A BIG QUESTION

question_markCan I, a 77 year-old single woman with almost no family, create a whole new life?

It’s a big question that has been coming up since my acting career faded away. Four years ago, after the death of my sister, I drove around the US in a camper van for three months trying to revive myself. It worked. During the trip I sometimes wondered, “Would I like to live here? Or here? Or here?” The answer was pretty much “Nope.” But it was a wonderful adventure.

Enlivened, I came home and rebooted my life without my former connection to my acting career in New York City. But each cold winter became more unbearable to me and more friends and family died. So last winter, I began seriously exploring warmer climes to relocate. I traveled around much of Florida and even went to Merida, Mexico. I felt like Goldilocks hopping in and out of beds. Nothing seemed right for me: The Keys were too low key for me, Miami and environs too big. So I turned to central Florida. The Villages seemed too much like an adult Disneyword, Mt. Dora, too small. I loved Winter Park, but it was, frankly, too expensive and I wanted to be closer to the beach. So, this December, having heard Sarasota had a lot of theater and culture, not to mention the beach, I decided to try it out. Within days, it felt right to me.

I did not know one person there. But one of the great lessons I learned in my trip around the US was: There are good people everywhere. And, indeed, through chance encounters at restaurants and even on the street, I am on my way to creating a circle of friends. One woman I met took me with her to feed the homeless on Christmas Day. I plan to do that again next year wherever I am. Two people I chatted up at a restaurant happen to be very connected in the theater. They have already introduced me to several people who are also active in theater in Sarasota. And talk about good people! Another woman, JoAnn, who I had met at the theater and for lunch days later, turned out to be a kind of angel. When I fled my rental because of a nutty, rather scary landlady, JoAnn gave me her house to stay in while she was in California! Such generosity I won’t ever forget. (The landlady, by the way, was the exception that proves the rule about good people everywhere.)

So today, when I ask, “Can I, a 77 year-old single woman with almost no family, create a whole new life?” It may take some courage and a little craziness, but my answer is a resounding YES, I CAN!  And I’m excited about the prospect!

This blog has to do with Commitment. As I say in my Creative Explosion workshops, “A really good commitment may look a little crazy.”

 

 

27 thoughts on “A BIG QUESTION

  1. So happy for you. Florida has good, bad and in between. Generally, I don’t like it, but Sarasota is among the places I enjoyed. Anchored in and out of the anchorage near the park. Spent 10 winters sailing up and down the Gulf Coast with one trip to Belize. Now still here in Indiana and will probably be here until the end. 74, holding up good, but knees and left hip will be replaced in the coming spring. -10 predicted tonight. You are beautiful. Raymond

  2. Yes you can! Sí se puede. I was a mere child, only 67 when I began a new life. I can´t wait to see what I’ll come up with in 7 years when I am 77. When my mother died my father was 77 and he was OLD, so your age has particular resonance for me. He could barely walk a block, He was constantly saying he couldn’t do this or that because of his advanced age. I became determined not to age that way. I am grateful for the example of people like Jane Hoffman who, when she could not longer memorize lines easily decided to direct instead, this at 80 something. And now you are an example to others that you can live more years and not be old or at least not let the minor inconveniences of added years stop you from going on with your life, having new adventures, starting over if you wish.

    • I am constantly startled by the number of years I have spent on this earth, and even more startled that I’m looking forward to what is next!

  3. Another wonderful post, Katherine. Good people are everywhere. You are ageless, my mentor and inspiration. Sarasota is so lucky to have you there.

    “And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!” ― Audrey Hepburn

  4. Through many moves, I’ve come to discover that there are always people who want to get to know you because you may bring new and/or different perspectives, and there are others who don’t want to know you for the same reasons. Needless to say, I do not care to know the latter and hope I will always be one of the former.

  5. (I sent this to Katherine as a private message and she encouraged me to post it here. So here goes!)

    Dear Katherine,

    Happy New Year! YES, YOU CAN!! I’ve been reading your posts/blog and I had to reach out to you today to share my story of starting over at 52! You’ve always been someone I’ve held dear to my heart, as my teacher, your teachings and outlook on life and toward the craft have proved invaluable to me over the years. The EFV has been loud and painful over the years but as I made my way using tools I picked up from you and others, the voice rarely is heard unless I am on medication or suffering from sleep or sugar deprivation. (smile) Almost one year ago, I reconnected with an old flame of mine from over 22 years ago. He and I met at the Workshop (!) and came into each other’s lives at the right time for both of us. We were in our late 20’s then and living in CT. We both subsequently moved to NYC and then he wanted to move to LA. I had NO intention of moving to LA, so he left without me. We never spoke or wrote to one another in all those years. Then in January of 2014, a common friend of ours posted something on Facebook. I made a comment and he saw it. He said his heart sang and he got the courage to “friend request” me on FB. Well, when I received it, I almost fainted. I accepted and the next morning found myself writing an email to him hoping he was happy and thriving. I wished him well and sent him my love. No expectation. No fear. A couple hours later I received a beautiful email reply and we have been together ever since! Since he has a 10 ½ year old son, it was clear that he couldn’t leave Los Angeles for at least another 8 years. So after a couple trips back and forth, I closed my business (which had been wreaking havoc in my life), I packed up my apartment (after 22 years in NYC, the love affair was pretty much surviving on fumes), gave everything I had away and with 2 suitcases and 10 boxes of “stuff”, I moved West. And it has been the most gratifying, scary, risky, heavenly, magical and amazing thing I have ever done in my life! Although I miss my family and friends terribly, there is no place I would rather be. The adventure has been beyond anything I could ever have imagined. A new landscape, culture, way of life, QUALITY of life. Life as I knew it has been upended and although there are days when I do ask myself what the FUCK have I done(?!), they only surface when the EFV isn’t being fed, as I said, due to lack of sleep and sugar. (smile, again) Douglas has been here all along. We are ready to fully embrace all the most amazing things we can offer each other and to explore so much of the unknown with abandon and curiosity. He’s a generous and forgiving man, kind, empathetic, handsome, funny, smart, so, so smart and he loves me with his full heart. And I love him with my full heart. All of these years, love escaped me. I fell in love with myself first and that has allowed me to embrace all the goodness that has come my way this past year. I accept it all without apology but with wonder and excitement. It’s pretty, pretty cool. I did think that I was too old to “start over”, too old to change my life, but that was fear. Plain and simple. I wasn’t content and things had to change. The city was tough. I had become someone I didn’t like, so I forgave her and said goodbye and embraced the me that I DO like. Life is so much more simple when we do what feels right. It takes work and letting go of those things that are comfortable and familiar isn’t always easy but when we do, it is oh, so beautiful and beyond our wildest imagination.

    Thank you, Ms. Katherine and I wish you all the most amazing things on this new journey of yours.

    xoxoDanielle

    PS The mutual friend of ours is the fabulous, Douglas Moser!
    PPS The “man” is Douglas McDonald. You may remember him from the workshop. A tall, handsome baritone with beautiful blue eyes and a radiant smile.

  6. Hello Katherine!
    Your story is inspiring.
    I, too am finding my way at age 60. Four years ago all my work in TV dried up.
    So now I am working at Wholefoods (with health insurance) and doing Pet Portraits on the side.
    Check out my website!
    http://www.artrobare.com
    PS- I have a handsome man in my life who is 30 years old and likes to hang out with me. I met him at work.
    Ain’t life full of surprises! Onward!!
    ROBARE

  7. Dear beautiful spirit,
    I think of you every day, using your 4 principles in my life and performing. I am glad you are on a path that makes you feel connected to the world again. It really is all about reinventing our selves (and reconnecting to ourselves), isn’t it?. Many blessings to you, wherever you are.

    I was thinking of you because I have an idea in my head to do a show that explores gender identification in the world (I have been learning to pay the theremin as a classical instrument, in which I can “sing” in any gender) with a friend of mine who is also able to sing as either a man or a woman and does both, often. Brilliantly talented young man and fun to work with. Are you still directing? We could work this out over email for the most part. Let me know either way.

  8. Interesting blog post, caught my eye on FB as I scanned. Am kind of in the same place, same age, no loner singing much and not into the hustle it takes to book in the city, and had broken up again with the multiple-times-reunited-with boyfriend, so I moved 2-1/2 hours north June 2-1/2 years ago to a retirement community in the woods and meadows in Millbrook and don’t miss the city at all! But it’s hard everywhere and especially here to find kindred spirits, so am working on clearing my own blocks and finding other ways to find gratifying communication and activity, including my first writing class, which I love.

    A friend moved near Sarasota when I moved here, and she enjoys it and plans to stay. I lived in Miami 4 years (years ago) and spent time in Clearwater when in Scientology, and on-the-road in Lakeland, Jacksonville, Key West and Daytona. Of course, being on-the-road is nothing like living somewhere; not in the least.

    Good luck with it all.

    Elli

  9. Congratulations, Katherine. I have to admit a pang of “oh no, she won’t be in the Tri-State area anymore!” But I think I’ll survive. I too am on a new adventure at 63 with a new boyfriend who seems to be the “real thing.” He’s my age (for a big change), a very talented classical musician and we sync emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically. So far, so good.

    Much love,

    Paul

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