When I was in my early twenties I chose to be single for the rest of my life. I was comfortable with that. My life was one grand adventure and I was in the middle of it. It was a grand time of adventure and fun and learning. Many of my friends were single too, so I usually had at least one person to venture out with.
When I was thirty eight I met Jim. He had to follow me around for almost a year before I realized he was interested. Relationships were just not on my radar.
Jim and I were together for twenty one years before he died of cancer shortly after his sixtieth birthday. And, now I am single again. The adjustment has been interesting, hard and yet doable. Most days I am good and life carries on. Once in a while I get a small wake up nudge about what it means to be in my sixties and single.
- Most of my friends are involved. They are married, in relationships or just involved in their own life. I am getting used to the fact that I have to make appointments to visit with my friends.
- When I was part of a couple we were invited to do other “couple” things. Now that I am single, well, I am just not invited to all the things that Jim and I did as a couple. I am not whining, I recognize that this appears to be a societal norm. It makes me wonder if Jim and I did the same thing when we were a couple. I would like to hope not but I can’t say for sure. As a single person in a couples world I am the odd person out.
- I have to pay more for a cruise or an organized vacation. Seriously, how fair is that?
- I have to stretch more. Stretch to go beyond my comfort level to do things solo. Some days I am good at this and sometimes I am not.
- I am not fond of being invisible. I don’t need to be in the limelight but there have been times where I feel invisible as a single person in the crowd. Is this age or self doubt?
- I have to do all the important “stuff” on my own. Even without a house I have decisions to be made, bills to be paid, repairs that need to be done. If I don’t manage it, then it won’t get done. Often there is no one to confer with and I push forward and make the best decision I can. I have been learning a lot since I have been in my sixties and single.
- Stumbling alone is not always as much fun as stumbling with someone else. Stumble I do and then I just pick myself up and move on.
- I miss having someone to talk to, sharing my daily adventures and thoughts. Writing my thoughts and adventures down helps me not dominate the conversation when I do meet up with friends or strangers.
- I am relearning how to go to dinner or the theater or wherever by myself. I never knew I would have to relearn this.
- Nature is my best friend. When I feel uncomfortable in this new skin, being outside lets me feel whole and happy and content. I am now up to thirty mile bike rides.
I have come full circle. I wanted to be single in my 20’s and 30’s and now here I am returning to being single in my 60’s. Go figure. Most days I am enjoying my current lifestyle. It helps to have Miss Elsie the Cat. Other days I stumble, feeling humbled by this old and yet new way of being. I don’t always have choices in this life yet I do know that I can manage the choices I have so that I can experience the best of each day.
I believe it is time for a walk.
I love your blogs. You couldn’t have described it any better after being married and then losing your spouse to cancer. I lost my husband to cancer 7 years ago and I am 70 and still very active. It is a whole different life, being single again. Thank God for family and great friends. I think I have adjusted pretty well, but there are always those moments when you think about your spouse, and how much you miss him. Will look forward to your next blog. Sandy
Another insightful moving post. You really should write a book. Your thoughts and writings ring true for so many. Thank you again for sharing.
I somehow missed this post last month. I lost my husband last year-he was 61 and I was 60. You have described exactly how I have felt for the entire year since he’s been gone. I am not enjoying this new life just now, but reading this gives me hope I will. Thanks again for another great post.
What you’ve written here is all so true. It takes such courage and ingenuity and effort to carve out a space for yourself alone when you have been part of a duo for years. You have spoken for so many widowed and divorced people. You’re winning, though.