I’m deviating from the blogging plan today and touching on a subject other than health, fitness or delicious food. It’s a subject I have rarely brought up other than in passing. It’s Love. (I even got squeamish typing that.) As much as I try to ignore it, it’s the inevitable truth I have to face, particularly this week when love is being shoved in my face, and yours too. Thank you, America. This post may get choppy, it may be all over the place, but writing reveals truth, so I’m righting my wrongs.

Bear with me if you can.

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I’m single. It hasn’t bothered me much until the holidays rolled around. I was in a particularly good mood Christmas shopping at my favorite stores in the mall. The retail staff at Bed Bath & Beyond, and LUSH were so cheerful that it made me happy, and appreciative since I used to be in their shoes. I absolutely loved working retail during the holidays. Making pretty packages, gift bags, helping people find the perfect gift gave me such satisfaction. I never did mind coming in early or leaving late. On this day, as I was walking through the mall, I became extremely observant of everything around me, trying to live in the “now” and all. Then, like a ton of bricks, it was as if every person I passed was not alone, they were with their significant other, kids, family, etc and yet there I was, just strolling along…solo. Talk about depressing. As the day progressed, it was as if it I could not escape it, couples everywhere! Suddenly, the happiness of others made me sick to my stomach, literally ill. I nearly thought I was going to vomit in the car ride home. It was truly awful. It was then that I began to have these thoughts that every single choice I had made in the past, every decision led me to where I was…alone. This fact never bothered me before. It was never a focus of mine but it was suddenly staring me in the face.

Maybe it was because a couple days before this I read this article, The Real Reasons We Push People Away Before we Give them a Chance. It was eye-opening, although I kind of always knew it was true. I’m guilty, beyond guilty.

I guess this bad habit of mine really stemmed from high school when I was naive, wearing my heart on my sleeve only to have it shattered. But at 16, our definition of “shattered” and “loss” are quite different than our much older, wiser selves. After a few “heart breaks” I made a vow to myself that I’d never let a boy break my heart again. I lived up to that vow and then some. Once I was in college and through my mid 20s, I thought of it all as a big game. How many guys can I juggle? How many phone calls can I ignore? How many guys can I see in one week? It made my adrenaline race, it was exciting, even though it was wrong. I even got a tattoo that represented this very part of me, and the kicker was that no one questioned this “she-devil” tattoo. Everyone just assumed it was just in good fun and I wasn’t there to explain it.

While I was no saint, there were guys who genuinely deserved my sly ways. But on the other hand, there were definitely a handful that deserved way better. The good news is those guys did get better and they’re married now. Most of them have children and from what I can tell, they’re great fathers! That very fact makes me happy.

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This was just a phase, because the next few years I wanted nothing to do with anyone. This was the time when we found out my mom had cancer. I distanced myself from the dating scene, the bar scene, as well as most of my friends. Over time, I opened up more, but I was now a different person. I was far less outgoing and willing to put myself out there. There were now more important things I could be doing with my time, like focusing on my career, and making quilts. Of course, I wasn’t completely closed to the idea of dating but my heart was less open to the idea. During this time I met “Mr. Did I Forget to Mention I’m Engaged?” as well as “Mr. Did I Forget to Mention I’m Married?” Naturally, after this I was even less open to the idea of letting anyone in.

In my mom’s final year she regularly mentioned that I should find someone. Someone to “take care” of me since she knew her days were coming to a close. I assured her that I was fine, I could do things on my own, but deep down inside, I knew I would need someone too. She began to bring it up more regularly and saying in Italian dialect something along the lines of, “Find any bum who can put things up in your house!” It loses something in translation. But it wasn’t just her, it was everyone and everything around me that really made me feel as though the pressure was on. Friends getting married and having babies became the norm.  Attending family events gets difficult when you’re constantly reminded that you are 30 and single and invitations never say, “and guest.” It’s just naturally assumed that there won’t be one.

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When my mom passed, I knew what I had to do. I couldn’t have her worry anymore and with her above the clouds, I knew I would have someone up there on my team who would be just as selective, if not more so, than me. So I took the leap into the scary world of  online dating. I figured since the only two places I go to regularly are work and the gym, it’s unlikely I’d meet anyone organically (which I’d prefer). And yes, the gym is full of plenty of attractive guys but I’ve learned from experience, You don’t shit where you eat. And I really like my gym.

I generally don’t mind dating. I like meeting people and having good conversation, but what bothers me about online dating is that I rarely get that far. The messages most men send are often repulsive, empty and/or uneducated. It’s hard to weed through it all so I end up losing my patience. The times that I have gone on dates, I wasn’t disappointed but only once was I pleasantly surprised. I made it up to four dates with someone! I was really into him. I enjoyed his company and after our second date, I felt as though I had known him for ages. It was dates three and four where I began feeling a bit sour as I over-analyzed every little thing, even texts. I began finding flaws, even the minute ones irritated me. Just like many instances before, this almost relationship was one I clearly sabotaged. Do you know how I cut him off? I sent a text message. In the middle of the day. It said, “I think you need someone who is more available than I am.” Burn. Naturally, he was caught off guard, but because he’s a man (and a bit cocky<—see!!!) He later said that the distance between us wouldn’t have worked out anyway.

There is a bright side to all of this, since the holidays and the day of my epiphany, I have been much more open minded, not just about dating, but about everything. I know I can’t go back and make up for past decisions but I can surely learn from them. Now, when things don’t work out, I’m confident in my decisions and reasoning behind it. There has been no more self-sabotage. I know who I am now. I may be 30, I may be single but I am okay with that. This is my plan.

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So, what was the point of this? First off, I needed to get all of this off my chest and it’s my blog so I do what I want. Secondly, it’s to assure anyone else who is like me, that while you have to put your faith in the process, it will only happen if your heart is open and willing to accept love. You must also let go of fears and past resentments. And most importantly, don’t be a judgmental ass.

On a brighter note, I’m not planning on being alone on Valentine’s Day this year. I’m asking a very important man out on a date…Dad!

No questions, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and similar experiences so leave a comment below!

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I have a special guest blogger today, my friend and owner of MEEonthego, Gabriel Martinez.

A little about Gabriel:
Gabriel is a personal trainer, fitness instructor and owner of a Stamford based company called MEEonthego. His fitness background started at a young age when he took up various forms of martial arts including Tae Kwon Do and Gōjū-ryu Karate. This passion for physical awareness and the human body drove him down a path to personal training, receiving his certification at the age of 17. He is nationally certified through ISSA & ASFA and has trained at multiple gyms throughout New York and Connecticut to enhance his knowledge and experience in the world of fitness. These days, Gabriel is focused on his affordable, personal training service and Connecticut’s first mobile fitness center, MEEonthego. It should also be noted that he’s lucky enough to be engaged to my dear friend, Amanda! He’s here today to talk about one of our favorite topics… SQUATS.

Gabe and Amanda - MEEonthego
(Photo Credit: Amanda Romaniello)
Don’t worry, about a thing, because every little squat, will improve your life.

Quoting the late great Mr. Bob Marley or at least paraphrasing. Either way those words expressed our inalienable desire for happiness and our tendency to stress anything and everything. But why?

Why are we all so stressed?
Why is the economy or our jobs or lack there of stressing us out?
Why are relationships, meant to bring joy, tearing us apart?
Why is there hardship & pain, depression & sorrow, war & crime, hate &…stress.

Why?

Well the answer is that there is no answer for why but rather a solution to all of your troubles. Ok, maybe more of an inch of hope or sliver of happiness found in your depths. Deep in the cave were your primitive man awaits to be awoken. You have it in you. Grab hold and release your inner beast! The one that picks things up and puts them down(Arnold voice). The beast with the soft side on the elliptical or the one craving the HEAVIEST SQUAT EVER! Yea that one. Find it, use it and never let go. Because It’ll eat your stress and spit it out.

Squatting - MEEonthego
(Photo Credit: Amanda Romaniello)

One more thing.

Live, laugh, love & lunge into a healthier, can do, stress free you this year. Take no prisoners, attack your goals and DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT forget to feed the beast. Because Its always hungry. Hungry for a good workout. Happy Exercising!

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Check out MEEonthego for their innovative training programs and fitness at your door. Stay tuned for a complete review about this door-to-door training and TRUCK! (Really, check out the truck here!)

Do you exercise to relieve stress? 

Which exercise makes you feel your strongest?

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