowded Out

28 Apr

Crowds are a challenge to the love experiment. While I tried to love the crowd at a concert this afternoon, it didn’t work.  I’m learning that even in the love experiment, where the love is given anonymously, love has be shared one person at a time. No vibes, no connection, as I tried to love humanity in bunches.

Actually, it was exhausting to try.

 

The Love Experiment: Day Two/Love Connections

27 Apr

The name tag said “Autumn,” who didn’t look up from the cash register at Bojangles while I ordered. Then I mentally told her I loved her and immediately she looked up and smiled a shiny braces smile.

And that’s been the spooky thing all day. Several times when I mentally told a stranger that I loved them, they reacted to me with a smile, deep eye contact, and a hello. In the case of Autumn, I wondered if I mistakenly had said it out loud. Then it occurred to me that if I ever actually said “I love you” out loud to a total stranger, the reaction probably would be fright and flight. That’s crazy talk.

There seems to be some kind of brain chemistry going on in me, and some kind of love vibe that touches people.

Take Rhonda, the photographer assigned to me for taking my photo for the church directory. After I mentally told Rhonda I loved her, I decided I wanted to know more about her. As she had me pose one way or another, we talked about her troubles with her son and daughter, about how she moved here and misses home. After we finished, she said she enjoyed meeting me in a way that told me she meant it. And we parted with smiles and a wish from me that she finds happiness here in her new home.

I’m in the market for a second car and considered suspending the love experiment while visiting car

“Nissan_Car_dealership_Tokorozawa_Saitama”

“Nissan_Car_dealership_Tokorozawa_Saitama” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

dealerships. Decided that was a cop out, so as I looked at the Versas and Sentras at the Nissan dealership, Jeff came out to help me. I mentally loved him and he was friendly and not pushy. As I walked through the three dealerships lined up in a row and scanned cars old and new, I met three sales guys who were helpful.   I didn’t notice a whiff of bull****, which wasn’t my experience at a dealership I visited last week before the love experiment.

This afternoon I ran into a friend I don’t know all that well. When I mentally loved her, I suddenly remembered she had started her own cupcake business months ago. So I asked her about it, and she lit up, telling me how well it was going. She was surprised that I remembered, and, frankly, so was I.

When you love someone, you want them to feel special and appreciated. When you love someone, the desire to do that comes from somewhere deep inside. Paying attention to the emotional needs of someone else makes it necessary to live in the moment, pay attention, and consequently be more alive.

The Love Experiment: Day One

26 Apr
Is it love worthy?

Is it love worthy?

Day One of the experiment to love everyone started out rocky. The lady in the Camry just sat there, when she had plenty of opportunity to turn right on red. Behind her, I waved and pleaded. Suddenly she took off and I was right behind her.

Then I remembered that I loved her. Felt ashamed of thinking of her in those terms of backward, low IQ, cell phone addled chickie. Sorry.

When I got to work, everyone I met I mentally told them I loved them. I’ve been at this job only two weeks, so I don’t know how these people act over the long term. Over the short term, they’re hard working and friendly. Today, as I mentally loved them, they were extra friendly and smiling.

Of course, it was Friday. That alone can make most of us feel better.

At Costco, when I sent a love vibe to the Direct TV salesman, he smiled and didn’t try to sell me. A lady offered to let me break in line in front of her because I only had a few items — and I hadn’t mentally loved her yet. I wonder if I’m sending off love vibes in a wake that catches anyone close by.

Today was a pleasant day. Worked hard, but no people problems. Maybe all they need is love. Will try loving all again tomorrow and report back. Is anyone else trying this experiment with me?

All You Need is Love, Single Boomer

25 Apr

Let’s talk about love, fellow single boomer.

At the last wedding I attended, the couple selected familiar scripture as part of the service. (Stay with me here; this isn’t about religion.) The quotes were the usual. From 1 John, “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” And everyone’s favorite from Corinthians, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its on way;… but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hope all things, endures all things.”

It’s enough to make you want to get married. For many of us, been there, done that. And for those few couples who truly bring joy into each others lives, they experience one of life’s greatest joys and blessings. I admit envy.

But that simply hasn’t happened for me, and long ago I made peace with that.

But it turns out the epistles weren’t talking about married or romantic love. Yes, it’s lovely to hear at a wedding, but the writers were talking about the other love. The kind that  doesn’t know gender or age. But lives forever and inspires emergency workers to run to the blast or  the friendly stranger to allow us to break in the merge line.

It’s paying it forward or trading a smile with a stranger on the street. It’s delivering a package to a coworker or listening when you’d rather be doing something else.

The universal love is the hardest to maintain. People can be so crappy. Offspring impossible. Middle fingers saluting all through morning traffic.

Have you ever tried to love all of humanity? I have. And like running a marathon, I poop out at the first leg cramp or rude comment.  So, let’s give it a try. For the next week, I will wake up every morning ready to love everyone. In my mind, as I meet each person known and unknown, I will tell them mentally that I love them. See if it makes a difference and report back here.

Try it, too, and let me know how it goes. I will check in in 24 hours. See if love makes a difference in me or anyone else.

To Happily Network, Change Channels Frequently

15 Apr

The boomer living one time can get caught in a rut of the solitude of home and busyness of work. So you the single boomer must network, and we’re not talking about the phony go-to-a-reception-and-trade-business-cards with some passing stranger. You need to build community, and the best way to do that is to change channels frequently. Fight the rut.

Think of networking as TV channels with hundreds of choices. Choose a handful and get involved intimately. And before you get too comfortable, change the channel. Challenge yourself. Avoid ruts and boredom. (And if the channel you’ve selected is having an off day, you the single boomer can just go home and do as you please!)

Here are some channels to try:

  • CBS, the grandfather of networks, represents family, the kind you’re actually related to by genes and marriage. Family provides the most consistent community, so nurture those roots.
  • NBC, once the king of sitcoms that featured friends (“Friends” or “Seinfeld”), stands for your friends right now, the ones who will join you at the neighborhood bar with last minute notice. These folks are golden. Cherish them.
  • ABC,  the third network, started in my childhood showing reruns of “The Little Rascals” and the original “Mickey Mouse Club.” (RIP, Annette.) And I would stop and watch either one right now. These old friends are so comfortable that years can pass between visits yet it’s like no time at all. These people are life’s blessings. Call one when you need someone to talk to.
  • CSPAN covers government in a boring non-shouty way. Wouldn’t it be nice to have acquaintances to talk about current events and issues without shouting? Way too much judge-y shouting in this uncouth world. How wonderful to find friends open to ideas different from theirs or yours, with whom you can take an issue to different conclusions. When you find this channel, invite me.
  • TLC, The Learning Channel, is home to “What Not to Wear” and “Honey Boo Boo.” Opinionated people with good taste or loud people with poor taste provide entertainment. They’re fun to know and spend time with in short bursts. Enjoy them, briefly, then change channels.
  • TCM, Turner Classic Movies or any old movie channel, brings old values and good dialogue and songs you can sing to. They represent classic values that can be found in a community of faith or service. Visit the channel regularly that soothes your soul and encourages your natural urge to serve others.
  • ESPN, the sports channel, represents moving your body. You’ve got a body, so move it. And it’s more fun to do with others, whether it’s basketball or zumba. Play. Have fun. Move. Your mind will be better for it.
  • The SyFy channel, where science fiction and fantasy appear, is where your virtual friends belong. Do you have online buddies that you’ve never met? These virtual tribes usually grow out of a mutual interest. They add spice to life. The only drawback is the introverted may get lost there and forego touchable humans.

So, what channels have I left out for the single boomer in search of community?

Top 10 Best Things About One Time (Single Living)

11 Apr

10.  You can drink milk directly from the jug. Seriously, you’re mother isn’t watching. Go ahead and save the glass for guests.

9.  You can sing any place in the house — not just in the shower — and you won’t be disturbing anyone except the cat.

8.  You control the bathroom. Men can keep the seat up and women can spread their potions all over the counter, using both sinks at the same time.

7.  No sharing required. The shampoo and the newspaper are yours alone to do as you please.

6. You can watch the lamest TV show or soppy old movie without comment from the culture cops.

5. Celebrate paying the bills on time — or any other mundane goal — by eating off the good china. You’re worth it.

4. Snore without waking, because no one is there to elbow you awake.

3. Buy the car or sofa you want. If you can afford it, you can buy it without negotiating or compromising your wishes.

2. Take a chance. Make mistakes. Strive to live without regrets. Because now you have no excuses or blame to share.

And the very best thing about One Time:

1. Life without judgment, without “I told you so” or glee when you falter. Pursue your dreams with passion knowing the only one who you will disappoint is you if you don’t.