Last night I talked to a friend, who at 53, has gone completely boy-crazy over a guy she met on an internet dating site. As I have said before, I have nothing against romance, but to put too much emphasis on this (especially in the second half of life), can be disastrous. From 35 to 50, I seemed pathologically fated to give up my life over and over for someone who didn’t give a damn about me. A woman who just turned 58 said that she slept with man after man, hoping one of them would want to marry her. None ever did. Another woman I talked to recently said she lived with a man for 23 years and when he died, he left her nothing.
Given the staggering number of divorces in my family, I never had any illusions about marriage being a sure thing, but without it, many women find a gaping hole in their emotional well-being. Even though I enjoy being alone and living alone, I often think my emotional core has dwindled to almost nothing. Many years ago I may have called this feeling loneliness, but now I know it is much more complicated.
I was part of a transitional generation in which marriage was an option rather than an expectation – but it was never explained to me how my emotional needs would get satisfied if I chose not to marry or have children. At 62, I still don’t know the answer to this. Some women shop, others drink or do drugs, some sit in front of their television and live vicariously through fictional characters. Others go to extremes and become hoaders or vagabonds, or get so attached to their cat or dog that all of their life decisions revolve around their pets.
As I get older, I see women moving from place to place, looking for bonds or connections that never get made, or if they do, break easily. I tried communal living because I thought this might be a way of establishing a sense of security, but it didn’t work. I write as a lone woman but most of the women I talk about in this blog were married at some point and had children. One of my aunts had three children and two of them died before her. After her husband died, she became completely dependent on her remaining daughter. This has strained her daughter’s marriage to the breaking point several times.
The happiest time I had out here in the woods was when I picked berries and fresh vegetables from the garden. It gave me such a thrill to get food directly from the earth instead of out of a grocery store. I never had a garden, or access to a garden in my life. From this, I know that I need to connect with things directly. Yesterday, while in a department store, I was touching everything that appealed to me. I laid on the mattresses, caressed the towels, felt the handles on the coffeemakers. Today I scheduled a color consultant to advise me on paint and carpet because I want to live in a place that has exactly the right colors for me.
A few days ago I wrote, “Freedom is only possible if three conditions are met, 1) a person owns their own space, 2) can independently generate income, and 3) can function independently, and with detachment, in regard to others. Along with this, I identified beauty as being my current #1 priority.
It is hard for me to know what I want, and even harder to think I deserve it, but who is going to give me what I want besides myself? My realtor told me a sad/happy story about a woman she recently sold a house to. Despite having a steady job with a good income, this women (at 55), had never owned her own home. When asked why, she said, “I just never thought it was possible.”
It is only when I decide to move beyond the boundaries of what I think is possible that anything fun happens. Last week at a cabaret show, I got on stage twice and hammed it up. I had never done this in my life. One of the songs during the show was about female orgasm. It was called, “GOD WANTS YOU TO CUM.” What if we all imagined a gutsy goddess up there in the sky who wants us not only to cum, but to throw away everything we ever thought was “not possible.” It’s time for this to happen.