Get creative to uncover companionship
By SHEILA STOLL
Published May 30, 2006
It is possible to die from boredom. It's even easier to die from inactivity. An awful lot of us spend too much time alone and inactive.
The unfortunate fact is that marriages end. Somebody's left alone eventually. All of us who have spent years with a partner miss the companionship.
It may well seem a little late in life to take up a hobby; however, that might be worth a try, especially if it involves getting out with other people.
When my mother was first alone, she longed for someone, preferably male, with whom she could go out for dinner, a movie, whatever. I knew exactly what she meant when I became a widow in 1994.
Yet we run into obstacles when we reach a "certain age." (I don't think there's anything "certain" at all about when that age arrives.)
But many of us are not happy about driving after dark. The early bird specials are an option. A matinee movie followed by all-you-can-eat rock shrimp doesn't sound bad to me. But where do you find that all-important escort?
My experience tells me that singles gatherings vary from boring to depressing to humiliating.
Well-meaning friends made attempts to fix me up with a "really nice man." Some of the RNMs were not pleased to discover that their blind date - me - was at least 4 inches taller than they, and I was less than enchanted with men whose idea of a good time involved lots of beer and hockey on TV.
I remember a date with a guy who, after a pleasant evening meal, took me to see his garden where he had developed a new strain of fuchsia. The fuchsias were lovely, but he wasn't when he removed his dentures the minute we got to his house.
It must be said that there are predators, both male and female, who are looking for a free lunch - and dinner and whatever else they can glom onto.
There are sweet-seeming, nice, older women who are desperate to find someone to pay the bills. There are men with the same ambition. There's no guarantee that your new friend won't be one of them.
But if the alternative is just sitting at home eating Oreos and drinking wine, some slight risk might be worth it.
If you like music, go to a concert. Who knows who you might meet during the intermission?
Is there somebody browsing through your local bookstore interested in the same books you are? Is there someone who walks a well-behaved dog in the same park where you and Pookie take your constitutional?
There are cruises that don't involve a vast expanse of water and all your savings. Check out river or canal cruises. Years ago I went on a marvelous cruise from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale via canals and Lake Okeechobee.
What about getting in touch with someone you were close to in the past? Go to a class reunion or check out your holiday card list.
I hear heartwarming stories about people who have found each other through computer dating and services that get people together based on mutual interests. I'm sure there are successes using those methods to find a companion, but I don't know about any of that personally.
Maybe you'll meet someone or rediscover an old flame. In my own case, I had been alone for several years, made one disastrous mistake with a guy I thought might be a long-term companion, and had finally, more or less, resigned myself to getting along on my own, seeing friends from time to time and not sharing my bed or morning coffee with anyone.
This is the part where my Fairy Godmother stepped in.
I must confess that I met Darling Husband in a bar. It's a neighborhood place where I knew the management and where friends dropped in. I felt safe there and was able to have a glass of wine, a smoke and a conversation all at the same time. (Don't pick on me about the smoke.)
A mutual friend brought Future Darling Husband in one late afternoon, to get him back into the world months after he had lost his wife: a Happy Hour visit.
The rest is history. We've been married for nearly eight years, happily sharing our bed and morning coffee, not to mention a whole new life.
It can happen. Have a chat with your Fairy Godmother . . . or your local barkeep and friends.
Write to Sheila Stoll c/o Seniority, the St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.
[Last modified May 30, 2006, 07:31:16]
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