Twelve years ago I was broken.
I had just ended a 29 year marriage, sent my only kid off to college, and was left broke and unemployed with the cats and the dog to feed. Not exactly my life plan. I was alone for the first time in my life and filled with fear.
I sold the big house on the hill and started a new life in the city in a cute little condo that was to be my healing place. I traded the country club membership for a job and sold my Mercedes-Benz and bought a used BMW. I penned my book, Single Past 50 Now What? and was thrilled when it was published. I moved on with my life as best I could.
It took 2 years before I dated again. Broken hearts bring with them broken lives and battered self-esteem. It took time to mend, heal and get my head together.
When I did, I went about the business of rebuilding. The friendships I was graced with became lifetime alliances. Life was good again and I had learned how to sleep alone. A triumph of epic proportions.
I dated happily and smartly, laughed a lot and felt comfortable in my skin again. Everything in my world was just as I wanted it. Everything.
That’s about the time I received an email from an old high school friend of mine, a wonderful young man named Steven. We had been hangout buddies 40 years ago. I responded to his email and the conversations began.
We talked and it was as comfortable as ever. Much to my surprise I discovered that he had a crush on me back in the day (who knew?!). As the conversation unfolded he disclosed that he never married. He later shared that he had been waiting for me … all these years.
Who does that? He did.
We began long distance phone dating (a lot more exciting than it sounds) for 3 months. The time came to meet in person (can we say nerve wracking?). I flew back home to L.A. and reacquainted myself with the man who was one of my favorite people in years gone by.
The next year and a half was filled with twice a month visits from Steven. Southwest Airlines loved us, as he booked his fares from L.A. to Denver months in advance. Even in record breaking snow storms, the man never missed a weekend. At the end of those months together, it was time for a commitment.
It wasn’t long before I followed this man across country, with everything I owned in tow. I was about to take a second chance on love. If you knew me at all, you would know that I’m the LAST person to ever follow a man anywhere.
Despite my fear, he was the risk my gut was telling me to take.
Here’s the thing, when I find myself sitting on my front porch in my rocking chair at the ripe old age of 93, I’d much rather scold myself for making a bad decision than simmer in regret for something I didn’t have the courage to try.
The truth is, life offers no guarantees. Risk is part of the bargain. Knowing when to jump in or run from, is a crucial life skill. If there is anything I know for certain, it’s that nothing is for certain.
My life has always been about going beyond my imagination. Trying things I knew I had little chance succeeding at. Risking failure for a chance at success. Happiness, I have found, is less about the destination and much more about the pursuit.
We’ve been together six years now. A lot of growth, love and learning. We are buying a house together and settling in for a little something called the rest of our lives.
I love this man. He is everything I deserve. He is my gift, my light and my comfort. It will be my honor to marry him.
This is what I’ve learned and want to share with you: Happiness can always be found on the other side of fear.
Here we are, 1970. That is Steven with his hand around my shoulder. Groovy kids!