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
"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 Match.com 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
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 Match.com. 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
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.