Still Single? Throw Yourself A Wedding!

Group Karaoke

Single? Married? Divorced? Who cares? Let’s party!

When I took the stage at Boardwalk 11 Karaoke Bar at my 50th birthday party last February, I was triumphant. Victorious. I felt proud of who I was, and what I had accomplished – getting to 50 as an independent, self-reliant woman.

That wasn’t exactly the picture a few months before though. In the run-up to my birthday, I was the perfect storm of despair: I was going through a break-up, my career was stagnating, my window of fertility had officially closed, I was still not married, and I was turning 50 – a number that probably would’ve been a lot less daunting and depressing if I had a husband and kids.

From November to January, I was totally numb. Nothing felt good, nothing tasted good, music didn’t sound good, not even the cutest guy looked good. It appeared that after multiple times at bat, and many attempts at love, I had officially struck out. On top of it, I was about to leave my 40s and enter midlife, a milestone that was ceremoniously marked when I received my first AARP card in the mail.

The holidays and New Year’s were a blur. I remember going to bed just before midnight on New Year’s eve thinking to myself: “Please let me wake up and have it be six months from now so the pain will be gone and my heart will be healed.” The next day I woke up, and the next, and the next day after that. Slowly, life resumed. I hit reset, I recalibrated, and I got reacquainted with my self-worth, which I seemed to have lost along the way.

By mid-January, I made a decision that would be life-changing: I decided to let go and surrender to my singleness. I detached from the outcome, stopped fighting the power, and submitted to being single. As I mentioned in my very first blog post, it was the most liberating and empowering move I could’ve ever made.

I made another decision in mid-January: To celebrate. So what if I wasn’t married? Who cared if I was still single? Did it really matter that my life didn’t exactly go as planned? There were so many other things to be happy about, so much to be grateful for, so many other blessings to count. I thought why have a pity party when I can have a real party? So I threw myself a huge 50th birthday bash and called it the wedding I was never going to have.

When I stepped on to the stage to sing last February, with my friends and family cheering me on, I knew I had made the right choice:  to revel in the thrill of victory instead of dwelling in the agony of defeat.

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Look what I found and I wasn’t even looking.

The minute I stepped off the stage, I spotted Robby Scharf at the bar. I initially met Robby months earlier on Facebook when he contacted me out of concern for a mutual friend. It wasn’t a Facebook hook-up; he really was a good guy with good intentions. I thought he had a nice face, and had heard he was in a band (maybe he could sing karaoke?) So on a whim, I invited him to my party and he showed up! Except for our mutual Facebook friends, Robby and I were practically strangers. But there he was at my birthday, Mr. Right, standing right before my eyes, with a big smile and a warmth I felt the minute I hugged him hello.

I wasn’t looking, I wasn’t expecting it, and I had all but given up, but something magical happened that night at Boardwalk 11 Karaoke Bar. And now here I am, exactly one year later, engaged to be married and singing a much different tune.

Marriage And Midlife: A First For Us Both

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Robby and me at Rite Aid, our new favorite date place.

Getting married for the first time at this age is a little weird.

When most people our age are looking at colleges with their kids, we’re looking at wedding venues.

When most of our peers are preparing to be empty nesters, we’re preparing to co-habitat for the first time.

While most folks in their 50s are dealing with the trials and tribulations of having teenagers, we’re dealing with the hardships of aging parents and in-laws.

Friends like Sharon Hodor Greenthal, also in her 50s, writes a blog called Empty House, Full Mind www.emptyhousefullmind.com. She talks about getting older with someone she’s been married to for 26 years.  The good news is that Robby and I are getting to know each other AND get older at the same time.

Everyone’s life may look different, but we all have one thing in common: we’re all middle aged. And that’s weird too. When you’ve been single for as long as Robby and I, it’s easy to forget about age. You’re too busy working and living and dating and moving at warp speed to notice.

Then one day you stop, and it hits you.

Your hair is a little thinner, your middle is a little thicker; what was tight is a little looser; what was firm is a little softer. Your teenage hormones have lost their rage, and your college six-pack has become a keg. You hit fifty and your body morphs right before your eyes. Oh, and your eyes go too. I can’t see shit anymore. But maybe that’s a good thing – at least now I won’t be able to see all the new wrinkles forming on my face.

There are more aches and pains. You either have high cholesterol or low T. You may play as hard and run as fast, but you pay for it the next day. You learn to love Aleve, and ice packs become your new best friends.  Your memory isn’t what it used to be either.  I’d go into more detail on this, but I just forgot what I was going to say.

Getting married at this age is sometimes tough. Like, when I’m the dressing room at a bridal salon surrounded by girls half my age. They’re young, perky, and I’m as old as the hills. I look at them and think, you have your whole life ahead of you, and I’ve already lived half of mine. You’re probably going to get pregnant in a few months, and I’m five minutes away from menopause.

These young brides and I may be walking down the same aisle, but our route couldn’t be more different. They found the man of their dreams in their 20s, I found mine at 50. They partnered early, I bonded later. They have youthful exuberance, but I have confidence that can only come with age.

When it comes to finding love though, isn’t age just a number?

There’s something weird about getting married for the first time at midlife – weird, but wonderful. And Robby and I are embracing age– and each other– with the kind of open arms that can still hit the hell out of a tennis ball and lift me over a threshold. Yes, we may be a little creaky and kvetchy, but that’s okay because we’re in this together. We have a long life ahead of us, filled with romance, adventure, and visits to RiteAid to get our Lipitor prescription filled, and a scoop of ice cream too while we’re at it.