“Achievements are one’s way of patting oneself on the back and then pushing forward to achieve even more.” – Tim Barley, earlier this morning
I was all set this weekend to begin forming my new company, a social media writing company for those small businesses that don’t have the time to capitalize on their social media presence because they are either too busy or they don’t understand the finer points of writing to market themselves organically. I stayed out of trouble and minus the late arrival time to my pillow on Sunday morning, I got to bed early. I was full of ideas – names, strategies, topics, businesses I wanted to reach out to, and a schedule; I had it all worked out and was ready to attack!
Then, I opened my email Sunday morning and there it was: One of those emails we all hate to get. It was an email that might as well have been in flashing red letters. It wouldn’t have affected me more if a Western Union telegram messenger dropped it off on my front doorstep. It would end up throwing me off my game all day Sunday and throw me into alternate states of panic and ennui. It was an “oulda” bomb.
What is an “oulda” bomb, you ask?
An “oulda” bomb is anything that makes you reevaluate decisions in your life and distracts you from how to get what you want. It can be as innocuous as friends telling you that they are lucky to have bought that Apple stock back in 2000 at $12 a share. Or a phone call from a bill collector asking at what point they can expect payment on that credit card; you know the card with the balance that has two pages of line items from that weekend in Las Vegas months ago…? Sometimes, they can be of your own making such as kicking yourself for not taking the chance to talk to that woman who was eyeing you at the BBQ – the one who turned out to be the heiress to that real estate fortune with properties in the Caribbean, Australia, and SE Asia…?
But, my “oulda” bomb was just an innocuous SPAM email that was sent to me because I just happened to be on a list somewhere.
Please note that I am NOT 50 or older. I am however, single. I am on other dating sites and have had some luck here and there with them. I’ve had the privilege of dating some quality women, a few of whom I was actually close enough with to believe that I might marry them, settle down and have kids if I would have if I had done things differently. As I sat on my couch yesterday, I realized that it was yet another weekend without someone to share it. Now, before we all get maudlin at the constantly single Tim, I want to point out that it wasn’t necessarily that I was alone this weekend that caused me to go through the “ouda’s.” I am NOT lonely. I am more alone. But, even that wasn’t the point. The point was that I spiraled downward by thinking of all the coulda’s, woulda’s and shoulda’s that happened in my life to lead me to checking emails on my couch by myself on a Sunday morning. And it wasn’t limited to just dating, I began to doubt almost every decision that I had EVER made that got me to this point in my life. That’s the problem with these little “life fragmentation grenades.”
You can’t stew in your “oulda’s” if you’re ever going to figure out how to get what you want. The best thing that you can do is to learn from them, knowing that you can never change them. It’s history, and no matter how you want to rewrite it, it will never change.
Whenever you are confronted by what you shoulda, coulda, or woulda done, you can only sidestep it or block it off, but remember it enough to not make the same mistake again. If you find yourself kicking yourself for something you might have done once, stop and ask yourself, “What can I do THIS time, here and now, that will help me to figure out how to get what I want?” Trust me, the “oulda” bomb will make you implode into yourself and leave you as quivering mass of “what the’s?” and “why’s?”
Because they come at you in many forms and you often don’t see them for what they are, it’s especially important to recognize them quickly and remove them from your current life’s equation. Once that is done, you can return to how to get what you want out of life.
Trust me, ever since I learned that “IF is the middle word in ‘Life,'” I’ve learned that you will always ask yourself these questions. But, it’s best to use them to figure out where you go from here, NOT to question your life and how it has turned out.
It used to be so easy back in my 20’s. I’d hang with my buddies in the bar, imbibing large amounts of Captain and Cokes, scope out the pretty “babies” (also imbibing large amounts of drinks), take laps around the bar, find a beautiful baby that traded similar glances with me, talk large amounts of shit, go home together, see her a few more times and call it “dating.” When you’re in your 20’s, both sides appear to be pretty happy with this form of “dating.”
Entering my 30’s, this process evolved into doing the same thing, only at parties, get togethers and activities.
Now, in my 40’s, with most of my friends now married or dating long-term, and very few of them of willing or able to set me up, I find myself turning to online dating because living in an area such as the South Bay is a lot like living in a small town: you know everyone, have dated a few of them, therefore dating their friends, and the pool of candidates has shrunk substantially. The only REAL difference is that you aren’t related to any of them. I hope. This makes dating very tough. So, I am a late adopter of online dating. I have always likened it to personal ads in the back of newspapers. Except now, writing the words “Do you like pina coladas?” doesn’t find you the love of your life which you didn’t know you already had. Sure, I’ve flirted with it previously at times and have had some success, including a few relationships that have lasted a short time. But, I’ve learned a few things which will make online dating easier for you as it has for me.
Dating itself is a time honored ritual. You meet, court and then get married. Along the way you refer to yourselves as “dating,” “going out,” “boyfriend/girlfriend,” “serious,” “engaged,” then married. As a young adult, it can be fun and entertaining. As an adult, it can be a painstaking task of manuevering through preconceived notions and expectations. Because it has gotten harder to find “the one,” and to save time for those quality females out there, I’ve put together a list of “keywords” that are highly sought after in the digital dating world.
“Fun,” “Outgoing,” “Smart” – While being TRUE, all of these words indicated that someone is not going to be boring and a fuddy-duddy (contrary to the popular belief of some of my friends that believe I am “boring” when I don’t drink). Taken together, you can see that these words make someone a well-rounded person:
FUN+SMART=LIVELY, BUT ALSO RESPONSIBLE
OUTGOING+SMART=GREAT AT PARTIES, CAN TALK AND CONVERSE WITH ANYONE
“Spiritual,” “Family oriented”
First of all, “spiritual” is a bullshit word that means either A. You grew up religious, but because of a busy schedule (drinking, partying, working, dating, etc.), you choose not to go to anything officially related to you childhood church or, B. You’re an atheist and choose not to tell anyone for fear that would alienate you.
I don’t know where I fall in that group, so I choose “spiritual.” Sue me.
“Family Oriented” – I have a family. I still love them and with any luck, I’ll love my own. But I do allow for the fact that my future wife may not. It’s a delicate balance, so I’m “family-oriented.”
“Active” – It’s not that you ARE active. It’s what you do that makes this keyword so important. Very few people in the online dating world are looking for people that do NOTHING. But, just as few are looking for a date that “can’t live unless I’m confronting death like free shark diving, base jumping, free climbing greased buildings, etc.” I choose a happy medium: golf, SCUBA, volleyball and hiking – although I don’t really a lot of hiking yet – balanced with a healthy dose of TV watching and movie-going.
The biggie. It should be. In “the wild” you are attracted to someone, THEN you make your move. Your online profile usually has pictures, so you can’t really get away with describing yourself as thin if you are not thin (unless you use old pictures, and then you are just an asshole). A few thoughts on describing oneself: there is a difference between “curvy” and “a little extra,” “average” is not the same thing as “fit/athletic,” and “full-figured” and “overweight” are not synonomous.
I choose “average” for myself as until I have a six-pack of abs and can do my laundry on my stomach while taking a shower, I am not “athletic.”
“Diet” is an all-encompassing group category that includes: whether your relationship with alcohol is co-dependent or not, if smoking is only a drinking related activity, and whether or not you are a militant vegan or just a vegetarian that loves sushi and won’t feel bad if have a chicken sandwich from McDonald’s while on a road trip.
And then there is the current keyword that pops up every four years: Republican or Democrat? I once dated a Republican, something I found out AFTER we started dating. This is how the relationship went at times:
Me: “You’re wrong! You can’t honesty believe that”
Her: “No, you’re wrong! And I do believe that”
Me: “Well, f*ck you!”
Me, LATER, as we lay in bed: “I love you.”
Her: “I love you, too!”
Sure, if was fun at times, but in the end we couldn’t see eye-to-eye on this and it was over. There isn’t an online dating site that I know of involving politics. It’s too bad. It could be an adventure in dating!
So, there they are. My keywords? I am looking for a woman who is “fun,” “outgoing,” “smart,” “Democrat,” will eat anything, drinks in moderation and is considered “sexy and fit.”
Basically, I’m looking to date myself.
What are YOUR personal dating keywords? #keyword dating
(Someday, I’ll insert keywords here)
Continuing on my journey to make myself more relevant in an anti-personal communication, algorithmic-based society and following up my recent post on joining a collective, (possibly Borg) (http://offtopictim.com/2012/06/the-need-to-be-part-of-a-group-die-personal-pronoun-die/),I have decided that the next step is to slightly differentiate myself slightly from those groups by “pasting myself” with keywords. You see, I’ll need these keywords to create attention and make myself easier to find inside of those groups by marketers, employers, and potential mates. Hopefully, they are all not one in the same…
My entire life is associated with keywords – from multiple forms I’ve filled out on the Internet, to my Facebook profile, my LinkedIn page, my resume, and of course my old Match.com profile and my new eHarmony profile. I’ve gotten all my bases covered. And when I learn the ins-and-outs and even the smallest of nuances on SEO keyword marketing, I’ll be the most popular person at this keyboard…
Before the advent of the Internet (thanks, Al Gore!), and its use as a mass-marketing tool, the term “keyword” meant words which academics used to understand an author’s reasoning in a written work. Of course, this was BEFORE everything was beaten to death by over-analyzing things in a 24-hour information overload.
Today, keywords are one of the primary factors in SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, a field of marketing research that has been around since the mid 1990’s, when everyone started taking the plastic off their free 20 hrs. of AOL service disk that they got in the mail and dialed up the Internet. The idea of SEO is that keywords inside page copy (NOT the META, which all search engines abandoned by 2005) rank a page higher in search results. While I am not going to try to rank myself in a Google search at number one -because it’s annoying and I’m classy enough and old enough NOT to be a Kardashian (aka whore, attention whore) – I do want to be at the head of the pack.
But, in an attempt to help fold myself into the groups that matter while at the same time be differentiated just enough to be noticed, I am going to include keywords in my resume, my job seeker profiles and my online dating profile. I’m starting with my resume.
My resume is full of VARIED career EXPERIENCE. I’ve always had a DESIRE to be in entertainment and got off to a good start as an EDUCATED and SMART and KNOWLEDGEABLE page, or tour guide, at PARAMOUNT PICTURES, which quickly led to WRITERS’ ASSISTANT work on the 4-CAMERA SIT-COM “Sister, Sister.” After a break, I worked outside the entertainment industry as a DEDICATED and HIGHLY EFFECTIVE INVENTORY CONTROL SUPERVISOR at an electronics company where I MANAGED MULTIPLE STAFFS across the U.S. and INSTITUTED POLICY to save the company money. Then I returned to the entertainment industry in a MARKETING AND BRANDING & INTEGRATION capacity as a SENIOR BRAND AGENT at Hollywood Branded. I’ve done other work as well, like PRODUCTION RESOURCING, BRAND ENGAGEMENT, SOCIAL MEDIA and BLOGGING.
So, this should at least put me in a narrower group of job candidates. It might not set me apart, but that will happen when they click on my job candidate profile and call me in for an interview. There, I’ll spring the personality trap on them and I’ll slowly move toward that corner office… Bring it on, employers!
It’s occurred to me that the reason I’m single is that I’m just not using the right keywords when dating. I could tell you that it’s because no one likes to talk about “things” anymore, but would rather repeat what they saw on “America’s Got Something They Do” or “Listen to Me!” I could also tell you that I can barely put up with people’s shit long enough to put in an educated word. Hell, I could even tell you that my expectations are a little high. (Rocket scientist AND funny AND attractive/sexy AND outgoing/sporty AND not full of attitude are not keywords found in conjunction a lot of the time when looking for the fairer sex). But, I do believe that I have just been using the wrong keywords in describing MYSELF while trying to find a mate/running-around partner/fun-lover/best friend/muse/shoulder rubber/joke teller. So, I went into my profile and did a rewrite on some parts. I’ve added notes where I felt necessary:
Sure, it’s a work in progress. Keywords and phrases change all the time. Once people catch on, they’ll all want to join the fun. The trick is to keep one step ahead of the game and staying in the head of the pack just enough to be noticed, but not so much that I am forgotten by those searching for the group and include me in great Groupon offers.
It’s hard out here for the lonely and jobless; “You can’t be a pimp and a prostitute too.” Thanks, Jack. Thanks.
“I need to tell you something,” she said, mobilizing her verbal forces for the killing charge.
Around us, the restaurant seemed to grow silent, conversations went quiet, heads turned in our direction as if we were in a freeway accident and they were the members of the safe and sound commuters, slowly rolling by. Even the waiter, now bringing us our check since we had completed this fine meal, slowed his pace. He appeared panicked as he approached, having decided against the beeline away from the coming disaster. Sliding the check dutifully across to me, he stared me straight in the face with a hint of sadness as would a hangman in an old western; “it’s just my job, buddy.” He tiptoed away.
“Jane” made no effort to take the check from me. She was looking at her phone; most likely working out an escape route to get her away as fast as possible from the scene of the emotional carpet bombing she was going to lay down upon me. I didn’t say anything, holding what I thought would be high ground, ready to take shelter.
Rather expertly and unforeseen by me, she used the stealthy ninja break up tactic on me. No need to make a fuss here in this nice restaurant. Just a quick cut to the throat and leave me to bleed out. “You’re a really great guy.” Reaching into my chest and plucking my heart out and showing it to me would have hurt less…
What is it about being a “really great guy” means the kiss of death when you are in a relationship? I think that most of my friends would call me a really great guy , although most would say that I’m a goof, sometimes odd and weird. BUT, I’m very rarely boring. And, in the end MOST would say to those who ask, “yes, he’s a Really Great Guy.”
(Let me set one thing straight: while I am a Really Great Guy, I’m not a pushover. There is a lot of shit I won’t put up with, and a lot of things that I don’t care for in building a relationship with someone. There’s a lot of things I am looking for as well. POSSIBLY too many things, as my mother will point out.)
AND, being a Really Great Guy IS an asset when being introduced to someone or set up with someone. Alas, I think that the days of being set up on a blind date or introduced to friends has probably passed as we have set ourselves into our groups that very rarely introduce newcomers.
But, if being labeled a Really Great Guy is a positive at the very beginning, what changes during a relationship in order to make it an excuse for breaking up? Is it just easier for my date to tell me that after dating for a few months, that she suddenly has a need to date her old boyfriend again who once broke her arm? Or is she just trying to let me down easy, that it just wasn’t meant to be and, should she want to date a Really Great Guy again, we can still be friends?
Don’t answer that. After being cursed as a Really Great Guy many times, I know the answer already.