(Great East Lake, NH, my favorite place in all the world)
There was a beautiful song that I adored by Gilbert O’Sullivan, when I heard it as a child. It’s only now that I learn it’s about suicide and depression. “Alone again. Naturally”.
Seriously? For me, it was about preparing to comfort my Grandmother and eventually my own mother when the time came that they were on their own, as being alone was a real part of life, despite the fact that many of us link up with partners to share the journey.
We come into this world alone (excluding our Mom, who is birthing us, or siblings, if we are lucky enough to be a twin or a multiple). We leave this world alone, even if we are lucky enough to have people who love us by our side.
As I’m aging and battling the challenges COPD / Asthma present for endurance and stamina during normal / routine activities, I get told all the time that I should do x, as if doing x as a singleton was as easy as starting over appears to be when one is a pair.
– Move someplace cheaper.
– Relocate where there’s more for you to do despite your handicap.
– Start over. Make your money last by completely decimating your life and your support structure.
My answer to all of that is, “No way !”
Seriously. I moved here (California, of all places. The land of fruit and nuts, as some in my family like to tease), about as far from my home and my family as I could possibly get and yet still be in the USA. It’s not that I don’t love my family. It’s just that I don’t love drama. Or snow shoveling. Or cold, gray, damp weather. Grey, depressing weather which hangs around about 75% of the year. The other 25% of the year are the days I miss with all my heart – the perfect days at sea. The blue light of snowfall. The early morning dawns and late night sunsets to loon call. All these are perfection in my memories, and I pursue them as often as my budget and my health permits.
I come from a family of semi-nomads. Moving and starting over is never a problem, as long as one moves within a smallish area, so that one can have new experiences yet still keep connected to the stabilizing core. I wish I’d had that option when I chose to move to California, but I made a different choice due to my health, and have not regretted doing so.
That doesn’t mean I don’t miss my family and miss the friends connections from my childhood. That doesn’t mean that I accept being out of step with the latest goings on in my family, or that I enjoy being an outsider looking in. No longer part of the core family as people have passed away and the children have grown up to create branches of their own.
If the weather had been nicer / easier for me to tolerate on the East Coast, I would have been very happy to move within two (2) hours of my family. Near enough to drop everything and go for a visit. Far enough away to discourage constant visits / interference with my life. Not that I’m doing anything outré or important with my life, but… California has allowed me to explore ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that made me curious, and to learn and grow as a person. To leave the shelter of my family and test their teachings, vs. simply accepting all my programming as sacrosanct. I’m still the same person I was in Massachusetts, the only difference is that I’m “allowed” to be myself in California, whereas it would have been all about, “What will the neighbors think?!!” if I’d stayed home. Home is always Massachusetts / New Hampshire, regardless of how long I’ve lived in California.
But, I tell you all that to tell you this – I think being alone is “natural”. Not lonely. Not weird. Just the way things were supposed to be for me.
So much of the world, though, looks upon singleton’s a “lonely”, “abandoned”, a case for pity. So very untrue.
So many stories are written about the importance of family, of partnership for your aging independently strategy, even though the rate of divorce has risen to over 50% for all couples, and even though many people have chosen to practice serial monogamy vs. marrying at all:
Those same stories overlook the fact that, regardless of what you do to protect yourself, either you or your spouse / partner will die at some point, leaving the other to continue on, alone.
Kids have their own lives. It would be nice to think that they will pitch in to help you, but the reality is that they are busy with their own lives, and may choose to not help you as you age. Guilt and entitlement is not the way to conduct a healthy relationship, and if you agree with me about that point, you’ll know that they will come back if they wish, but not simply because you gave birth to them and are owed fealty.
I’m actually feeling very excited to have found my people – the members of this senior park where I hope to relocate – so that I can find a way to age in place, still alone, yet surrounded by people with many of the same issues that I have experienced, as I’m still out of step with my own age group. (Always have been / always will be, LOL).
It’s not a great solution, but moving to the senior mobile home park feels like a protected environment in which to age, while still affording me autonomy and flexibility to continue my nomad lifestyle at my own pace, and with my own sense of direction leading me on to the next adventure.
How about you – do you have any wishes or thoughts about how you’re going to remain where you want to be in life as you age? Inquiring mind want to know…
X-reference to the songs I mentioned in this posting. Give then a listen if you’re so inclined:
The YouTube link:
The other song I adored was, “Honey”, performed by Bobby Goldsboro.
Or his hit, “Little Green Apples”: