Somewhere between – that’s what middle age is, isn’t it? Middle age. Who came up with that? I mean… if there is a middle age, there must be a beginning age? Therefore, there must also be an end. Wow. An end. Scary. Isn’t it? Somewhere between birth and death… that about sums it up. I am somewhere between birth and death.
Why is it that when you’re a kid the years seem to drag on forever? You can’t wait to be a teenager. You can’t wait to get your driver’s license. You can’t wait for your first kiss. Then somewhere along the way… everything speeds up. Suddenly all of your friends have knee problems, back problems – BOWEL PROBLEMS.
Remember, when the most important thing on your mind, was where you were going on Friday/Saturday night? And what you were going to wear? Hell, it wasn’t the red carpet; it was w-a-y more important than that. It was the weekend for God’s sake. It was the weekend! Holy shit, your new jeans had better be clean.! Sorry, I digress. All I’m asking, is what the hell happened? How did I get here? One day I was seventeen, no worries – next, I’m married, (we all make mistakes) with a houseful of little kids, (a few worries). Then suddenly I’m fifty. What? Turning my head, checking over my shoulder. How the hell did that happen? You know what sucks about being in my fifties? Not much, and at the same time e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
So, I’m fifty-three; let’s talk about that. And just for fun, let’s start with men. I’m too old for young men and not young enough for old men. Do I care? Nope. But what if I did? I know women who are crazed at not having a man in their lives. Not me. I have a theory. You know the whole Bible story about Adam and Eve? Well someone has been playing a huge trick on us girls. Remember back in Sunday school when they told us that God made Adam in his own image? Then they went on to say how poor Adam was lonely, so God took one of Adam’s ribs and made it into a woman so Adam would have a companion. Ha-ha-ha. That one cracks me up every time. You should see me. I’ve got my head thrown back, my mouth is wide open, and I’m holding onto my sides, shaking with laughter – that’s such a good one. (I’m thinking, first dirty joke?)
Anyway, back to my theory. I’m going to tell you what really happened, or what I believe happened. And there is NOTHING to prove otherwise. So God made Adam, (in his own image, sure, why not?) then on or about the third or forth day, God woke up and checked to see what Adam had been up to. You know, kinda’ like when you buy a new puppy. You just know he’s been in some kinda’ trouble, but you’re hoping he’s been peeing on the paper and left your favorite shoes alone. Well think of how it was for poor God. He has been working twenty-four hours a day… six days a week. So he left Adam alone. Hell, who can blame him? He needed a little down time. So he sleeps in a little.
When God wakes up he checks the time and thinks, Shit! I hope Adam has been peeing on the paper! Uh oh, guess what? He hasn’t. Poor God. The place was a mess. There were flowers everywhere. Branches were broke off trees. Banana peels were all over the ground. And poor Adam’s eyes were swollen from squirting himself with the oranges. Not to mention the nasty rash he had from trying on Poison Ivy leaves. Then there were the poor animals. They’d all gone into hiding because Adam had been feeling a little randy while God was away. Well God’s first impulse was to get rid of Adam, but you know how patient God is. He decided to give him another chance. He sat down and patted poor Adam on the head. “Adam,” he said, “I’m sorry boy. I forgot to give you good taste and commonsense. What you need is a woman.” Then just like that, in the blink of an eye, we were called in to clean up Adam’s mess. And, well, that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing ever since.
I know, I know, some of you will think I’m bitter. I must be some pathetic, old hag, rejected by men and feeling a need for revenge. Guess again. I’m not bitter. Well maybe a little, but not towards men as a whole. In fact, I like whole men. And some parts of men aren’t too bad either. And no, I’m not being sarcastic here. I really do like men. There have been some men (coughs into hand- ex-cough-husband) who have left me shaking my head (as in what the hell was I thinking?). But, I have to say; in general I really do like men. I just don’t want one. I’d rather have a dog. Wait a minute; I have a dog… or two. So, as you can see, I’m rather content. No need for companionship here. But what if there was a need? At my age the pickings are slim to none.
I have married friends, single friends, newly single friends, newly married friends. I have to say that I find most of the women I encounter, who have recently separated, are desperate for a relationship. Desperate to get married again. The funny thing is that over the years the women who have told me they can take care of themselves, or they’re not afraid to be alone, are the same women who run from bar to bar in search of their new significant other. They try everything they can think of from bars, the internet, social clubs, to single’s dances, in hopes of finding their soul-mate.
Soul-mate? There’s another one. Who came up with that? When I was a teenager, everyone was looking for the one. Someone to share their hopes and dreams with; to lean on; to share their life with. Now that’s not good enough. In these androgynous times, people want soul-mates. I, for one, do not. I like who I am. I don’t want to be part of someone else. Nor do I relish the thought of giving anyone a piece of me
Why is it that women, grown women lose themselves once in a relationship? Now don’t go pretending that you don’t know what I’m talking about. Take a look around you.Check out your best friend/sister/cousin/co-worker/etc. Remember how much fun they used to be? Remember how much you used to have in common? Until… (Deep, dark, haunted house music) they found a man. And just where did they find him? How do they know he wasn’t lost? Had anybody checked the papers? I believe the rule of thumb is that you can’t keep anything unless it has gone unclaimed for two weeks. I say that is a stupendous rule to live by. Once you have found a man, leave him alone for two weeks. Then if you still want him and no one else has claimed him… give it a shot. But for God’s sake, if you didn’t like hockey/sushi/rap/thongs/fishing/porn/beer before you met him, chances are you still don’t! And this goes for the man as well, if you didn’t like cuddling before, go find yourself a crack-hoe. Let your soul-mate find someone she actually has something in common with.
And now for more on this matter. Has anyone here seen the movie Runaway Bride? You know the one where Julia Roberts plays a young woman who has been engaged a gazillion times but never made to the altar? She falls madly in love with each new fiancé, only to runaway on the day of the wedding. Finally, a big city reporter comes to town to do a story on her. The reporter is played by Richard Gere. Now who wouldn’t fall for Richard Gere? Well our girl Julia falls for him – only to run once again on the day of the wedding. Richard Gere however, is no shmuck. He’s been watching Julia long enough to realize that she loves anyone who loves her. She becomes the dream girl of every man she dates because she likes EVERYTHING they like.
So you see where I’m going with this? It’s real life! Far too many people lose themselves in relationships. Then of course, the relationship ends and before you can say Bob’s your uncle, they jump into the next relationship, never really knowing who they are. I can tell you from my own experience that it takes time to find yourself. It takes time to shed the faux exterior and discover the real you.
Years ago when my own marriage finally crashed and burned, I was running around like a mad woman. I was terrified. I couldn’t be alone. (Yes, I said the A-word, sorry it can’t be helped.) I’d been with my husband for almost twenty years. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was the bald guy’s wife. I didn’t know how to be anyone else. I have to admit, I was crazed for quite a while. My ex took to calling me psycho. And I was.
While he took to sleeping with anyone who was willing (in search of his soul-mate). I was at home with five kids. I felt sorry for myself at the time, but in retrospect, it is what saved me from another messed up relationship. I had no choice in the matter. My parents were dead. My brothers were busy with their own lives. I had to be alone. So I screamed. I ranted. I raved. I went on antidepressants. I even destroyed a few things. (Mostly his things. I wasn’t that psycho) All because I was afraid to be alone.
So here I sit fourteen years later. I am alone. I am also the happiest I have ever been. The thing is – it took time. My ex on the other hand is still out there searching. I tried telling him that he needs to spend some time alone getting to know who he is and learning to love himself. His answer? He can’t be alone.Take a number, buddy, and step to the back of the line. It’s the same swan song that man and woman has sung since the beginning of time.
I have to say, I feel bad for the guy. Just because he isn’t the one for me, doesn’t mean he isn’t the one for someone else. (Crossing myself.) As I said it’s been fourteen years. I had to dig through all kinds of garbage and decide what I liked and what I didn’t, to get to where I am today. I believe this to be true for everyone. I believe that if my ex-husband were to begin digging through the garbage, he would eventually find all those clothes I shredded when we broke up. He would also find the man he has the potential to be. He might even find he likes himself a little. And hey, if I can believe this for him. I can believe this for anyone. (He’s always wondered what happened to those golf sweaters and pants.) Psycho. Gotta’ love him.
Just a couple more thoughts on the subject of knowing yourself, then I promise to move on. I’ll even go so far as to show you how not bitter I am. I have had friends/family who I had the utmost respect for. Women I aspired to be like. Women I thought had their shit together. Some had great careers. Some were what I deemed near perfect as mothers. These are the same women I mentioned earlier: they can take care of themselves or they’re not afraid to be alone. Suddenly, they were alone.
Unfortunately, these women had the opportunity to join the hunt for their soul-mate. They ruined their careers; became lousy mothers; all because of a need to be part of a couple. Why is our society so convinced that if you are alone you are a loser, or you are gay? I am told, on a regular basis, that I would be much happier if I had a man. Why, I say, do I need a man to be happy? These same people tell me that they wish they were more like me, I’m so happy all the time. But I’d be happier if I had a man. Yet, I get phone calls from these same women telling me what an asshole their husband/boyfriend is.
I wish I could take every woman/man who has ever been in a long-term relationship that has ended and convince him or her to stay alone for two years. I have found that somewhere around the two/three year mark single people become genuinely happy. I don’t know if it is the lack of responsibility and therefore the lack of stress that has been lifted, or simply the fact that if they want to eat macaroni and cheese for supper they can go right ahead and do that. They don’t have to worry about the fact that their significant other will be upset. There is no longer a need to check with your husband/boyfriend before telling a friend that yes you can go to a movie or out for dinner this weekend.
The opportunities are mind-boggling. And yes, I know that in many cases there are children involved, therefore you can’t just drop everything or make crap for dinner every night. You still have responsibilities. Guess what, kids aren’t half as fussy about what is on their plate as a husband/boyfriend is. And if mom steps out for dinner and a movie from time to time, they don’t usually keep score. So buck up. Take this time, to really get to know your kids. Take this time to take a class or learn how to swim. Live a little. You just might like it.
Don’t get me wrong, being alone isn’t for everyone, but you know the old adage to love yourself first? It’s good advice. Only if you like yourself, love yourself, can you go into a relationship and hold onto who you are. If you still feel the desire for companionship, by all means, go and find Mr. Right. I’m all for love and commitment. Just don’t live a life of would haves, could haves, should haves, or regret just to make someone else happy. Once you love you, it’s a relationship you won’t want to lose.