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!
Judith Eton - So glad I read this, I am about to be alone for the first time ever in my life, as my husband wants to move to South America and I can not face another move. I will have to start over and I am scared. It is nice to read about a happy ending even if it is a long time in my future.
Tammy - Hi Judith, happy endings do happen. Especially for people who least expect them. South America is a BIG move. I hope you both can work it out. I’m pulling for you!
Lisa Diegel - So happy for you! Have thought about you many times since a saw your S.C.O.R.E. Presentation a while back. Hope to see you soon!
Evette Goldstein - I am so happy for both of you! I miss seeing you, Tammy, but am delighted to keep up with you via your blog.
Lynn Tarson - I have always had a special place in my heart for Steve and am so happy he has finally found THE ONE! I wish you both health, happiness, and long lives together.
Marilyn Tichauer - Even though I know the “Story”, along with my morning coffee your story brought me morning tears
Suzanne Gray - I love this story sooo much! It’s raw, honest and romantic. Thanks for sharing it. Reading it made me happy.
Melanie Kissell - Your love story and mine are parallels, Tammy. Goosebumps!! I smiled all the way down the page. 🙂
Donna Ainsworth - Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! You give hope to all the single (past 50) women who sometimes want to give up on the dream of finding love again. Bless you! And Congratulations! you deserve it!
Kim Curtis - Loved this! Your story was filled with risk, resilience and love! Tribute to the “next” in everyone’s life who is open.
Laura Lee Carter - Yes Tammy Bleck, your story is the perfect example of do-overs before it’s all over, and sounds so much like my awakening to love ten years! Isn’t life grand?
Joel Goldberg - Tammy you write so personally and honestly. You are an exceptionally gifted and wonderful person. So glad our paths have crossed.
Tammy - Thanks, Lisa. It’s so nice to be thought of. I hope you make it to SCORE’S Expo in June. Love to see you there. Hope all is well on your side of the fence. So great to hear from you!
Anne Aria Tichauer - Tammy, this blog really touched my heart! I know you and I talked about this but to read this, is precious. You bring encouragement with a twist of humor! You are a great writer!
Tammy - Hi Evette, thanks for that. We still look at the picture you so gracefully monogrammed for us. Beautiful! I’m SO happy to know you are on the other side of my little blog. *smiling*
Tammy - Hi Lynn, I kinda have a special place in my heart for him too. From your mouth…to Gods ears! Hope to see you sooner than later!
Tammy - Oh, sweet Marilyn, we are sisters from another mother you and I. Some stories warrant tears. We share that in common. I love you, and am happy we spent some time together this morning via my little blog. xo
Tammy - Thanks Suzanne. I kinda like it too. It wasn’t easy getting here but the journey was well worth the reward. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. It means a lot. YOU made me happy today!
Tammy - Melanie, are you sure we’re not related?!? Goosebumps are awesome. And so are you! So happy to know you through the pages of life’s walk! Hugs!
Linda D'Ae-Smith - Love this! Very inspirational.
Tammy - Hi Donna, it felt good to share my story. All of us single women past 50 should hold on to the hope that life will treat us right and we will find our happiness. Finding love again wasn’t on my radar. In fact, at the time, it felt like an enormous inconvenience. That was my fear stopping me from opening up. If we face the fear, happiness can’t help but be headed our way. So happy to hear from you. Thanks for that!
Tammy - Thanks, Kim, so happy you enjoyed my story. Yup…there was a boatload of risk and many people advising me against the move. Resilience and love go hand in hand in our quest to find the things that matter to us. It takes courage and vulnerability, to be sure. But once fear is pushed aside, ALL things are possible. Thanks so much for being here and for sharing your comment. Truly!
Tammy - Laura Lee, life IS grand! But it must be said that my path here was paved with a river of tears and bucket full of fears. Life calls upon us to grow up and face our demons. When we do, we are rewarded with goodness for the taking. So happy for us both!
Tammy - Hi Joel, so wonderful to see you here on the other side of my little blog! Thank you for the kind words. The feeling, my friend, is quite mutual. You are a delight and a pleasure to know, and I am grateful for the opportunity! Awesome having you here!
Tammy - Thanks, Linda. I was shooting for gut honest … but inspirational is pretty awesome too! So happy you enjoyed the read.
Tam Warner Minton - Love it. And I love the truth you put so well: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.
That is one lesson I have learned along the way.
Kathy Gottberg - What a great story Tammy Bleck! Thanks for sharing it and I look forward to meeting you and your LOVE here in La Quinta….it is a GREAT place to be together with someone you love. And as you say, happiness is less about the destination than it is the pursuit!
Billie Jo Baptiste - I was blessed to be a part of your life during the “broken and rebuilding” phase! I am so happy that you found the love you so deserve! He is a lucky man to have you:)
mel glenn - Dear Tammy,
What a super romantic story, how lovely!
Who says one can’t have a crush for 40 years? Have you read, “Love in the Time of Cholera”? The main character, Florentino, carried a touch for his love for over 50 years As a romantic,
you should read this South American classic.
A very sweet column
Barbara Hammond - What a heartwarming story, Tammy! So happy for you both. We never know what the master plan truly is, so we have to be open to fate. After 38 years of marriage I was one day away from leaving when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Trauma, coma, you name it happened and when we came out on the other side we discovered we still loved each other. Never looked back!
Enjoy the next adventure!
Tammy - Thanks, Mel. I never quite thought of it as romantic, but I can see that now. Nope, never read that story but you can be sure I will be picking it up. As always…thanks for being here!
Tammy - Oh my gosh, Barbara, that is quite the story. Blessings to you, my friend. You are right … NEVER look back!
Tammy - Thanks, Tam. Just a little wisdom I picked up along my travels on loser lane. I live by it still. Appreciate the read and the comment!
Pamela O'Mack - What a lovely story, Tammy, which I’ve heard you tell, but it’s something about expressing it in written words that makes it so very special. I love you both and wish you both a wonderful happy and healthy future together as man and wife! Love, Pamela
Carol Cassara - I so get what you are talking about. Your story is wonderful testimony for women of any age.
Lisa at Grandma's Briefs - Love, love, LOVE this! Such a fabulous testament to listening to one’s gut, taking the leap, risking it all and coming out on top. And happy. And in love. You’re an inspiration. Cheers to the rest of forever together!
Cheryl Nicholl - I so love that you said he’s everything you deserve. I wish more women (people) had the courage and wisdom to navigate their lives the way you have done. God Bless you both. I adore you for writing this. XXOOO
Cathy Chester - OMG, I just read a love story. The ending? Happily ever after! I am so happy for you. Your poured your heart out for us, and trusted us to know that you are a smart and sweet woman. You are truly blessed. Thanks for sharing your life with us, Tammy.
Sue Cove - Love this…I keep thinking my knight is still out there….when I meet up with him…I hope he is like your Stephen. You so deserve happiness and love!
Tammy - Thanks, Pamela, the day is coming. My story was so sad and broken. I took the time and energy to fix my life again and no sooner had I done that, that Steven walked into it. My blessing to be sure. We are lucky to have each other …. and a friend like you. xo
Tammy - Thanks, Linda. SO glad you enjoyed my story. If it inspired … even better! Appreciate the read and the sharing!
Tammy - Hi sweet Sue! We ALL deserve happiness. I found that when I stepped aside and let life happy with me instead of at me, it all kind of worked out. I’m pulling for you and hope that until you find your knight, your happiness is your company. xo
Nancy Hill (@Nerthus) - What a wonderful story. I think of the “usua”l story of women divorcing and falling into poverty. Nice to know that doesn’t have to happen.
T.O. Weller - Thank you for sharing your story Tammy. “Happiness can always be found on the other side of fear.” I LOVE that … and needed to hear it.
Our house will have a SOLD sign on the front lawn any day now and we’re leaving everything we know for a beautiful piece of lakeside property and a house to be finished before the snow flies (in Ontario cottage country).
Just when I didn’t think anything could scare me anymore, something does. But, it’s our dream, so it’s time to face the fear and find our happiness. 🙂
Sue - caught my attention on FB and I am so glad it did. Loved reading your happily ever after – take a chance- story.
Carmen - Hi Tammy,
Great share, just great!
Life is special as you show us …. it is!
Keep up the great reads.
Linda Lichtman - For Our Tammy…
Your dreams are our dreams…to keep moving forward until there’s an arm around a shoulder – to hold it – to love it – to know the DREAM is real – that’s what we get from you – daring, loving friend…xoxoxox
Tammy - Hi Nancy, it was certainly a fear of mine. A big one. That … and how was I going to go through life alone. Daunting, scary and sad. But, when you give yourself time to cry it out then move forward with positive intent…good things will come your way. Happy you enjoyed the read!
Tammy - Hi T.O., dreams are always scary! What would be the point of them if they didn’t scare us? It’s because we are moving out of our box, going where we dare to dream is a better place. I’m SO happy for you! I’m betting it will be wonderful and you will never look back. Such are dreams come true! Appreciate the read!
Tammy - Hi Sue, I’m glad it did too! I was a take a chance story, thought I never really thought of it that way. Calculated risks are still risks! Gambling only counts when you have something to lose, and I had plenty. Luckily, it all worked out beautifully. Thanks so much for popping in from FB. So glad you did. So loved the Home tour.! It was awesome!
Tammy - Hi Carmen, good to know you are still out there reading! Comforting! Love knowing you are there. xo
Tammy - Hi Linda, thank you so much for your kind words. Means a lot. You are right, of course, we keep moving forward hoping that good things will find us. It’s hard to remember that dreams can come true when you are so broken in heart, mind and spirit. Suffice it to say it took some doing and daring to keep myself above water. I know I’m not alone. That’s why I wanted to share my story. Against all odds love has found me again. And I will be forever grateful. xoxo
Shirlene Vitale - I love your story! I am so glad that I was involved in unfolding of it with you. I remember the nervousness you had when you flew out to see Steven the first time. You came back very hopeful of a great friendship again and possibly more.
When he came here to see you it was another time of butterflies and nervous excitement. Fun to see you find him again. When you left Colorado I knew I would miss you. But I also knew that the future with Steven would hold many adventures and wonderful experiences for you both!!
Glad to hear that things are great between you and that God must of have a plan for you both. Blessings and much happiness my friend!!! And yes… I still miss your face. I may have to make a trip out to see you both soon… Enjoy Life dear friend!!
Bernice McDonald - Thank you, Tammy, for sharing your wonderful story with us! What an inspiration. I have been 3 years into my own amazing story similar to yours after a 24 year marriage break-up so I know what you are talking about. My heart is to see hundreds of stories like this and my passion is to do what I can to move women from the place of fear and hopelessness into the arms of a wonderful relationship. Let’s keep letting others know out there that it IS possible!
Cheryl Shaw - Hi Miss Tammy———loved your blog AND the pictures!!!!!!! You and Steve are an adorable couple who look so happy——–how exciting to be moving to a new house. WHEN IS THE WEDDING??????? I do sooooooooo miss you but am also so glad to know you are happy with your forever guy
Tammy - Hi Shirleen, SO WONDERFUL to hear from you! Yes, you had a front seat to all that was unfolding. And, yes, I was a bit nervous before flying out to see Steven after 40 years. Who gets on a plane to see an old friend after 40 years?? I guess I do. I feel so blessed and so loved every day. Color me grateful. Miss your face too….and you perky little smile of yours. Happy to know you are still on the other side of my blog. Thanks for that!
Tammy - Hi Cheryl, I do so miss you too but am ever so happy here with my forever guy. So much going on … am a packing fiend these days. Not sure when the wedding is … but it’s coming! Miss and love you …. lots. xo
Bryce Warden - What a great story….happy for your happiness. Lot of wisdom in this piece.
Tammy - Thanks, Bryce. So happy to have shared it with you! Appreciate the read and the comment!
Freda Schneider - This is such an amazing story! It sounds like a movie script or a novel story! It is true that you never know what awaits you around the corner! I am happy for you… it take a lot of courage to do what you did! You are a very strong person, I am sure! It is very important no matter what happens to find strength to move on with your life! Thanks for sharing! Your story is incredibly inspirational!
Tammy - Hi Freda, sorry for the delayed response…better late than never. Thanks for your kind words. I’m very happy that it spoke to you. I wouldn’t say that I’m a very strong person. I would say that I am just strong enough. Baby steps…always forward! The great thing about the future is that is always waiting for us. So appreciate the read and the comment!
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