Thursday, September 3, 2015

My #50in15 Story

How to Find Love After 50
by Jorene Richards

First be honest with yourself, what kind of life do you want? There is unfortunately, a lot of pressure to be married, to have kids. The way I was raised, it was expected that I’d marry and have kids, I didn’t think about it – it was something that was supposed to happen as naturally as breathing.  It’s been hard, to deal with the expectations of others, and the occasional self- doubt, why am I not married? Is there something wrong with me? Why can’t I find someone to love?

I believe God’s plan is perfect, maybe I’m meant to be a role model. I am not married I don’t have kids and I’m HAPPY.  You can be attractive, successful, fulfilled and not married or a mother.  Who are you? Want kind of life do you want? What’s your legacy?  How are you impacting the Earth? Can it be said that the world was a better place because you were in it? Those are life’s important questions, much more important than “are you married?”

Next, what’s important to you in a relationship?  I think we’ve all made “that list” of qualities/attributes of our dream partner.  Nothing wrong with preferences but don’t let that list keep you from seeing a great love.  In my 30’s my list contained attributes like tall, handsome, income amount, no kids, no divorcees, etc.  A few years ago, my list was revised to: kind, able to love and give love, interesting and interested in life (no couch potatoes!), fit (able to hike and bike) attractive to me.  Big difference,  right?

After you’ve focused on creating the life you want, becoming the best person you can be, and gaining clarity of what’s important in a partner, relax and be open to love.  Remember loving you first is most important!  What inspires you and gives you joy?  Art? Dance? Finance?  Take a class, volunteer, create an investing club, and join a MeetUp group. 

Photography’s one of my passions and I met my fiancĂ© at a camera club. Meeting someone while exploring your passion means that you’re having fun instead of focusing on “finding Mr. Right” and you got the added benefit of knowing you have common interests. 

Here’s where that loving yourself really pays off – men are attracted to confident, happy women.  Women that have their own interests, work and networks of friends.  The more you love yourself the more irresistible you become to others.  I remember being on dates where the man put his arm around my waist.  I immediately recoiled thinking, “ugh he can feel my muffin top!” and moved his arm or tried to find a reason to scoot out of reach. 

Jorene and her fiance Duane live in
 Chicago and are set to get married
in June 2016.

When I started dating my fiancĂ© I thought, you know let’s try something new Jorene.  If you really love yourself, you’ll love ALL of your imperfections, even   your muffin top!  You’ll let this man hug you without moving his arms from around your flabby bits.  I did – he said, “all this is mine?  I love a woman with curves to hug”.  I think I knew then that he was “the one”. 


Celebrating Sunsets and Sunrises
by Thryeris Mason

For 48 years my mother and I shadowed each other. She had a southern belle heart, a been here before soul, and a California smile. As a single mother of three, she worked diligently to create multiple streams of income before that was a buzz phrase. We were far from rich in the material sense but, if love were bankable, the vaults would not be large enough. The fabric of my childhood is woven with threads of festive birthday celebrations; extraordinary surprises on ordinary days and weekend field trips zig-zagging our way across Southern California. My wanderlust is definitely part of her legacy to me. She made sure that I knew my southern roots and together we would learn of our African roots. It was important that I understand the incredible victories of my ancestors. But it was also to make sure that I didn't marry my cousin. She was having none of that!

In 2012, we reached that inevitable fork in the road where journeys around the sun change course towards heaven and the flesh becomes spirit. Her voice became a saved voicemail on a phone that I refuse to update for want of being able to summons her lilt at will. I was left to navigate my new normal with no instruction manual. I spent the first year reading Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 searching for proof that I would lay eyes on her again.
Thryeris and her mother, Edna. 

The second year of mourning was so unexpected. It was supposed to be better, but instead I found myself crying myself to sleep night after night. I missed her wishing me a nice day. I missed her calls to remind me to run this errand or that, or just see how my day was going. I missed holding her hands to pray. I wanted, yearned for, more time with her that I knew was not to be granted. So, I grieved. And, I wondered why no one bothered to tell me how difficult this change would be in terms that I could understand.

I no longer nestle tear stained pillows. I now look forward to my dreams. She is there, laughing, smiling, and dancing. Our conversations are lively and interactions prank laden. My sleep is a film reel of days gone by, although I must admit I never saw my mother do the splits when she was alive. I'm still trying to figure out where that came from.

I have learned that I am everything that she poured into me and some things that she wanted to snatch out of me. She insisted that I graduate college. She made the whole section stand up and cheer for me when I took it one step further and earned my MBA. She had an amazing sense of style. I look back on some of her black and white photos, and being from an era where fashion was dresses, gloves, and high heels, she took things to another level. I've spent a lot of money chasing her panache. Being a true head of household has slowed the chase, but I haven't given up. My Pinterest is full of ideas!
Thryeris lives in Los Angeles and
will be celebrating her 50th birthday
 in Puerto Rico in October

As I approach #50in2015 I find myself once again letting go. After sixteen years with one employer, a first in longevity for me, I am once again on the job market. The last days in the office were trying, watching people go through the ritual of putting on their professional game face while wondering what tomorrow will bring. Since our office closed I've heard rumors that have led me to thank God for perfect timing.

My mother's most important gift to me, besides her love, was faith. Faith is the beautiful vessel named Grace that has erased me over still waters and across stormy seas. Faith keeps my head held high when my chin wants to scrap the ground. Faith moves me to believe in transitions filled with supernatural blessings instead of meaningless and cryptic endings. So for me, #50in2015 won't be the end of a decade, but the beginning of something amazing.

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