By Scarlette Quille
I am not really sure why I despise the autumn season. Temperate weather, beautiful scenery and “harvesting” everything from pumpkins to elk is just not enough to get me excited. All of it merely serves as a warning that winter is coming. There is no Jon Snow to save us. We will all be pasty-white, flu-infested zombies in a month.
If you were to divide life into seasons, I am planted firmly in fall. Fall is the season of life that hits you somewhere between age of 35-55. In the fall season of life you are no longer physically blossoming or reproducing. You begin to notice signs of frost in your hair. Eventually those luscious locks will turn various shades of gray and white, and fall out, just like the leaves in the trees. Most of us by this age have learned how to keep our emotions in a temperate range, though you can’t ever fully dismiss the possibility of a freak storm.
I have always dreaded aging. I think the dread I feel with each passing year is something I learned from my grandmother. She spent every birthday in tears, and there are still questions to this day regarding how old she was when she passed. There are some discrepancies in various legal documents, and because she felt so passionately about the age issue, her official age was documented as the one she preferred, and it’s staying that way. She rocked platinum hair and lipstick until her final days, and though she was technically much older, I swear she didn’t look a day past 50. Grandma was one of a kind. Having said this, I will point out that I lack the dedication and skillset to carry on an elaborate age defying ruse for over 50 years. Essentially, I would have had to start 20 years ago, back in the spring of my life when I was blissfully unaware of the possibility of aging or chin hairs.
My lack of foresight is essentially why I have decided to make an effort to improve my attitude around aging and the autumn season. While I don’t have to like either one, I have to figure out a way to accept them. Not knowing what to write about in this column occasionally serves as therapy, as I am forced to look within for material, instead of being assigned something randomly. I wasn’t satisfied with just ranting about a season or aging — I needed to make this work and even stay on topic, if only to be able to say by the end of the column that I did it. There has to be something positive about being single in the autumn of your life. Surprisingly, when I look back and make some happiness comparisons, this shit season may actually be the best one so far, as far as relationships go.
Finally, a win for fall.
I am sure some of you may disagree with this completely. I feel you. Please consider this: When nearing middle age, you may not be the eye candy that you once were, but that comes with benefits. No one is using you as arm candy or to improve their social standing. The partner that joins you at this point in the game has to be someone who can appreciate you for your unique personality and really love the parts of you that sag. In time you come to the realization that you don’t have boxes to check off before you decide whether or not you will date someone. Basically it boils down to whether or not you have chemistry with the person. You are in the autumn of your life when you realize that you are too old to fake ANYTHING. You also see that it is a very lonely place for singles around the age of 40 who haven’t spent much time developing any part of themselves besides their abs. Most of the people in your dating age range have some notches in their bedposts, and you don’t feel the need to compare them anymore.
Failed relationships can leave us jaded and weather worn, but they also leave us with the kind of wisdom that can only be attained through failure. When we are young we have a preconceived notion of what relationships look like, and what qualities a good mate will have. Twenty-somethings complain of being single when they rely on profile pictures and make decisions about prospective mates with a swipe of their finger. Those of us who have been around for a little while know this type of dating and interaction teaches nothing. Predetermined criteria doesn’t mean shit when it comes to falling in love. You may think that you would only be happy with a white-collar professional making six figures, dismissing anyone who doesn’t fit into the box you have so painstakingly crafted for a nonexistent human. Twenty-something you worked so hard on that damn box, only to find out it was as worthless as the love of your life didn’t fit into it. Those still relying on the box will have to scrap it entirely and start from scratch, modifying and recreating it with each failed attempt at a relationship. This goes on for many years before you accepts the truth: you need to throw away the box and light a fire with its expectations. Do it as a cleansing exercise. Accept that relationships are hard work, and maybe love hasn’t worked for you because you aren’t willing to work for love.
Don’t believe me? Read this again when you are 40.
Props to all of you singles out their regardless of your season, especially my fellow Autumns. We’ve got it good. And there is no reason to add pumpkin spice.
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