I am always saying our health is our wealth. Amid what may be going on in our lives, we sometimes forget to celebrate and feel blessed to be able to get up and go out every day. This could be taken away from us at any time. Some days I can't be bothered to walk my dogs, but when I make an effort to get out and take time to appreciate my surroundings and the fact that I am fit and healthy, I have a lot to be grateful for. Some days I think to myself, 'imagine what it would be like if I could not get out of bed and be fit enough to walk the dogs, go for a coffee, sit and people watch' – do all the things we take for granted.
That thought alone is enough to buck my ideas up and make me instantly feel grateful for getting to nearly 59 years old without any significant mishaps with my health.
It's times like today; we need to take a step back, look at what we have and tick the important boxes of health and wellbeing, then take another look at what we are looking for in our lives and how we aim to get it and keep it.
I mean it! REALLY, when you are reading this, stop and think of 3 things you are grateful for at this very minute. Keep those 3 things in your mind for the rest of the evening, and then tomorrow when you get up and put the kettle on, remind yourself again.
Being single mid-life & later-in-life can encompass our everyday thinking and make us feel our mission is to find someone to complete us or keep us company in our old age.
Another thing I would like you to do today or this evening is to take a minute to think about why you are seeking a partner – is it to fill a life gap, a crutch? What type of relationship are you looking for or think you are looking for? We should all contemplate this before entering into any dating or relationship. Do you want someone you can see every week and weekend, possibly move in with, or are you looking for more of a companion, where you both have your own lives but are still a couple who commit to doing the nice things in life together but remain in your own space and home? These are the two main scenarios I discuss with my clients. I find whichever one they choose gives me a better idea of the type of partner they seek and leads me to converse with them regarding their reasons and why. I need to ensure they are in the right frame of mind and doing it for all the right reasons. (I will explain further down the page).
There are other types of relationships, but these are the two most common for singles in their 50s, 60s and 70s.
This week, someone called me, and their first question was, where do I begin? I wish I had a pound for every time I am asked this question, and I would also need much more time and space to cover all the scenarios, which ultimately are unique to you and your situation.
My advice to everyone brings me back to appreciating what you have; you must also love who you are before moving forward after the end of a relationship.
I need to explain to you how important this is, and if you do this before anything else, your approach to finding the right relationship will be easier and more successful to maintain.
Speaking from my own experience: I left my partner in 2018, and to be perfectly honest, which I always am, I have not looked back. I have become a whole new person from the person I was. When I completed my reflection on the relationship (which took some time), and if I am being honest again, I was really uncomfortable with the thought of this exercise. I grew up in the 60s, 70s & 80s in one of the most rural areas in Northern Ireland, and reflection or self-awareness was not really trending! My initial thoughts were, 'this is all bloody woo-woo s**t.
I realised that there were two of us in the relationship and two of us to blame. I was unhappy most of the relationship and certainly from when we moved in together. For my part, I now know that I fell in love with how he looked; to me, he was so handsome, and I often pinched myself as to why he would have chosen me. Again, on reflection, we knew each other for the first four years on a part-time basis, where we would meet at weekends and mostly fly off to different destinations, having a laugh, and life was great.
I relocated to the South (England) in August 2013 (10 years ago), and we moved in together. After that, things started to go wrong for me, and I compromised on everything to keep the relationship going.
At this stage in my life, I had also compromised relationships with my friends and family, and I became unhappier as each month passed - it became harder to know what to do.
I had sold my home in Northern Ireland and did not know many people where I now lived; I was so torn but, at the same time, determined that if there were any way to make it work, then I would find it. Eventually, after a few previous attempts, on January 4th, 2018, I packed up and left with my children (previous marriage).
Since that day, I have never been happier, and I vividly remember that night, exhausted, sitting down with my children and dog, and thinking to myself, 'This is it for me, contentment', no need to be someone I didn't want to be or do things I did not want to. Just be me.
It has not all been easy sailing. I needed to take a lot of time to reflect on the last nearly ten years (from 2009 – 2018).
I needed to be honest about my mistakes, which was challenging. Still, I must admit it is one of the best exercises I have ever completed, and I encourage anyone who has come out of a relationship for any reason to do this. (Please email me at email@example.com for free advice on how to do this exercise).
Moving on….. being single in my early fifties was a revelation in a few ways; firstly my personal goals changed immensely, and I started up Select Events part-time while working as a Business Development Manager for a University. I grew my singles network and then trained to be an Accredited Matchmaker/dating coach, joined the Association of British Introduction Agencies, launched Select Connections, left my full-time job and became a solopreneur as a single parent of three children.
Secondly, I grew up and became a better person; yes, at 53, I started to deal with life, the real world, and all it entails. Again, this came about as part of my self-reflection exercise but also as self-awareness and making a conscious effort not to make the mistakes I had in the previous years. I consciously worked at mending and growing my relationships with my friends and family, which has been my most significant achievement and gives me the greatest joy.
Every experience we have in life can be used as intelligence, and its information adds to our knowledge and wisdom.
I have dated and continue to date (I love dating as I get to meet new & exciting people), but I may wait to do so for a year and then decide it is time to date again. There is more to life than finding 'the one', but I can have some fun dating without pressure, which is the best way to date and removes the pressure!
Through all the things I have learned about how we as a culture tend to celebrate coupledom and raise an eyebrow when you say you are single, how we (boomers) have grown up in this society - there are many different kinds of love and fulfilment in this life – and romance is not the most important of them all – our friendships, our family, our health.
My conclusion and reason for this blog are that if you all do a little 'self-reflection this evening: think about your personal goals, desires, tastes, and some fantastic things about yourself that you did before you became the one-half of a couple, how fabulous you are and how lucky someone would be to have you in their lives……..
Have a lovely Easter Sunday Evening.
Take good care.
Jacqui B x