Learning Single

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.