Breaking The Rules
You’re Never Too Old To Start Over
She thought she had it all figured out by her second marriage. But life had other plans
This evening, over glasses of red wine, my girlfriend and I marveled: who would have thought, a year ago, that we’d be where we are today? She, after a brutal divorce that took years to finalize, and too many bad boyfriends to count is now 51 and madly in love, happy and calm, with a man who finally treasures her for her ballsy self. She ran the marathon last fall, has traveled to three continents in as many years and has a thriving PR business.
Like Karen, I too divorced the father of my children, but back in my late 30s. Then I remarried at 45 and thought for sure that I had “figured out” the second half of my life. I envisioned years of doing the things we loved to do together, and grandchildren, and retirement, all mapped out in logical order. I even imagined caring for him in illness and death, because I’m a little perverse in that way. Then, when that marriage came crashing down last fall, I found myself alone in my apartment, just me and my old dog, kids grown and gone, not remotely sure what was next, and incredibly sad.
A few months later, feeling an intuitive need for escape and, honestly, anything to distract me from my pain, I got talked into a cross-country trip across America. The LA adventure had long been a fantasy, so I thought “what the hell?” and decided to spend three months in Venice. It’s not as though anyone was at home to miss me.
I rented a house, met a new interesting man, and was sort of shocked to realize that I’m in no way too old to make a whole new slew of fabulous girlfriends, to discover new beloved bookstores and restaurants and hikes, to learn the streets of a new place. It may sound naive, but I really did think that that was not possible. Going somewhere new awakened a whole sense of possibility and curiosity that I haven’t felt in years.
The permutations of where our lives can still take us are genuinely staggering; all we have to do is say yes, be open, believe in ourselves, and forge ahead. This doesn’t mean it’s not horribly hard and sad sometimes. My recent split still has me on my knees at times. But being this age means we’re better at putting on our big girls pants and dealing with what’s in front of us, knowing that we can, and will, handle whatever comes our way.
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