If Fifty is the new Thirty, should I be Dating Septugenarians.....or Thirty somethings?
I am fifty seven years old. And a newly graduated Health Coach and Blog Writer. You may wonder what a Health Coach is doing writing an article about Dating?!
Well, I'll tell you my reasons for that. I have learned during this year of studying my trade that in life we have the need of Primary and Secondary Food. Primary food refers to other than food we physically ingest. It is the basics of a healthy, balanced life. Spirituality, sexuality, work, play and more. It is felt that in order to be at our most healthy as human beings of any age, that we first need to create a healthy balance. You know "all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy". That kind of thinking is part of it. On a deeper level, it is recognizing that not all of our hunger is driven by a lack of food.
I personally have come to realize that I don't have enough humor in my life; not nearly enough laughter. Well, I was considered the class clown throughout most of my school years. I have always been the one making the team at work laugh; keeping the spirits up. Kind of the "Bob Hope" of the nursing world. But, as life has dealt a few...OK a lot....of blows along the way I seem to have lost that humor and I want it back! Not just to amuse the people around me, though it makes me happy to make other people laugh. I also want to make myself laugh; lighten up; get a kick out of silly and simple things.
While I often am pondering issues that I could approach from a clinical, serious side; I want to share my humorous side. I want to add a good helping of humor to my blogs. I am hoping to demonstrate that part of being healthy is the balance of humor to pathos. I have found a lot of humor to be gleaned from my many years in the dating world so wanted to share that with my followers.
So, here I am 57 years "young" and single. Well, widowed to be more specific. I have long said that "Date is a four letter word" and that is an opinion cultivated from my many years and attempts at dating. I could write a book about dating and there would be a chapter for every kind of weird, off putting, scary or depressing date. I have a tentative chapter titled "Dates from Hell". One memorable such date promised "dinner and dancing" only to take me to the mall and Taco bell. Not sure how slogging through mall stores equated with dancing and don't get me started on Taco bell for dinner. Another gave me a rose at the start of our date, but when I politely asked to go home, he took the flower back because it didn't go as he'd hoped. There are more, but that's another blog. There were a few really memorable and pleasant dates, but probably enough for one small chapter.
But, I have not given up....entirely. I just started thinking that if it's true that "50 is the new 30", then should I be selecting my dates from the senior citizen pool or the 30 something pool? I mean, I'm technically a hip chick of only 37! Why would I want to date a man 60 or up? Well, not so fast.
When it's said 50 is the new 30, does that mean physically, mentally? And does it mean that we now have Botox, Life Style Lifts and Stair climbers to burn off 600 calories in 30 minutes so we are better at hiding our physical age? Or does it refer to the idea that we are learning how to remain youthful mentally and emotionally by better health choices? Maybe it's a combination of both; or maybe it is an optimistic thought by the largest growing generation in the world, the Baby Boomers. Whatever the reason, it does make one consider their options based on their age.
While I feel like I have held up quite well for my age and am still attractive, physically fit and mentally sharp, there are those things that I cover up or mask that aren't so er...well preserved. For instance, after losing over 30 pounds at age 56 there is a lot of skin remaining that is not nicely plumped out by extra fat. Add gravity to this and you have some areas that are not so youthful. When I do Yoga I can be doing the boat pose (on my back) and admiring my firm, trim thighs; but put me in Downward dog and these same thighs are heading south and those dimples aren't as charming as the one's in my cheeks when I smile!
My granddaughter delights in the extra flesh in my face and loves to grab a little handful of each cheek. I love that she loves to give me a good pinch...just wish there were not so much skin for her to gather up in her little fists!
Then there are the changes in our bodies that are..well...noisy. I don't actually groan-too much-upon rising and getting up from sitting. But the body itself can be quite vocal. Snaps, cracks, pops....not as much fun as a bowl of Rice Krispies but just as noisy.
This makes me consider the idea of having corrective procedures to hold on to fading youth a bit longer. I don't oppose the options for other people who have the means or feel that they must remain as youthful in appearance as is possible via tummy tucks, eye lifts and Botox. But, I personally don't want to take part in this. I guess I feel that while we can nip and tuck and pull and suction, we are still getting older and the jig is up. I feel like it's healthier for me to eat as cleanly as I can; exercise my body and my brain and keep my life in some sort of healthy balance. I admit it...I am vain. But only up to a point. I do wear makeup to go out and I do like my hair to be nicely styled and wear flattering clothes. (no public yoga doing downward dog without knee length pants!) But, when the day is done I like myself just this way. Loose flesh and all. I earned every wrinkle and every smile line and wouldn't trade them for all the world.
This brings me to dating men younger than myself. It may be flattering to find a person 10-20 years one's junior is attracted to you and finds you beautiful and viable in spite of your advanced age. But, this person likely hasn't entered the stage of sagging flesh, noisy joints and graying hair. It can take a very strong ego and sense of self esteem to remain confident of one's sex appeal in the face of firm faces and flat tummies. A youthful mind is a great joy and youthful energy is good as well. But, when one wants to have a conversation and perhaps reminisce about movies or music of their youth and their 30 something counterpart looks mystified and have no idea what you are talking about, it can leave you feeling a bit like you are of the stone age. It can be a positive if you don't feel bothered by constantly explaining about such things, but it can also become exhausting. If your partner is still into head banging and you are more into a comfy pillow for your head, you might find it hard to find common ground.
Now, the reverse is dating men one's own age or even older. There can be comfort in having a partner with the same memories of music and movies; one who remembers when gas prices were 35 cents a gallon and you could buy a week worth of groceries for 25$. It can be nice to have a partner who has also lost some of that youthful elasticity, gotten gray or bald and who's body makes similar noises in a lovely duet with your own. One might feel more secure in their own body and with their natural failings than with a person who has not yet gotten there. It can be lovely having similar upbringings or traditions and generational beliefs.
But, sometimes a person in this age group has grown old mentally. They are no longer interested in anything but the past and the oldies. Maybe they no longer want to see new movies or hear new music and explore new foods. It can be discouraging to have somebody who has lost their zeal and zest for the new and good in life. You can cook up all the Quinoa and black beans you want, but they only want meat and potatoes.
I have decided that it's best to keep the playing field open. I am not going to rule in or rule out anybody based on their age. Well...I don't want to date fetuses or octogenarians! But somewhere between 40 and 65 or so ought to be a good range to find some complimentary persons. It is less about the chronological age than it is the mental age. Many people my age and older remain youthful in their attitudes and work to keep their minds sharp. There are plenty of people in their 70's and 80's and beyond who continue to learn and grow and try new things. And there are people who are 25 and don't want to do anything at all. Just stay home and play video games. People are who they are often unrelated to their age but their attitude.
The most important thing in my opinion is to first develop a love relationship with yourself! It's like at the beginning of your flight on an airplane; the steward warns people to apply the oxygen mask to themselves first; then to children or others who are unable. The same concept applies in love, or really in life. We must first be sure that we are securely in place before attempting to help another, or form a partnership. What help will we be if we suffocate first?!
And as I said before, humor is so important. Laugh at yourself; laugh with others at yourself. Laugh even when your heart doesn't want to. It will make you feel better and make you stay young longer.
So buckle up your safety device, low and tight around your hips and stay seated for the ride of your life!