in: Intentional Living

I’m 38, Childless, Single & Happier Than Ever

Iʼm as surprised as anyone to be able to say “single and childless and 38” in the same sentence as “extremely happy with my life.”

Like many in my age bracket, I have spent years yearning for and obsessing over romantic relationships. My vicious cycle consisted of chasing men, falling in love with men, fighting with men, and breaking-up with men. And then, starting it all over again. Sound familiar?

Many (if not all) of my past relationships have been highly co-dependent; I approached them from an urge to be validated, filled up, and then to live happily ever after.

The Pressure Cooker is Off

But at 38, I am no longer looking for a prince, or even a baby-daddy. Although I hope to eventually find a true, sustainable love, I no longer feel the rush and urgency that suffocated me for the past two decades. The pressure cooker has been turned off—I have no need to act from desperation or clinginess.

For the first time in the relationship arena of my life, I feel santosha—contentment.

I’ve learned to get my TLC from sources other than a man. For healing touch, I get regular massage. For intimate conversation, I turn to my girlfriends; and most importantly, for loving kindness, I rely on myself.

I plan “rotic” (read: “romantic” without the “man”) nights, practicing being my own best friend, lover, and champion. I look in the mirror and see myself becoming more beautiful as I age; the less I stress about lifeʼs little things and the more I trust in my lifeʼs purpose, the more my face shines and brightens. I’ve luxuriated in a year of solitude—which is not the same as loneliness—introspection, and my own good company.

Living Large

This is not to say I advocate withdrawing from the world as a hermit or nun; rather, thereʼs even more need as a single woman to live largely and brightly, to have frivolous fun and spread juicy joy. And of course, even within a single life, there can still be a need for sex and intimacy. Now I am navigating how to have sexual connection without commitment in a way that has the utmost integrity, communication, and honesty. This is a process, one that begs so many difficult questions and has no easy answers.

Itʼs been a journey, but I can now say that I know and love myself well enough to call forth what I want and set boundaries around what I donʼt. I have zero need to tolerate a man who treats me in any way less than magnificent. In the words of my yoga teacher, Jessica Patterson, I can see that I am “whole, not a hole that needs to be filled up by someone else. I am the subject of my own desire, rather than the object of someone elseʼs.”

This kind of acceptance doesn’t come easily. But great teachers, from Sri Patanjali to Malcom Gladwell, remind us that anything—even self-love—is possible with enough time, focus and consistent practice.

Corpse Pose and Orgasm

More than 20 years ago I began both my yoga practice and my sex/dating life. Two decades later, I am finally at a place in both that feels happy, healthy, and equanimous—santosha. Of course, nothing is static, and this santosha may have ebbed by the time you read these words.

But in the here and now I am reminded that both savasana (the final corpse pose after a yoga practice) and orgasm are referred to as “little death.” Both help the ego fall away and allow us opportunity to discard stagnation and habit, then rise and re-create. In each of my “little deaths,” I now choose wholeness over deficiency, self-love over co-dependency.


 

headshot elise

A licensed massage therapist since 2009, Elise has keen awareness of the human body. She practices a nurturing, deep-tissue Swedish style of bodywork. She works with her clients compassionately, using thorough communication and honed intuition.

Elise has been practicing yoga since 1993 and sharing her love of it by teaching since 2002. Her friendly, down-to-earth approach to teaching has helped make it accessible to hundreds of people of all ages and abilities.

When not helping clients through yoga or massage, Elise loves to explore the urban treasures of Denver and the wilds of greater Colorado with her dog Malachi.

 

[photo: via flickr]

 

 

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