Sunday, April 19, 2009


I'm a big believer in karma. When people do things that annoy me, I honestly believe that what goes around, comes around (as a professor, this attitude is particularly useful for remaining calm with students!). But karma can work in good ways too and when I'm faced with challenges, it gives me strength to believe that there is a bigger plan; as long as I'm trying to be a good person, things will work out eventually. For example, I tend not to have regrets because even if things haven't gone the way I'd like, I can usually see that if X (bad) hadn't happened, Y (good) might not have happened either.

This is on my mind tonight in particular because I spent a good bit of time this past week with my ex. We are supposedly still friends but I got home from spending the afternoon with him and all I could think was, "Oh my god, I cannot believe I wasted so many years on this guy!" It's not so much that I don't know what I saw in him - he's still smart, funny and charming, like he always has been. But now I also see all his flaws, and I can see that they were always there. Basically, I now realize just how insecure I must have been, and how low my self-esteem must have been, to have been so infatuated that I overlooked all these other incredibly annoying things about him [and yes, I know that overlooking someone's flaws is typical in relationships but a) according to him, we were never really dating or in a capital-R Relationship and b) we're talking seven years].

But even as I sit here dismayed/embarrassed/incredulous that I was ever so into this guy, a part of me knows that if it hadn't been for that whole experience, I would not be the person I am today. If he hadn't left me a sobbing incoherent mess (repeatedly), I would not have gotten the help that I needed to deal with the issues that led me to want him the first place. If he hadn't made me feel so needy and insecure, I would not have worked so hard to be confidently independent, and I would not have grown to the point where I can now say with confidence that I will never choose someone like him again.

I will also admit that a big contributor to my reaction this weekend is that my current relationship is so vastly different, and the contrast is both painful and wonderful. If I had to go through the hell that was my ex in order to find my way to this relationship on the other side, well, then I guess I can't regret the hell. I just keep thinking of one of my favorite songs, "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts:

I think about the years I've spent just passin' through.
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you.
But you just smile and take my hand,
you've been there, you understand
it's all part of a grander plan that is comin' true...

Every long lost dream led me to where you are.
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
pointing me on my way into your loving arms.
This much I know is true:
that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.

Now if I can just figure out what lessons I'm supposed to be learning from certain challenges I'm facing at work, I'll be all set...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dating advice from an economist?

Someone who just happens to stumble onto this blog might wonder about the name, since most of the time, my posts don't really have anything to do with economics. I tend to think that my take on life as a happily single woman is simply informed, but not determined, by the fact that I am also an economist. But every once in a while, I can actually offer something that explicitly shows what I mean by that, such as this clip from Tim Harford (the Undercover Economist):

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do I have to stay single to prove I am happy being single?

I've started dating someone. It actually has taken me a while, and a lot of false starts, to even write that sentence, partly because I don't want to jinx it (things are definitely still in the beginning stages), but partly because I'm not sure how I feel about admitting that I'm dating someone on a blog that, to this point, has been so much about being happily single (of course, if you're the type that only defines 'single' as 'not married' then nevermind). But after some hard thinking, I realized that I shouldn't need to be single to promote the idea that one can be happily single. And more generally, I think of this blog as being about everyone's right to be happy being whatever the heck they want to be, without other people making a bunch of assumptions about them, and I shouldn't need to be single to champion that.

My hesitation to share the fact that I'm dating is, itself, an indication of how hard I think it is for people to accept that one CAN be happily single. My biggest fear is that people will say, "Oh, I knew Jenn was just in denial all that time she was saying she was perfectly happy being single. She just hadn't met the right guy yet; NOW she's really happy." What crap. Anyone who says that just doesn't get it. I'll probably tackle this in more detail in a future post but the reality is that if I hadn't grown to the point where I was perfectly happy being single, I don't think I'd ever have developed the self-esteem I need to have a truly healthy relationship. God knows my past relationships weren't healthy and I wasn't happy. And I'm already finding that simply being in a relationship at all is bringing out insecurities I thought I had conquered. But whereas past boyfriends made me feel like a needy freak when I voiced those insecurities, I've grown enough to choose to be with someone who helps me confront those insecurities head on, in a mature way. I'm also finding it easier to be more assertive about what I need from him because I know I'm just fine on my own - after all, if this relationship isn't better than staying single (which I already know is pretty darn good), then what's the point?