I have not gone on a “date” since 1971. Ok, I was married from 1972- 2012, but I have lived alone since 2010.
During the first couple of years on my own, my younger friends kept trying to persuade me to go on match.com or other dating sites. I admit that I looked at them, but, I was not motivated to sign up. I can’t tell you precisely why. My gut just said, NO, this is not you.
My first winter of solo living was spent in an idyllic secluded little house on the coast. This was a blissful solitude that I had never known. There are not many places more beautiful than the Maine coast.
During the winter, this part of the world is eye candy for a photographer and the moment for a meditator. This was the most nurturing period of my adult life and I shared it only with my dog, Shiloh.
During these 7 months, I learned the difference between being lonely, as I was in my marriage, and being alone. The two do NOT go hand in hand.
My friends worried that I was isolating myself out of grief and depression. It was just the opposite. I was introducing myself to the real me and learning that I was my own best company.
We took long walks whenever the spirit moved us. We sat in silence, watching the tide come and go. We shoveled snow and hauled wood. Still married, I was going through marriage counseling. That brought up many things to think about, but, loneliness was not one of those things.
I would have loved to stay in that sweet little house, but, summer was coming. Soon, people would be returning to the enclave and the rent would quadruple. In May, I moved the 30+ miles back to my town and the job that I’d left behind.
I was now in a very social setting. The job that I loved, managing and later owning an art gallery, was situated in the same building as a very popular restaurant and bar. I met new people every week. I was in the middle of the renaissance of our small downtown. I was part of that movement. My circle of friends and acquaintances was expanding.
That inner peace that I had discovered, during the winter, carried over as my life filled with new people and new responsibilities. Life was truly engaging.
As my life changed, it was natural for the people IN my life to change. I enjoyed my new friends and acquaintances and did not feel that anything was missing. I thought about dating. My now ex-husband had a significant other and I saw them frequently. It’s a small community.
My friends continued to offer introductions, but, I told them and myself that I was not ready. I did not feel a need or a desire to find a significant other or even someone to join me for dinner. My life felt full… a comfortable full.
I admit that there were a couple of months, in late 2014, when I obsessed about an old boyfriend. Double knee replacements and the snowiest winter that New England had seen in decades brought me to a very different isolation from my winter on the coast.
Now, I had pain, medications, healing and inactivity playing with my head. I wasn’t lonely. I was needy. Convinced that I no longer wanted to go it alone, I tried, unsuccessfully, to make a connection with that person from the past. Karma protected me.
By the beginning of 2015, I regained my balance, physically and emotionally. I went on a cruise by myself and came home comfortable in the realization that I still liked my own company and did not need a significant other.
I had Shiloh and a cadre of pretty incredible friends. Male. Female. Straight. Gay. Young. Seniors. Mostly new people in my life, but, a few consistent old friends had made the transition with me to this new life.
My network. My core. My inspiration. My connection.
They keep me busy, make me engage, make me laugh and nurture me.
Galleries are inspiring but not always financially viable. I was ready for a change. I needed time to heal some physical issues, including those knees. There were a few trips I wanted to take. More important, I was ready to explore my own creativity. Once again, I turned inward.
Journaling. Meditating. Thinking. Learning.
I promised myself, and announced publicly, that I would make NO career or life decisions for one year.
I discovered that I REALLY thrive on my own company (and that of Shiloh). We can go for many days without speaking to another person. I know that, if and when I am ready to socialize, that network of wonderful people, who accept my quirky life, is just a text message away.
I am available when one of them needs me and they understand when I need to be alone. I fully realize just how integral my friends are to my own well-being. But more importantly…
I have come to realize that I am the core of my own well-being.
Should Karma bring someone into my life… someone that I want to be a more intimate part of my life, I will be a much better partner to a solid relationship. But I’m not looking and more importantly, I’m not needing that someone.
Have you reached the point that you are no longer interested in actively dating? Why or why not? Have you gone through a separation or divorce after 60? What did the experience teach you about yourself? Please join the conversation.
Tags Senior Dating Advice