Hope vs. the worst-case-scenario

I love the feeling of being hopeful and excited and anticipating good things. It’s a rush. The future is wide open and bright and great things are comin’ around the mountain. In contrast, when things take a disappointing turn, which they often do, it’s like a punch in the gut. Sometimes being let down hurts so much that I can’t catch my breath.

I have to ask myself: are the hopeful moments worth the disappointment that often follows? Is it better to not allow yourself to believe good things will happen in the first place so that you have less distance to fall when things come crashing down?

I posed a question on the Meredith Schorr, Author page on Facebook asking people if they allowed themselves to get excited and hopeful about things or if they were always focused on the worst case scenario and waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under them. I got mixed responses. I’m somewhere in between.

I do allow myself to get keyed up about things. I try to be cautious and stay in the moment, but I do find myself getting revved up about the “possibilities” and I have to consciously reign myself in. But no matter how many times reality does not meet my expectations and I swear to never allow myself to believe the best case scenario is within my grasp, I find myself living that high again at some point.

On the flip side, even when things are looking good and there is no reason to suspect anything bad will happen, I automatically assume the worst is just around the corner and the slightest suggestion that something *might* be off sets me into a panic and a whirlwind of self-doubt. Even though I allow myself to get excited for a period of time, part of me is always waiting for things to fall to shit. Probably because they usually do. And usually, it is the precise moment when I allow myself to consider that maybe my doubts are in my head—a result of bad past experiences—that disappointment sets in. And when, through no fault of own and with the best of intentions, I find myself defeated and beaten down, I  insist I’ll never be able to pick myself up and begin again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my sister that I can’t do it anymore—I can’t keep dusting myself off and starting from scratch when failure is imminent.

But it feels so good to be hopeful. When I’m in positive spirits, it’s contagious as I am better able to talk my friends off the ledge too. I smile more. I have more patience. I go to sleep with a sense of peace and look forward to the days ahead of me. Each day I have faith is a day I enjoy living. That’s not to say I never engage in a pity-party of one. When the shit undoubtedly hits the fan, I cry. I sulk. I curl on my couch watching mindless television. I text my sister insisting nothing will ever work out for me. I enlist my friends to go out with me for a drink (or three). And I scream at my best friend Alan for dying and leaving me without his guidance and unflagging certainty that someone as special as me should always have hope because I, more than anyone else he knows, deserves to be happy. But then I wake up, dust myself off and start all over again. I don’t really have a choice.

So, at the end of the day, I guess I believe the hopeful moments, however fleeting sometimes, are well worth the subsequent crash and burn. And even if I didn’t believe it, it’s who I am and if the past is any indication of the future, it’s who I will always be.

Maggie Piper dishes her thoughts on tv, smug marrieds, and turning the big 4.0.

For my blog post this week, I thought I’d introduce you all to Maggie Piper, the heroine of my latest light women’s fiction release, How Do You Know? I’ve asked Maggie a series of questions and she was kind enough to answer them honestly, even some of the more personal ones.

By way of background, Maggie is a thirty-nine-year-old marketing manager who lives and works in New York City. She’s an only child of a broken home, but considers her first cousin, Cheryl, more of an older sister since they grew up in the same house and even shared a room. Maggie’s love life is, well, complicated as you can see from the book blurb:

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.  

Appearance-wise, Maggie is 5’5” and doesn’t have much in the way of curves. Her hair is strawberry blonde and she has blue eyes and an abundance of freckles. She looks closer to thirty than forty, although it doesn’t make her feel much better about the impending 4.0. I’ve always pictured Maggie looking like the actress, Sarah Jane Morris.

Maggie Piper

Maggie Piper

Without further ado, let us begin the interview:

Me: Thanks for joining me today, Maggie! Let’s jump right in. What is it about turning forty that scares you so much?

Maggie: Wow! You don’t waste much time, do you? Haha. Honestly, I just thought I’d be somewhere else in my life by forty and fear that my opportunities to get there are dwindling away. At the same time, there isn’t much I would do differently.

Me: By ‘somewhere else’ can I assume you mean married with children?

Maggie: Yes. You don’t really hear about too many forty-year-old women who’ve never been married and the media clogs my vision with images of older men with younger women. I fear that I’m approaching an age where I won’t be appealing to the opposite sex. It makes me antsy and scared of the future.

Me: But you have a boyfriend, right?

Maggie: Had one. We broke up recently. I love Doug, but I wasn’t sure it was right. I wanted time to figure it out, but he didn’t want to give it to me.

Me: What about the people who say it is selfish or immature of you to not have your shit together by now?

Maggie: I say those people haven’t walked a mile in my shoes. There are people who think I’m putting too much emphasis on my love life and should just relax and let things happen. But the people who say that are usually the ones who have never struggled in that department. Navigating the dating world is not easy for most of us. I’m guessing the naysayers have never come so close only to have the rug pulled out from under them. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, hurt someone they cared for deeply because they knew it wasn’t right. It’s like that Match.com commercial with the woman who tells her friend that if she wasn’t married, she’d totally go on Match. She can only say that because she is married.

Me: Bridget Jones referred to them as “smug marrieds.” Do you agree?

Maggie. *laughs* Some of them, yes. But not all. Of my three closest friends, one is happily married, one is recently divorced, and another hasn’t had a relationship in close to a decade. Yet, none of them judge me for feeling the way I do.  These are people who might not understand where I am coming from based on their own experiences, but they are able to look beyond their own lives and appreciate that not everyone figures things out at the same pace.

Me: Onto a less serious question, is it safe to say you have an addiction to television?

Maggie: Ha! Yes, I do. I’ve been binge-watching television since way before Netflix was born.

Me: What are your favorite shows?

Maggie: I’m a sucker for the legal-suspense type shows, like The Following, Criminal Minds, and Law and Order: SVU. But I also enjoy the sharp wit of shows like Grimm, Veronica Mars, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Castle has it all.

Me: What are you looking for in a romantic partner?

Maggie: And we’re back to this line of questioning, huh? I’m not sure. I think that’s my problem. I wanted the break from Doug to figure that out. I don’t want to hurt anyone in the process, but I want to be happy.  As much as I love male companionship (and sex), I want to commit for the right reasons; not simply so I can tick off “married” on questionnaires. But how do you know when you’ve found what you’re looking for? How do you know when it’s right?

Me: I wish I knew, Maggie, as I ask myself that same question often. I hope you find the answer.  Is there anything else you’d like to say to those who read How Do You Know?

Maggie: I would just hope that after people read my story, they pause before making assumptions about where someone should be in life based on the year they were born. Not everyone has the opportunity or even desire to take the more traditional path and some folks have a longer learning curve. Don’t invalidate someone’s insecurities/doubts just because you did not experience them yourself. With each birthday hopefully comes more wisdom, but “growing up” is a life-long process.

my love/hate relationship with New York City

To use a phrase I’m sure you’ve never heard before, “I love New York.” Specifically, I love New York City—so much so that it’s practically a main character in three out of my four novels. I love New York City, but there are times when living here makes me crazy and I wish I could […]

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why writing a sequel scares me

When I finished writing Blogger Girl, I was sad to say goodbye to Kim, Nicholas, Bridget and the rest of the cast of characters (even condescending Hannah and evil Daneen), but I moved on to writing How Do You Know? on the assumption that Blogger Girl, like Just Friends with Benefits and A State of […]

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New Release – The Marrying Type

Such a great cover!

I don’t often feature guest posts on my blog, but I think this new release by author Laura Chapman sounds like so much fun. Featuring a wedding planner, reality television, and one of my favorite cites in the world (Charleston, South Carolina), I can’t wait to tear through the pages of this book and think my […]

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First reading at Barnes & Noble – check!

BandNSign

Even though I’ve been a published author for four and a half years and have four novels under my belt, I participated in my first ever public book “reading” this past Thursday night at the Barnes & Noble in Manhasset, New York, along with fellow Booktrope authors Hilary Grossman and Jennifer Gracen. For those of […]

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Fairy Tale Fun Blog Hop featuring Kimberly Long from Blogger Girl

magicmorselspic

THE WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN AND THE BLOG HOP IS CLOSED. THANKS FOR PLAYING! Welcome to the Fairy Tale Fun Blog Hop! Unless mine is the first post in the hop you are reading, you already know that the theme of this blog hop is princesses. We are supposed to compare the heroine of our novel(s) […]

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Public Speaking – Gah!

BarnesandNoblepicture

I like having my voice heard when I speak. It bothers me when I feel ignored or when the company I keep pay half-assed attention to what I’m saying while looking over my shoulders at what is going on behind me or taking what they think are furtive glances at their phones. I enjoy holding […]

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with a little help from my friends

view from my run

Confession: Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been in a writing slump. I’ve always prided myself on my immunity to the dreaded “writer’s block.” Creating ideas and finding the words to express them has never been a problem until recently. I’m about half-way through writing the first draft of Novel Girl, a sequel to […]

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Guest Blog: From the Author of “How Do You Know?”

Featured Image -- 1978

Originally posted on Erin Brady:
I am so excited today to be able to introduce you to one of my favorite chick-lit authors, Meredith Schorr.  Her books are the best of chick lit!  Her stories are well-developed and her characters are interesting and fun!  If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to check…

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