How to enjoy the rest of your life

Avatar for floridagirl52
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Registered: 10-16-2006
How to enjoy the rest of your life
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Wed, 05-08-2013 - 2:16pm

Occassionally I read the advice column by Cary Tennis on Salon.com. He can be a little out there and poetic with advice, but I do enjoy him. He had an answer to a middle-aged woman who wrote in essentially asking how she could enjoy the rest of her life because things didn't seem to be working out so well with men. Part of his answer:

Have a regimen and a routine, a thing you do that always works, so that you can always do it when people fail you. It’s something different for everybody. If you don’t have anything that always works, find something and perfect it — a certain drink that never fails, a song that gives you goose bumps, a certain walk on a certain path that always elevates your spirits, a meditation that always calms you, a food you always like to eat.

You need somebody you can always call, too, but people will change and even if they stay the same they die, and then they’re gone. You can’t depend on them. You need more lasting bulwarks. You will find a favorite meeting you always like to go to and then everyone will buy houses and move away. You will find a friend who promises you things and doesn’t come through. So a practice that always works must be solitary or of the earth or of the mind; people will change and let you down. You need something older than people.

So live near a river or a mountain or a stream. Live near something you can walk to where you go, Ah.

I wasn't comforted by this answer. On the one hand he says "you need someone you can call" but then says you can't count on them. And I don't think a favorite drink is going to do it for me, either. But I guess the thing that spoke to me was how you really can't always count on people, and that people die and move away. To me, making meaningful connections that last is the hardest part of being single. And it's not that I expect someone to always be available--it's not their job. But it would certainly be nice to be in a large web of interconnected lives, where you didn't go for very long without meaningful connection.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 4:43pm

Yes, I don't know about finding something that you can do alone that always works.  Before I made a bigger group of friends, I was shopping & buying clothes a lot & I know it was something to fill the void--if I couldn't find anything to do on a Sat. night when my son was at his dad's, I would just go to the mall.  Now I still love shopping & clothes, but I've  found other things to do.  I'm not that big on prayer or meditation.  I could enjoy something like getting a pedicure, but I think that although I might enjoy it & find it relaxing, it's not going to take away the disappointment of not having the guy that I like not like me, or something like that.

I actually find that the best way to "get over" being single is to find a group of friends to do things with.  If I'm enjoying myself w other people, that's when I'm not thinking too much about being single.  Like Fri. night I'm going to hear a band with a meetup group & before that about 8 of us are getting together for dinner--I'm looking forward to that and I know it will be fun.  My "person I can always call" besides my mother is my best friend since high school--you know, guys come & go, but she's always there.  I don't want to think of the time when she won't be there!  I know I feel bad when my mother says things like most of her friends died, but she still does have friends, even though she's 87.  Plus she has sisters.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2002
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 6:26pm

Hi,

Music - I am *officially* jealous of your social life!! I know you've worked hard to make all these connections, but it's really nice that at this point in your life, there are people you know you can count on.

I think a lot of poetic/advice type things are great and inspirational......but maybe not that practical for us as single people.  People/circumstances change and we just have to accept this as life evolves (again Mel - the pessimist!! lol).

I do agree that we have to find our "happy mechanism" - outside of a relationship.  I am embarrassed to admit - and would only do this here with my single online community - but in my case my dog is my "happy mechanism".  She is soo sweet and frankly just makes me laugh and see another side of life (many other people have asked if I wanted to "give her up" because of my single/mostly working status - the answer is NO).  I am more than happy to make any sacrifices required to have her in my life, and she is happy with me.  She is nine years old now, though, so I do have to keep in mind that this is not a "forever" situation.....

Aside from what you posted, Baz Luhrrman had a song out a while ago that really made sense - he said - basically friendships are hard, but with those special few, make the effort to bridge the distance in geography, etc.  (I've tried that......well......) but the one thing I try to really live by that he said was (and I think I can quote) - "The race is long, and in the end it's only with yourself".  I find this especially comforting, when faced with lots of accomplished (and married) people.......

Mel :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 10:38pm

I was thinking today that pets can be very comforting.  I'm not a pet person but for those people who are, it must be nice to come home to the wagging tail and someone who's happy to see you every day.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 11:50pm

Yep for me its all about some saving graces and yes each one of us has them and has talents and gifts that they are born with..and that we can use in our everyday lives to lighten the burden of being single..

I am so fortunate in that not sure if I was born like this or I evolved into it but my personality is big and being outgoing and very social helps me deal with the pain of lonliness... If I go out alone I will just meet or attach myself to whoever is where I go.. I mentioned this before and it surely helps me deal and cope.. and this way when regular family or friends are not around or pass on or are busy I can just find new people or even strangers to help me along in the journey... and there will always be people out there everywhere you look..people that are just there readily available for each other .. One has to just reach out...

I also have faith in God and he helps me cope with life.. When I am having a really bad day I pray and he lifts my spirits and it always seems to work.....

I also think that having social networks helps because one can connect with all sorts of people and hearing and dealing with all kinds of stories makes me see that I am not the only one who is alone....

 

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 3:22pm

Although I didn't read the article, I'm wondering if what the woman was asking was how to deal with the loneliness when you want the connection with someone who loves you like you love them. Just about all of the  things he suggests I've done... but it still hasn't brought me the connection I seek. A walk on a favorite path wont' hold me close as I fall asleep at night.

I don't expect my friends to be intimate with me, nor am I attracted to them sexually.  I'm busy in my life just as they are in their lives, but I know that I long for the kind of connection with someone I love in an intimate fashion where I can do "Ah"---or "exhale" as it were.  And it really bothers me that the older I get, the chances of finding someone who wants that, too, and doesnt' have a freight train worth of baggage and bad health are slim. 

What I also find is the the men that I fancy don't fancy me... and the ones who fancy me, I don't fancy them.  I can't remember how I was able to date back in my 20's and 30's--perhaps it was the fact that I was in my 20's and 30's and not my 50's that is the problem.

I think it was Freeatlast's post from the other day that really put this on my mind... I've been blue ever since thinking about the prospects of being in my 50's and never seeming to be in the right place at the right time to meet someone who wants to get to know me and pursue me, even though I get out a lot.  I'm on my way to the driving range right now...we'll see who will be open to even say "hello". Generally speaking, where I live (in the Dc area), the men are all shut down and mean.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 3:41pm

  Remember the line from the Highlander:" In the end there is only one".  That is always true.  No matter what it will be you.  Some people have the gift of making friends even in middle age.  I am not one of those.  When I was 18 I could make friends walking down the street.  Now  not happening.  First thing is to your own self be true (bad Shakespeare).  After that it will all fall into place.

chaika

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 5:30pm

@kendahke1

Here's the link http://www.salon.com/2007/03/09/the_rest_of_life/

I definitety think age has almost everything to do with it. And yup, I hear ya regarding the ones I want don't want me, and vice versa. I'm a bit terrified to enter my 60s. I'm not sure how it could get much worse than my 50s but I suppose it could. And I get out a lot, too. But just being out there, making sparkling conversation and wearing your best game face doesn't guarantee meeting someone suitable. It's one of those things where effort put in doesn't guarantee results. Sheesh, I feel like I have a PhD in "looking for love." If there were just a way to cash that in somehow...[and yes, I know: as soon as I "stop looking" I will meet him.]

I think it's hard to meet someone in a more random situation like a bar, or driving range. In fact, I think these are among the hardest ways to meet, unless you go a lot and see the same people. But even that is hard--you don't know anyone in common. It's better than nothing, and of course you never know.

One day I will be very happy to stop doing OLD. With all of it's problems, you do actually meet guys. But I just want to meet one. The last one. [on a OLD tangent: a guy contacted last week--he was posing in front of his pickup truck with a rifle. This proves men don't read profiles]

Sigh.

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 9:31pm

I kind of liked the excerpt you provided but I am a bit of a loner, anyway.  I took it to mean that you should enjoy your own company.  Which, is coincidental, because a girl in class, unsolicited, turned around the other day and spilled her guts to me about how she's miserable in her marriage and only married because she fears being alone (which is also keeping her married plus, their kid).  I could tell that she was ashamed that she doesn't like being alone, and basically never has been . . . I just wanted to give her a hug.  The truth is, sometimes I wish I were more like her . . . That I'd have settled down, even if the guy wasn't absolutely perfect.  Maybe adopted a kid and bought a mini van.  Heck, maybe even divorced, LOL.  I guess I'll be ready the next time that happens and can say:  "At least you'll never have to wonder what if . . . " 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2012
Fri, 05-10-2013 - 5:50am

I am an only child and have always enjoyed my own company, although I am pretty social. I have several friends who have hardly ever been single, exactly opposite of my situation - as I have been single my entire life.... I think it is healthy for most of us to be alone at times, to "find ourselves" and be totally independent. However, I have stayed like that much too long! I share the thing mentioned in this thread, the guys I fancy never fancy me. And vice versa, which is just as annoying! Being in love in my best male friend for several years and later on seeing him coming out of the closet (marrying another man even later) rather messed me up, and I still have him in mind as "my perfect man" in many ways... Although this is a very long time ago, I think it is still there more or less unconsciously.

And for many years I have had troubles even meeting single men my age at all, where are they? (Already taken, I assume) No wonder it takes ever so much time for me to develop a crush again...or, I had one, but it fazed out due to the already mentioned problem. Luckily, I love reading. Not to mention, I have my choir and it keeps me busy - and social. Lovely people to be around! I do see my friends from time to time, and sometimes I get to know new people. :-) But I do feel rather lonely and down sometimes, especially the two last years. I was never like that before, so it scares me a little. Probably the feeling that I am not where I "should" be at my age, still single and childless at 36.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2008
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 10:35am

I am with the rest of you here.  And I have been married, but to those of you who have never taken that plunge, it really is not as important as you think.  At least as far as validation goes.  I married someone I didn't love because I was 22 (!) and thought that that would be my last chance.  Any one of you could get married right now if you didn't get a damn who he was.  The problem is, we ALL want to meet that one person we feel a connection with. And I never thought that after my divorce at 28, I would still be alone at 52. Some of the problem was that I took a long time in self-discovery, and didn't really feel I liked myself until I turned forty. But I also didn't get any of the breaks many of my friends and my sister got. You know, good old luck.

But like some of the others here, I am sort of a loner though I have good social skills.  So I don't have too much trouble filling my free time.  Plus, I work in health care, and I am taking care of other people all day.  I am actually relieved to not have to talk to anyone at the end of the day.

Now, what I have noticed is that the few men in their early-mid 50s who are in good shape and don't have a shipload of baggage are going for women at least 10, often 20 years younger.  So where does that leave us?  Dating men much older, with one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel?  Plus, I don't want to be with someone who is already retired.  We would be at different points in our lives. Or someone closer to my age, but is either unattractive or doesn' have a pot to pee in?

My brother has a friend who is around 57.  Never married, nice guy, we get along really well.  But he is massively obese, has diabetes secondary to his weight, and is a ticking time bomb. The poor guy is just grotesque.  I know he is interested in being more than friends, but I can't go there.  I know I would end up taking care of him. And I just find him so unattractive physically.

But anyway, yeah, we all seem to have the same experiences here, but no answers, I am afraid.

As for Cary Tennis, I read him but find him too esoteric, like Carolyn Hax.  I prefer more directness when it comes to advice.

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