Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Coping with the holidays: The Rose

On Love and Life After 60

By Thomas P. Blake     January 9, 2015

The Rose: How four women Champs dealt with the holidays

During December, I received lots of mail from Champs. Now that life’s routine is somewhat back to normal, I have had a chance to read through my correspondence and wanted to share messages from four of our women Champs that illustrate their resiliency, energy and positive attitudes.

Vicki wrote, “My co-workers and I went out before Christmas, and they kept asking me if I had any plans for Christmas, so I had to answer in front of everyone that I was going to stay home and watch the Downton Abbey (British TV series) marathon on Christmas Day. They couldn't believe it! (Note that no one was concerned enough to invite me to join them).

“I was really looking forward to spending Christmas Day enjoying Downton Abbey with my newly adopted dog from the shelter. We had a great time; I made my favorite clam dip and didn't have to ‘perform’ for everyone. Besides that, I've been recovering from a very bad flu, and needed the down time. 

“I've had many good Christmases with friends and family, and some boring and depressing ones with an emotionally distant ex. So this year, I talked on the phone with my mom, my sister, and my recently widowed aunt, stayed in my pajamas and had a great time.  

“Sure, I would like to spend a Christmas with that special someone again, should I meet Mr. Right, but I have learned to entertain myself and enjoy my own company as well. For extra encouragement, I re-read Sense and Sensibility.

“Thanks for reminding us that we are complete as we are, whether or not we are part of a couple. It's so sad that many women I know think they are incomplete unless they are part of a couple, no matter how lousy or unsatisfying the relationship is. And over and over again, I hear women saying. "WE like this restaurant; WE like this movie, WE like the mountains," as if ‘I’ no longer exists. Then where is our identity if "WE" break up?  If we develop our other relationships, we will always have friends when we are lonely.”

Alicia, “I needed to hear your upbeat message to Champs because I was feeling lonely this Christmas. Although I enjoyed the season with my family, I am not dating and felt the crunch of not having ‘someone to share it with’ as they say.

“In just three days after Christmas, I felt great, feeling myself again, living a full life, looking forward to reaching and setting more goals for 2015, working in a job that I enjoy, feeling fantastic about my end-of-year report of reaching some important goals, and proud of it!  

“I amazed myself in 2014 and I did it without someone beside me. Granted, it would be nice to have someone but my point is, I can reach goals on my own. I am repairing an old 1935 home that I grew up in and I have learned so much in the process.

“At my age (in my 60’s), I learned how to pull up carpet, drill, saw, cut, etc., and with more to come! It’s been hard work and so gratifying. It’s a beautiful world. I thank God for letting me see the potential in myself.”

Laurie, “I enjoyed your last newsletter that featured the Beatles song, We can work it out. I am at the beginning of a long-distance relationship…I think. Not sure but we shall see where it leads.

“He is in Oregon; I am in southern California. We met at an entomological conference in Arizona last year. He is WAY younger than I. Not sure how old he is. And all he knows is that I am over 55.”

A.C. “So many times your newsletter helps me think through things going on in my relationship with my boyfriend. It's been on again and off again for eight years. Right now it's going well.

“He walked out on me in July 2011 and left me with the lease of our apartment. By the grace of God I found someone to take over the lease. It was $2000.00 a month and working at a school as a health tech there was no way I could afford that. I found a place I could afford alone. For more than three years I have had my own place.

“I started seeing him again and it's ok for a while, then it's not. He's an alcoholic and has gone back out a number of times again. He is sober 11 months now and I've chosen to see him again. Of course he wants to go fast, like move in, and I've learned the lessons the hard way, so go slow and no moving in just yet.

“He's a good guy with a good heart but has the disease so I'm seeing him but protecting my heart. I'm in Al-Anon for 22 years and work a good program.

“Life is good and I do find joy when we are together. Going slow one day at a time is the answer for me. 

“If this helps anyone it would make me happy. At 65, finding a partner is not easy. So I'm giving this a try and will see how it goes. It is good sharing a life with someone but having a broken heart many times is so very hard. Lessons learned through the years and I keep on learning them.”

After reading these messages, I couldn’t help but think of the words from Bette Midler’s 1979 song “The Rose,” particularly the last verse.

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose

The entire song is worth listening to again. 

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