04-20-19 – In Praise of a “Bad Pick” by Linda Lovely and Robin Weaver

Monday, May 28, 2018

Senior Tween

by Courtney Pierce

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.

Okay . . . hands down . . . the bride category wins my life-event vote!

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
Photo: Overgram on Pinterest
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 my heart.

“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.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."


Sarah Raplee said...

Courtney, you write so vividly about your life that the love is palpable. I'm so happy for you!

Madelle Morgan said...

Such a beautifully written post! It poetically describes the relationship of two mature, loving adults who are the luckiest people to have found each other. :)

Maggie Lynch said...

Love the Elk spotting! It's beautiful and poignant at the same time. I've said it before, but I am so ecstatically happy for you, Courtney, at this time of your life. Having found a partner to share this part of life makes navigating the waters of senior living so much more rich.

Though it is true our physical bodies are not the same in resilience or traditional beauty as in our youth, I truly believe that for mature adults the beauty of age is only shared with those who value that experience. Every line on a face tells a story of happiness, of sadness, of triumph in the face of adversity. Every scar from a fall, a surgery, illness or happy accident tells a story of the ability to not only survive but thrive. Tracing those parts of a body and its stories, whether in darkness or in light, is an intimacy rarely achieved in youth.

Keep writing your amazing stories, Courtney. I can't wait to read Indigo Legacy and see what new series you start after that.