January 22, 2019

Meant2Be: Perfectly happy being single

I’ve heard it said “alone” is actually a compound word — “all one.” That’s how I feel. All one, complete.  

I’ve been married twice, most recently divorced in 1974. I’ve dated and been in relationships since then — I like men; I like being with men; heck, I enjoy sex. I just have not wanted to marry or live with anyone. 

I retired seven years ago and I am the happiest I’ve ever been, except for the aches and pains that come with aging. I do ballet every day or power yoga and spend a great deal of time reading. I own no devices, no computer; my cellphone is a flip phone. I drive a 1995 Toyota Corolla.

I am blessed with a wonderful daughter who is always there for me, no matter what, and I am so proud of her accomplishments. I have loving cousins and friends, but, basically, I’m an introvert.

After I was divorced the second time, I was in my 30s and dating wasn’t always easy. There was more than one Jewish paper and they all had a section that had events for singles. These events would be listed by age group, often taking place at temples or community centers. I went to one such event with a friend, who drove. I think the targeted age range was 25-35, and I was 36. The women at the door insisted that everyone show ID. We did, and I was not allowed in (my friend was). I was so humiliated. 

I did meet a few men at these functions, but I think at any time or any age dating can be difficult. All this talk about meeting at a supermarket — really? I just get bumped into.

Another activity, this one found in the Jewish Journal, was a night for couples to meet to do improv. There was a big turnout, I don’t remember where it was held, but I do remember this ad did not list an age limit. How refreshing it was to see people of all ages coming together to have a good time. We were each given a small piece of paper with a sentence on it and a number. Two people would perform at a time and act out what was written.

I partnered up with a man about my age. We got on the stage, and there was an instant connection. Our sentence called for us to be contentious, and we handled that well — a little too well. I got booed by the audience, and some people were actually quite angry with me. Despite this, the guy, whose name I have now forgotten, asked me out. We did date for a while and it was nice, but it was a long time ago.

Sometimes I think I’ve lived my life backward, which is rather exciting. I had two children before I was 21, then two divorces. It was after that I went back to school while being the sole support of my children.

I have dated men from many walks of life and professions over the past 35 years. There was an actor, a rabbi and a construction worker, a doctor, a director and an Israeli who did something (I’m not sure what). I learned many new things and experiences from each person, mostly enlightening and good.

It never mattered to me if a man I dated was older or younger than me. I just didn’t want to have to worry about if I looked older. I am lucky, as I have been told I look far younger than my actual age. Maybe it’s genetics, or that I am in very good shape and slender.

With a much younger man there is much that cannot be shared, which leaves a gap I don’t want. At this time in life, I want comfortableness. I don’t even know if someone is flirting with me, my daughter will tell me. I’m just oblivious. That’s OK — I don’t miss the excitement of the so-called first date, the new man, the romance.

This is the winter of my life and I love it. Flowers make me smile — I plant them on my balcony as my cat makes this strange cat noise at birds. I come inside and read for a few hours and wonder at this incredible life I have and look forward to all the blossoms of tomorrow. 

I gave up dating some years ago. If I were to meet a man now, would I go out with him? Sure. But if I don’t, I love my life just as it is.

Judith Ornstein Kollman is a former victims advocate in domestic violence for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office who lives in Sherman Oaks.