A Link to the Past

I’ve written here and elsewhere, about family before and, no doubt, I will write about it again. But this week’s post is about a very special member of my family, my father’s family, our family; my cousin Wolf. Wolf passed away last week, with his wife and children next to him and I imagine it is how he would have chosen to leave this world if he could have had a choice.

I first met Wolf in 1987 when I went to Europe with my then husband. Not only is Wolf a cousin, albeit distant, he also married one of my first cousins and I was super excited to meet them at last. He was such a gentleman and so knowledgeable about many facets of life. My first cousins are quite a few years older than I am, but both Wolf and his wife Uschi were so welcoming and kind, the difference didn’t seem to matter.

In the years before my father’s death it was Wolf’s letters to him which kept him interested in life. They never met but formed a wonderful friendship through their correspondence. My father was especially interested in the restoration work Wolf had undertaken in the church which had once belonged to my father’s family. The next time I met Wolf was in 2013, several months after my father died, at the first family reunion I attended. He made me feel so comfortable, as did all the family. I was finally part of something.

Wolf was our family’s genealogist. He was the keeper of the family archive, with all the records and stories. He knew practically everything about our family and always thirsted for more information. When I began to research my father’s history he was right there by my side (metaphorically at least). It was Wolf who helped me translate some of the letters and documents I found in my father’s house, and Wolf who contacted the authorities to try to uncover my father’s military past. Without him, I would still be in the dark about so many things.

The last time I saw Wolf was nearly three years ago at their home in Sweden. I visited him and Uschi shortly before I made my first pilgrimage to the former estate of my father’s family, which was in Latvia. I brought Wolf copies of some of the documents my father had left behind. He showed me his study, a room dominated by the many bookshelves which housed much of the information about our family. I wonder what will happen to it now. As I was leaving Wolf gave me the book my father had once given him. A book which had been dear to my father’s heart. It was a teary moment for me.

A week has gone by since Wolf passed away and I can still hardly believe he is gone. It is sometimes difficult to register these sorrowful moments in life when you are geographically at a distance. I’m not sure where I first read that “family is a link to the past and a bridge to our future,” but that was Wolf. He was the link to our family’s past and it will be his genealogical work for our family which will form the bridge to our future. I miss him.

Rule 1: You must leave the house

After publicly announcing my desire to find a partner (see my last post) I’ve done remarkably little about it. I haven’t rejoined any of the dating sites I tried out years ago. I gave up on them when the replies I received came from men who obviously hadn’t read what I was like or looking for. It was too frustrating to continue. Just today I’ve deleted three emails offering me special deals to find that special man.

I’ve been told I should go out more, be more social, meet more people, attend more functions. However, I haven’t taken the advice, and this week I’ve gone directly home from work, stopping only to buy groceries on the way. But where should I go, how do I meet people? These days I don’t want to meet someone who spends his leisure hours in a bar or club. Where do the single men I want to meet hang out?

A part of me still believes in love at first sight, in accidentally being in the same place as the one you are supposed to meet and fall for. It has happened to other people. Apparently Matt Damon saw the woman who would become his wife from across a room and immediately fell in love with her. The same thing happened to Matthew McConaughey when he first saw Camila Alves. So, it can happen, hopefully not just to celebrities. Now it just has to happen to me. I guess I do need to get out though, so I can walk into that room where my future partner will see me, and we will fall in love with each other, at first sight of course.

First, I must find that room. I hope I will find it at a writer’s talk, perhaps at the Wheeler Centre, or during the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, maybe at the State Library. Or it is possible the room could be one of the art galleries I plan to visit. It is not unimaginable that the room could be outdoors, at the beach, on a hot summer’s day. Wherever the room is, I do realise I have to make a move to find it. Sitting at my front window dreaming about it is not going to bring a partner any closer to finding me, or me him.

In the meantime, there are writer’s talks to attend, galleries to view, book launches to go to and plenty of sand on the beaches to walk on.

Looking for a Unicorn

For the last week, in my spare time, I’ve been watching reruns of Sex and the City, which is kind of like visiting an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. After a bit of chit chat, it doesn’t take long before you feel as if you have never been apart. I’d forgotten many of the episodes, Samantha dealing with breast cancer, Miranda looking after Steve’s mother, Charlotte going through IVF and Carrie’s short-lived affair with another writer. Everyday problems which could happen to any of us. In my opinion, that was why the show was so successful. The sex was the glitter sprinkled liberally around what are sometimes difficult issues to discuss and sometimes simple girl talk we all could relate to.

As I watched I couldn’t help but wonder what the girls would have done if, like me, they were single in their fifties. I doubt they would still be doing the rounds of trendy bars and clubs, which are really the territory of the young and nubile. Cafés and restaurants perhaps, but in her late fifties I don’t think even Samantha could bring home any of the young, sexy waiters. And would she want to anyway?

No matter how well you look after yourself, unless you have undergone surgical procedures and filled yourself with Botox, it’s unlikely your body is the same as it was in your twenties or thirties. I shouldn’t generalise, but this is true of my body. Maybe every other fifty something single woman has the same drop dead gorgeous, firm body they had in their youth, but I doubt it. Much of the appeal of the sex in Sex and the City, was the images of intertwined sleek, well-kept bodies. Very few people want to watch wrinkles and saggy flesh jiggling up and down together, in my opinion.

After fourteen years of being single, I’m toying with the idea of finding a partner again. Over a few wines with a friend, I listed the qualities I’m looking for in a man. My friend laughed and suggested I’m looking for a unicorn. Apparently, she doesn’t believe I will be able to find any man around my age who physically looks after himself, and can have an intelligent conversation, and is caring, thoughtful and honest, with a sense of humour as well as being financially secure. Oh, I’d also prefer someone over 6’4” who doesn’t like fishing, camping and the great outdoors. My idea of camping is lazing around the pool at a five-star hotel.

What I’m missing is that small group of close friends who are also single and looking. I don’t have a selection of wing women to choose from. Most of my good friends in Melbourne have partners and are loathe to go out without them. Which leaves me on my own. I have yet to work out where I will begin to look for my unicorn.

According to the 2016 Census, 30% of Melbourne’s population is aged over 50. There are approximately 239,000 males between the ages of 55 – 64 and 254,300 females. That’s not good. However, I’m open to dating a toy boy, which I believe only improves my chances. We shall see.

New Year Resolutions

I have been seriously slack. I have not written anything for this blog for weeks. It isn’t because I haven’t known what to write about. It isn’t that I haven’t had time.

It is because I have not been motivated.

So, what would motivate me now?

The date of course. It is the first day of the new year. The first of January 2018.

I’m not sure what it is but the first day of a new year seems to be the perfect time to be motivated again. In other words, it is the perfect time to make a resolution, to resolve to motivate myself even if I would rather curl up in front of reruns of Sex and the City with a glass of red and a slice of pizza.

Which brings me to my next resolution – to look after myself. So, no more pizza. Or not very often anyway. Red wine is still ok, but in moderation. 2018 will be my year for healthy food, yoga and meditation. Luckily, I enjoy cooking, I’m starting to get better at yoga and meditation is becoming easier.

And I will read more. Lots more. In different genres, genres and authors I wouldn’t necessarily read. I want to challenge myself more.

Writing. I must make sure I sit down to write for at least half an hour a day. Even if I write nothing more than this blog.

That’s it. There’s nothing in my resolutions I can’t manage. Nothing scary.

But what is it about the beginning of a new year which prompts us to make resolutions or start over again? It is just another day in a long line of days, another 24 hours in a year full of hours, most of which we don’t utilise. It can’t be the fireworks of the night before, or the countdown to midnight, if you can manage to stay up that late. I can’t explain it, but I know that the first day of a new year always fills me with promise and hope.

So, let’s see if I can keep my resolutions. By this time next year I hope to be healthier, fitter, well read and the writer of many words.

I found this quote by Edith Pierce, it sums up how I feel, “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”