Writing this blog…I’ve been dragging my feet. Absolutely ridiculous considering I’m surrounded by inspiration and more material than I could write about in my life time.

This last week has been a strange one. I ended up as the subject of a Security Forces social media page. I’m the “hot” commanders secretary and a “cougar”. Flattering? A tad I guess? My favorite part was the mention that I’m a sarcastic bitch most of the time….and that makes them want me more. It was actually a great reality check-I wasn’t aware I was letting more of my inner monologue out than I mean to. Maybe they were referring to the look on my face…shit what if I’m giving the world a double dose of extremely direct Rachel in verbal and non verbals?!? If I am I’m not sure I have an apology to give. #sorrynotsorry.

This whole cougar thing…..I’m not digging it.  Cougars are predatory and they hunt things. I’m not out hunting young men. If one crosses my path I’ll just say tripping over one would be fine but, I’m not out there baiting traps. Why not use a mongoose as a reference animal? They take on way more than anyone gives them credit for handling-like they attack bears. But, they look like they have nice soft fur and appear to be kind of unassuming all while they eat your fucking leg off. Strong, awkwardly cute, tendencies to be aggressive….Yeah, I’m feeling it, I’ll claim a mongoose as my middle aged spirit animal.

Cougar and mongoose jokes aside I will admit that there is something captivating about both men and women in their 30’s- and I’m surrounded by them at work. It’s a love hate thing for me. I see so many traits that drove me crazy in my past relationships as well as a mirror image of how I reacted to being driven crazy and I’m simply intrigued. I want to see what they do with the second chances they don’t even realize they have. They could own the world if they would just look up from the path they think they should be on to gaze over at all that is waiting for them to discover and be willing to risk to get to. It’s really like watching my own kids grow into their own. It’s wild, wonderful, and frustrating as hell. But, I was them, I was there 15 years ago and I get it, I understand all of it…

Having the opportunity to see my life through others in complete hindsight has made me realize how phenomenal this whole aging thing is. I feel so in sync with what I’m all about and what I have to give. I’m quite possibly in the worst shape I’ve been in the last 7 years but I have more confidence walking into a room than I’ve had my entire life. It’s the most oddly empowering thing I’ve ever experienced. Maybe it’s because I was as broken as I’d ever been for the first year plus after Ken died and I rebuilt on my terms in my own time or maybe because I’m at that point where my happiness and self worth don’t come from anyone else but me. I’m not sure the answer even matters.

I had a rotten morning the other day complete with spilling gas all over my feet that required a shower and a wardrobe change. Even through that inconvenience I couldn’t muster up a bad mood. A friend of mine said I have collectiveness-the ability to not sweat the little things. I love that word and I love what it suggests. Basically I have my shit together. How long have we all waited for that to happen for ourselves? I’m pretty sure it will ungroup and be a shit show again but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Even with these moments of clarity I’m still as lost as I’ve ever been. I keep intimacy at an arms length and continue to live my life by choice in the friend zone and then fill that void by doing as much as possible for others at work. There’s a well placed façade of balance in place and a set of crossed fingers that I can fake it until I make it. Until I do I’ll enjoy collecting new friends and memories that make the tear filled Sunday afternoons tolerable and the dull ache in my heart a little less noticeable. Most of all, I’ll continue to love this place where I do those things that keep my soul on fire.

Until we meet again,


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