My current state: Home alone with the cat on a Friday night, binging Frankie and Grace on Netflix. Not exactly what you expect from this dating diva! I am alternating Tylenol and Advil every four hours because I have a horrible cold, including quite of bit of pain in my throat and my ears. I’ve had this before. I am not going to die. But what I do know is that I need to just lay low and rest. No Cinco de Mayo tequila shots and tacos tonight. No dressing up in fancy hats and day drinking mint juleps on Derby Day tomorrow. There was a whole weekend of fun to be had, but I will stay home alone. With the cat. And Netflix.
Sometimes when I get sick, I worry about how it’s going to be when I get older. A couple friends know I am sick and have offered to bring me soup or whatever I need, and they would. And I like to think that if something horrible happened with my health I do have a group of friends who would absolutely help out. But when I am in a weakened physical state it’s often easy to feel a little vulnerable emotionally. And worry. About my health. About my future as an aging single woman.
Here are the facts. According to Harvard Health Publications, “57% of all those ages 65 and older are female. By age 85, 67% are women. The average lifespan is about 5 years longer for women than men in the U.S., and about 7 years longer worldwide.” Next time you happen to visit a nursing home, take a look around. Mostly women and a few very popular men!
My own father passed away 12 years ago. My mother is 86 and in fairly good health. Even though they were married for over 45 years, she ended up alone. She has a fairly difficult time understanding that I enjoy and even prefer my current single life. “Don’t you want to have someone to grow old with?” is a familiar refrain during my quarterly visits. Thing is there are certainly no guarantees that marriage leads to a partnership for the rest of your life. Someone will die first and statistics say that it will be the man.
So what’s the point of this possibly red wine and Mucinex-enhanced story? I don’t know if I will marry or have a long term partner again. Right now I say never. In a few years, I might think differently. And the depressing thought that women end up alone no matter is surely brightening your day! I guess I would say that as strong women we can handle aging alone with friends as well as we can with a partner who may or not be there until the end. I guess I would say that even when we get sick and experience a little of our own mortality, it’s reassuring to know we can order in hot and sour soup via GrubHub all by ourselves. I guess I would say that I am not afraid to be alone.