Not my first rodeo! (or why getting married at 60 is better than at 20)

Well, obviously, I’m a lot smarter than I was 40 years ago. I’ve made a lot of choices, and in spite of some of them looking bad at the time, I have no regrets.

As I muse, on the eve of my marriage to the man who will be my third (and last?!) husband, I do ponder my life with some amazement!

I married my high school sweetheart at 19. What babies we were! I thought it was forever, certainly planned for it to be forever. We had a roller coaster ride, and along the way seven wonderful little lives were created and birthed into this world. Certainly can’t regret that!

Midlife came along, and until you are there, and then well beyond, you don’t understand what a midlife crisis is really all about. For me, I had the first realization that life was short and I didn’t want to keep living the life I was living. And the only way I knew to change it, because of the rather narrow vision I had at the time,  was to change husbands.

Now I know that I created my world, and I could have created change in a different and more healthy way. But that’s not what happened, and I got just what I thought I wanted. At 43 I divorced and quickly married again, tried to make it work for 12 years. I had wanted more pizzazz in my life, and I got it, but not in a healthy way. What got birthed through all that was an older and wiser woman! I learned to take responsibility for my choices and learned to make better ones! I don’t regret that!

And I was done with marriage! I was 56 years young, feeling strong, and made plans to have a whole lot of fun that I had missed out on in my pursuit of living the perfect marriage. I minimized and moved, and started living the exciting single life.

I joined meetup, because I only wanted to meet people, not date. Oh no, I was done with men! I went to parties, happy hours, restaurants, went to running groups, did all kinds of things I’d never done. I did get involved with someone, but it was always known that it was just for fun. I  went out with a few guys, but it was more out of curiosity then wanting a real relationship.  Then, only a year after I was divorced, I met Robert.

I’d gone to yet another meetup, at the wine bar down the street. He was there, along with a bunch of other people, and there was no love at first sight. Just another guy. But we met again, at another meetup a week later, and that is when something magical happened. I had this moment when we were sitting at the table talking, and the rest of the world just kind of faded away, like in a movie.

So, long story short, that was four years ago. A year ago Robert proposed to me right before my fabulous 60th birthday. (He threw me a great party, btw!)  I’ve had enough time and experience with him to know that he is the real deal, for me. I know what I want, and don’t want.

The biggest deal is that I am entirely safe to be who I am in this relationship. There’s no big drama, no narcissism. There is a constant love and acceptance, and an understanding that love isn’t always FELT. Rather, love, the marriage kind of love, is a knowing. Knowing that you feel good with this other who is a mirror of your true self. Knowing that life is great lived without a partner, but somehow, with this person, life is a whole lot better.

So, never say never. Be open, be careful, be ready to be surprised!

Am I saying “til death do us part” ? No, not this time. Said it twice before, broke that promise. I fully expect it to be til one of us leaves this body, but saying that just doesn’t seem to be necessary.

I am getting married tomorrow!

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Sunday stream of consciousness writing

foggy morningI opened the windows last night because the air inside felt stagnant. After all the rain we’ve had, it warmed enough to be comfortable. This morning there is fog, and some kind of floating plant matter in the lake. I can hear the birds, but don’t see them. Feeling the cool air, wrapped in my fuzzy blanket – it’s almost like having a patio! The air inside is fresh again.

I had joined a group on meetup and was going to go running with them this morning. If I hadn’t changed my mind last night, I’d be there right now. But I had the realization that those days are over. I don’t want to injure my body again. I pushed it to its limits and last year it protested with a back injury, and with  gentle yoga and moderate walking I am finally pain free. Why would I put myself in the position of reinjuring myself, my body seemed to ask me? So here I sit, my body softer, but happier, enjoying the morning. I’ll do my yoga in a bit.

I was determined to finish  A Woman’s Book of Life, and I did, last night. This book is amazing, as it traces a woman’s life from birth to death. I needed to read it at this time in my life.  As a result of this read, I am more okay with my life as it has been, and more accepting of my own aging. At 58, I am considered “elderly” by the younger generation, and I am going to embrace the uncertainty of what that might mean.  I am studying new things, learning to trust my intuition in new ways, and, on the physical plane, trying to let my crazy graying hair be what it is, which in a way is more challenging than anything else!

I listened to the first part of the first lecture of my new class with New World Ayurveda. The main thing I learned is that ayurveda is consciousness based healing. This is so exciting to me. As I’ve mentioned, I am a nurse working in a hospital and it is a revolving door for so many with chronic illness. Traditional western medicine only looks at the body, then divides the body into parts. Thus we have all the specialty areas, and doctors focusing down to just one organ, and prescribing a pill which will only manage symptoms. I am excited to be learning to look at the person as more than just a body.

Last night, we watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The first one, not the current one in theaters. Excellent, fun, movie! I wonder if part 2 is as good.

Today, I will spend some time with my sweetheart, Robert. It’s a beautiful day, so perhaps we’ll go to the park and sit in the sun. I want to paint a bit, read, and see how life unfolds.

 

5 things about attitude I’ve learned from 58 years of birthdays

1. Joy comes from within. Whether it’s a quiet birthday or filled with parties, if I put expectations on others, I will be disappointed.

2. I always give myself a gift. It may be material, or a service, or time doing something I want to do.

3. I don’t remember what I got as a present last year, but I remember the people I was with.  In other words, presence is better than presents.

4. People who have birthdays in months other than December will never understand that I LOVE having my birthday during the holiday season.

5. I’m not getting older, I’m getting better.

Happy Birthday

Cheers! And Happy Birthday, whenever yours might be!

Cheers!

I shared wine and pizza with my dear friend last night and it was like always – we picked up where we left off, no matter how long it had been since we saw each other. Pattye and I met 10 years ago, coworkers for the same hospice company, she a social worker and I a nurse. We discovered that we had a few other things in common – we had daughters the same age,  we both have December birthdays, and we shared a passion for the work of hospice. I became her boss for a while, but she didn’t let it ruin our friendship! Pattye was one of the first people in my life to show me what it means to be transparent and authentic, talking about her own life difficulties with a sometimes raw candor which at first startled me. Growing up, I was taught the importance of keeping my guard up and looking good to the world, keeping any pain or ugliness hidden inside. I was in a bad marriage, but denied it to myself  and absolutely didn’t want anyone else to know! From Pattye, I learned the value of  the girlfriend, and gradually opened up and have shared things with her that I’ve not mentioned to anyone else. The fact that I was in my 40’s and had not ever had a woman friend who stuck with me through thick and thin makes that a big deal.  I knew pretty quickly that Pattye and I would be friends for life, and when I was unfairly terminated from my management position after nearly 5 years of faithful service, she  immediately resigned her own job. Said she wouldn’t work for those kind of people. THAT is friendship at its best.

Now our daughters are 18, both going away to college. Hers is an only child,  mine the youngest of half a dozen plus one.  We are “older” parents, having birthed these girls in our late 30’s. We laugh and cry and drink wine as we share the emotion of our little birds leaving the nest. They’ve been on the edge for quite a while, now will fly off, as they should, bravely beginning the next chapter of their lives, and leaving us to do the same.  As for us? We continue the forward march, embracing  the uncertainty of aging bodies – lines in our faces and sagging breasts, doing the best we can to be healthy in a toxic world, and living today with the hope that we’ll be able to do all the things that we’ve put off for the joy of parenting. She plans to return to volunteering, and I – well that seems to always be a question mark lately!

I look back at the journey from where I am now, and am quite frankly amazed and very grateful for the women who have come into my life and become my companions and cheerleaders, and I theirs. I love my life, I love my friends, and I raise my glass to all of you.