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  • Writer's pictureeschaden


I was texting with a girlfriend today and I was trying to explain why my day trip getaway to Cambria didn’t happen...what I meant to text was that I got side tracked...but it auto-corrected to dude-tracked. I didn’t realize it until my friend responded “I soooo get that!”

Then I went back and re-read the text thread - and I saw the error, except it didn’t register as an error. I have been dude-tracked a lot. Like pretty much all my life. I have an idea where I want to go and what I want to do and then I meet “him” and all those plans, dreams and the like just end up sidelined. Or dude-tracked.

This simple texting snafu really summed up my life in two words...yes, that has been my problem all along.

Now before you accuse me of blaming men for all my problems, I will fully and completely own that the problem is never them, it is always me. And I am seeing that now in stark contrast with little relief. I am the commonality. The constant, the one solving for x when x is already known because I keep picking that particular x over and over again. I see it now. I really do.

And of course I have seen it before, but not in the manner and way that I see it now. My life has always existed in some sort of free floating state waiting for Mr. Wonderful to arrive and take me away from all of my self created misery. Except, on the whole, when I am single and just living my life, I am the happiest I have ever been. So why then do I allow, have allowed, the entrance of him to dude-track me away from the life I have been working so hard to live?

I didn’t value it.

Yep, you heard it here. I didn’t value me or my life or my accomplishments or plans or ideas or whatever. I just allowed those to be co-opted and taken over by whatever his name was...

Me. I did this.

And I would really like to stop...

To stop being vulnerable to being dude-tracked. I mean, I am almost Fiftyfuckingfour. One would think that I would have matured past a hopeless romantic teenager but alas, it appears not.

No, here I am making the same mistakes with men repeatedly and swearing each time that I have finally learned my lesson. But I haven’t. Really all that commotion was just there to keep me stuck in a life long pattern on repeat.

Being susceptible to getting dude-tracked means that one does not and cannot value ones own life. Whenever the option for a new him comes along, I have been wiling to wholesale my life one more time for the promise of another happily never after.

I mean, I walk the line between hopeful romantic and life hardened cynic. And it is a delicate balance to be sure.

I say I want a partnership and loving commitment but I keep picking men that are not available for that, if they are even capable of it at all. And I see it, I know it at the beginning but I allow that childlike person inside me, the one that desperately needs to believe that there is another ending to this particular fairytale...and she is the one in charge of all beginnings...every damn time.

I took her for a hike today and we talked. I told her that I could no longer allow her to make these types of grievous errors in judgment anymore. That I am no longer willing or able to pay the price. She said she understood in a way that communicated to me that she was already scanning the horizon for the next man-sized eddy to park us in for another 6 to 18 months. I saw the wistfulness in her eyes, her firm jawline, insistent even in her acquiescence to my request. So I made it a command.

I have no business dating. I have no business doing much of anything except working, reading, writing, hiking, and enjoying the fuck out of my life. And allow that to be enough for a little while. To just be happy with this life. Where I am self employed, with meaningful work that helps people in a dark time in their lives. Where I have a couple years left with this amazing kid still at home. Where I help my son from a safe distance navigate the perils of adulthood in Texas. Where I live in a beautiful home that I purchased and remodeled to my tastes and satisfactions. Where I go to the gym and sculpt my body into what I have always wanted it to be, at fiftyfuckingfour, no less. Where I sit on my deck, catching sunbeams and warming myself from the outside in. Where I sit in quiet mediation and prayer with yoga gently moving me and stretching me daily. Where I spend hours of time each week wandering in meadows, hills and woods with my best friend, the dog at my side. Where I spend time weekly engaged in social relationships that I trust and value and support and feel equally supported in. Where my family resides, in this tiny mountain town that sometimes seems like everything I could ever want or need and at other times, barely able to contain me.

This is where I belong. This is where my life makes sense. This is the prize for never allowing myself to be dude-tracked again. And today I marvel at its backdrop like quality in that this amazing life is always here waiting for me when I wake up and make a decision to stop allowing myself to be dude-tracked again, still.

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