No one’s ever prepared for what can – and does – happen within a seven-year stretch of life. The big wave hits all at once, like that big ole freight train barreling toward me that I completely missed. Let’s take just 2016 to present: Divorced, single woman at fifty-eight. Then I meet the man of my dreams and became a new bride, a first-time mom to an eleven-year-old stepdaughter, career woman, and an author desperate to get my sixth book out the door.
Any one of these life events could be unpacked to fill an entire article, but with retirement close enough to touch, my falling in love is downright cathartic. Becoming a blushing bride at fifty-eight? Before we were married, the clock rolled back to adolescent butterflies in anticipation of a text, a phone call, or a surprise knock on the door. There’s something anti-aging about mutually desperate hugs with someone you love. In our case, we had to drop the baggage on the floor to wrap ourselves around each other.
This time around was purely about being a soulmate, a partner, a lover, and a best friend. The burn of climbing the corporate ladder of my youth becomes the yearn for my calves to ache on a climb of a mountain trail. Then we’ll bed down near a stream and roll out that sleeping bag for two. We don’t have to rack our brains on what to do to keep warm.
Mother Nature isn’t such a cruel parent after all. She allows us humans to fall madly in love without the driver of fertility hormones. Relationships are genuine when you’re knocking on the door of sixty (and beyond). That last 25% of life is for being private, open, charitable, and selfish. Sure, the mirror isn’t so kind in the light of day, but the dark holds its own expert plastic surgery. Flaws seem to magically disappear when only fingertips, hopes, and dreams are involved.
The only thing we can’t say is, “We have our whole lives ahead of us.” With that realization comes a sense of urgency for anything and everything, a hunger that can’t be satisfied. My husband and I have thrown out the rule book when it comes to starting over. At the end of the traditional career, our retirement will be a series of long steps on a climb fueled by impatience.
For me, writing will move up several notches above work to tuck under the title of wife. Call me old-fashioned, but my life map gains clarity from there. Commitment is my energy for being an author. My husband has the security of knowing I’m by his side to support what he wants to accomplish. I know he's rooting for me too. He and I are a bit like When Harry Met Sally, so different but in lock-step at the same time. We came into the marriage with our roots buried deep in experience, the good and no-so-good.
My preconceived notions of what I wanted from life went out the window when I met this man. All my conventions were challenged. I didn’t marry for financial gain, position, or success by association. Those criteria were stripped away, eclipsed by a physical and psychological pull to someone who could complete my missing parts. Luckily, we fit together like two puzzle pieces.
On our honeymoon we camped in the Goat Rocks on Mt. Rainier. My husband leaned into me, with my hips in his grip, and whispered, “Shhhh . . . Do you see that?” His breath breezed my neck, and the passion behind his words made me shiver. He pointed to an elk, unafraid as it grazed along the stream. No matter how little, such gestures mean everything.
I’m coming up the one-year-married mark in June, which will officially ends my status as a
bride. I step up to the title of wife because I'm a keeper, and so is he. What doesn’t end with the anniversary
is my inner bride, the one that will keep me going to the end of my life. He
walks through the door in the evening and I fill with light, a light so bright that it blinds
|Photo: Overgram on Pinterest|
“Honey, I’m so tired, but I love you so much,” he says, and tosses his keys in a dish.
“Not too tired,” I say, “because I want my kiss and a hug.”
“We won’t have to do this too much longer, I promise.”
“Can't we flip to the next chapter, like in a book?”
And so it goes, this dance of dialogue about the future. My wise mother says, "Don't wish your life away". But it’s so close that we can reach out and touch it. I liken this period in life to a senior tween: we’re too old to be bossed around, but too young to talk back.
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her new family. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal.
Check out all of Courtney's books at:
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com
The Dushane Sisters Trilogy concludes with Indigo Legacy, due out in summer, 2018. There's love in the air for Olivia and Woody, but will their family history get in the way? Ride along for the wild trip that starts in a New York auction house and peaks in a mansion on Boston's Beacon Hill. Will the Dushane sisters finally get the answers they've been seeking about their mother.