My mother used to call me her “Danielle Steele Daughter.”
And just like the fantasy romance novels, I was the 40-year-old corporate executive (with porcelain skin and sea green eyes…) dating the dashing entrepreneur, 20 years my senior… with silver hair, sapphire blue eyes, a luxury yacht and several homes.
What the story book novel didn’t reveal was that the charismatic business owner was a narcissistic alcoholic who had a nasty mean streak.
Fast forward 30 years, several failed relationships, and my mother, bless her soul, would be happy (or perhaps, more realistically, jealous…) that I actually created a real-life love story – 10x better than a Danielle Steele novel or any Hallmark movie.
The Adventures Continues
Jerry and I are fortunate in that we enjoy many of the same things – travelling, enjoying good food and wine and experiencing new adventures! So, as the pandemic was lessening, we decided to plan our travel for 2022.
First trip for 2022: An 18-day California road trip. It was also our first time being stateside in 15 months since moving to St. Croix, Virgin Islands. We traversed the central coast of California – Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, San Simien, Big Sur and Carmel, Sonoma and then headed east to Yosemite.
Each location was unique and provided special experiences. But our most important adventure was in Sonoma.
Hot Air Balloon Wedding
The highlight of the trip was getting married in a hot air balloon at dawn in Sonoma.
It certainly solved a lot of sticky issues that people encounter as they plan their nuptials… no dress to worry about. No bridesmaids to pick or who would dispute the dress choice, no catering challenges or transportation logistics for guests or disappointment of not catching the bouquet…
Just us. At dawn. Celebrating with champagne as we soared 3000 feet over the vineyards of Sonoma.
It was glorious.
The owner/pilot/wedding officiant asked if they could use some of our pictures for promotions and advertising. Of course, we said yes… and in fact, we’d be happy to be spoke people if they wanted to market “geriatric weddings!”
Funny… in the ‘60s…
I remember, in the 1960’s when I was about 12, my dad had a great aunt who was in her 70’s and she got married to a man who was 80! We thought that was absolutely hilarious.
The giggling teenagers in the family whispered:
“Do you think they ‘had to’ get married?!@#!!!”
“Do you think they’ll live through their honeymoon?!!! Or sleep through it?!!!”
But the bottom-line question was: “Why?” Why bother getting married when you’re that old.
Not As Funny In 2022
There you have it… As the articles confirm, many people are living longer and leading more active lives. Not convinced? Need a little more motivation? Look to the stars. Clint Eastwood, Mick Jagger, Helen Mirren and even the Queen continue to prove that your 70s, 80s and 90s don’t need to be complete slowdown.
And then there’s Betty White in a league of her own!
Which gets back to the question of “why.”
Why would two people in their 70’s, one approaching 80, decide to get married?
For me, the answer is simple: I had to marry Jerry before June when he turns 80 because the 12-year-old girl in me couldn’t imagine marrying an 80-year-old man…. Even if Jerry is like the new 60!
Besides, I got married for the first time in 1972. I figured getting married once every 50 years was ok.
Seriously, we both agreed that there was no reason to get married… and no reason not to.
We had taken care of all legal issues and arrangements prior to moving to St. Croix, so there were no compelling reasons… other than we just wanted to.
Call us traditional or old fashioned… but I always wanted to get married again and to experience true love.
I love feeling that intimate, emotional connection and commitment and cherish that it is reciprocated for the first time in my life.
What do you want… and what are you waiting for?
For me – I waited 35 years for the “PMFM” – Perfect Man For Me. I knew what I wanted in a relationship and I never gave up or settled for something less than I wanted and or what I knew was possible, despite all the nay-sayers. I can honestly say that Jerry was worth waiting for.
But don’t think for a minute that I was idly waiting for my man. I always did exactly what I wanted at each stage of my life, enjoying my choices, whether I was developing my business, taking on volunteer leadership roles in organizations, travelling, or hosting parties for multiple groups of friends.
I urge you to take a look at your life and ask: Are you making choices that are consistent with:
- what you want
- your values
- what you think is important at this point in your life and
- what you want for your future.
Marty Stanley is a national speaker, author and consultant on personal and organizational change. As a life coach, she has helped hundreds of people create their ideal life including a corporate lawyer who became an award winning romance writer and a CPA who is now an ordained minister. As a corporate executive and business coach, she’s helped hundreds of organizations successfully navigate changes in leadership, strategies and human resource management.
Curious about how two old people fell in love during a pandemic and moved to a tropical island? In addition to the links in this blog, here are a few other blogs for more behind-the-scenes thoughts and experiences: