So, I’ve come back down from a week filled with family and friends. To the work week. To a quiet house. To just a dog, who while she drags me out the door for a walk after work, is not a great conversationalist. Last night, a little crazy from the silence, I headed to sauna. Sauna is a weekly tradition filled with friends that I have known since my kids were wee. The group consists of a large share of my merry band of brothers, and women who knew my daughter when she would suck on a bottle and talk about what was in her diapers, or all the girls gathering in dressing rooms while the moms tried on wonder bras and slinky dresses stating, “we ain’t getting any younger, the time for bling is now!” The group also holds a man who lost his first wife to GBM when their son was small. We have spent some nights, both while Jim was sick and after, comparing notes. Brain cancer tends to form bonds in its caretakers and survivors. So, in sauna, I found myself with 4 men whom I would trust with my life…and me. The subject turned to dating in midlife…specifically, what should Kathie do? Here was the advice that I recall:
Figure out what I need: That was easy. I have every thing I need. I have shelter. I have a warm house and a soft bed that I own free and clear. I have the canopy of a starry night on the river, or a truck canopy and a down sleeping bag for trips where the stars don’t shine. I have good food. The Moscow Food Co-op and local hunters/farmers keep me supplied with great food, and I love sharing it with family and friends. I have meaningful work. I love what I do. I have the privilege of seeing the light come on in a kid’s face when he can play chase games on the playground for the first time due to a mobility solution. I love the team of professionals that come to my rescue when I share a story, and say, “I can’t fix this…can you?” I have family and friends that hold me close, I can call when I am happy or sad, and they get me. I have everything I need.
Figure out what I want: That is pretty easy, too. I want to find someone to share this second half of my life. I want a pair of warm arms that welcome me at the end of the day. I want someone who enjoys shelter, and making good food, and family and friends. I want someone who believes that love is probably the greatest thing around. I want someone who is comfortable in the silence of an early morning, and can talk with me through an angst filled night. Perhaps I want too much.
Figure out what I am willing to give up: Whew. This is hard. I know better what I am NOT willing to give up. I will never give up the relationship I have with my kids. They are precious and the most important thing in my life. I can’t give up my love of the trails and rivers of Idaho, they are what feed my soul. I’d prefer not to give up my active life style. Swimming, and running, and riding my bike give me what I need to dance the night through should I choose to. I have bonds with my family, both Jim’s and my family of origin. I can’t give those up, and am not sure why I should have to. My true friends will be with me now matter what I do, where I go, they are already spread out over the globe. So…what can I give up? My house?…yup. My bed? as long as I can still sleep under a canopy of stars…yup. All the bikes, all the boats, all the appliances? Pretty sure I could farm those out to deserving folks, and they’d let me use them when I want to. My work? I’m not sure where this is headed as I taper into only those things I feel passionate about.
So. I come back down from a perfect vacation and find I am happy, but I am also lonely. How do I date in my 50’s? Why does it have to come down to what I am willing to give up vs how to find someone out of almost 7 billion people on this planet earth? Somehow the 2nd alternative seems more feasible than the 1st.