Updated: Jan 21, 2021
I saw a thread on my 35+ women’s fb group the other day that caught my eye. It was in response to a post about women wanting increasingly to live without a partner as we get older.
Dozens of women of a certain age were chiming in with the inevitable Golden Girls memes,
confessions, and declarations of independence:
“Men want mothers, therapists, and lovers… and I’m not interested in the first two!”
“My mom and her friends (probably most in late 60s early 70s) said that if they lose their husbands, they would date, but would never live with a man again! I asked why and they said ‘Why would we do that at that age - just so we can wipe someone's ass?’”
“What’s the point of living together once the kids are grown?”
What point, indeed? Come on over to the Golden side, girls. We have cheesecake.
The idea of living without a man in my older years never frightened me; in fact, I’ve been
considering it since my uni years, when my friend Portia and I formed a pact: if we both got to be “old-ish” and didn’t have significant others, we’d just find a few similarly situated friends and buy a big property. We’d each have our own space and specialty. We could have dates over, but none that stayed too long. All of the benefits of growing old with someone, and none of the hassle. Like that famous 80’s sitcom come to life.
Funny, I’ve never heard older men making plans to commune together in their golden years.
In fact, study after (presumably hetero) study shows that while men’s marital satisfaction goes up over the years, women’s goes equally down. Does that mean we don’t want romance? Nope.
Does it mean we’re bitter old jaded spinsters? Hell naw. It just means that we’re waking up to
the idea that this “happily ever after” thing just may need a little redefining. OK, maybe not as extreme as communal living (though why not?), but redefined as whatever brings you
happiness. Even - gasp! - living alone.
I think it was my Great Aunt Dot who got me started on this path. At 80+ years old, she’d lived on her own in Oakville after ending her second marriage. She was eccentric and independent and fashionable and didn’t give a fig about societal expectations. Seems that, with the major exception of having a child, I was destined to follow in her footsteps. I married twice, decided it wasn’t for me, and now, at 47, I finally feel like a grown up. I’m finally putting down roots. Enjoying my space. Using my whole closet. Decorating as I see fit (check out this space for future posts on that). And looking forward to my Golden years, whatever they may look like.
Just don’t make me share my closet. Or my cheesecake.