Friday, March 11, 2016

Freaky Widow Statistics and Building a Tribe

I just read an interesting article  geared to widows.  The article led with some statistics I find mind boggling.  According to the US Census, half of women over the age of 65 are widows.    HALF?  Are you kidding me?    Also significant, only 8% of widows in the 55 to 64 age range remarry.  Only 2% widowed over the age of 65 remarry.  Those stats set the stage for the main point of the article.  Widows of a certain age may not find romance, but we can still have a good life.

The article didn't focus on widows lamenting the loss of romance.  Instead, it talked about how many widows were instead finding incredible new interests and having loads of fun with friends.  There is a trend for widows to band together and have loads of fun.  They travel together.  Sometimes they share housing or live close by so that they can watch out for each other.  The article called them tribes of widows.  I like that!  It's usually a group of at least 3 or 4 good friends with a "shared sense of loss that often only other widows can understand."

Many widows don't even want to remarry.  I'm well aware of that point of view from reading so many widow blogs. They had a wonderful life with their husbands and since finding anyone half as good is next to impossible, they made the most of the freedom of living on their own.  One widow in the article made an interesting point, saying, "Marriage is a much better deal for men." That made me laugh.

You may be wondering how I feel about this whole subject on a more personal note...   Frankly, I can't even imagine dating and going through that whole tedious process.   I may find some fellows to hang out with as friends, but it seems pointless for me to worry about dating and possibly remarrying.  I'm not ruling it out (I've learned to never say never), but I'm not going to spend any energy being concerned or sad about it.

Instead, I think I'll focus on building my tribe and finding fun things to do, just like the article describes.  I really like that idea.  There's no reason this next chapter has to be dull.  I think with time, I will likely come to appreciate the benefits of living on my own.  There are pros and cons in any situation and since I'm now living on my own, I might as well figure out what makes that a good thing.  You know the drill - If life gives you lemons, make lemonade...

I would even welcome widowers to my tribe (as friends).  Ladies are much better at dealing with loneliness.  We band together with friends to get through it.  Widowers usually get scooped up (really fast - within the first year!) by single ladies bearing casseroles.   I wouldn't win any points for my casseroles, so  if I were trying to catch some vulnerable widower, this strategy would never work for me.    If guys don't choose to remarry, they often stay by themselves a bit more than is healthy.  They, too, could benefit from being part of a tribe.

You know, as I think on it, I already belong to a number of different tribes.  I get together with friends from high school and college, teacher friends, neighbors, family... I could stay really busy.  And yet, most of my friends are married.  I clearly need one more tribe - a tribe of widows.  The thing is, this is a tribe I don't wish any of my current friends to join.  I hope they won't be widowed for a long, long time.

I have so much fun with the friends I have now!
I refuse to end this post on a sad note.  So, here's something more - finding a tribe is just part of the equation. Finding interesting things to do is also important.  There are a number of activities I already do with friends - eating out, seeing shows, and my new fav, hiking...  But I want to expand that list.  I need more.  I just haven't figured out what.

If you see me trying out some odd things in the future, you'll know I'm just experimenting.  Since I no longer care for things I used to like, it seems logical that I might like things I was never interested in before.  Right?


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