Shopping in Gold Coast is a pleasure. Salespeople here are friendly and extremely helpful. They make it almost a joy to part with your money. I even bought lottery tickets, confident that the A$4 million jackpot had my name on it. I gave our phone number but no one has called.
As usual, the cockeyed optimist in me was already mentally shopping and spending my windfall like it was going out of style.
Oh well. I can dream, can’t I?
We have had our share of rain. For the past several days, there has not been a single patch of blue in the sky. Every morning the sun has struggled to shine behind the clouds. It has been damp and dreary.
We had thunder, lightning and hail the size of tennis balls on the first day. And it kept pouring, nonstop. All week the forecast was not encouraging. The farmers inland must be happy. They have had a hard drought most of the year.
Because it was wet and windy, temperatures suddenly dropped. So we stayed indoors and snuggled under my cousin’s colorful crocheted throws, cozy and warm in front of the “telly.”
One night, after a hearty dinner of corned beef and cabbage, we lingered over moscato and brownies and watched a rather interesting episode of “Insight.”
They had a panel of 65-plus-year-old men and women of all occupations and persuasions, talking about dating again after losing or parting ways with their significant others.
Their answers were frank and quite direct. A few were sad. Others were funny. A couple of them offered too much information and were too brazen for my taste. But except perhaps for one quite attractive gentleman in his 70s who came across as your typical DOM (dirty old man), most were charmingly candid and honest.
I felt that each one seemed to be sincerely reaching out for one last hurrah for love, or one more chance to get it right for those who had fumbled. And for those who lucked out the first time around, who could blame them for wanting one more time?
No matter their reasons or replies, they were all in agreement that being alone can get lonely, and that it was time to change all that.
One lady confessed, “When I see something beautiful, I want to share the joy of it. And when things don’t go well, I need someone to commiserate with me.”
What do you miss?
The show was over. We had a few laughs, even cracked a couple of colorful jokes. But there were pensive moments. Like it or not, the three of us were somewhat “affected” by the frank discussions of lives lived in solitude, much like ours.
By some strange coincidence, I had asked them earlier over dinner what they missed most about their old relationships, and would they be inclined to take another chance.
Both had quickly replied in the negative. They expressed sadness over losing their life companions and missed the joy of being together. But they are quite content.
Inevitably, memories surfaced and for a moment, we were very quiet. Someone stood up to make a cup of tea.
And then we watched “Insight.”
One of the panelists in the show explained his online search: “It’s the only way I know how. Living alone is okay, I guess, and one can get used to it. But it can get too quiet. There are nights I get spooked by the silence.”
I pursued my question and called my friend in New York. Laughing, she said she missed having someone to fight with.
Hers was a turbulent union. Her partner was a confirmed philanderer who claimed, “Men can’t help themselves. We are an unfaithful lot. I suppose we are more in lust than in love. But I will love my wife until the day I die.”
My friend eventually divorced him. But years later when he was old and sick, she took care of him and he breathed his last holding her hand.
Today she does not date anyone. “I have many good friends. I live alone. But I am not lonely.”
An old friend, now in her 80s, is afraid of being alone. “When you hear a strange noise in the middle of the night, it is miserable not to have someone there to tell you it’s just the wind. But searching the internet for someone is not for me.”
I found it interesting that the men and women on “Insight” had agreed to be vulnerable on national TV. But their fears are real. Growing old alone can be pretty scary.
I recently revisited a video with Jane Fonda talking about the “longevity revolution” and “the three-decade-long second adult lifetime that has been added to our life span.”
Age, Fonda says, should no longer be illustrated as an arch that starts when you are born, peaks at midlife and declines into “decrepitude.” She envisions age as a staircase that shows “the upward ascension of the human spirit, bringing us into wisdom, wholeness and authenticity.” I like that.
Today I find myself right in the middle of what Fonda calls “the third act of life.” How do I use this time? I know it is all up to me.
My show-biz background suddenly kicks in. And they are playing my song: “It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.”