“Can you stay young alone?”
This question was asked in a fellow blogger’s post, and it struck a chord that I felt moved to consider. And it raised more questions.
Can I stay young, no matter my age?
Can I stay young with or without having an intimate partner?
Do I even want to stay young?
Is youth all it’s cracked up to be?
At 74, I don’t think of myself as old, but I am aware that I am not young in years. I am, however, young in mind and spirit, meaning I feel energetic, creative, hopeful, and enthusiastic.
For the past 12 years I have lived alone, and I thoroughly enjoy the aloneness. I like the freedom of having no one else to consider in my daily planning. I can get up when I want, I can go to bed when I want. I can eat what and when I want (dictated only by the hours local restaurants are open).
I don’t have that constant, underlying, awareness of another’s needs or desires. I am surprisingly content to consider only myself. Selfish, you say? Scary? Lonely? Perhaps all of those, but nonetheless, I love it.
Would I welcome my husband back with his great sense of humor and his unshakable love for me? Of course. Since that’s not possible in this lifetime, I’ve embraced the aloneness, and have found it satisfying and extremely comfortable.
But my aloneness does not exclude people. I share my time with folks I like. I tackle new projects, and explore places not seen before. Those things keep me young. I am with people, sharing ideas, accomplishing things, staying as busy as I want to be, deciding on the number of people I’m around, and for how long. Even as I write about my aloneness, I am sharing my ideas with you: readers and other bloggers.
People add a new perspective to my thinking, they offer insights, opinions, slants, alternatives that bring new solutions. They also can drive me silly. They can be difficult, cranky, bothersome, which makes me difficult, cranky, and bothersome. Thinking back to when I was young in age nothing has changed. I found people fascinating and irritating then, as I do today. That must mean I am young in my reactions even if I live alone.
My conclusion? It takes both aloneness and togetherness for me to remain youthful: a time to share and a time to reflect.
And to deal with those times when I overdo aloneness or togetherness, a daily dose of Zoloft helps.