Dating: Should I Change My Life for the Man I Love?
I am 72. Don’t look it. Don’t feel it. Don’t want it. But the number is there. The decline will come, as all things must. But must I anticipate it and “act my age?” Absolutely not. I have been married three times: two divorces; one recent widowhood. Now I am in love again, and the question looms: how do I conduct myself, going forward?
My new man is happily retired and I am enjoying my ghostwriting career and am still in demand. I love telling other people’s life stories. I am fortunate to have so many clients, friends, my beloved daughter living right across the street as well as two dogs to walk and entertain.
But, I am conflicted. My new love wants to spend more time (months!) in Florida and traveling with me. Trading the cold and icy streets of Manhattan for an view of the ocean seems like an obvious decision. Even the idea of wearing a bikini works as I have taken off enough weight to go down several sizes, and my fine clothing (some dated, some not so much) are now being worn by women fresh out of prison. I am getting rid of collectibles and furniture, along with kitchen equipment I will never use, since my gourmet cook husband is gone.
I am lightening my load but not solving my dilemma: determining who I will be in Act Three. Will I take the time to finish my novel, will I re-learn how to drive, and will I travel the world with a new life partner who wants to show it to me? What does the world have that New York does not? What would moving to Florida mean when I have avoided it for so long.
We often come to such an impasse, such an inflection point. I am you and you are me. What do YOU see for your own future? Do you even think beyond this day, this month or this year? I never have; and yet, now I feel I must.
Friends offer advice: relationships are unpredictable, they sagely say. Keep the man, find a middle way. If only that were true. Someone always gets the shorter end of the stick. Is that really me?
So here I sit, at my computer, mulling over choices, and changes, and finding more “stuff” to give away. Take it all, no charge, just enjoy what I had and no longer want. Coats, bags and shoes in every color no longer have meaning because I have found something else. Myself. Life is unpredictable…I may live to see 90 or 100; I could die tomorrow. Whatever I do I will have regrets: the road less travelled always looks like it might have been the better choice. In the background Sinatra sings that he did it “My Way.” Well and good, if you know what your way is. What is my way anyway? I feel that I have stumbled into my life, and now the Universe wants me to decide what I will do for an encore.
Now I will make myself a scotch, watch the news, walk my dogs and try to sleep. I would love to hear YOUR impasse story. Or, if you have found some answers, give me some advice on getting past indecision and carving out a new life from the jungle of self-doubts that crop up whenever I contemplate changing what I have now for what could be.
Is life testing you too? How is that going? I really want to know.