Sometimes, life after 50 is about more than finding love

"You guys are the champs," are words from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Jackson Browne's 1970s song, "The Load Out/Stay." (Often referred to as just "Stay").

In the song, the "champs" Browne refers to are the people behind the scenes who set up and tear down his concert equipment, and then move it to another city for another performance. The song lasts nine minutes and is a favorite of mine.

At the end of today's column, I will explain the connection of "Stay" to this newsletter. But let me say now that those of you who email make the newsletter possible each week by providing fresh information and giving me permission to publish it. Without you, this newsletter and my newspaper columns would have dried up long ago.

Dee's email inspired today's column.

"Thank you for continuing to write this newsletter," Dee wrote. "Currently I am not 'out there' trying to date because my work life is so stressful causing me to always feel worn out when I get home. I will turn 60 this September and am in good health, thank God.

"But, the constant barrage of unrealistic expectations thatare just downright silly have taken their toll. So, this Monday I told my boss that I was going to retire. She was shocked, which surprised me and asked if I wanted to think about it?

"Anyway, I can't focus on trying to date at this time in my life, and can't wait until I can! I am fraught with anxiety, scared to death about the money and a little thing like survival."

Let me intervene here. I empathize with Dee's comments. While it would be nice if older singles could always focus on finding love, the reality for many of them is their situations have changed in the last few years. The sour economy has been the main culprit. Many people have other things in life to be concerned about that require a higher priority than finding a mate: health issues, financial security, survival, care giving, job security, and a host of other issues.

So, occasionally, the topic of this newsletter may stray somewhat from purely finding-love-after-50 issues to other related issues that affect us as we age.

Dee continued, "Sadly, no travel for me in my retirement. So Tom, I am asking that you and your partner keep going on trips so that I can go on them with you, even if it is just hearing and seeing your travels, and thanks for the trip photos.

"I have enjoyed your sharing your trips so much. (I remember a few years back your mentioning some woman who wrote you and was put out that you did a column about one of your trips. She said you were, after all, only supposed to concentrate on telling us how to find a mate). For her health's sake, I hope she is daily eating a bowel full of prunes."

I am pleased that Dee made those comments about travel. My partner Greta and I plan to travel as much as possible while we are healthy enough to do so. I intend to write about those trips as writing about them is one of my passions. However, the travel articles will not be included in this newsletter.

Instead, I have created a new website, www.TravelAfter55.com, which will be devoted solely to travel. With the website, the prune lady won't have to be bothered with travel articles. The site is up and running, but still a work-in-progress; several articles have already been posted to it. Your comments and suggestions are encouraged.

And now, the connection of the song "Stay" to this newsletter. A couple of years ago, I asked for suggestions on a term I could use to refer to all of you, other than as just "readers," "members," "old farts," or "subscribers." Every term considered just didn't feel right; I didn't want anything that suggested we are old or full of gas. So, I kind of forgot about adopting a name.

This week, as I wrote my response to Dee's email, Browne's song "Stay" popped into my head. Just as his people are "champs" to him, you are "champs" to me. So, in the future, when you hear me call you "champs," you will know what the hell I'm talking about.

Thanks for being with me each week.

Here is a link to Browne performing "Stay" in 1978. Be sure you stay until near the end to listen to Rosemary Butler's incredible vocal. my-day-in-music.blogspot.com/2008/06/jackson-browne-stay-live-1978.html

Comments on the columnist life

Ceil, "I want to thank you for your excellent newsletter. As a journalist (and a widow), I appreciate the quality of your work.

"I published a newsletter on ovarian cancer for 13 years. Hard work.

"Your newsletter is the best luck I've had in a hard year. Sorry about the weird Ukraine 'bridegroom" and his insults; glad you shared it with us."

Tom: "He is busy planning his wedding so he doesn't want to communicate anymore."

© 2010, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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