by Margo Ewing Woodacre, MSW
In my later 30’s, after a divorce, dating was not pivotal for me. My focus was on raising my young daughter and a full-time job. I was enjoying my single-life solitude and freedom. At that stage, my life was full with an active social schedule and little verve was needed with meeting new people. Companionship was nice, but not crucial. The dating I did was for fun with no immediate plans other than to make the most of my newfound independence. However, after a couple of years, I was introduced to the man whom I would eventually marry, and we shared 28 fulfilling years until his death.
Let’s fast-forward to my late 60’s when I was now a widow and, once again, alone. Unlike in my 40’s, the solitude was arduous. I felt lost and abandoned. My daughter was now an adult with her own life and family, and although my part-time teaching job was a fraction of my focus, my life felt empty and companionship was sorely missed. As a Baby Boomer, my business and social schedules were less active, many of my friends were still couples, and the dating world had changed significantly. I had lost confidence in myself, especially when it came to dating! What I missed most of all was any form of companionship with the opposite sex. At this stage of my life, I was not looking for another husband or live-in partner — just a compatible person with whom I could share some of my life. Would I ever meet someone again in these latter years?
Since I was not on any social lists, I reluctantly decided to give on-line dating a try. No matter how old I felt, I chose a picture that was recent and honest about my age. I painstakingly composed one paragraph on myself, with correct grammar and spelling, and inserted more creative interests than walks-on-the-beach or wine-by-the-fire as favorite things to do! I hesitantly posted it with low expectation.
Surprisingly, I found dating on-line was an adventure! I had a decent response from others looking for companionship and met both some interesting and bizarre characters. If Anne Beckley Coleman had not already written the book, Matchless, I would have written a tongue-in-cheek book myself! Joking aside, I found that getting back into the dating world did wonders for my much-needed self-confidence.
After several years, I decided not to play the on-line dating game anymore. I was in a different frame of mind and had my poise back. My family, friends and students were my impetus. No longer was I lonely, and instead, had settled into a relaxed life of enjoying my solitude once again. Then, one day, I happened to encounter a former acquaintance from my past, and together, we now enjoy companionship while still valuing our independence.
The lesson I have learned is that life does not have to be lonely in our Baby Boomer years. Companionship can be great, but learning to enjoy our own solitude and independence is precious, and staying in touch with family and good friends can help fill most voids. We must be brave enough to step forward and seize the day. Carpe Diem!