Thursday, November 18, 2010

Being Single Past Forty

From numerous conversations I have had with my friends who are single and over forty, I have found that I am not the only one finding this a very unsettling place to be. Common themes seem to emerge from the single women I have spoken with. By the way, I do not really know any single men over forty or perhaps my friends and I would not be single :) Therein lies what seems to be an inherent problem with being single past forty... a lack of an effective means of bringing everyone together.

Life changes for you when you become single at this stage (and later I suspect) because society still operates in a very outdated fashion. It isn't until you are thrown in to this abyss that you get the full realization of just how different it is. A lot of my single friends find that their friends who are couples rarely include "single people" when they are having a dinner party or "get together". These tend to still revolve around "couples".

Therefore single people can feel left out of social gatherings simply because they do not have a significant other... as if they are not enough on their own. Having been single and attached... I kind of have looked at this example from both sides of the fence. Sometimes, as a host, if you are inviting all couples, you may feel like a single person would be uncomfortable coming alone. And sometimes they would. For example, when I was first single (a few years ago) I absolutely did not want to hang out at couples gatherings because I always felt like the "odd one out", however, having said that, I think as I have matured and once gain find myself single, this is less bothersome to me.

Now I would place more value on spending time with the people I care about than on my own insecurities. Unfortunately, there isn't a "right way" or a "wrong way" hand book available and we all seem to stumble upon our own comfort level when new situations are thrown at us.

Weekends and evenings can be lonely times when people become single. As well, looking forward, after the kids have grown up and left home I often wonder how life will be then. that sounds like the logical time to invite a relationship back in to your life but it is not without it's challenge. More on this topic later...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why People Want to be in Relationships

Now that I am single once again, I believe it is time that I try to understand myself and relationships better... to gain a little more awareness. When a person is in a relationship, you have the opportunity to have someone else lay witness to your life... both the good and the bad. Your significant other can offer advice, can share experiences with you, can laugh and support and love you. You have a companion and a friend... hopefully someone who's company you enjoy as much as they enjoy yours.
When you are single, you lose this companion. I think this is why it is sometimes such a deep sense of loss. Not only do you lose your best friend, but you lose a lover and a person you once thought you would walk through life with.
It is challenging to start thinking of starting over... challenging to think of trusting a stranger, challenging to think of meeting someone who interests you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I understand that the world is full of people and that a lot of these people are single and available, however, it is important to note that the older we get, the harder it seems to be to find a good match. In your twenties, lots of people are looking for mates. There are lots of meeting places like universities, bars, concerts, parties, etc. it is a stage in our lives where individuals are naturally out there actively looking for partners.
Now let's jump and skip ahead 25 years in to the future. Everyone has experienced a lot more of life. People have had careers, had families or have chosen not to have families. Many marriages or unions have failed and people are not as innocent or naive or trusting as they once were. There are a lot of broken people, sometimes with children who have also had to bear witness to their own pain from broken families. Not too many people are interested in finding a new mate at the bar scene. It goes without saying that for the majority of women and men, they will never be able to compete with the younger generations, nor should they have to.
But it is obviously so different when you try to find mate when you are older. The majority of people are no longer in their prime and their lives are much more full and complicated compared to their early years. Complications are not all negative, but, as the word implies, just a little more challenging.
You have lost your former best friend and are a little less hopeful that what you have to offer is what someone else will want. I have always been pretty much an optimist, but even I can see that the process gets a lot more challenging to say the least.
On-line dating sites have popped up, along with singles events, speed dating, etc to help address the issue of meeting new people, but this doesn't take away from the complications that have arisen from merely having lived more and spent more time treading on this earth.
In many respects our lives may be richer than before, but how do we get to show this to others? How do we find someone who sees that the life we have built is rich and rewarding? It requires a very open, non-judgmental person to open their eyes wide enough to see this, and an opportunity to showcase this to others.
If we are able to even find a person who might be interesting to us, that person has to have enough awareness to address their own pain and learning experiences rather than succumbing to a sense of loss and bitterness over their own change in circumstances.
All I can say for this post is that I do believe this love thing is... well... complicated.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Letting Go of Relationships

The end of a relationship for anyone is not without it's challenges but it is in these months that follow that one truly wonders how to fill the void. The sad thing is that at 46, nobody wants to have to think about starting over again. And yet, that being said, it is also not good to stay in a relationship that isn't working. I know now is the time that I should be evaluating how I have ended up in a relationship that just was not what I needed and why I not only ended up there, but why I stayed for 3 1/2 years trying my best to make it work.

Making it work seems to be what I am about. I guess I must have been successful at "making it work" in my 18 year relationship prior to this one but in the end it did not matter what I did or didn't do. The bottom line I suppose is that perhaps my new modus operandi should not be to make something work but rather to spend this time in between relationships increasing my self-awareness so I do not put myself or another poor soul through this again.

I know more than anyone that there are no guarantees when you meet a person and begin "dating" but what is not always apparent is that it takes time to figure out whether a relationship works. You have to go in first before you can ever find out your compatibility level and I think it is during this phase that I have a "too high" tolerance level and I do not see the signs with enough awareness that there may be incompatibility. I wish there was a manual written on this!

I can be hard on myself now but I do believe there are reasons why the signs do not necessarily scream out at me. Sometimes the other partner can want they relationship so badly that they actually obscure the truth. My old boyfriend is now "advertising" himself on Facebook seeking a new relationship and it is ironic that as I read his profile, I find myself shaking my head and saying "but that is a misrepresentation. What he writes here is not necessarily the truth."

It is interesting that life evolves around all types of relationships but when I am single it is still hard not to feel like I am somewhat "flawed". I know intellectually that this is just crazy but so much of what society operates around is oriented to couples. It's flawed logic because all a person has to do is to look around at the number of dissatisfied people who have partner's. Many of these people who are in relationships feel as though they are stuck. They are perhaps stuck in an unhappy union and feelings of love and belonging to something great have long since expired.

So, I wonder, is it our nature as human beings to never be satisfied with our plight? It is not that I am unhappy with where I am, it is more that I recognize I have to rethink my views of what it means to be a single person so I feel like I am perfectly where I ought to be. If I could turn old thinking patterns around, I might actually appreciate the fact that I am no longer in a relationship that is unhealthy for me. As well, I have been given the gift of time to figure out really who I am and what I want, and to question what went wrong and why.

And so... now begins the process of discovery and of facing my biggest fears.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The One-Minute Writer: Add a TOMW button to your blog!

The One-Minute Writer: Add a TOMW button to your blog!


So sad... one of my best friends just called me and she was crying. One of her closest friends died this morning and it reminded me of how we take for granted so often the happy times in our life, but it is impossible to not feel the devastation of losing someone close to you. Because she is my friend I feel her sorrow but it is always so hard to know how to comfort someone and how to try to take away the pain. You can talk to them and listen, share and love them but it is so difficult to ever figure out how to really help someone with their grief. I know time will help but it also seems unfair in life that we then have to wish away time... for it really seems so precious to ever wish this away. So I'm going to send love out to my friend that she will hopefully find peace and will cherish her memories and friendship of her dear friend that she has lost.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Twittering is Cool

Okay , I will admit that at first I was hesitant about enjoying twittering. But now that I'm more involved I'm actually enjoying it. For instance, I actually get to view live updates from Lance Armstrong as he trains to prepare for another ride in the Tour de France... thats pretty cool. As well, I enjoy having such live updates as staying on top of the unfolding story in Mumbai or of the updates re:earthquakes in Indonesia not long ago. As well, people on line have linked me to great Christmas shopping sites which makes Christmas shopping a whole lot easier!

Winter Warning

Okay... gearing up for the first winter storm of the season just feels like the beginning of work... getting up earlier to shovel snow so you can make the drive to school. The drive usually takes an hour so now I'm wondering how long it will take... and how slippery the roads will be... and how the drive home will be. Then there's just the fact that it will be colder and darker for longer... okay I could go on. I look at my kids and I'm excited to see they still have that sparkle in their eyes with the prospect of the first snowfall of the year arriving and it makes me stop and re-evaluate my own thinking. Really, there is nothing more beautiful then a neighbourhood blanketed in snow when it hangs gracefully from branches and the world appears to be extremely quiet from the sound barrier it provides. Before the snow gets trampled and slushy it appears like the perfect painting... more beautiful then can be captured on canvas and so peaceful and comforting as you curl up infront of a warm fireplace. Maybe I will start to look more forward to that first snowfall now and will try to recapture that special warm feeling that only a beautiful snowfall can bring...