So many articles I read end with: “and then I met the man——who turned out to be the one.” The woman is never young but midlife or older. Most times she has been married before but it wasn’t destined or she thinks she wasn’t together enough for it to work.
“After the cancer remission, I ran a marathon, and at the finish line I fell into a stranger’s arms. Now we live together in imperfect body and imperfect mind joyous laughing contentment.”
“The bitch took both my husband and my business. My children took their sides. Idiots. They claim I was self—centered, and had never been a good mother or grandmother as I had been immersed in my work, charity events, husband, and lovers.
Devastated, with not a cent to my name and nothing to lose, I took up extreme sports. I went to the French Alps and while skiing decided to go on the new zipline——10,597ft. Exhilarated, I couldn’t stop smiling (or the smile was frozen on, I will never be sure.)
He was coming from the other end and smiled (or had a frozen one, again I can’t know). I dreamed of him that night and wasn’t surprised to see him in the ski lodge the next day. The prince, fitting nickname don’t you think? and I travel the world, staying with people we meet and regale with our tales. The prince and I know we will live this life way into our 90’s. I used to idolize Iris Apfel but she is too tame for me now that I have discovered sports and travel. I thank my sweet prince for everything.”
“My life was a shambles. During the recession I lost my job and had to use my 401K, penalty and all. I stopped looking for work as a financial analyst. The house was underwater. Then I decided to become a life coach and blogger. It took six months for people to begin reading my blog and a bit longer to get enough clients. I was out celebrating making my first house payment in over a year when a man walked over to my table and told me he loved my deep laugh. Three months later we married. Five years later my life coach business has become a franchise. The hubs as I call him now manages the business end.”
“In the early part of the century my husband and I lost all our money in the dot com bubble. I blamed him. He blamed me. Frankly, the sex hadn’t been great in years. One day in Pilates a much younger woman smiled at me.
Alyssa was beautiful. She asked me to go for coffee at Sara Beth’s where she dug into the lemon ricotta pancakes as though they had no calories. ‘Oh youth,’ I thought, not realizing then that the hours she didn’t spend at her very demanding job at a downtown law firm where she was a rising securities fraud attorney were spent at various gyms.
Or having athletic poetic sex with people of both sexes.
We gradually became a couple. I saw much less of her after the Madoff scandal, of course.
But the quality of the sex increased each quarter. I never knew I could love a woman.
I thought about going to law school but had so much fun at the gym I became a trainer. If you want an appointment with me my assistant will be happy to book one for you beginning six months from now. I charge $150 an hour and up but I’m worth every penny.”
“It was the depths of the recession. I had no job, no anchor. I was scared I would become a bag lady sooner than later. One day I saw a house that needed much tender care and love. Somehow the bank gave me a mortgage, and I used my investments, to buy the house as I learned to renovate it.
But still I needed a carpenter. A man, Duncan, 30, who looked like a combination of Jon Bon Jovi, and the tall dark haired stranger of my childhood dreams rang the doorbell. That night he took me places I had never imagined. I thought he was too young, too perfect as he had majored in Victorian Womens literature at Yale, and was planning on introducing him to my daughter, Eliza, the anthropologist, but last week we married at the beach.
Between Eliza who married a proctologist and soon had two amazing children, Vivienne, my psychiatrist daughter has two children from her first marriage, and two more children from her newer marriage to Suzanne, the nurse practitioner, our house overflows with children.
Duncan, now known to one and all as the prince, claims he needs no more children. This way we have more time together. I have never been so physically strong as I am at 60. Women, forty years younger than I am throw imaginary daggers at me when they see me walking arm in arm with my prince.”
I don’t know if it is because we baby boomers are growing older, and need happy endings to grasp onto, or it’s always been this way, and I was too busy buying and renovating my own Manhattan coop and now South Carolinian house to notice.
No matter how interesting my life has been or will be it can never compete with a good love story. One complete with a woman who has lost something, tries to replace it with something else, and in the end finds that perfect man.
It’s not that I don’t believe in love. Of course I do. I came to the pragmatic conclusion years ago that my life was better lived alone, with many friends, and some family.
But that doesn’t fit the baby boomer guide to growing into our midlife. The feeling that I will always be the seventh person at the table doesn’t read well in blogland.
Yet if I feel that I’m a success shouldn’t that count? I have never gone broke and it wasn’t because I never tried to do anything interesting and different as so many women who were broke did. I have never been underwater or had to worry about a house payment as I decided many years ago to pay cash for my homes——only buy the ones I could afford not the ones I love.
Yes, during the recession I could have done much better but I factored in the costs of upkeep, the electricity, HVAC, the taxes that would rise, insurance that would triple because I would be in a flood zone. All the unromantic things in life.
I pay for everything with credit cards. Ones that give me miles, points and/or cash back. The day the charges hit the Internet I pay. Therefore my life isn’t filled with the little luxuries I know I deserve.
I wish I had a more romantic tale. Yes my youth was filled with men. So many men who were so wrong for me I became exhausted. I realized I didn’t know how to compromise. I wasn’t good at relationships. And I was bad at so many things I learned to only focus on what I could do well.
It’s hard for people, even for some people, with an invisible disability like nonverbal learning disorder (NLD) to understand.
I’m giving up trying to explain. From now on I will only be writing things that are fun for me. I’m working on a story about my father, the moonwalk and me. I know “how Sally Draper.” Only this really happened, and I have told the story in different forms many times before.
Maybe when my book comes out and it’s published by an actual house——not that there’s anything wrong with self-publishing, the lack of a man or woman——if that was my preference–won’t be so jarring.
Maybe one day choice will include the choice to live a solitary life.