I was married for 16 years.
I've been single for 30.
Probably a reason for that.
Initially, I was in a rural neighborhood. I was growing two boys, in graduate school, working fulltime. I understood that. Worked somewhere around 60 hours a week most of the time. Just got into the habit of single.
Let's skip to the present. I live alone. I have family next door. Neither of us are intrusive. That's why it works. My daughter-in-law suggested it when the home became available. I will always be puffed-up proud for that. They do things for me. My son, quite tall, changes the filter which is in my ceiling. As I age, they probably will do more. Now I can help with two grandkids and three times the activities. It makes me feel like I pay back. I feel a part of family.
I see the benefit of people who have lived together decades. It is lovely. I wish I could have had that. I don't and what I do have is wonderful. I have family, community, things to do, times to prop up my feet up and do nothing. These are good things.
Those of you who are younger do not understand. I didn't either. As we age, more and more, we need community and help. Good Lord, I'm not helpless or near it. It is just as we age, I think for most of us, the more we treasure family and community. A well-worn marriage of decades is such a comfortable living. It is sweet, to be savored. I treasure that.
I don't envy anyone.
I treasure that I understand more than I did. I am happy in my little house, with my dogs, and my son's house next door and the other son close by.
There is a difference. As I age, I see it. Youngers need to be aware of it.
I never knew I would grow whiskers I have to take off on my chin with tweezers. No one told me. Yuk. It happens.
Today, a man in a longsleeved shirt and matching tie checked me out at the grocery. And as he finished, he said, "There you go, young lady."
It set me off, though I was polite. Tried to be.
"Well," I said, "we have a problem because I don't like to be called that."
Noone behind me, so we visited. He told me his mother had always told him to say that. She was high maintenance, he said admiringly. When I asked, he agreed, she always had immaculate makeup and sprayed hair and a diamond ring or two when she went out, even to the grocery store. He loved that about his mom. He loved her, that was good.
I laughed. "She sounds wonderful but look out for me," I said. "If you see an older woman with no makeup, undyed, unsprayed hair, no jewelry or bling, just guess she doesn't want to be called 'young lady'."
He smiled and said those might be useful clues.
I didn't tell him about the man last night who held the door for me when I was slowly approaching and urged him to go on.
He smiled and said, "I always have time to hold the door for a pretty lady."
Then I felt warmed. I could have reminded him of his Aunt Bea. He didn't offend at all. He was charming. I beamed and said, "Thank you."
I think most women see the difference instantly. Hope the men do.