How To Be 70 Part Two

70 will be the first decade I’ll enter living alone.

I do recognise how lucky I’ve been, but I’m not one of those older people who states, ‘I’ve had a good life,’ and sees positivity and contentment only in past achievements.

@ 10: it was parents, brothers and random Labrador in Basingstoke.

@ 20: husband-to-be in West London.

@ 30: same husband and first son in Milan.

@ 40: same husband, two sons, one daughter, cat, hamster and guinea pig in Brighton.

@ 50: same husband, same children, different cat, new dog – still in Brighton but admittedly, husband was terminally ill in hospital in London.

@ 60: new partner and dog in Cornwall.

@ 70: spider plants, North London…

I am, by instinct, a woman who loves to feed and nurture others and I’ve channelled a lot of that into my work. Not yet having grandchildren wasn’t the only reason I started Mums, Babies & Bumps Writing Workshops but it has certainly brought me a lot of surrogate Granny joy. Plus I get to make cake.

My three kids have ricocheted backwards and forwards over the years, I’ve had male models as lodgers when my daughter was studying in Greece, and then she and her partner moved back in with me for a while which I loved.

Since January I’ve lived on my own for the first time in my life with only my over-indulged greenery to care for and it’s freaking me out.  I have been known to say goodnight to my reflection in the mirror. Lots of us have the single-living, single-life, learning-curve experience far earlier on, but my fear, last thing at night when I lay in the dark trying to go to sleep after turning off the light and stretching one arm out across the empty space beside me, is that this situation may be permanent.

This is not a gap that a dog, a cat or Airbnb can fill. Maybe I won’t share my living space with anyone again but I do want to share my life.

I have recently read White Houses by Amy Bloom. This beautifully written, lyrical novel, about reporter Lorena Hickok’s secret, enduring love affair with Eleanor Roosevelt and her tender, bittersweet and often witty descriptions of their gentle companionship and lovemaking, filled me with renewed yearning for the intimacy and joy that a good relationship can give. I’ve had a good marriage and some pretty dodgy relationships so I’m not as naïve as I was but I miss men and I want one of my own again.

So, ever the optimist (don’t groan you at the back), when I return from Spain at the end of the month, I’m going to get off my arse, go back on the dating apps, join groups and clubs and make the effort that my daughter, very wisely, encourages me continually to do. TBC, as they say…

 

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