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By Denise Lettau

SAT FEB 13, 2021

Sometimes, someone randomly comes into your life and ends up being a lifeline. That is my relationship with my girlfriend, Angelika. We met at a yoga class (of course) almost 20 years ago. (The way we met is a whole story within itself for another day!)

Yesterday, we met for lunch. We were beaming. Are beaming! In our late 50s (I will soon be 60), we have never been happier. Our kids are grown, our husbands are adoring (admittedly not our first marriages) and we are loving life! Of course we live in Florida, which helps in terms of feeling good in February. We sat socially distanced, outdoors overlooking the water and enjoyed what felt like sitting on top of a mountain. And then we thought about some of our friends who do not seem to enjoy being empty nesters, whose relationships are no longer loving and who simply to do not embrace the aging process. Yes, gravity has taken hold but if you look back and realize that you are still here --most especially since COVID--it's hard for us not to feel blessed and grateful.

We have gone through A LOT. 20 years ago, I was recently divorced and newly returned to the United States after 15 years in Europe. I was a stressed single mother most of those years during my 40s. After 13 years of singledom, I met my current husband. A few years later her marriage ended. We laughed about how now we are both finally married at the same time!

Now, we are enjoying working but also the slower pace. Not rushing to get our kids to school, then rushing to work, to a sports practice or to a school fundraiser. Now, we are rising early, indulging in yoga together and starting our day feeling refreshed and renewed. We still have many goals and aspirations but also the maturity to understand that this is all a process. And what a glorious process. It is truly the journey. All of the difficulties, the turmoil, the stresses brought us to where we are today. Not to say that we have not been fortunate. Our kids were and are healthy. They have flown the coop and my son even married last year. They have managed to find work and are building their lives.

While our children are busy building, we got busy rediscovering ourselves. Re-learning to listen to our needs, our bodies. It is truly a process of peeling back layers. We worked on ourselves spiritually, physically and emotionally. The beauty of this time is that we now have the time to do this. Running a household with a husband and/or children makes it fairly difficult to do. Whether working inside or outside the home, those years between 25-50 are focused on creating/becoming. The "fire" that we had during those years naturally diminishes and around 55 the transition to the "airy" phase of life becomes more notable. We have become wise women i.e. great mentors. It is actually a time to use our hard earned wisdom to guide others. Physically, we tend to lighter, shorter regimes like yoga, walking, and swimming that are effective and not as exhausting. We accept the changes and focus more on what makes us feel good.

But mostly, we revel in life. This incredible human experience that appears to be a puzzle but as we look back, more and more appears to be a beautiful pattern by design.

The two of us at Angelika's recent nuptials.
The two of us at Angelika's recent nuptials.