Coming Of AgeWritten by Dr. Dorree Lynn
A Valentine For Grown-Ups
And All Those Who Will Someday Be Over Fifty
At age 49, I was walking with man I was dating, ambling along a lovely rural road. In distance we saw a couple perhaps in their nineties walking slowly, holding hands. Studying them on quiet country road, he turned to me and said, "if we are fortunate, that will be us — in bed as well as walking”. I knew I wanted to age with wisdom, and companionship, love and sex. A good man was getting harder to find. A hard man, for whom both love and sex mattered, was getting even harder to find. I married him.
I grew up in a society that stubbornly clung to negative images about elders loving and having sex. The thought of older people making love still tends to stir reactions ranging from amusement to disgust. The idea of couples in their 80’s or 90’s having intercourse remains unfathomable to younger set. Unfortunately, it remains unspeakable to most of those having it as well. Love is an experience that can be quiet or loud, but not carnal. And, if it is physical at all, it is best kept under covers and out of conversation.
I had a paucity of role models for what I wanted. And, I knew from my friends, I was not alone. Since our parents’ generation didn’t have our freedom or our views, they couldn’t model our needs. They didn’t discuss love, relationships or sex. Tripping and falling, my friends and I finally forged our own confusing paths defining love and sexuality for grownups. We found that love didn’t always include marriage but sex and love were a dynamite combination.
Every six seconds, an American man or woman enters love and sexual wilderness of life after 50. There are close to 60 million of us in our mid-50s to over 100. We are boomers, seniors, wise and sexy elders. We crisscross and belong to all walks-of-life. At no point in course of history have we lived so long and expected so much of human relationships. Yet when it comes to love and sex, we remain somewhere between gray and dark ages.
Living Virtually: Missing RealityWritten by Dorree Lynn
I have a dear friend, Diana whom I used to meet for lunch quite often. Lately work has had her traveling between three cities. I miss her terribly. I also have another close friend, Josh who used to live in my city. Josh and his wife now live in another state and Josh and I frequently communicate by e-mail. Both of these relationships have evolved into virtual friendships. These electronically based friendships have become remarkably frank, candid and even loving connections. I still love people, but I am starting to hate our connection.
I understand that net has many positive aspects. One of them is ability to communicate quickly across territorial boundaries and to connect with friends and family all over world. I like e-mailing my children when I know it is too late to call them knowing that when they awaken they will have a “letter” from mom. I like knowing I can contact my husband, or he me, if we are apart. I like all information I can disseminate and find so very quickly. I like easy sense of camaraderie and community I have with colleagues who belong to same organizations that I do or who live far away. There are all kinds of things I like about net.
Truth be told, I dislike aspects of net and especially e-mail more than I like it. I hate disembodied exchanges between souls who once maintained a real life basis for trust, anger, joy and love. I miss intimate inflections of real voices during conversations, or seeing expressive hand gestures that belong to one of my kids. I miss sound of a friend’s voice over phone as we type more and talk less. I hate massive amounts of thoughtless mail that clog my screen just because someone couldn’t sleep and decided to send everyone in their address book a tasteless joke. I am impatient with all petitions I am asked to sign, and spam mail that I get. I miss going to library as often as I once did and having librarian introduce me to an unexpected reading treasure. Mostly though, I am sad because I know that soon, many people will barely know difference between a virtual and a real connection. I don’t want to become one of them.