Dates, figs, and prunes

What is it like to be single at the age of fifty? For the first time in a gazillion* years, I have the time to contemplate my status as a single female. No kids at home. No soccer games. No lunches to prepare. Not even that many checks to write.

Who am I? Can I be who I am by myself? Do I want to savor my long-delayed and richly deserved peace and quiet? Should I be panicked about getting older alone? Do I want to try an internet dating service?

Well, at least I know the answer to the last question! No.

I don't usually look for relationship insights in the Business section of the Dallas Morning News. It's a rare day when I read more than the headlines in that section. Somehow I was enticed into a feature by Scott Burns, "American Generations: Part 2" this noon. Mr. Burns (not the Simpson's Mr. Burns) is a generation half step between myself and my parents, and I enjoy his financial columns. His thoughts about the enormous "investment in human capital" known as the G. I. Bill were intriguing. And then, suddenly, he was talking to me:

"Relationships at 50 are a lot more difficult than at 25, Bobby realized.

"'It's the hormone-to-identity ratio,' the algebra lover liked to say. 'When you're 20, it's nearly infinite. Who you are hardly matters. What matters is finding a plausible excuse to get naked. But at 50, the hormone-to-identity ratio is less than 1. You're actual people.'"

Really getting to know the actual people of both genders that I meet is way more important to me these days. Really getting to know myself is essential, too. I'm not dried out and wrinkly, but I'm sweeter, smarter, and more complex with aging.

*An elderly woman and her son are listening to the news on the radio. "Twelve Brazilian soldiers were killed today," they hear. "How many zeroes is a Brazilian," she asks her son.

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