At over sixty, we have learned to be optimists. Look on the bright side. Whistle a happy tune. Be very grateful for the good in our lives. When we feel down, we distract ourselves.
“But you will cease to feel isolated when you recognize, for example, that you do not have a sensation of the sky: you are that sensation. For all purposes of feeling, your sensation of the sky is the sky, and there is no ‘you’ apart from what you sense, feel, and know.” – Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
I’ve been single for well over a decade now. Like most older women who have gone through a divorce, I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with being single.
80% of the time, I am able to celebrate my independence. I genuinely appreciate having the freedom to pursue my passions without compromise. I even love getting up in the morning and being able to eat breakfast whenever I want and with whomever I want. Does any of this sound familiar?
Learning to live alone can be very empowering – and expensive.
As solo women, we often prefer to live alone, but we want to do so in an environment which also provides social connections, activities and the sense of community we crave. Community makes it easier to maintain our independence by allowing us to “live alone, together,” the core of the Entourage concept that I write about in my book Retiring Solo.
Living by yourself? Join the crowd.
The number of adults ages 45 to 64 who live alone has grown by more than 20 percent over the past decade alone. Worldwide, more than 334 million people will be living solo by 2020, according to Euromonitor International.
Several months ago, I launched an aging alone Facebook group. Members bring up hot topics like affordable housing and medical care, transportation concerns, and countering isolation. Housing ranks the number one challenge for people over 60. It is particularly important for women who are aging alone.
Everyone thinks that illnesses are the scariest things that you have to face as you get a little older. While cancer and Alzheimer’s are undoubtedly terrifying, there is a force that many women our age fear even more – social isolation.
My husband and I just watched, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.” Don’t listen to the less than flattering reviews – we were both rolling on the floor laughing. There is something about watching a big, loud, messy and interconnected family that triggers a primal wistfulness or a sweet nostalgia.
One of the frustrating things about science is that the path to truth is often littered with contradictions. Drinking wine is good for you. Drinking wine is bad for you. Eggs will kill you. Eggs may save your life. Salt is good, salt is bad… Well, you get the idea.