My Story, Yours Too.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Woman on the Verge of Paradise: Angst, Zen and Challah

Sign reads: "May you find Paradise to be all its name implies"

I’ve spent the last several weeks sliding between phases of angst and zen, with tearful interludes. As I prepare to leave the Bay Area in three mornings from now, feelings are charged. Don’t get me wrong. I’m truly grateful and plan to give Paradise the best of me. Still, I’m sad.

While I sat in synagogue during Shabbat services last week, a waterfall of tears distracted me from prayer. That’s okay. I didn’t go there to pray. I went for the challah.[1]  And for one last visit to say “goodbye”: a literal "goodbye” to the Rabbi and congregants and a quiet, personal “goodbye” for me. (And then, some more challah.)

Glancing up, I saw myself with the groom. We married on that bimah[2] 3-1/2 years earlier. I wiped the first round of tears to notice how ecstatic I was that day. My smile said “I finally did it, people! I found my happily ever after and, damnit, I deserve it!“ I was so right and so wrong.

On our wedding day, the Rabbi compared me to Alice’s Cheshire Cat, with a smile that crossed my face throughout our courtship. “She hasn’t stopped smiling since they met. I’d see them here at services and wish they paid a little more attention to the service than to each other,“ he joked, proceeding to bless our union.

Now, as I leave the Bay Area, I carry a deep sadness for the fallen love and marriage. Though it ended years ago, this impending move is somehow marking the divorce a sharp reality. Feelings of loss are prominently weighing on me.

Fortunately, loss and gain are on the same spectrum. So, while it’s a tough departure, it’s a good one. I get to start over in a field I only dreamt about entering. I’m smiling again. In fact, I feel as though I’ve just begun to find my happily ever after.

Last month, Nora asked about my decision to leave the Bay Area. I had initially told her I wouldn’t relocate. While walking back to the lodge after our first conversation, as I explained to Nora, I had a little talk with myself. It went like this:

“You’re being silly,” I said to me. “You CAN leave. Nobody’s keeping you there.”

“But you’ll never meet a man if you leave the Bay Area,” I retorted to me.

“Look, me,” I then told me, ”What are you going to do? Stay there in celibacy and turn down a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because of some man who you haven’t already met or dated after nearly 20 years in the Bay Area but who you’ll suddenly meet and fall in love with, and life will be outrageously glorious, so glorious that it’s worth bypassing this chance to work for Nora Profit in Paradise? Don’t you think that’s stupid?”

“Yes, me, you’re right.” I said to me. “You’re being stupid and so am I. Nothing personal.”

After relaying this discourse to Nora, she summarized perfectly: “It’s about thinking outside of the box.”
1 Challah = braided bread traditionally eaten by Jews on Shabbat and other holidays. P.S. The soft inside is most yummy.

2 Bimah = the elevated area or platform in a Jewish synagogue.


  1. Change is not often easy...but onward to bigger, better things! I have good thoughts going out your way! xoxoxo

  2. Sometimes it's so hard to move forward, but it's just what we need. You are going to love working with Nora! The other things will work themselves out as they should. There's a reason this opportunity came along, and I firmly believe that.

  3. Oh Robyn my friend, life will be fine. Maybe you will meet a man off in the area of your new place.

    Don't freat about the past, just look to the opportunities of the future.

  4. What's so special about the Bay area anyway? Do all the eligible men live there? Those are the questions I would have asked you if I'd been you.

  5. Mar, thanks hon. xo

    Krissy, I really appreciate your sweet words. Thank you. ;0)

    OT, thanks for the wise advice. xo

    GB, to which I would have said "Yeah, you are right, you/me. You are being really stupid (no offense)." Thanks. <-:

  6. Change is hard, but this one is good xo

  7. It's a good move, and at a good time. You will find happiness soon, and the past sorrow will only enhance what you find in the future. Your ex is an idiot, because I know how sweet you are.

  8. Robyn, you do not need to meet a man to be a complete, wonderful, and special person. You are already there.

  9. Alex, that is the sweetest comment I've ever gotten. Thanks so much. Hugs to you. xo

    Sarah, thanks. It is a good move at a good time. This moving business is -well- moving. Isn't it? Thinking of you too. ;0)

    Marnie, true. Thanks, my good friend. xo

  10. See how smart you are! You figured it all out. You are gutsy and very creative and you are gonna have a great life up there!

    Challah? Had I known about that as a kid I would have held out to be one of the chosen! All that I got was that little nasty wafer, what a rip off...

  11. Ohhhhhhhh, challah.....I LOVE challah!
    Well, not physically-because that would be icky-but I could make a meal out of it (and have).
    I even made a couple of loaves one Thanksgiving. I almost had a heart attack when my wife started to slice one of them. "It's supposed to be pull-apart!!!"

  12. Robyn, I say you go and enjoy yourself in Paradise. Sounds like you derserve a fresh start.

    Challah sounds delish. Never had it though.

  13. Nice post - agree with the other posters, embrace change and you will be fine Robyn, is challah something one eats?

  14. Often I wish I could write so seriously as well as you. Bay area be damned. You deserve a fresh start.

  15. When I say Bay area be damned, I mean it in the most respectful way because I love that city.


    Sorry--caps lock-- You are so special and loved Robyn!

    You'll make a great Pie---PRIZE for someone!

    Hugs from the East Coast,



  17. I think you're going to love it!! And I think you'll have great successes. :)

  18. Pat, I know. I went to church with my childhood friends and tasted that wafer. Well, I couldn't taste that wafer. It had no taste. Kinda like our matzah. Thanks for your kind words. xo

    Al, I'm impressed with your challah expertise. Yeah, you have to dig your hands into it (no matter how clean they are)and pull it apart such that you get a nice chunk of the middle. Then I like to act like I have no idea how I ended up with such a big piece. Oh well. [o:

    Chuck, thanks. I'm sure you'd like challah. Let me know if you try it. xo

    David, yes. Challah is bread in a braided loaf. Most markets with healthy-ish and/or ethnic products carry it. I think you and Chuck should go for beers and challah. =~>

    Cheeseboy, thanks so much. I often with I could write with as much silly creativity as you. I love the Bay Area too, but I appreciate your respectful damning of it. xo

    John, you are such a love bug who makes me laugh. Thank you, friend. Hugs and some sunshine back to you from the West Coast. LYMI {-:

    BabySis, thank you kindly. PS I'm going to sit next to you for the next test at Just the Cheese. You're one of those humble genius types, I see. xo

  19. PS Cheeseboy, I meant wish not with. But you knew that. In fact, you can't be bothered to go back to read comments on your comments anyway. You've got bigger and better things to do. ;-b

  20. Challah is so good, I might be goyam but I know some good eats. Big chunks grilled in a flat pan wish I had some now. As to the rest, Godspeed and enjoy the change. It will all work out as planned.

  21. Sorry for the reminder you experienced..but perhaps it was your final letting go.. you obviously needed to do it..
    None of us know what is around the corner.. and life has ways of throwing up surprises..keep hope alive and one day...
    meanwhile, a new adventure starts.. So exciting! Good luck for your final move..Whatever happens, you will be a better person because of it...


  22. I know it must be scary, but I'm glad you are going to make a fresh start! You deserve one! Wherever you go, just make sure there is a laptop. I'd miss your posts too much!

  23. Step outside Robyn, there's a whole world out there just waiting for you. Good things come to those who wait. Maybe it will be just like that Harry Connick Jr. and Renee Zellweger movie "New in Town". You never know when mister right will come along. Go get your groove on in Paradise girl. Your someone is out there waiting on you! xoxo~Ames

  24. The canvas is clean, it's up to you to splash the colors on it. Change is good!

  25. Change is never easy and to give the place and people you have had in your life for so long is a soul wrenching pain...
    The ache is always there but an optimist like you will make her own paradise anywhere...
    who knows? maybe the gates of paradise are manned by Hercules or Adonis himself... ;D

  26. Maybe by the time to get to Paradise they will have all of the roads opened again and most of the snow cleared up?

  27. Hope you find a wonderful man like you really soon, dear Robyn.

    You do deserve a new beginning.

    Big hugs!
    B xx

  28. Personally I can't wait for this new life adventure of yours to start. It will be very interesting and after all that you went through in the Bay area, you have the strength and perspective and sense of humor to do great. You know that don't you. It's why you are one of my best girls.

  29. You are very brave for leaving the "known" for the "unknown" but I know you are going to do great!!!

  30. CSmith, big chunks pan grilled? You do it right! Thanks for the kind words. xo

    Anthony, I always appreciate your friendship and kind words. ;0)

    Kelley, yes, blogging is my priority. I'm a little nervous since I don't have a laptop & don't know how long it will take to re-connect. I hope my followers will be patient for a bit. Thanks. xo

    Ames, thanks for your support and spunk. I will continue to lock my bedroom and bathroom doors to keep all Normans away. ;0)

    Yvonne, I love the artistic metaphor. Thank you. xo

    Rek, I appreciate your touching words. If Hercules and Adonis are there, I'll call you over - to share. [o:

    IT, say what? Snow? You mean that white stuff that I've never had to deal with? Gulp. xo

    Betty, thank you and big hugs in return. ;~>

    Kal, you're a sweet buddy. Thank you. xo

    Gayle, I knew I'd regret it if I didn't go for it. Thank you. {-;

  31. Oh, Robyn, you're a smart woman. I've always liked that about you.

    Don't forget to consider Minneapolis some day. Fantastic arts community, a number of synagogues and after a long hard winter we are insanely happy in spring and summer. It's like a drug.


  32. sometimes it is so hard to be ok with the choices we make, especially when we can't possibly know what the future holds. I think you will still be having many conversations with yourself in the coming years, but I have to say I think yourself made the right decision in this one!!

  33. Good luck babe on your journey.

    I know you will rock it...


  34. Elizabeth, I really appreciate the follow. Thank you. xo

    Pearl, Minn. sounds dreamy half of the time. I'll keep that in mind during the spring and/or summer. Thank you. ;0)

    Terra, thanks so much. I think I did. You're right; we never know. Be well. xo

    Lisa, thank you. I'm sure we'll have plenty of Paradise stories to exchange. Hugs. [~:

  35. Change--I am not very good at it either, darling, but you are headed in exactly the right direction!

    Your fan club supports you all the way! Go get 'em!