It’s confession time again, kiddies.
As you all know I have been rowing. Not only have I enjoyed unleashing my inner competitor, I have enjoyed the camaraderie of being on a team again. There is just something absolutely wonderful about starting your day with a workout followed by fifteen minutes of people telling how great you are and what a terrific job you did and how they can’t wait to see you at the next practice.
It is almost as addictive as crack. Not that I know anything about being addicted to crack. I just hear things.
So this past weekend I got to race with these women (we won) and after, some of the women decided we had earned pancakes. We were in Princeton and stopped on the main drag at PJ’s Pancakes.
I was the youngest person at the table. The other women ranged in ages from mid-thirties to mid-sixties. Only one of them was married.
I couldn’t help but smile as these women talked about the race and the other women that were there and the other boats we beat and, of course, the men that we all saw. Then they talked about our boat and making it faster, the politics of the boathouse and eventually they moved on to talk about their own lives and what they would be doing the rest of the day and the rest of the week.
Why was I smiling? I mean sure, there were parts that were funny. But mostly I was smiling because for 30 minutes I was not even a little bit afraid of growing old single.
Yes, I am admitting that I am scared of growing old alone. Sometimes, the fear is just a little, shy voice I can easily silence. Rarely, it is a loud, cackling, evil sounding person that keeps me up at night, reminding that I am terrified of cats -- which is why it is so funny that I am headed straight down the road to becoming the crazy cat lady.
It is easy to talk a good game when making fun of the jerks that write relationship self-help books and the idiots that read them. But the truth is it scares me at times too.
I worry about what happens when I am the last single girl standing. What happens when my girlfriends can’t spend all night at a new bar getting their drinks paid for by 25 year-olds anymore? What do I do then? Find younger, single friends to hang with at the bars? Will I ever get tired of spending my nights (and money) at bars, meeting guys I know will never call?
I rode back to Philly with one of the women from the boat. She is tall like me, with naturally blonde hair like me, she grew up outside of the city like me, and our coach has commented that we would make perfect pair partners because we have nearly identical strokes. He even went so far as to suggest we could be sisters -- even if we are more than 20 years different in age.
I will call this woman Senior -- as in the senior version of me.
After a few moments of silence, Senior commented on how good the food was, and I agreed. Then she noted that I didn’t eat a lot (see, Senior also likes to look out for me). Then she added that it must of been a lot of fun for me to sit at a table listening to a bunch of old ladies gossip (the women in the boat love to call themselves old).
I laughed and said, “Actually, I really enjoyed it.”
She laughed and rolled her eyes. “I remember when I was your age and would see women my age and would just shudder to think that I would ever be like them. Now I am them.”
I disagreed. “No, really. I mean, I know there is a good chance I will be fifty and single one day, and it sometimes scares me. But sitting with you guys, I wasn’t scared. I realized there is still so much life to be lived.”
And there is. Senior owns her own home, drives a really nice car and to hear her tell it, has really come into her own in her forties and now fifties. She doesn’t worry about the little things that used to bother her so much and she is just really focused on making herself happy. If that means breaking it off with her boyfriend of eight months because he wasn’t capable of giving her what she needs, then so be it.
I breathed in deep and decided growing up to be Senior was not a terrible thing.
It is certainly nothing to be afraid of.