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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Just When I Have it All Figured Out!!

I love my life!  I'm not exaggerating. I seriously love my career, being single, being 50, being a woman, living alone.  I'm in a great place emotionally and spiritually.  It's all going so well...........

Enter this young man.

My youngest son finishes his tour of duty with the U.S. Air Force in October and will begin classes at Drury University.  Proud?  Oh yes and more.  So thankful everyday he's healthy and happy, And,  uhm......he's opinionated, he's passionate, and not afraid to share his thoughts with others.  He cooks.  He's messy.  He's judgmental and irritable one minute and he's loving and supporting the next.  He is impulsive and moody.  Oh goodness, he is ME and he is moving back home.  Moving back into my house and he already wants to take over my Dressing Room.

Did you hear what I said?  He wants the spare bedroom and the Dressing Room, for God's sake.  My shameless display of jewelry, perfume, cowboy boots, petticoats and all things princess-like and feminine.  My haven of all things girly and good.  Oh my, all of the blood in my brain is falling to the deep caves of my empty heart....................I feel faint.................

And he's dramatic.  Oh crap, he really is ME.

But despite all of the issues we are sure to face living in the same household again, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride.  Me and Christopher have these incredible conversations that a person can only have with someone who really and truly knows you.  Not the you, that you want others to see.  The real you.  I love and embrace the person Christopher has become and look forward to encouraging and supporting him to graduation and beyond.  And I will pick his dirty laundry, iron his shirt from time to time, but mostly I'm grateful that I was blessed to have two boys, Sean and Chris.

It's the perfect story and in the end, it's so great to be a Mom!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Woman I Aspire to Be at 50

Turning 50 was a huge milestone in my life that I haven't quite become comfortable with.  Physical and mental changes have surfaced in my day to day living that frankly are irritating and distracting commonly in my day to day routine.

Like many women my age, the challenges I faced when married and raising children, then taking the u-turn in the highway and divorcing, raising the children as a single mom and eventually taking another u-turn and watching our children fly on their own have equipped me with the skills to change, alter and adjust.   So I'm just gonna have to pull up my big girl pants and change, alter and adjust to these physical and mental changes.  Losing weight, maintaining the stamina and energy I had in my 40's is........well it's an obstacle that I am gaining traction with and I will contend with.

Okay so, here's the skinny:  There are some immensely meaningful and beautiful things that have happened to me and to other women my age, right now!  I never even understood these concepts when I was 18 and thinking about my future.  The most powerful and inspiring revelation I have had is not about me at all.  I look around at the world today and there are women in business, women CEOs, women politicians, women my age and older in movies and television.  While still the minority in many industries and various positions of power, women with vision, purpose and ambition are visible and tangible.  This source of encouragement wasn't so visible when I was 18.

Several women in our office are involved in the Masterminds of Business networking groups and we all have had the opportunity to stand before the group and present ourselves to other business owners.  Many people are nervous to speak publicly, but when it is my turn, they often have to tell me that my time is up and to sit down and shut up.  (Lol! I admit I get a little excited to have an audience).  At lunch today when everyone was sharing their experience, I said, "It's not that big of a deal and you don't need to be nervous."  Everyone responded back to me, "that's because you don't care what people think of you."  I suppose that's basically true.  I attribute that to my age and to the examples I have had in my life.  Primarily my mother, Kay Van Kampen, started in real estate 30 years ago and 30 years later is part owner of a real estate company, along with my sister, Lina Robertson Jones and several other partners.  Mom is not the only woman real estate agent with a long successful run in this area.  Women real estate agents in the Springfield, Missouri have held positions in the top ten consistently since I joined 13 years ago.  So there are many women in my own industry that I look up to.

The woman I aspired to be at age 18 looks nothing like the woman I strive to be today.

Today I strive to work with my body to appreciate what it does for me, to love myself for who I am, to pay tribute to who I was, what I accomplished and where I am going.  I don't look at my body and myself and strive to alter it to be more pleasing for others, I embrace who I am and cherish the scars and imperfections.  The awkwardness and insecurity of my youth are gone and frankly, they served no helpful purpose in my life.

Would love to hear what inspires you.

Monday, July 4, 2016

I'm the Problem? Whhhaatttt?

When I made the conscious decision to stop dating all together, I was physically and emotionally exhausted.  I just wasn't emotionally in the right place to make good decisions.  So I quit.

I immediately started working on the house and my career.  That's what I do. I go into a hyperfocus and I'm good at what I do.  When I am passionate about a goal, I can throw every waking moment and even my dreams into this one purpose, this vision.  It consumes me night and day, until all of a sudden, out of the blue, I am completely bored with it.  It's not a slow burn, its a back draft until I burn out every possible source of heat.

This happened about a year ago.  My hyperfocus on painting the entire house came to a stand still.  The thought of opening a paint can, spreading out the plastic and cleaning painting brushes made me physically sick.  So I started projects on the exterior of my house, the fence, the deck, the shed.

Today, the master bedroom remains untouched, unloved and a constant reminder to me that I have work that needs to be done, put off, and incomplete.  It would take a good week to complete the master bedroom and bath.  I could find the time to do it, but can't seem to find the motivation.

I had a closing with a great couple last week who I admire very much.  At the walk through the night before, they were discussing what needed to be done to their new house, and immediately started to organize a strategy for accomplishing the plan, discussing who would deal with each detail and established a deadline for completion of the project. WOW!  I thought, "if only I had met someone early in life that was my friend, my lover and my partner, how much more could I have accomplished in my lifetime?"

Now wait a minute.................if these two were single, they would most likely have approached the plan on their own in the same manner.  Right?

Well crap, that means that if I had met the most perfect mate, it wouldn't have changed who I am.I would most likely still struggle with the same things I struggle with as single person.

Driving to their closing the next morning, I thought about my previous relationships and I realized that there were many times that I blamed the significant other in my life for some of the things that I had not accomplished.  And that's just not fair to someone that you have professed to love.  I may or may not have verbally expressed to them that I blamed them, but I'm sure that it affected the relationship.

There were very valid reasons that my marriages ended and that I chose to sever ties.  I would not wish to rekindle or rework any past relationships, but I do realize that I contributed to the dissolution.

If not for my decision to just quit dating and spend time on myself, I'm not sure that I would have realized that many of the problems I had in past relationships, I still have outside of a relationship.  If I can't resolve them myself, I can't expect someone else to resolve theirs.



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Vulnerability for the Single Man or Woman

I recently watched an incredible Ted Talks video about vulnerability from a social researcher that truly made an impact on me. Any socially relevant information I take in,I always try to apply to myself and evaluate it from a single person's vantage point.  Her name is Brene Brown and she is a social researcher.  A very thought provoking talk that caused me to ponder how vulnerability affects single people, but after much thought, I believe it doesn't matter whether you have a significant or not.

As young women, we entered into our first relationships with all the hope, faith and innocence young girls often possess.  Hoping that we would find mates who would be great providers, husbands and fathers.  Dreaming of years of hard work, raising loving families, celebrating milestones and transitioning together into golden years of fond memories of love and mutual respect.

This simply didn't happen for me.  It didn't happen for the large majority of us.  Even for my friends and acquaintances who are still married decades later to the same spouse, staying together was a struggle and the reality of life and work and children often brought them to one crisis after another crisis, another adjustment and a lifetime of choices and compromises.

Those of us who simply could not weather the storm and ended our marriages for one reason or another, mourned the loss of our innocence, our hope and faith and set about rebuilding our lives as single women.  Though we all defined what that life would be differently, we all as a self defense mechanism start to build these walls and insulate ourselves against being hurt again.  We enter into a type of survival state where our fight or flight instincts are on high alert.

Those who stayed married, they built up walls too as life became challenging, but I believe that single women are artful and skilled at reducing and numbing their vulnerability.  I believe single men do this to a higher degree as well than their married counterparts.

But what spoke to me the most that Brene Brown had researched and studied was that when you are focused on numbing and reducing your vulnerability, you are in turn, numbing and reducing your ability to feel and experience joy and pleasure.  That being vulnerable is essential to experiencing joy and happiness.

Wow.  Im going to give this some additional thought.

I highly recommend watching this!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Rhonda's Tips for Single Folk

My tips for being single are simple and most are common sense, but sometimes we all have a tendency to complicate matters.  I often have to come back to these when I lose sight of my goal.  I started a diary in 2012 of random thoughts and emotional ramblings to help me try to make sense of ME.  Which brings me to my first tip:

1.  What do you want?  Please don't tell me that you want to meet someone who completes you and you live this wonderful life satisfied and fulfilled, waking up each morning with joy and purpose. All the pain inflicted on you by others is miraculously healed from the love of one person. That's completely ridiculous.  There is no one person who completes you.  You complete you!

Now I'm not against marriage, that's a great topic for another blog and honestly, I may not be qualified or be the best person to give marital advice.  What I am saying is that as a single person, get busy defining, planning and setting in motion your ideal of how fabulous your single life will be.  Spending all your time waiting, hoping that Prince or Princess Charming is going to someday make you happy is a complete waste of time and energy.

If your job or your home is not what you want, you need to change it.  You need to change it.  Looking for someone else to change your lifestyle or financial status will only make you miserable.  Even if you do find the most perfect person who supports you and provides every possible need you may have, chances are, you will not die simultaneously as this wonderful person.  That's crazy!  At some point in time, it is very likely that you will be on your own and you will need to know how to survive on your own.

2.  Your Home is Your Sanctuary.  Your home should be the place you come to find peace.  You eat, work, think, pray, laugh and cry in this place.  Free of judgment and expectations, this is where you lay your head, bad day or great day.  I think that for most of us women, our home reflects what is important to us and is also a reflection of our personality.  As a single person, this home is decorated with no compromises.  It is everything you want, the furnishings and decor of your taste.  I actually think it is important to get rid of everything that reminds you of a former spouse(s).  Not everyone agrees with that and that's okay, but it should be your happy place!

3.  Identify Love in New Places. Whether it be faith, family or friends and yes, your pet, love does not have to come from a significant other.  I have friends and family who are frequently on the look out for potential love interests for me.  When I was newly single, it was slightly aggravating, but now I understand that their desire to see me in a relationship (most of the time) comes from a very loving place.  They have the best of intentions, but I do have lots of love in my life!  I am so fortunate to have a healthy and supportive family.  I work with the best people in my office and am so grateful for my clients and work.  I have some truly inspiring and gifted friends.  I have faith and am a very spiritual person and I feel very loved.  It's not some elusive thing missing in my life.  You have to look for it to find it and it doesn't have to be all wrapped up in one person.

4.  Spoil Yourself!  Whenever I accomplish a goal or reach a milestone, personally or professionally, I do something great for myself.  I'm not waiting for someone to recognize my achievement or decide that I'm worthy of recognition or reward.  This may be the most awesome thing about being single!  I'm incredibly generous and I am my best cheerleader!  Lol!

Oh and one last thought, sleeping sideways in a king sized bed is probably the most awesome sleep I have ever had!!

What is your best advice for newly single folks?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dinner for One? Yes, please.

I started this blog four years ago to document my journey moving to a new area with a new love interest and the goal was to start a new life.  I was optimistic and with an adventurous spirit sold the home I loved, packed up and took off!

The Little Brown Cottage was purchased and I set about improving, designing and nesting.  I worked hard both in my career and in my personal life and I decided, for once in my life, to put much effort into finding a balance between the two.  Here are the photos of the finished project.

Situated on 8 acres this tiny home in the woods felt more like home than any other place I had ever lived.  The setting was beautiful!

New doors, new floors and a whole lot of painting later.  This home turned out so charming and warm!

While renovating this home, which I had thrown myself into, my new relationship was coming to an end.  I lived there several months after the breakup and continued to put the finishing touches on this adorable cottage in the woods.  Looking back, I think fondly of this place.  It was a magical place of self discovery.  I don't think of it as a place where my relationship fell apart, I think of it as rite of passage or a window to the beautiful place my heart would take me to today.

Goodbye to my Little Brown Cottage!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

We bought it!

I wanted to post a quick update on my personal home we purchased at auction. Here's a photo of our little brown cottage in the woods.

We have been busy, busy, busy, working at work and at home.  Our journey began with a tornado and at times it feels like we are still living in a tornado.  We both have usually about an hour a night to work on it and try so hard to work all day on Sunday, but neither of us can be gone from work for a whole day it seems.........but we are SO EXCITED!

We wanted to downsize, simplify, get back to what really matters in life, so the Little Brown Cottage seemed to fit the bill, with a few minor tweaks and adjustments. 

Well we ripped out all of the floor coverings.  ALL of the floors.......all of the doors.....all of the closet doors.

Here is a photo of our master bedroom before we starting ripping out.  Good size room and there is a door to the outside just to the right of the window you can't see in the photo.  The previous homeowners took very good care of the home, but it was time to make it ours.

Here is a photo of after (and we are still working on it!)!  I will post more photos later.  We have painted almost every inch of the house.