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Jen’s Friday Night Insights: Independent Woman

by Jen Polvogt

Dating, am I right? OK, so I haven’t been in the dating world in 14 years, but I remember it like it was yesterday. 

There was a time long ago when people didn’t have apps to find a partner. We all had to pound the pavement and get ourselves out there to show off our goodies in an effort to find someone to go to dinner and a movie with. Times were tough!

This is going to age me, but the closest thing we had to dating apps was MySpace. And, to be honest, I can’t even really remember how that all worked. I just remember going on one date with one guy and being ghosted by another guy. 

As a reminder, I married (then quickly divorced) my high school sweetheart, so when we got a divorce, I was clueless. I didn’t really want to date and was “never going to get married again” (I’ve now been married for 11 years), but I also knew I didn’t want to be a spinster. I figured I’d focus on my friends and myself. 

I’d never really been a solo act, going from my parents’ house straight into a new house with my new husband. I lived alone in college, minus one year when I had roommates. 

When I left my first husband, I moved into an apartment while I was figuring out what my next step would be. I was the assistant manager of an apartment community at the time and my manager was nice enough to let me put a blow-up mattress and my 13″ TV on the floor of a vacant apartment for 10 days, rent-free. 

My soon-to-be ex-husband helped me pack up my car on March 15, 2006, and I was on my way to discovering my independence. 

I walked through the door of my temporary one-bedroom apartment on the third floor and felt a myriad of emotions. I was scared, excited, overwhelmed, tired, hungry and sad. This type of behavior was completely uncharacteristic for me. 

I made my decision to leave on March 14 and was out the door the next morning. I didn’t consult any of my friends or family members. I just left. And I didn’t talk to anyone in my family, except for my brother, for three days. He assured everyone that I was fine but needed time. 

Texting had only just become a “thing,” and each text cost $0.05-$0.10 to send, so most interactions were voice-to-voice, and I just couldn’t handle that in my fragile state. No one could understand what happened. And that’s the thing, nothing happened. My ex wasn’t abusive, didn’t cheat on me, shared similar values, had a great job and treated me well. But, he wasn’t for me. He was so boring and “safe,” and I was 24 and wanted excitement in my life. 

Hold on to your pants. Excitement was what I wanted, and that’s what I got! I flexed my Carrie Bradshaw muscles and was going to clubs most nights of the week, getting drinks bought for me, going out for meals with reacquainted and new friends, reconnecting with my sister and making a new life – which included dating. 

Dating was a disaster for me. I’ve never been one for small talk, and the whole thing was so awkward. I truly feel for anyone who is currently in the dating world. There’s so much uncertainty and a constant ticking clock going off while you’re wondering if you’ll ever meet “the one.” 

I learned so much about myself during the process, though. I learned what qualities I wanted in a partner, what I would settle for and what my deal breakers were. I found my independence, and it was amazing! I had to pay all of my own bills, make sure I was fed (flashback to my column on my lack of cooking abilities and starving myself) and make all of my own decisions. 

Don’t get me wrong, loneliness crept in a lot, accompanied by its good friend depression, but I was doing it on my own. I watched whatever I wanted, I ate whatever I wanted and listened to whatever music I wanted. I was free. I traveled alone and went to destinations I wanted to see. 

As my husband (@jenatejack2017) recounts in his latest column, I met my person in late October 2006, and we’ve been inseparable for the last 14 years. Thinking back to that time in my life is like thinking of a time when Christian McCaffrey (CMC) wasn’t hurt. It feels so long ago, and just like yesterday. 

We all go through things in life, and if you’re out there in the dating world, know that your person is out there; but, also, live in the moment and appreciate your unique experiences. 

Speaking of CMC, let’s talk some football. 

Jen’s Week 10 Friday Night Insights

If you’re one of the 100 percent of people who have McCaffrey on your bench, I feel your pain. The joy of him participating in practice last week, then hitting the gridiron like a beast with 82 yards receiving, 69 yards rushing and two touchdowns was electric. Then the heart-dropping moment came when he left the game with a shoulder injury, bringing tears to fantasy owners’ eyes across the world. 

The good news is that he’ll likely be back for Week 11. In the meantime, here are a couple of guys that you can pick up to fill the hole that CMC has left in our hearts. 

Troymaine Pope (RB, Los Angeles Chargers)

Troymaine Pope is trending up this week. He started the week being rostered in two percent of leagues and is now 30 percent owned. With Justin Jackson questionable and Kenny Ballage back to the practice squad, Pope has a chance to revisit his Week 8 success where he joyfully brought in 67 rushing yards, 28 receiving yards and one touchdown. While he likely won’t see success past Week 10 (barring other injuries), he’s a good pick up Austin Ekeler remains out and while CMC is nursing his shoulder on your bench. 

Ryan Nall (RB, Chicago Bears)

Ryan Nall (Right? Who?) had 35 receiving yards and one touchdown as he came in to save the day after David Montgomery went out with a concussion last week. Montgomery is still going through the NFL’s five-step concussion protocol and will potentially sit out during Monday night’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. If that’s the case and Montgomery sits out, Nall is your guy for that game. 

I always end my columns with a game day drink, and this week is no different. 

I’m here to join the conversation, drink in hand and watch this crazy COVID-19 year unfold. Cheers!

Game Day Drink Recipe for the Week:

1870’s Classic Manhattan

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • Combine whiskey, vermouth and bitters in a shaker with ice and stir for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the strained liquid into a martini glass, garnish with a cherry and enjoy!

Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter for more motherly and fantasy sports advice @JenPolvogt.

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