- Posted May 30, 2014 by
Single Again – Community and Courage
“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” – Maya Angelou
This week, we the citizens of the world lost perhaps the wisest woman of our time. Here was a woman who celebrated life, love, people, relationships, wisdom, and courage and taught us all, through her beautiful words, to be better people.
As I was preparing to write, I read through countless Angelou quotes looking for just the right one. The one I started the piece with, spoke to me.
A few nights ago I watched the documentary on Netflix called “Happy”. In the beginning of the show, they interviewed random people to see what their life goals were, of course right on cue, everyone wanted happiness. When the film looked at what it was that made people happy, the long and short of it was that very little that we think will make us happy actually does. What truly makes people happy, according to the documentary is Community. People, Relationships… Ties that Bind.
As a divorced woman, the community and relationship piece is the hardest for me. I am very outgoing and can talk to anyone, but making time and intentionally developing a supportive community to be a part of is so difficult. I moved to Athens six years ago and started my life completely over at 49. I had a new job, new living arrangements, new church family and a whole new existence. My children were grown and my husband gone. After spending much of my married life being a stay at home mom to four kids and working part-time and then school-teacher hours, I always had noise and laughter and fun at home in the form of my family. Suddenly, I was truly alone unless I happened to be visiting with one of the kids. I found it was hard to break into a new school, church, and social circle. Friendships were hard to make as everyone seems to work long hours and the cocoons in their homes at night. Dating was one disappointment after another with only a few people that I actually connected with staying in my life as quasi friends.
As I read Ms. Angelou’s quote, it struck me that she talks about the courage it takes to accept love. I had to think about my part in this conundrum in which I find myself. There have been people I have loved in this dating process that did not love me. There have also been those that loved me that I did not love. How much of this was chemistry? How much was lack of courage? Does that lack of courage show up in other places in my life when I seek community and companionship? Am I afraid to take the first step, to make the first call, to venture out and find a group to join to make new friends and possibly meet a new love?
Being single and over 40 takes a rare type of courage. Every day, I have to fight the misconceptions I have about aging, I have to be willing to dive in and not be afraid of what I might find. Every day, I need to be brave, show courage and fight the good fight on the road to developing community and new relationships. I need to laugh…as much as I cry and continue to work hard. I hope that one day…I will find someone to love AND have the courage to love him in return. Thank you Maya Angelou for helping me frame my life with this beautiful sentiment.