You can’t always get what you want. But if you try, you just might find, you get what you need.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards penned this keen observation in 1969. While I do not know this for sure, “The Story I Make Up in My Head”* is that they were trippin’ on something when they wrote it and it sounded pretty cool–groovy, if you will. Who knows? Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t smoking a doobie or dropping some Orange Sunshine,  but either way, this catchy little hook is quite profound. (Much of rock n roll was, kids.) “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” has been voted Number 100 on Billboard’s “Most Important Songs” of all time.

I just hate it when I do not get what I want. I am not into trying to figure out “what I just might find out,” if I tried. I want what I want, when I want it. Because you know, I know exactly what I need.

I have spent a lifetime making sure that I got what I wanted. And what I wanted was a family of my very own, financial stability, meaningful work, good friends, and maybe just a few “pretty shiny things.” And, oh, how I loved my life. My family meant everything to me. I had overcome the odds. Made a life that was very different than the one I knew as a child. My children were not going to experience a “broken home” as I had. They were not going to have to start life behind the eight ball–they were going to get all those tools that I did not get. I managed to stay in love with my husband of thirty years, and even though it was a far from perfect marriage, it was good. I willed it all to happen. I was so proud. I was getting what I wanted, and what I needed. Screw you, Rolling Stones.

This worked really well for me, until it just didn’t anymore. Until the world came crashing down. Until I just couldn’t muster the strength to keep pushing that bolder up the hill. Until my marriage ended. Until I wanted to die rather than keep on going.

In order to survive, I had to let my dream go. And it was fight until the end. Because you see, I knew exactly what I needed.

So, I guess I didn’t know. Or, maybe shit just happens, and we can either choose to learn from it, or let it make us miserable and bitter. I have chosen to keep my heart open rather than let it close down, chosen to love, instead of hate. It is hard sometimes, and I pray a lot for bravery to keep me in this place of vulnerability. But, hey, be very careful about what you pray or wish for, right?

Believe it or not, on-line dating has been an important tool in practicing my so-called “new way of living.” Anyone who signs up on-line is, in essence, making himself or herself vulnerable. I applaud my fellow brothers and sisters! Even the creepy ones. I learn from them, too.

I have met many more nice guys than not-so-nice guys. I have had some interesting conversations. I have talked to some fascinating people. I have rediscovered the fun of flirting. I am having some fun.

I have even had my heart broken a little bit. It wasn’t so bad. At least I was willing to stick my toe back into the water and see what it felt like to experience the thrill of being attractive and attracted to someone. I am grateful for this person who came into my life, even if it was ever so brief. He helped me to find the courage to kick open a door in my heart that was not just closed, but on lockdown . Some healing happened. And man, was it fun.

Wonders of wonders, I think I may have found that I am getting what I need.

10398571_133633996998_442405_n-3
Georgia and friends jumping in Iceland

*Shout out to my Shades Babes

Valentines Day Thoughts

Recently I was told by someone that I seemed to think in terms of song lyrics “a lot.”  He is right, and I’ve never thought about it before. This is one of the joys of dating at this age; you have a chance to learn things about yourself you weren’t aware of. I also hum a lot, harmonize to songs on the radio (to my kids’ chagrin)  and am deeply moved by music. This piece of music penned by Bonnie Raitt has been running around in my head the last few days; you know, it being the season of LOVE and all.

Long lasting, deep, and intimate kind of love means getting down where it’s “tangled and dark…down where your fears are parked.” It’s messy, it hurts, but it also exhilarates. Yes, it’s risky, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But how do you define those two terms? I was married thirty years, and have recently gotten divorced. Does this mean I “lost?” I don’t think so…I won so much, and am so grateful for the children that union produced and the love that we made when we were together. Can’t bring myself to say “thank you” to him yet…it still hurts too much. But I am beginning to heal, so who knows?

Meanwhile..here’s Bonnie Raitt

Gonna get into it, babe
Down where it’s tangled and dark
Way on into it, baby
Down where your fears are parked

Gonna tell the truth about it, babe
Honey, that’s the hardest part
When we get through it, baby
You’re gonna give up your heart

Gonna get into it, baby
Gonna give them demons a call, babe
Way on into it, baby
Gonna find out once and for all

Gonna get a little risky, baby
Honey, that’s my favorite part
When we get through it, baby
Gonna give up our hearts
Gonna give up our hearts

Well, there’s no turnin’ back
No turnin’ back this time
Well, there’s no turnin’ back
No turnin’ back

No use in runnin’
It’s always the same
You can count on the panic
It’s the faces that change

We might have a chance
To get this love off the block
So take a deep breath
Let’s look under that rock, now baby

Gonna get into it, baby
Down where it’s tangled and dark, no, no, baby
Way on into it, baby
Down where your fears are parked

Gonna tell the truth about it, baby
Honey, that’s the hardest part
When we get through it, baby
You’re gonna give up

If we get through it, baby
You’re gonna give up, you’re gonna give up
When we get through it, baby
You’re gonna give up your heart

Gonna give up your heart
Gonna give up your heart
Ooh babe, gonna give up
You’re gonna give up, you’re gonna give up
Gonna give up, gonna give up your heart

Hey baby, gonna give up, gonna give up
Gonna give up, gonna give up
Gonna give up your heart

Songwriters
BONNIE RAITT

A few random thoughts on Valentines Days past:

My birthday is on February the fourth, and as a child my birthday parties were always Valentine themed.  Mother would make me a heart-shaped cake and ice it pink. One of the nicest memories I have as a child.

In the fifth grade my friend, Lisa Cox, and I were long, tall beauties (I think we were at least 5’4″ this being Texas and all). There was one cute guy in our class who was taller than we were; Allen Winder. He was 5’7″. Lisa and I had our sights set on him.  Valentines Day rolled around and I decided I would win him over to “Team Sherry” by making him a hand-made Valentine card. As I recall I spent a lot of time creating it. It was elaborate, mushy, and totally heartfelt. I slipped the card in his decorated lunch bag that served as a mail box. And waited. I don’t remember what happened, but I do remember that crush I had on Allen and the feelings I had to this very day. It is a lovely memory (Thanks Allen), and it has served an important function over the years.  When I was dating and would get disgusted with guys and think I didn’t want to see another one, I would worry that I might be lesbian and hadn’t admitted it (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course).  Then I would remember Allen Winder and the intense feelings I had (in the fifth grade, for God’s sake!) and that would settle it. Lisa is still a long, tall beauty to this day, and Allen Winder went on to play basketball professionally.

When I was first married my then-husband gave me a beautiful, store-bought Valentines card. He painstakingly outlined every single line in that card to personalize it just for me. I cry even now at the sweet memory of that. Thank you (SEE! I said thank you!)

I am “alone” this Valentines Day, but not really. I have people that I love in my life, and I am deeply and profoundly grateful for them.

Happy Valentines Day all y’all.

154796_10150091618736999_1263565_n
University of San Diego soon-to-be graduates.