Malahide to Portmarnock Coast walk

Today I decided I would walk the Malahide to Portmarnock coast road. It was a stunning morning with a beautiful sun shining low.

The walk there and back is about 10k. And with the views it seemed like a much shorter walk.

As you leave Malahide you can look over the beautiful golden sands.

Living away from home, the biggest thing that I miss the most (apart from my family) is the ocean. I miss the smells, the noice, the views but above all I miss “the feel good factor”. Walking barefoot in the sand grounds us, it connects us to nature’s beauty and reduces stress as life finds perspective

The daffodils were already blooming and glowing and people were walking around. Everyone seemed content.

You can see the headland of a Howth in the distance and out at sea you can see Lambay Island

I have never done this walk before but I’ll definitely be doing it again in the very near future .

Massy Woods

First orienteering course attempted last week.

We took a drive up to Massy woods yesterday which is across from Hell Fire Club. Weather wise it was perfect. We took a packed lunch, rain gear and of course our orienteering maps.

We parked at Hell Fire Club. I was excited about reading the maps. It was going to be a fun afternoon.

It’s not as easy as it looks with me getting slightly lost at one stage. It was however a lot of fun.

You don’t have to do the orienteering, you can just go for a walk and I would highly recommend it. The scenery is beautiful and you will definitely feel like you are away from all the stresses of life.

Dear 2020 please be kind.

Let’s just say that 2019 was the most challenging, emotional and spiritual year of my life. In the past year I have been through more upheaval than some people will experience in a life time. My marriage, my health, my family, my finances and my emotional wellbeing were in pieces around me. Much of what defined me collapsed in a matter of weeks.

Looking back over 2019, I want to be able to look back and be grateful, no matter the roadblocks that came in my way. I refuse to be bitter and allow these challenges to take away any power and the love that lies within me. I wanted to allow my pain and loss to take over any sense of joy or peace I felt. I wanted to give more space to my pain so that I could validate it, and somehow feel better through it. So I’ve decided that I’m gong to take time out today to reminisce on this painful year no matter the emotions that will surface, allow myself to dig deep and see all the bad and good that came to me.

New Year’s Day I decided to walk away from a very toxic marriage. A decision that took 2 years to make. Walking away from any relationship can be difficult, because been alone can be a very scary proposition. Staying would have been a tragedy. If toxic people were an ingestible substance, they would definitely come with a high powered warning and secure packaging to prevent any chance of accidental contact. Sadly, families are just not immune to the poisoning lashings of a toxic relationship. Most relionships can feel impossibly difficult at times but for the most part it should feel nurturing and life-giving and at the very least they shouldn’t hurt. Breaking away from the marraige really felt like tearing at barbed wire with bare hands. The more you do this the more it hurts, so for a while you stop tearing, until you realise that its not the tearing that hurts, its the barbed wire – the relationship – and weather you tear it or not, it wont stop cutting into you.

In February, I went for a cycle and got knocked off my bike as I collided into a lorry. My injuries were a concussion, bruises and scratches. I was very lucky. People normally focus on the physical injuries but there was some anxiety and a little post traumatic stress over the weeks that followed. It wasn’t until months later that the reality of what could have been really hit me. I’m still afraid to cycle.

At the beginning of March the marriage breakdown had become hostile and dangerous. I felt broken, wounded and disconnected. The pain was like water, it always found a way to push through any seal. There was no way to stop it. I made the decision to leave my home. A very emotional, stressful decision but one I knew that I had to do. Downsizing from a beautiful three story house to living in a tiny ass bedroom was challenging, both emotionally and mentally. But I felt safe and you can’t put a price on that. I freed myself from material possessions. I’m learning to find home within myself and not look for it outside of myself.

At the end of March, just when I thought I was coming out of the storm, I was hit with the most devastating news ever. On Mothers Day the biggest tragedy of my life happened. My darling sisters life was taken from her. Just like that she was gone. Coping with a violent death is the most severe challenge I had to face. The challenges around this became two-fold. I found myself trying to deal with the trauma and cope with the grief. Many people live with the assumption that the world is a predictable, fair and just place. They believe that they are in control, that they are safe and secure. The harsh reality is very different. There is no way to find the slightest relief from this ordeal. On top of experiencing the natural pain of any loss, I’m finding myself particularly vulnerable to two of the harshest aspects of the whole grief process: self punishment and chaos. Thrown into a pool of torment where my emotions batter and rage without mercy. Along side this I’m dealing with unfamiliar responsibilities, unrealistic demands and very painful intrusions. All of this of course causes a very high level of personal chaos and confusion. Mental images of her death is a constant torture. Coping with agonising factual details and my own imaginings. Imagining her final moments can be the on going torment.

The next few months I put all my energy into the investigation of my sisters death. Threw myself into work but eventually work became very difficult. Working along side my husband was impossible. My stress levels were at an all time high. The environment was abnormal and in September the decision was made to close the business after 10years. Another kick, another loss. When was this year going to end?

I learned a lot in 2019. I learned how selfless I can be. Even in my darkest moments I still made space for others in my heart. I didn’t think I was capable of this. I know now I can give so much even when I feel I don’t have to. Whether that is time, money, love or things. I learned that I didn’t have to struggle alone. People genuinely cared. I had so many people try to help mend my heart. I’ve learned to stop trying too hard. I’m learning to be myself without giving a shit about what people think. I’ve been trying to do that my whole life but I’ve reached a whole new level of not giving a shit. Not because I don’t value other people’s opinions or beliefs, but because I’m beginning to value my own more. In 2019 I freed myself from other people’s expectations of me. I’m grateful for my courage to leave everything behind and start a whole new life. I’m very grateful for all the new entering my life and very grateful for the things that left. I’m grateful that I inspired you and that I inspired myself. I’m grateful that throughout the shittiest year of my life, I rose above and became more of who I am, and for that I am blessed.

I hope that anyone who is going through a challenging time, that they will read this and realise that they have no reason to feel despair. I hope they feel uplifted, encouraged and inspired and that their sparkle returns into their eyes.

I survived the year, going into new relationships, successes and extra large doses of happiness. 2019 definitely changed me. It hardened me up in some ways and it exposed long denied vulnerabilities, too. I’m looking forward to discovering all that 2020 has in store for me. I’m ready for ya!!

How long is too long for you?

In my opinion I believe Porn can be blamed for a lot of pathologies and false ideas about sex: that women love anal; that we like to have our pussies spat upon and smacked; that men need to bone as if they’re literally filming a porn movie. But I believe one of the biggest myths it’s responsible for is that women expect a gentleman on the streets and a marathon runner in the sheets.

Believe it or not (I couldn’t), some guys don’t cum that easily. Shock! Maybe it’s from using condoms. Maybe it’s their medication. Maybe it’s too much masturbating and watching too much porn. Maybe their sperm has stage fright. Maybe their so emotionally unavailable that their dick can’t let its guard down. But for whatever reason, try as you both might, the jizz remains on lockdown, the orgasm elusive.

Back in my 20s(many years ago) I was dating a guy, I’m going to call him 5K – who had a severe case of delayed ejaculation or “rock cock” as its aptly called. No matter what I done I couldn’t seem to give him an orgasm. No matter how long I blew him, screwed him, or jerked him off. It didn’t matter, he could only achieve orgasm about one out of every ten sessions. Very frustrating.

He assured me it wasn’t for lack of desire, and so, we decided to bang our way through whatever the block was, which led to marathon sex sessions. But after 50 mins in- after doggy style; the lazy boy ( on the side, one leg thrown over his leg) ; bridge pose; and even slow intimate (read: creepy), missionary- I was dry, bored and hungry.

Him?

Still hard.

Most women would kill for this kind of lover, right? I started thinking what was wrong with me? Isn’t that why Viagra was a billion dollar industry? (Nope. It’s because old men can’t get it up.) It did get me thinking, though: how long is too long? ( the duration of sex, naturally, not dick size)

For my own unscientific study, a few months ago, (before summer)I put out a call on social media asking the ladies, “Not including foreplay, how long is too long for the duration of sex?”

One woman replied immediately and said “Any man who says ‘I’m gonna rock your world all night baby’ hasn’t had that much sex.

Over all there seemed to be a vast difference in the desired amount of time one has for sex depending on if the respondent was single or married. This was interesting! Two single women said their ideal trip to Pound Town was “three hours” but I feel like only people having sex occasionally would say that, because no one who’s having sex on the reg has time for daily three hour sexcapades. Do they?

That said, there did seem to be some unity among the women I surveyed (about 30 of them) some of my favorite replies:

“If I’m having sex longer than 35 minutes, I’m over it. And if I don’t cum in the first 5 minutes, I’m definitely over it.”

“The pleasing me part starts first. There’s no time duration for that. The intercourse part after should be under 10 minutes. I could be in and out from beginning to end in 11-15 minutes I’d say….. with 8 of those minutes solely focused on me.”

“I start thinking about tax returns at minute 12. Money keeps me enthusiastic.”

“Straight pounding? 23 minutes.”

“Anything more than 35 minutes starts to reach the ‘hurry the fuck up’ point for me”

“Five and half minutes of actual sex. Iv already long orgasmed by then, even 20 minutes would be too long, I’m tired and bored”

Most of the men who replied said something along the lines of “Please say three minutes! Please say three minutes! Please say three minutes!”

This struck me as brutally honest. In my experience, a majority of men exert a great amount of energy during coitus trying not to cum to quickly and trying to please her. And don’t get me wrong, on a scale of sexual conditions a man can experience, I’ll take rock cock over premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. But 5k’s inability to climax fucked with my head more than I though it would. I had no idea how much of my sexual self-worth and identity was invested in my ability to readily and quickly make a man cum. It was an interesting time.

It shook the very foundation of my entire delusion that I was some kind of otherworldly sex goddess, and as a result, I started feeling uninspired to have sex because I felt like I had failed. No matter how much he reassured me it was nothing to do with what I was doing or not doing as the case may be. I realize that sex shouldn’t be goal-oriented, but it bothered me on a level far deeper than my brain or feelings. This was some gut-level frustration that was hard to shake. It really was something that struggled with. Turns out men aren’t the only ones who get insecure about leaving their partner sexually frustrated. Fancy that.

The moral of the story: We all think we want to have sex for the average length of a porn scene, but in reality, the average man is lucky to last 6-7 minutes and most women seem to be content to finish somewhere between 10-25 minutes of knockin’ boots. Happy Days!

Trust me the giant caveat been that you can really only get away with a five minute roll-in-the-hay if you take care of her first during foreplay. If not, you’re what we ladies refer to as a “lazy one pump chump.”

For me I’ll all for a robust sex sesh. The foreplay can last for as long as we’ve got but after around minute 22 of intercourse, i start thinking about what I want to eat for dinner (or breakfast- I’m one of those freaks who loves morning sex)

Take note, the jury might be hung in regards to how long is too long, but it’s case closed on how short is too short. And it’s when you climax before she does.

Have you ever had a crush on someone? Were you embarrassed? And do you think it was healthy?

We’ve all played the lead role in a drama ladened with angst, sweaty palms, racing heart and the inability to concentrate on anything or anyone else except the object of our desire. Crushes can be extremely embarrassing, and can be difficult to imagine that all this cringe worthy behavior has a purpose and is actually good for us – at least most of the time.

Crushes have more to do with fantasy than reality. We can be taken unaware when Cupid strikes, suddenly becoming self conscious around someone you find attractive. Why it happens is a bit of a mystery. It tells more about the admirer than the admired.

So in its purest sense, a crush is a form of parasocial relationship; a one sided relationship where you have feelings for someone else but these feelings are not reciprocated.

So what goes on in our heads? The feeling of infatuation or love that crushes feel is real. It’s said that when we are in love that the stress and reward system in our brain works over time. The same could possibly be true when we have a crush. The feel good chemical is released making us excitable, chatty and probably explains why we blurt out unimaginable embarrassing things. This is exemplified by the mortifying line “I carried a watermelon” in Dirty Dancing.

It’s thought that when you’re in love or lust the stress and rewards system in our brain are working overtime and the same is possibly true when having a crush .

When your brain is examined by an MRI someone in Love tents to have a high activity in the limbic area (I asked a brain consultant) so perhaps this is the area we refer to if we trust our head over our hearts when it comes to finding a partner! The limbic system is associated with addiction, this might explain how getting over a crush can be tough, and some of us hold a torch for years.

Why do we have crushes anyway?

Is there a higher purpose to having a crush other than it makes us feel good. Parasocial relationships in adolescents can be important. This can allow the adolescent to explore who they are, sexually and understand what attracts them in a safe way. Plus they are not going to get hurt like in a relationship.

However it’s very important to distinguish between imagining what a relationship would be like, and having a crush with the intention of exploring a relationship.

Most of us have dated the wrong type of person, and had our heard broken as a result. Crushes can ensure this doesn’t happen. This person (the crush) is the right person because you idolize them, there going to be who you want them to be, it’s kinda like a training ground for a proper relationship in the future. Adolescent crushes are healthy in my opinion and teenagers shouldn’t feel embarrassed.

In adulthood things are a little more difficult. Our evolutionary history suggests we are not a monogamous species. So crushes could be a way to identify a future or additional partner to meet our needs, or could be that the adult is stuck in adolescent mode or it could be a getaway behavior that leads to cheating.

To finalize, I think crushes are harmless. It can help reduce loneliness and boost confidence. Crushes could help reinvigorate a stale relationship.

I’d encourage people to recognize that they are idealizing their crush. You can’t control who you have a crush on, just enjoy it.

Donatello’s Maynooth

Italian Food is all about the ingredients, it’s not fussy it’s not fancy.

Last Tuesday I met my sister and my niece for lunch. They took me to Donatello’s. The room is nice and big, decorated simply but cosy. The service was welcoming and polite.

I ordered there rustic lunch board meal at €13. I had the mussels, 6inch pizza and rosemary potatoes. I couldn’t fault anything. I asked for the pizza to be spicy and it was perfect. Since il primo closed in Dublin I have struggled to find a nice Italian restaurant and Donatello’s matched it. I’m really looking forward to going back.

Marriage. Do we need to do this?

Marriage made a lot of sense years ago. Let’s go back to the Victorian Era, when most women didn’t have the same rights and roles as men, and were effectively “private property” a societal legacy that still influences our tradition of the bride walking down the aisle and taking her husbands last name.

Women needed financial security as they didn’t have access to the work force and men needed an heir. We prettied it up by calling it “love”

So does marriage still play a role now? Women don’t need financial security as women have the same rights as men and yes I agree the whole reproduction thing still exists but do we need to get married for this reason ?

This blog is about long term monogamous, cohabiting couples and I’m not comparing marriage to bachelorhood or single parents. Why are we still getting married?

There are 3 arguments to look at

  1. The Taxes argument
  2. The children argument
  3. The commitment argument

The taxes argument: usually isn’t valid. People mention this argument when they want to skip out of the emotional part of this and try and make them selves believe that they are making a logical decision. But most people don’t benefit from this.

The children argument: it’s said that a 2 parent home is better for kids. But there is nothing to say that the parents need to be married.

The commitment argument: wow, there is a lot in this one. A famous magazine wrote something once, and it went something like this “declaring your love in front of all your family and friends in a formal ceremony and signing your marriage license that seals the deal is meaningful” now let me translate that, it’s harder to leave when everyone identifies you as been part of a married couple.

Marriage has become a status symbol. This is evident in “same sex marriage” marriage is about external validation. The assumption that marriage not only gives them a bundle of rights but also a privileged position . People marry to show their family and friends how well their lives are going even if they know it’s not going to last forever. Unfortunately our desire for acceptance and respect in society runs that deep. People say they get married for security, it makes it more difficult to leave. But that’s false security as contracts can be broken. With security we get comfortable and when we get comfortable we get lazy, and we all know relationships take work and been lazy is top of the list why couples divorce. I know people will say ” we know this, relationships take work” and my response is “why the contract ? Who don’t you trust? You or your partner?

When people tell me that they marry for “love” that just translates to “I don’t want to be alone”

I would much rather leave the door open for my partner to come back because he wants to not because of a legal contract that says he had to.

We love things more when we call them “ours” you evaluate kitchen equipment more positively after you buy it. You evaluate your job more positively after you accept it. You evaluate your college more positively after you have been accepted. Gamblers evaluate their horses more positively after they leave the betting window rather than when they approach it, and voters evaluate their candidates more positively after they cast their vote. A kettle, a job, college, a horse and a TD are all just fine and dandy but when they become our kettle, job, college, horse and TD they are instantly finer and dandier. It’s like when you hear people say ” my wedding day was the happiest day of my life” it’s not about having married “the one” its about having married.

It’s a fact that if you commit to something orally or in writing your more likely to honor it.

So where are we? We recognize that we desire social acceptance, false sense of security and love things more after we call them ours. So the question is, what do we do? What does this mean for marriage? The answer I guess really depends on our goals and values. What makes us happy?

If you value social acceptance (with family, friends, professionals and or religious groups) then just get married and do whatever it takes to stay married. But if you value more deeper happiness then you have to take a more complex approach. If you think you can have both and only pursue one, your wrong unless you are defining “happiness” as “social acceptance”

Deeper happiness means that we know that they only thing we control is ourselves. And everything changes, people change. Contracts mean very little to the human spirit. Deeper happiness means we view people as people and not parts to complete the picture of “the perfect life”

What makes us happy is focusing on what we can control (which is ourselves) and committing (ourselves) to our partner and loving them hard every day.

The only thing we control is ourselves. Marriage is about commitment, but it does start and finish with our own. And after that we just need to respect our partners as their own person, separate from us who commit to us, but not by a contract but by choice.

Should marriage licenses be renewed ?

If a marriage license had an expiration date do you think couples would treat each other different?

There are so many licenses that need to be renewed, dog license, TV license, fishing license, driving license. But not a marriage license. I believe this is the one license that should be renewed.

Do you think that after a few years that a couple should prove that they are successful in their marriage and have to renew their license?

Now I agree this is written with a little tongue-in-cheek, but think of the possibility’s. I’m also aware that a brand new batch of legal issues would have to be addressed, but I also think its an interesting subject to ponder with regards to the quality of the marriage. Would the marriage years lived together be different? What behavioral changes would the couples make if they knew their marriage had a chance of not been renewed? Would they treat their partner as they did before marriage ? (You know “the honeymoon period” “the golden time”) where everything is sweetness and light and romance fills the air and the couple know that their marriage is going to be the best marriage EVER!

So let’s entertain me and say that the license is a renewable one. How long should it be valid before its renewed? Every year? Every two years? Everyone will have their own personal opinion on this time frame. But I think it should be every 5 years. The first couple of years couples are just getting use to been married. They would need time to settle into this. If after 5 years they decide to renew the license they could have another wedding ceremony, a party, another honeymoon or simply just renew their marriage license.

Lawyers could see this as a loss of potential income. Bare with me! If a couple did decide to divorce before their marriage license expired then the divorce proceedings would go on as before and divorce lawyers still make their bank trying to unite the angry couple. Of course if the couple decide after 5 years not to renew their license then the marriage legally dissolves and the couple divide all the goodies that they acquired in their marriage. Yes of course lawyers could still be needed for this part so the advent of a marriage license renewal should not put them off. Would this result in a better marriage between the two if they can resolve their issues? Would this make a better “end of marriage” scenario if they decide not to renew?

But I’m much more interested in what happens in the marriage between renewals . How will the marriage proceed during the interim? Would the couple act differently towards each other? Would they treat each other with more reverence? Would it feel more like they are dating rather than they are “stuck” with each other? How would it effect their behavior? Would it be better?

Could the fact that they must renew their license make for a better more rewarding , happy marriage? That’s the question for me because I’ve seen so many people living in misery while been married and I know so many people that have been divorced. It just seems clear to me that something needs to done to jumpstart the change. The status quo does not seem to be working at all.

So for whatever it’s worth, I certainly think it’s worth pondering. Let’s face it unhappy marriages are rampant these days and the fallout affects us all. Unhappy marriages make for unhappy people and unhappy homes. Unhappy marriages are unhealthy. If having a marriage license that had to be renewed would someone make happier people, wouldn’t it be worth it?

Nothing lasts forever and if people must get married (and in my next blog I’ll tell you why I don’t think people should get married at all) shouldn’t it be a renewable contract.

What is the opposite of loneliness?

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness yet, but if we did, I would say that’s what I want in my life!

There really are only two profound tragedies of the human condition: Impermanence is one and Loneliness is the other. Impermanence is a tragedy of time, loneliness is a tragedy of space. Today I’m going to concentrate on Loneliness, and attempt to find its “opposite”.

We really must define the word “loneliness” before we can attempt to find the opposite. Loneliness is commonly articulated as the sensational byproduct of been physically, emotionally or mentally alone, or a mix of the above. So let’s take an example….you start a new job, you know nobody, you feel like a curious interloper from another planet thrown into a foreign culture. That’s close to Loneliness but still not quite right. You see real loneliness runs a lot deeper than that. It’s when you feel alone even when you aren’t actually alone. Let me explain.

Loneliness is about feeling like you don’t know anybody but more of a feeling like nobody knows you. So how does this manifest itself?

Do you describe your relationship with the world as a car in second gear? Loneliness is an unfulfilled desire for a connection with other humans. A loathing and resignation that directed inward…… kinda like an electrical voltage that sparks a connection but reversed and turned upon itself , paralyzing you the way a taser would.

Everyone loves wit, a compliment or good news. Bring enough of it to enough people and you’ll make them feel warm and fuzzy all over. (Its a great feeling) These are nearly a bullet proof way to be likable. Humans love to be made feel good. It’s a natural thing. Have you done this? Iv done this often…. in fact it is my default setting making people smile and laugh and then vanish into the ether.

I suspect you will believe me that this makes me a hit at parties and social gatherings, and also surprisingly awkward. Here’s the thing….A lot of likable people are completely lonely.

Now let’s talk social media. We craft these social networks and (supposedly) gleefully overshare in the hopes that somebody, anybody will relate to us. We need the connection. Your network could be one, two or three thousand people that you consider friends, or sought out an avalanche of hearts and likes on a professionally candid photo, or a status that doubles as an epic description of your success. Occasionally you will receive the validation and it momentarily makes you feel less lonely. But when all reaction is current, and all reaction is superficial , self loathing and self doubt and the other two horse men of the self- apocalypse ride into our virtual town. Is this a precursor for becoming less lonely?

Your so vulnerable and brave my friends say to me. It takes a lot of courage to bleed onto the keyboard for all to see.

Ahh….. but the masses have been dubbed. What I choose to share with people isn’t an expression of any sort of emotional vulnerability. I am broadcasting, a far less emotional or risky endeavor than conversation. Broadcasting things probably makes you worth listing to, but only a conversation can confirm to people that your worth knowing. So to become someone worth knowing this requires reciprocity and vulnerability. It also requires actual investment of emotional capital into people you wish to know. And there’s only a fixed amount allotted for distribution, in a deeper way than taking 15 seconds to “like” and comment .

To keep up actual friendship it requires resources. To be someone worth knowing requires “real” human interaction. You have to have conversations beyond social media. Expressing your differences, changing peoples minds, passionately defending the points that defend our character. Asking for and offering favors. This is what makes this life worth living. Agree?

When we’re lonely what are we craving ? We are craving more connecting NOT more connections!

The opposite of loneliness is intimacy

the act of revealing your whole true self to someone else and having them reciprocate It is something you can only do one-on-one, face-to-face, soul-to-soul. Intimacy is lots of things, an act of love, an act of self-love, an act of defiance all in one. It’s gritty, emotional, raw, unfiltered, unabashed, unpretentious and even unguarded. It’s like talking about things together. It’s also about being and about becoming things together.

What are we in this world if not connectable interlocking parts? What is-the point in having joy, suffering, talent and wisdom if not to be shared and imparted? A sole is not a silo, a mind is not a mine. We worship, learn, aid, sing, dance, watch, call, visit, fuck, create, talk, run, love, try, read, write to bring ourselves closer. To make whole what we lack in the emptiness of loneliness. I believe a heart unbroken is a life unwatered, and I believe a dream undashed is a life unlived. I also believe….To play safe,to play solo is to play a fools game. We may very well find success in rising above the rest, but we can only win by lifting up others. That requires intimacy. Intimacy requires the courage to make enemies, equally as easily as we make friends.

And this is how we beat back the gray twilight of loneliness and we find ourselves in the company of those we’ve challenged to truly see and accept us for who we are. Its like a game of emotional and intellectual catch where neither drops the ball. It is transcendent, and it is the momentary defeat of our uniquely human tragedy.