I find myself single once more after a 2-year rollercoaster; wounds healing, lessons learned [hopefully], correct path rediscovered. Did you know midlife or ‘grey’ divorce has doubled since 1990? I follow a number of blogs of women in my age bracket (45-60), and at least half of them are single and dating. Of course, several are still in delightfully content long term relationships or marriages, and kudos to them.
That has never been my story. Nor my goal.
Still, once again, I clawed my way out of a tear-filled, anxiety-riddled, confused and lonely pit of mourning, like a determined yet unlucky mole.
And then began sprucing up my online dating profile, adding current photos, and perusing my options…
Some familiar faces are still there. And now mine too, returning to the fray.
I sat on my blue couch facing the forest, flipping past
desperate hopeful offer after offer, and noticed I felt numb.
Too soon? Four months single; feel ready for something though. Too easy? Been online since 2010, so yes, very accustomed to this hunting. Too callous? Yes again: the instant discard because of ugly sunglasses, an orange shirt, or the ubiquitous drink in hand is harsh, and I can be ruthless, I admit- you learn to be in online dating.
I closed the lid to my laptop. There must be another way… how did we used to do it? But more importantly, was I really ready?
When I was 10, I wrote a list of all the things I wanted to do/be when I grew up- it was probably a school exercise. Writer, actress, journalist… I’ve kind of ticked the boxes haven’t I?
I also wrote a list of the ways I didn’t want to be, and from memory, the top point was ‘cynical’. I was a dreamy, romantic child, and my favourite moments now are still those times before jumping out of the bed in the morning, when I can let my sleepy soft mind drift through imagined or remembered scenarios and experiences.
After this latest worst break-up ever [complete dysfunctional disrespect by the other party of my clearly-expressed needs for safety and boundaries], it would be easy for me to sit in cynicism, or worse still, swear off entanglement forever.
But as my dear friend A says:
‘G, I’ve never seen you deeply committed to misery.’
And he’s right. The curious, playful, and ultimately brave part of me wants to venture back out into the light, to see if I can find love again…
My question is: can I surrender to it if I find it?
Remember when you were young, say 23, and met someone you liked? Back then, the world was your oyster. I fell in love with a kitchen-hand with dark cats eyes in tropical North Queensland, and before I even thought about it too much, we backpacked off to England and Canada, then ended up in a caravan at his parents’ farm in Coffs Harbour a couple of years later. We then agreed to break up in the check-out queue of the local supermarket, on my birthday, as you do.
So be it.
Another romance saw me move across Australia, study to become a Pilates instructor, then spend years commuting back and forth to see my son.
Even old readers of this blog will recall my delightful Melbourne love connection, with monthly trips to a rural idyll far from my beloved beach, exploring a profound creative relationship with ‘H’, who I treasure still to this day.
Can I do it again? With a mortgage and part time jobs to juggle, plus darling son ’20Now’? At what point do we give up believing in romance? Is it really just a social construct to sell Hallmark cards and promote the religious agenda of the nuclear family?
I still want to look at someone and feel butterflies. I still want to hold hands while gazing at the stars, aware that we are infinitesimal, yet so important to each other in each breath, each unfolding moment.
I do have faith in my emotional resilience, for that’s what it will take. And I back myself up with discipline and commitment: I go to therapy; I read and reflect; I write in my journal; I talk with and listen to my wise friends.
I feel supported, and therefore brave.
So my answer is YES. Yes, I hope I can still surrender to love, if it comes along.
How about you? Of course this damn pandemic makes everything tricky, and we need to stay safe as a priority, but how are you feeling about your search for love, whether single or partnered?
In gratitude for online conversations and the magic of starlight, G xO