Being single isn’t so bad. In fact, it can be pretty darn good

                On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – December 27, 2019

Being single isn’t so bad. In fact, it can be pretty darn good.

                                     Columnist Tom Blake end of 2019 message

Today’s eNewsletter, the final edition of 2019, is brief. Mainly, it’s to wish each of you a Happy New Year and thank you for being a Champ.

And thanks to all of you who shared your stories and opinions with the rest of us throughout this year. Hearing from you is what gives us the subject matter to continue publishing fresh, complimentary eNewsletters.

I hope at least a few of you respond this week so we can start off 2020 with an entertaining and informative issue.

For Greta and me, we had a special Holiday season. We spent time with many members of her rather extensive family (four children, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren, and five brothers and sisters) and relatives, which included a niece’s wedding on December 22. There were pictures taken, toasts and tears of joy.

On Christmas Eve, there were 18 of her family at Greta’s son’s home for dinner.

On Christmas Day, we drove to San Diego for dinner with my sister Christine, and sister Pam and Pam’s husband Bob. Even though my brother Bill was in Dallas with his family, he surprised us with a very extra-special tribute to our parents that also resulted in tears of appreciation and happiness.

We also had visits with friends from Austria, Argentina and Mexico.

Our Austrian friends enjoyed Dana Point Harbor decorations

Being with family and friends over the Holidays is such a blessing.

By the way, the first Age 50+ Meet and Greet of 2020 is scheduled for Thursday, January 23, at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point, California, from 5 to 7 p.m. There is no cost and it’s a great opportunity to make new friends.

I leave you with this thought for the upcoming year:

I was reviewing the archives of some past emails and found this from Champ Toni, which she sent on August, 20, 2018. Toni wrote:

“Being single doesn’t have to be a curse. It can be a wonderful opportunity to learn about yourself and grow in many areas. Singles should learn to enjoy themselves and enjoy their own company. They may surprise themselves!”

I’ll add to Toni’s comment by including what I’ve believed and stated for the 26 years I’ve been writing articles for singles 50+:

“Being single isn’t so bad. In fact, it can be pretty darn good. However, don’t forget to dance. Pick yourself up and get out there.”

Happy New Year!

A tribute to New Zealand and those loved ones we’ve lost in 2019

 On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – December 20, 2019

By Columnist Tom Blake

           A tribute to New Zealand and those loved ones we’ve lost in 2019

My 2019 Holidays eNewsletter is a tribute to people who were important to Champs, who passed away this year. Two world events in the last week triggered this thought. Both are coincidentally related to New Zealand.

Why this unusual topic? The idea came to me this week while Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Dana Point Harbor. I was paddling with my usual paddling buddy, Russell Kerr, a native of New Zealand. Russell and his wife, Pam, have dual New Zealand/USA citizenship. He and I talk about events of the world whenever we are on the water together.

The first event Russell reflected upon was the White Island volcano eruption off the coast of New Zealand on December 9, in which 18 people perished.

I couldn’t help but think of the friends and relatives of those who died that have been affected by this tragic event.

And the second world event that Russell and I discussed occurred on December 12, with the passing away of Peter Snell, New Zealand’s greatest athlete ever, a middle-distance runner, who would have been 81 on December 17.

Why did Snell’s passing affect me?

In the summer of 1960, I traveled in Europe with four friends. We spent several days at the Rome 1960 summer Olympic games. On Friday, September 2, 1960, we watched in Olympic Stadium Peter Snell win the 800 meters run in track. It was the first time in 24 years a New Zealand runner had won an Olympic track and field gold medal.

I was a college cross country runner at the time and admired the grit Snell had shown in that race. Snell broke five world track records in his career. In the 1964 Olympics, he won both the 800 meters and the 1500 events.

Fast forward to 2011, when my partner Greta and I were on a cruise around New Zealand’s North and South Islands. One of the ports where the ship docked was Wellington, located at the southern tip of the North Island.

On our way back to the ship after a fun sightseeing day, we popped into a shop called the Olympic Games Museum. I was curious to see if Peter Snell was featured there. Did anyone in New Zealand even remember Peter Snell?

Inside, there was a pair of worn-out track shoes on a podium under glass. I asked a man working there if they were Peter Snell’s shoes. (They weren’t).

The man judged from my accent that I was from the United States. “Why is an American interested in Peter Snell?” he asked. I told him about being in Rome and seeing Snell win the gold. I mentioned I had admired Snell ever since.

The man’s name was Terry Daly, the Commercial and Marketing Director for the New Zealand Olympic Committee. He gave me an official New Zealand Olympic team lapel pin and told me he wanted to give me something else, but it was in his office in Auckland. I told him our ship would be there in two days. He gave me his card and asked me to come by.

After sightseeing in Auckland, Greta reminded me that we needed to go to Terry Daly’s office.

Terry gave us an Olympic team jersey autographed by the great Peter Snell. I was incredibly moved and honored.

Snell’s jersey hung on the sports wall of fame at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, my Dana Point deli, from 2011 until I sold the deli, in 2015. Since then, it’s been on the wall in our garage.

When Peter Snell passed away this week, I went to my garage and took down the framed jersey to photograph it. I felt a heart-string tug.

                     Authentic autographed Peter Snell track jersey 

I took several minutes to ponder Peter Snell’s life, and how humble he was, and my life, and how fortunate I was to have seen him run, although I never met him. But my brother Bill did. Snell became a dentist in Dallas, where my brother lives. Their paths crossed one time. Snell passed away in Dallas.

So, to Peter Snell, and the people lost in that tragic White Island volcano, and my Dana Point deli customer, Vern McGarry, and my high school buddy Champ Carm, whose sweetheart Karen Jenkins passed away this year, and all the others, who have passed this year, or in all years, in fact, thank you for being in my life and/or the lives of our Champs.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. May 2020 be a good year for all of us.

Older women dating older men

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – Older women dating younger men is a hot-potato topic

by columnist  Tom Blake

Champ Jackie “from Georgia” has paid her relationship dues. She was divorced after 42 years of marriage. Five years later, she attended her 50th high school reunion in Michigan.

At the reunion, she met her classmate Randy and married him a year later. Just two months after they married, Randy was diagnosed with cancer. For the next five months, until he passed, Jackie was Randy’s caregiver. I met this very delightful woman and her sister at a Dana Point, California, Meet and Greet in May, 2019.

Responding to last week’s eNewsletter, she wrote: “My question: ‘Does age matter when it comes to women being older than men? After my dedication to Randy, I don’t think I could willingly do it again. At my ‘young age’ of 72, I’d want someone younger”

I will tackle Jackie’s question, with this disclaimer: It’s a hot-potato topic because there are so many different points of view on older women dating younger men.

In the past, when I have written on this older dating younger subject, I’ve been dragged over the coals by young women, older men, older women, bitter men, bitter women, religious zealots, breadcrumbed victims, and people who enjoy, even relish, controversy.

Inevitably, no discussion about older women dating younger men would be complete without mentioning the dating term “cougar,” a label or term of which the origin is unclear. It’s thought possibly to have come from a Canadian dating website.

I don’t particularly like the term, but then, I don’t like a lot of the terms that have labeled senior dating. Heck, we seniors are just trying to muddle through and enjoy life the best we can; why do we need so many labels to describe us? I guess the term “cougar” is okay, but I find it to be a bit demeaning.

If older women want to date younger men, what the heck is wrong with that? Let’s just label them normal instead.

The epitome of cougarhood (another new term) was Mrs. Robinson, in the Dustin Hoffman movie, “The Graduate.” Of course, she was a married woman, which made the relationship uncool.

Okay, with “cougar” out of the way, let’s continue.

Jackie is not the only widow who feels she doesn’t want to experience widowhood again.

About three years ago, I fixed up (remember, I’m not a matchmaker) a widow, age 60, with a friend who I guessed was about 70. They were both ocean-orientated buffs, so I thought it was a good similar-interests match. She an outrigger paddler, he a boat skipper.

I saw them enjoying a beverage together shortly thereafter at a gin mill. At that time, I thought to myself, “bingo,” a good introduction.

Nope, she told me a couple of days later that she found out he was 75–not 70–and she didn’t want to take the chance of becoming a widow again. So, it’s not just Jackie who is avoiding dating men her age and older, hoping to avoid being “Widowed” again.

Even if older women do date younger men, that doesn’t mean they won’t be widowed. In all relationships that go the distance in life, one of the partners is likely to die first, unless something happens when they are both together and they pass simultaneously.

I accessed the archives of articles I’ve written about older women dating younger men on my Finding Love After website. Here are a few of the important points from past eNewsletters:

I wrote, “A surprising trend surfaced. Several women said they are attracting considerably younger men.”

Ann responded to that, “I’m 72, and for some unknown reason, I attract younger men. I’m asked out on dates and have received two flower arrangements from younger men in the past two weeks. I try not to be involved at my age because of the great chance of making a mess of my life.”

Ann also said the reason she doesn’t date men older than she: “If I were to date my age, 72-82, I’d be taking my life into my own hands every time they drive. Some of them can’t drive at night but they have two-three drinks. Sorry, I like my life but don’t want to end up dead or in a wheelchair.”

In another older women dating younger men article, Brenda said, “I recently dated a guy eight-years-younger. He treated me better than any man ever has. I’m not sure what happened but it ended suddenly after just six months of seeing each other.

Note from Tom: This is one of the things that can happen when older people date younger people. The younger one fades away. Maybe even does ghosting. So, that’s another consequence that one should be aware of before dating someone younger.

What is a significant age difference?

A key question: what is a significant age difference? Five years, 10, 15, 20, 25+, who’s to say? If a woman is dating a man 25-years younger, chances are, he’s going to become a widower, so he needs to accept that possibility.

If there is a significant age difference, each partner would be wise to understand his or her own motivations for being in the relationship, and the partner’s motivations.

Understanding those motivations, what the heck is wrong with being in a significant age-difference relationship?

Be aware, there will be challenges. If there are children on either side, that may muddy the water. And there could be negative stigmas from the general public. Imagine someone saying, when she sees you in a restaurant, “Hi Ellen, I didn’t know you had a grandson.”

Bottom line: Everybody’s different. There’s no right or wrong. Enjoy your life while you can. It’s nobody else’s business except the two people involved. So, go for it, Jackie.

Link to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.