Monday, February 24, 2014

Overcoming Adversity: no easy task, but necessary

As a columnist, and a deli owner, I hear about adversity that happens to people ages 50 to 90 nearly everyday. Some of the news is pretty brutal. People lose their spouses and loved ones to divorce and death. People lose their jobs and their homes. People develop health issues. These things are a part of life and growing old. My heart aches for them.

When adversity hits us personally, it can be a huge downer. Almost more than we can stand. But somewhere in the darkness, sooner or later, a flicker of light will appear. And it's up to us to seek that light and gather the strength to go on and not give up hope. Easier said than done, I realize. And it may take a long time to get through the grief before we are able to move forward.

Champ Dee wrote, "Your articles have gotten me through a very difficult time in my life. I left a marriage after 37 years of verbal, emotional and physical abuse. I tried so hard to make it work. Since I left my husband 18 months ago, I have never dated so much in my life. I have met many men, but they were not for me.

"In July, I had a 'coffee date' with someone I met on Zoozk. He is wonderful, fun, and so many other things my husband never was. We laugh and talk for hours and I feel so lucky to be with him. Please tell all the ladies out there not to give up. You never know where life may lead you."

Dee went through 37 years of hell and finally was able to do something about it. Eighteen months later, her life has a whole new sparkle to it.

In another situation, Champ Glen emailed, "I had been in a 23+ year marriage when my ex suddenly decided to file for divorce. Although it came as a huge shock to me and all or our friends, I still held out hope that she might come back.

"I went to counseling and did my best to try and understand what was going on and how I would move forward at age 51. I can't tell you when it happened, but I slowly began to understand that I needed to take charge and make a new life for myself. It took 39 months to complete my divorce, despite the fact that there were no complicated issues.

"During that time period, I met the absolute love of my life. Thanks for putting out a newsletter that helps the majority make sense of the sometimes complicated world of dating after 50."

A third situation. I have known Linda for close to a quarter of a century. Soon after I opened my Dana Point, California, deli, in 1988, Linda and her husband, Joe, would come in for sandwiches. They owned a produce brokerage business with an office just down the street. I recall delivering sandwiches there a few times.

I was impressed with them as a couple: smart, fun, friendly and handsome. Over the years, I lost track of them.

A few weeks ago, I saw Linda at the deli. We had a chance to catch up. She said her life had been a bit difficult recently. I was stunned when she told me Joe had suddenly passed away four years ago at age 63. On top of that, she was raising a granddaughter part of the time, sharing that task with her sister. She had moved to a city a half hour away.

Three years after losing Joe, Linda started to realize that she had to take initiative to change her life. Six months ago, she met Pete, a widower, on and they became a couple. The only catch: Pete lives in Washington state, so getting together is a challenge. She said he was a writer and was researching getting some things published.

She telephoned him that morning and I got a chance to speak a few words to him, sharing some of my publishing experiences and establishing a common bond.

This past Monday, Pete was visiting Linda and they came into the deli for lunch. I asked him what it was about Linda that made him single her out among the many women on He said her profile touched him, that her description revealed an inner beauty that seemed compatible with the inner feelings he possessed. Perhaps both being widowed facilitated the connection.

He travels to California on business often and now has an added reason to come here. Linda has visited him in Washington on many occasions as well.

In March, they are going to Chile together, visiting the Patagonia area in the south of the country and the high desert area in the north, as well as spending some time in Valparaiso and Santiago.

They promised they would share their Chilean experiences with my partner, Greta, and me, over dinner when they return.

On occasion, I've been a little harsh on Internet dating for the after 50 set because of the flakes and scammers that lurke on it. But, it can bring people together who would have never otherwise met.

Whether we use the Internet to help us overcome adversity--or decide on some other action--it's up to us to muster that flicker of hope to find our new direction. Again, easier said than done.

No comments:

Post a Comment