My father was (for most of his life) a very happy, optimistic fellow. He was generally a happy man, happy, but realistic. As a young man he was given a Bible, probably after being confirmed as a member of his church. On the first page of the Bible he wrote, “When you are born, you’re done for it.” Whenever life gave any of his children a kick in the fanny, my dad would remind us of his childhood forewarning. Dad, you were right. Most of us know this by now. If you are sixty or over, let’s say we have all been though and seen a great deal of life. We have been made aware of the inevitable. As years go by the inevitable goes from being somewhere way far off in the distance, to maybe being right around the corner or just over the hill or maybe right down the block…. but it is there. The end is unfortunately within shouting distance.
There is a lot that is really good after birth, there is also a lot of bad. We have all been there. We have seen, been witness to, our own and other’s pain, happiness, joy, fun, laughter, sadness, and misery. Oh, I forgot, illness, death, worry, love, friendship, births, deaths, mourning, weddings, and how could I miss this…. sex, there is always, sex. One of the more difficult connections with sex is that two people have to get to know each other unless you are just paying for it; in which case, the whole experience just needs to be a financial transaction. This getting to know each other stuff, is, and always has been, a tricky and sometimes a risky business. In days of yore, humans often met in school, or places of worship, or at work and occasionally through family or friends. If there was an attraction you probably would go on dates for a reasonable period of time to see if you were compatible or not? When you are young it isn’t easy but you are young, so you jump in and you take that big leap. Youth seems endless. Risk? What do you risk? When you are young there is no end in sight. We meet, we like each other, we date, fall in love, sure, sex, sure, why not? What do you have to lose? Heartbreak, sure, it happens, but there is always the other girl that you met at work or that other boy you met at the dance. Is it a risk, sure, you might be disappointed, or you might fall in love again. You might have your heart-broken again. The only difference with this very familiar routine is that when you are young there is time. There is always another person; there are always lots more time.
When you reach 60 or above, our time grows shorter. Risks get harder to take. We get more careful. We have seen life and we know what happens to people who risk too much. They get burned. All you have to do is fall down a few times and trip over that rug in the bathroom and oops, you end up in the hospital with a broken nose. Look straight ahead and boom an accident and there you go in the hospital again. So of course, when you used to run up stairs two at a time maybe you now hold on to the railing because you see what happens to someone when they miss a step.
So of course, why are we surprised when after the age of 60 if you enter into a friendship with a man or a woman who sparks your interest, why would we jump in? Why would we take a big leap? Why would we want to take what might be a big risk? We have seen what life and love and death and illness does to people. Maybe we have even been there and done that. Maybe our hearts have been broken. Maybe we want to look for something or someone who is easy to handle or not too serious. Maybe it is better to forget the whole thing then to take that risk. Maybe leaping and risking is only for the young.
I know many men and women who feel that maybe, just maybe, it is time to call it a day. Maybe it is not worth it: to go through all of the feelings, and emotions and possible heartache again. Maybe sex and or possible love, isn’t worth all of the mess and trouble anymore. Have I felt this way? Sure I have. Do I want to be possibly sad again? Do I want to be misunderstood and misunderstand and to argue and worry and feel jealous again? Do I want to be in a complicated relationship with someone else in my 60’s? Am I too tired? What about family issues? Adult children and grandchildren and or ex-husbands or ex-wives and their problems are also new problems to be faced. Are men and women over 60 too set in their ways to change even slightly for another person? Maybe, over 60 means never being able to change your habits enough to let someone new into your life. When you let another person in to your life it does get messy. You might have to make changes and adjustments. Is that possible over 60? You might have to be responsible for someone else. After a lifetime of being responsible for everyone else is one more person worth it?
Here is the last part and the hardest part. You just might end up caring for this new person and you might end of caring too much. There is something that men and women know (who have lived to and beyond their 60thbirthday) of which young people are blissfully unaware. The person you might be interested in or have fallen in love with, is going to die. We know that now. They could be ill for a while and then die or they could just drop dead when you aren’t looking or when you are at your very, very, happiest in your new romantic relationship.
Therefore, men and women over 60 and single are you considering taking a risk at your age… are you going to take that leap and take that risk? Is it worth the risk? I think so, but I’m not sure? Are you?
Until Next Week…