If you are in a relationship, no matter how long you have been together or how well (or not) you get along, one of you will be alone someday. It happens that this is top of mind at the moment. My new possible solution: Line Dancing.
Really? Line Dancing?
Yes. It came to me when my wife, Brown Eyes, said to me, “I’m going to have to be careful to live a big enough life if you aren’t around.”
Through the years she has wandered around Shanghai with me, drunk wine with locals in Spain’s La Rioja, attended a Buddhist banquet near a Florida river with signs warning of alligators, had a massage in Halong City conducted by a tiny woman who walked on Linda’s back, watched Sushi the Drag Queen descend onto the stage in a sequined red slipper in Key West at midnight on New Year’s Eve, eaten in places she would never have explored on her own (for example, Martha Lou’s Kitchen in Charleston, SC) and attended a Christmas musical performance in an ancient church in Paris’ Le Marais, sitting in wooden chairs so small that our knees were near our ears. And these are just a few examples of our adventures.
Don’t get me wrong. She’s a highly accomplished powerhouse in her own right. She’s just not as aggressive about seeking out the strange and offbeat when she travels.
Why is sudden aloneness on my mind?
- Our friend Bob is recovering from a major stroke. His incapacitation means that his wife is doing more things on her own, by necessity rather than choice.
- Our friend Alex was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. His wife is asking herself how she is going to want to spend her time when he dies.
- My friend Eric just had surgery and has begun talking regularly about how old we are getting.
- My friend Dee, after a year and a half of widowhood, finds solace in keeping very busy. Especially with her grandchildren.
Brown Eyes and I are in agreement that, regardless of how important our interdependence is, we both need to cultivate some of our own independent activities and relationships.
Her answer will be somehow wrapped up with Osher’s Lifelong Learning Institutes, I think. This is a network of intellectually curious and stimulating learners. She hasn’t yet come up with how she’ll manage physical activity, but I know she’s thinking about it.
My answers balance vigorous exercise with activities that are purely creative/intellectual and/or have a social element:
- Riding my new bike alone and with friends
- Creating and running a manageable number of small businesses
- Building new and expanded networks of relationships around #2
- Sogetsu Ikebana; I just qualified to be a Sensei (instructor)
- Writing and speaking
- Quality time with my grandchildren and friends
- Volunteer board memberships I really believe in (in my case, WUSF, which is both a PBS and an NPR affiliate)
Which brings me back to line dancing. My wife and I both love to dance. Line dancing is something we can do for a long time, either together or individually. It’s great exercise, it’s social, you don’t need to be in a couple to have fun, and you can happily avoid hearing and doing the Blue Danube Waltz.
Let me know what’s on your list. I’d like to share the information with my readers, especially those who are willing to look ahead, too.