I never imagined I would end up being single at the age of 46. I always dreamed I would get married, have a career, with a couple of kids and a house with a white picket fence as soon as I finished collage. So how did I get here? I remember thinking on my 25th birthday that maybe I needed to reevaluate my goals. Maybe never getting married, never having kids, and never having a “real” job was more realistic for me. At that time I was sleeping on an air mattress by choice because I was living a gypsy lifestyle and I did not want to own anything more than what would fit in the back of my car. One Thanksgiving I went to Maui, Hawaii with nothing but a backpack for a 4 day trip. I just decided i wasn’t going to come home and I stayed for 8 months. Another time I extended a short weekend windsurfing trip and slept in a tent on the beach for two months in Corpus Christi, TX. I was getting in 60 days a year on the mountains snowboarding. And in the summers, I would spend four days a week on a houseboat wakeboarding. I extensively trained and traveled and competed in rock climbing, mountain bike racing, and playing in hockey tournaments. Now I play roller derby and skate four days a week. I go to see a lot of live music and sometimes travel to catch my favorite bands. There is a lot of freedom that comes with being single, but it had never been my plan not to get married.
Loosing my Mom when I was 21 and my dad when I was 30 also played a roll. I couldn’t imagine raising kids without the help of family, so I searched for someone that would be a great parent and was close to his family. I did not find him. After some health issues and when I started to near the age that I could not have children of my own, I tried dating a couple men that each had two daughters. Everyone referred to that as baggage, but I called them my bonuses. I fell hard and loved them with all of my motherly instinctive love. I wanted to take care of them, teach them, influence them, protect them. I couldn’t wait to someday be a grandma. Unfortunately neither of the men were Mr. Right, and it was heart wrenching to have to say good bye. I was able to get over their dads, but I am not sure I can ever turn off that unconditional love that I have for those girls and I still think of them often.
Being single and dating at this age is tough because men my age are single for three reasons. One, they have issues that make them not datable. Living with parents, no job, no car describes the last three men I have dated. Two, they are divorced and therefore tainted, jaded, and have “baggage.” Been there, done that. Three, they are just professional bachelors that are not looking for anything serious and just want to casually date. Who needs that?
I bought my first house when I was 40. It was always in my head that I needed to do that with someone, but then the market crashed and the time was right and so I did it on my own. That was the aha moment when I realized I was really okay and actually very content to be alone. I can decorate however I want, be as clean or as dirty as I want, and come and go as I please. It really comes down to perspective. Instead of seeing it as having to sleep alone, I look at it as I get the whole bed to myself, I don’t have to share the remote or listen to anyone snore, and I can sleep in. Instead of looking at is as I have to eat alone, I look at it as I don’t have to cook and clean for anyone and I can choose whatever I want for dinner.
There are some things that you just can not do alone. Car troubles and being sick are the two biggest downfalls of being single. It is really hard when your car breaks down and you are stranded and don’t have a ride. Being sick and needing someone to help you is also a challenge. My biggest fear is getting hurt or growing old alone and not being able to take care of myself. But until then I am going to live footloose and fancy-free. Who knows? Maybe the right one for me is still out there.