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As I look over my life, it seems like it was only yesterdaythat I was carpooling the children to school and sports events; going for weekly allergy shots, PTA meetings, high school graduations, saving for college; planning for weddings, and now the eventual grandchildren.  

Where did the time go? It was only yesterday that I was just a young girl myself with dreams of what I thought my life would be like when I grew-up.  

Well, here I am, the children are grown and living their own lives, and now it is my turn. But what does that really mean to me? Having been a single parent for most of my life I knew how to struggle in that domain, but now at my age, how do I begin tolivelife with the charm and dignitythat I imaged it should be? I hadn’t been practicing I’d been struggling. And now, life has changed, and, with all that I had done and my perceived accomplishments, I never imagined growing old alone would be my fate or this challenging, empty, and lonely.  

The seasons have already begun to change, and time did not wait for me as patiently as I had imaged it would. The things that I planned to do when the children grew-up don’t have the same appeal as they did when I first put them on my "to-do list" for the future. Yes, I have great pride in having been the single mother that I was and everything that it entailed, but I have now come to realize that while I was excelling in motherhood 101, I had not been as attentive to myself as I should have been.

And, when I entered mid-life, I justified my anger and my commitment to being right, and blamed others for not living up to my needs. Therefore, I became careless and lowered my standards and settled for whoever I could use to get my immediate needs met, which in the end left me having to settle for whoever would tolerate me as a barter to tolerate them. I spent my life in an empty would trying to convince myself that I was doing fine. 

Now, as I look back in retrospect, I realize l paid a dear price for my commitment to being "right". That while I was being combative, argumentative, and defensive, I had not been cultivating the sensitivity of "my woman" and/or developing the appealing natural attributes of authentic interpersonal communication skills, personal grooming, and the sensitivity needed to not only nurture the growth and development of my "inner" woman, when I should have been grooming myself to attract love from a man who would love, honor, cherish and want to support and take care of me as his wife.  

Unfortunately, the world-at-large has changed, and I was not prepared toembrace the many challengesI now face that were caused by the neglect in my earlier years, and as a single woman be willing to ask for and accept help from others whom I admired that had survived the test of time.  

Therefore, with the dignity of a woman, and the spirit of a child, I had to stop hiding from myself, and develop the willingness to create a new space for a new life to show-up. One that would be without blaming anyone else for my misfortune. I needed to pick myself-up, brush myself off and change my attitude about what matters.  

I began by embracing my outer beauty, to reflect my inner beauty and talents. i.e. art, writing, music, and begin socializing with people who I could share and enjoy a mutually common bond who I could aspire to emulate on equal terms. I developed new grooming ethics, and wore my hair in a more attractive and appealing hair style that was neat, casual and easy to keep without being completely carefree. I developed a dress code that was casual and reflected that I care about myself, and I care about you, and that I was someone who you wanted to bring home to meet your parents. I stopped hiding my insecurities behind defensive confrontations, and or settling for whoever would put up with me. I began to honor other people's differences without my having to be right or making them wrong. 

My only regret is I fear that I may waited too long to throw my hat in the ring. I wish I had begun to rebuild my life and grow-up while life was still worth living, and could have even brought my "inner child and little girl" out to play. 

Unfortunately, now at almost 80, alone and disabled, I finally figured it out. I missed the boat because I didn't realize that "life" is not a dress rehearsal for some future role that I would be starring in, "life" is now; and"now" is all I have left …

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