There is no way to sugarcoat this. Starting over after a failed relationship sucks. Whether you are 14 or 40—or 61. (Yeah, Happy Birthday to me . . . not. I guess now I should change the name to single at 60something sucks?)

No matter how bad a relationship was or how badly it ended, there were good times. These are the memories that will crush you now. They drop into conscious thought when you least expect them, and always when your defenses are down. A song, a food, a word—and then they fall, drifting down and coloring your mood in sudden sadness. For me what haunts and hurts most is the question WHY? I don’t know why one day he just stopped wanting the relationship and friendship we had. He just did. I guess it simply had run its course for him. But that’s the nature of being—of living life and all its experiences, both good and bad and even the bitter with the sweet—to every thing there is a season.

As cliché as the saying is, not all relationships are meant to last. Tyler Perry (as Medea) offers some pretty sage advice in a 5 minute You Tube video called “Tree Friendship Wisdom.”  She (he) talks about how we sometimes mix up “seasonal people with lifetime expectations.” Seasonal people, whether they be friendships or relationships, she explains, are merely “leaves on a tree” and like leaves, they are going to wither and die. Her advice? “Let ‘em go.” (Easier said than done.)

Truly, it’s all seasonal when you think about it. A perpetual cycle of birth, growth, decay and death. Whether we are speaking of people, animals, nations, relationships or trees. There comes the bud of spring and a new beginning, the summer of full life, the fall of said life and then the seeming end that is winter.

I am in the autumn of my life (ironically, my favorite season—as seasons and trees go. Relationships . . . not so much.) I really did think I’d have it figured out better by now. I thought I’d be happier. I thought a lifetime of hard work and devotion to my family would have brought me satisfaction and contentment. Peace, too. I didn’t expect to be alone. I sure didn’t expect to still be making mistakes as far as men. Let me go on record: There is no worse feeling that putting all in and ending up with nothing. Again. When it was really really good and still didn’t work out . . . what hope can there be for a next time? A rational person has to figure out at some point, it’s just damn time to quit. Despite my talk of inevitable change and seasons, in this place and time (and mood) I can’t see it changing. Moreover, I’m tired of trying. I’m tired of wanting what life quite obviously has decided is not for me.

BTW, Medea’s advice to just “shut up and wait” aside, I am beyond tired of being told “It’s for the best because the right one hasn’t come along yet.” It’s one of the most frequently quoted of the triumvirate of trite pabulum designed to pacify and inspire. “Work on you” and “It will happen when you don’t expect it” are the other two. I once laughed the only place I seemed destined to find my “right one” was on a list of myths and urban legends. (I’m pretty damn sure “Judith’s right one” falls alphabetically right between Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.) I’m not laughing any more. I’m crying—crying “Uncle.”

Sarcasm and humor notwithstanding, sometimes the heart overpowers the mind.  I write what I feel. And if I’m being honest, what I feel today is that I’m done. It took me 60 years of living and a 36 year marriage before I found a man who incited that “spark,” who liked me for me, who loved my intellect and who actually appreciated my independence. A man not daunted by my strength, who could not only hold his own with the alpha female I am, but who rose to the challenge to come out on top. (Pun intended.) The chances of lightning striking twice are next to nil. Ergo, it’s time to acknowledge that changing leaves aren’t just pretty colors, they’re harbingers of a season’s passing.

I’m not alone.  I read a Facebook post tonight from a guy. (Yes, Heartbreak Street runs both ways.) He wrote that he would “never understand why the good ones will get f**ked over all the time no matter how hard we try.” He went on to declare, “I’m seriously done!”  Unsurprisingly, his post received dozens of comments in response. Plenty were of a like mind—others who feel the same and are also “done.” But others were annoyingly optimistic and insistent it would improve with time. (Like him, I wonder when?) Still, the prevailing theme was “No, don’t give up! Be patient. The right one is out there for you.”  Then there was the one, ala Medea: “Take time for you. People come in and out of our lives to teach or help.” (I, for one, am sick of this lesson!) The comment which resonated the most deeply for me was “I don’t understand why this has to be so difficult to find someone that wants my heart.”

I don’t understand either. Yes, I know life is too short “to leave the keys to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.” But the depressing truth is this–those who commented they had moved on and were happy hadn’t done it solo—they were happy because they had found someone better. (Great. Happy for ya.)

Which leaves (no pun intended) those of us in limbo in limbo with no choice but to let the seasons cycle. Falling leaves are as a relationship’s memories, beautiful to look at, but the life they held is over. We have to let them fall. Eventually the branch will be bare. Then, as we shiver and bundle up and watch the snow fall, we force our minds to remind our hearts:  to every thing there is a season . . .

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