Don’t you forget about me

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter

 May 19, 2023 

By Columnist Tom Blake 

Don’t You Forget About Me

Once again, this week, you Champs have helped write another eNewsletter. Your comments from last weeks Keep ’em Flying eNewsletter were great. The Keep ’em Flying artwork by artist Kevin Sullivan is shown above.

Before I begin, a few of you have asked whom I use for my website designing and updating.

I’ve used Alex Joyce for more than 20 years. In fact, he’s currently working on my Tom’s Finding Love after 50 website

I am including his contact information at the end of today’s eNewsletter. He is a conscientious gentleman. I highly recommend him.

Almost all my weekly eNewsletters for the last five years can be found on that website. Just go to the home page and check the banner along the top that says, Tom’s newsletters. By clicking on that, you will see a dropdown window showing the years eNewsletters were published. So, if you were included in an eNewsletter, or want to read a previous article, you should be able to find that issue.
So, here’s what our Champs said this week:

Carol, “You don’t have to have a ‘mate’ to be happy. I have been a widow since 1997 when my husband passed away. I just plan things to do at home and outside the home with others, and I have a dog that I dearly love and ‘talk to’ all the time as if she were a person. A new mate could cause you more feelings of missing Greta because she would do things differently, etc. Think positive.”

Tom’s response: “What’s right for me, or right for you, may not be what’s right for others. You have a mate, only yours has four legs instead of two legs. I see four-legged mates with women often on dating sites, and they are often shown being hugged by their owners. We all need companionship and hugs; in whatever form each takes.”

Carol replied: “Yes, that is very true. I had not thought about it that way. I love your columns each week, thanks for sharing.”

Rhonda, “Last week you wrote a wonderful eNewsletter. You can get those thoughts off your chest to us Champs anytime you wish. It warmed my heart to see how healthy your attitude is and how deep your feelings have become even with or maybe because of your recent loss.

“You are honest about what’s going on in your life and soul. Thanks for sharing it with us these many years. It’s wise of you to allow Greta to remain in an important place in your heart. Not everyone does that. What a gift she was to you, and what a gift you are to us Champs.”

Cheryl, “My heart was touched by your ‘Keep ‘em Flying’ eNewsletter last week in your reflections about the celebration of life for Greta as well as your thoughts regarding moving forward.

“I have not lost a husband or life partner to death, but I lost both of my dearly beloved parents and was so tremendously uplifted by the support of loving family and friends at their services.

“Being a self-confessed ‘word-nerd,’ I liked the phrases you adopted for help in moving forward. I’d like to share a couple I have adopted for myself which have inspired and encouraged me over the years. One comes from a song I heard years ago. I can’t remember the title or the artist who sang it, but one line from the chorus stuck with me–“Some people fall, some people fly. Show me the sky!”  

“The other phrase came from a Kevin Costner movie. I think the title was simply, “Dragonfly.” The plot was about a missionary (I think) young couple with a baby who were working somewhere in Africa. The wife and child were kidnapped, and Kevin Costner spent months/years searching for them.
“The baby had a birthmark shaped like a dragonfly, so he was able to identify the child when he eventually found his wife and child. A friend asked him how he kept going during the long time he spent searching. His answer was, ‘Belief gets you there.’ 

“Believe me, I have repeated that mantra to myself many, many times over the last few years! It has helped me get through a second divorce, losing my dream mini ranch in the country, the loss of both my parents and other challenges.  “When I decided to try online dating, that phrase also kept me going and prevented me from giving up on finding a loving partner. Eventually, I was blessed with Matt coming into my life. 

“Some time ago Matt found a lovely dragonfly bookmark which I decided to hang from the rearview mirror in the car. I love seeing it when I’m in the car, and it’s a beautiful reminder of how important it is to ‘keep the faith’ and believe that good things will come your way.   

“I love what you said about bringing love and happiness to someone in a relationship as well as receiving those gifts yourself. You are a ‘flyer,’ and you inspire others to ‘fly’ as well.  

“Matt’s first wife, knowing she was dying, told Matt she wanted him to find a loving relationship. She knew Matt needed love and companionship in his life and knew Matt was able to give the same to a loving partner. So, look skyward and keep telling yourself, ‘Belief gets you there!’ 

Tom’s response: “I am going to add another ‘C’ to your ‘CC’ name, you are now ‘Cherished Cheryl C.” 

Patricia, “My partner Len and I are in Vienna Austria, and will start a Collette tour tonight as we meet up with our director and fellow travelers. We arrived here yesterday morning and after a good night’s sleep got on the subway this morning and went to the Spanish Riding School to watch a training session…just great. 

“Even though this trip was planned many months ago it has come at a very significant time for us. My daughter Melissa, age 53 passed away on April 10th due to multiple organ failure. It was a shock and it’s been a learning experience for sure. I dealt with the death of my husband almost 22 years ago, but this is totally different.

“I have accepted Melissa’s death; I don’t have any other choice.  “At this stage of my life, I had to decide whether to let this overwhelm me or to keep moving. I chose to keep moving. Not a day goes by that she’s not in my thoughts, but I know I have to stay healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s a way of honoring my daughter and I know she would want me to do it the way I’ve chosen. 

“I am glad you are keeping busy and finding your way. Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us.” 

Tom’s response: “Patricia and Len are included in my book, “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50,” published in 2009. They are Chapter 12, titled, Love on the Back of a Harley. 

Alive and Kicking 

Carolyn, “Your eNewsletters always pull at the heartstrings and inspire Champs. It’s as though you are reading our minds and know what our souls are aching for. “In this ‘new’ life, we must take it one day at a time. We are still alive and kicking and must enjoy every single minute. You are our emotional support mentor; your eNewsletters are sustenance for our broken hearts! 

“Relatives and friends don’t always understand our true feelings, but you do. Thank you for what you have done to inspire all Champs.” 

Tom’s response: Of course, Carolyn’s alive and kicking comment triggered my ‘reminds me of a song’ thought I often get while writing these columns. This week it’s the singing group Simple Minds, from a 1985 album of the same name.

The link to that song is below and a second link to another Simple Minds song is also below. Why two Simple Minds songs? Because my favorite song of theirs was from the original soundtrack of the movie “The Breakfast Club.” It’s called Don’t You Forget About Me.” So that link is listed below as well, just above my picture.
Link to Alive and Kicking 

Please have a look at the link below to Don’t You Forget About Me.

Here is Alex Joyce’s contact information Alex Joyce (Owner/Technician)(949) 485-1767 (Call to schedule with Alex)(949) 204-9923 (Alex’s Cell) 

Thanks for caring, Champs. I won’t forget about you; please don’t you forget about me.  
Link to Simple Minds Don’t You Forget About Me

Keep ‘Em Flying

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter

May 12, 2023

by Tom Blake – Senior dating columnist

 “Keep ‘Em Flying” Reflections from Tom

(above photo courtesy of Christy Fisher)

I’ve been writing senior-related eNewsletters for around 20 years. Many of you have been subscribers since then. Today’s is unusual. I am not seeking sympathy from you Champs. I simply had to get some thoughts off my chest.

The last six months have been a blurry, bumpy road for me. During that time since the passing of my life partner, Greta, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on my life and realized it’s important for me to move forward, to seek health and happiness. I’ve concluded that I can’t sit back and hope those things will happen on their own. It’s up to me.

I can improve my chances of maintaining health and rebuilding happiness by reconstructing three things I’ve let slip somewhat during those six months. They are:

1 Career work – I sold my deli in 2016 after 25 years of making sandwiches, serving customers, and managing my staff. In giving those things up, I needed something to keep me busy and my mind active. I am blessed to have been a newspaper columnist for 28 years, and, at my age, to still be writing for nine printed newspapers – three in South Orange County, California.

The other six newspapers are monthly senior publications called 50plus Life in Pennsylvania.

My first article was published on July 7, 1994, in the Dana Point News, which at that time was owned by The Orange County Register, the nation’s 22nd-largest newspaper.

In 2013, I left the Register and switched to a small syndicate called Picket Fence Media which publishes three local newspapers—The Dana Point Times and San Clemente Times (weekly), and The Capistrano Dispatch (San Juan Capistrano (twice monthly).

My fifth printed book was published in 2022, titled, Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark.

Plus, I write this eNewsletter that keeps me busy every week.

I plan to continue writing until the ink runs dry. Will I write another book? Not sure. However, writing keeps my brain working and gives me a weekly purpose and deadlines to meet.

2 Activities to work on – Three things fall under this category that keep me active and happy. The first is exercise, which includes Standup Paddle Boarding in nearby Dana Point Harbor. I aim for three to four times each week depending on the weather and other factors. SUP is good exercise for the entire body and helps with balance, so important for seniors.

I’ve also recently joined a tai chi class, held weekly on a hilltop overlooking Dana Point Harbor, taught by Ron, one of our incredible Champs.

My second project is working on my home in Monarch Beach. I purchased the home new in 1992 and am fortunate to still own it. There were times when things got tough such as the 2008 recession when I considered selling it just to squeak by financially.

But Greta insisted I not sell it and I am so grateful for her advice. With the home now 32 years old, there are always projects to keep me busy. This spring, because of all the rain, the weeds are out of control, and I am slowly removing them. I planted a rose bush in Greta’s honor on her birthday, May 9.

The third activity is a home that I was fortunate to acquire in Palm Springs five years ago. That home was built in the 1970s so there are always maintenance projects out there that keep me busy. A big plus, it’s only a two-hour drive in each direction. A few of our Champs live in the Coachella Valley, where Palm Springs is located.

3. Relationships – I was beyond blessed to have a special relationship with Greta for 25 years. Having her in my life made me happy and I believe kept me healthy. Greta passed away last October 29. While I will miss her forever, I feel having a mate in my life may bring me some degree of happiness. At my age, I don’t have time to wait for even a year to start searching. So, I’ve decided to be proactive in finding a mate. I’m forcing myself to get off the couch and out of the house as much as possible.

I also felt that joining two online dating sites would improve my chances of meeting someone and it gives me a ray of hope that has been missing since Greta passed. Greta told me repeatedly before she passed that she wanted me to spend my final years with a mate. So, that’s what I’m trying to do.

So, I believe pursuing the three categories listed above will help bring me happiness.

5 Simple Phrases

Plus, during these last six months, I have taped to my computer screen these five simple phrases by which to live. They are gentle reminders to me of what’s important in my life.

“Let It Be” – Of course, those words are from the 1970 Beatles song of the same name. When the road gets tough, I try to remind myself of these three words. It has eased the recent stress.

“Don’t Overthink it!” – Sometimes I say to myself, “Should I or should I not?” For example, should I send a message to a potential mate or should I play it cool? Then I remind myself to just follow my heart and not worry about it. Or, at Costco, I think, “Should I purchase that pair of sunglasses for $25 that would give me a nice backup pair.” I say out loud, “Tom, don’t overthink it.”

“Keep ‘Em Flying” On April 15, 2023, I was at an outdoor arts and craft fair in Demuth Park in Palm Springs. I was walking past a booth where a family of six were gathered observing the artwork of a man named Kevin Sullivan. I heard Kevin say to the family, “Each one of you pick a number between one and 20.” And he looked at me, although I was just walking by, and said, “You pick a number also.” I had no idea what was going on. For some reason, I blurted out “17.” A few seconds later, Kevin said, “You won.”

I had won a painting of his called “Keep ‘Em Flying,” of a cartoon character like Snoopy flying an antique airplane. I posted it on my wall at the Palm Springs house. I interpreted that to mean that even though I had lost Greta five months before, I needed to keep on moving forward, in other words, to “Keep ‘Em Flying” and not give up living.

“Are you okay?” I read an article on how to deal with people who are being nasty, argumentative, negative, or combative: disarm them without violence or arguing. The article suggested saying, “Are you okay?” It tosses the ball back into their court without confrontation. I think it’s wise for me to remember those words and use them when appropriate.

And finally, “It doesn’t matter.” I say this when things may not be going as planned or hoped for. They ease stress. It’s a reminder that there are more important things in life than minor mishaps. The words help keep me on the happiness road.

Thanks for listening, Champs, and for letting me vent. I did a lot of reflecting on my life this past week as Greta’s family and I, about 30 of us, held Greta’s celebration of life on Catalina Island on Saturday, May 6. Why did we wait for so long? Because Greta’s birthday was May 9, she wanted the ceremony out there. All four of her children were born there.

I felt blessed to have my two sisters, Christine and Pam, and Pam’s husband, Bob, go with me for support to Catalina Island.

Also, while not attending Greta’s celebration of life, my neighbors, Coleen and Alex, and other neighbors, Kresta and Jake, were on Catalina celebrating Coleen’s and Alex’s wedding anniversary on that day. The four of them went out of their way to meet my sisters and Bob for 30 minutes before we left to attend Greta’s celebration. Having these seven people supporting me lifted me up and made me happy.

And then, after we had scattered Geta’s ashes from a private boat, I received a text from one of our Palm Springs’ Champ’s daughters that her dad had passed away. It was totally unexpected. I had known him for 30 years. Wow, sort of a double whammy on a double-whammy day. I thought to myself: “Keep ‘Em Flying.”

I had plenty of time to reflect on life during that May 6 ferry boat trip from Avalon back to Dana Point (an hour and a half). The notes I jotted down on the boat became the basis for this week’s eNewsletter, which I began writing on May 9 (Greta’s birthday).

Send me some positive stories for future eNewsletters. We all need to “Keep ‘Em Flying.”