Solo polyamory reflections: Midlife is good!

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August 16, 2014 by aggiesez

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This week I’m turning 48. I’m definitely well into midlife — and it’s not a crisis. In fact, I’ve felt more comfortable and at peace with myself over the last few years than ever in my life. Embracing being solo poly definitely has had a lot to do with it.

We all only have a limited time on this planet. None of us know how limited. Personally, I think it’s important to allow my authentic self emerge as much as possible in my time here. Because if I can’t be authentic, then I can’t honestly and deeply experience or share joy.

And without joy, what’s the point of life? Whether your joy derives from pleasure, achievement, service, understanding, learning, or peace — if you can’t see, accept, like and love yourself as you are, you probably won’t be able to offer much meaningful connection to others.

People constantly evolve, so who you are (and who I am) are constant works in progress. We’re all in a position to keep discovering ourselves.

We all influence each other as well, directly and indirectly. The part of polyamory I treasure most is that it allows me to let people into my life, and my heart, on as deep a level that feels right to everyone involved. To experiment with boundaries and engagement. To allow ourselves to be forever changed by contact.

Balancing that out, solohood keeps me grounded. It reminds me not to lean so heavily on partners that I stop seeing them for who they are (and how they are changing). For me, when the fabric of my daily life becomes too enmeshed with a partner, it’s tempting to start seeing them as an extension of myself. And that doesn’t bring out my best qualities, as a person or a partner. (Or as a metamour, for that matter.)

Sitting here today on the deck of my mountain cabin, sipping tea in the early morning sunshine, hearing hummingbirds and breeze-rustled aspen leaves, I like who I have evolved to become. I like the independent life I’ve consciously crafted. I value the interdependencies, intimacies and vulnerabilities I’ve chosen. None of it is perfect, and I wouldn’t want it to be; I learn little from perfection.

I’m humbled to have had the opportunity and privilege to have lots of choices in life, and to mostly live and connect with others as I see fit. I don’t want to take that for granted. For as long as I keep living, I want to keep growing. I don’t ever want to live, or love, on autopilot — even when that’s scary, risky or painful. It’s my greatest hope to be good to people, including myself. To tread consciously, and sometimes to dance with joy and grace.

When the reaper comes for me, I’ll know I have really lived. I woke up several years ago and saw where I was, who I was, and who’s around me — and I let them in, let them flow though me. The flexibility and resilience of solo polyamory has helped me feel my life and embrace others more fully, without tightly clinging to how anyone (including me) is “supposed” to be. Some people brush me lightly, others infuse me profoundly. And I them. I savor the mutual marination of life.

And for this, I am grateful.

As age advances, I know I may not always enjoy such independence. I’m considering that, considering what kinds of interdependencies might work best as my needs and capabilities change. I don’t see aging as a loss or degradation; just a change in what I have to offer, and what I may experience. A mixed bag, as is all of life. I’m trying to arrange my life to keep my options open, and to connect with friends, lovers and family in sustaining and sustainable ways. To focus on options, not specific outcomes. Not being tied to a specific vision how my life and the people in it should be enhances that process.

Should I have the honor of becoming an old, old woman, I think I’ll be pretty damn good at it.

… but I occasionally freshen up my zombie apocalypse survival plans, just in case.

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10 thoughts on “Solo polyamory reflections: Midlife is good!

  1. jwynnyk says:

    REALLY lovely piece.

    Happy birthday!

  2. David Wheeler says:

    I just turned fifty and am loving being poly. Thank you for expressing so well what I feel!

    Aim for the head, Shaun of the Dead!

  3. Alan M. says:

    What a beautiful piece. I hope we get to meet again someday, other than in a rush at a conference. And 48? Huh. Been there done that. The fifties are set up to be the real times of one’s life.

    Alan M.

  4. Mingh says:

    I’m 27 years old and reading this has really made me think about the person I want to be and the life I wish to live. Thank you so much for writing this. Touched my heart.

  5. Harper Eliot says:

    What a wonderful piece of read. I felt like I was right there at your mountain cabin; peace and contentment. Happy Birthday!

  6. code16 says:

    This is really gorgeous.

  7. Legna says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!!! I’m 24 years-old. At 18, I realized I can’t be monoamorous – or at least, I can’t be happy promising to care and be with only one person, because it would be a big, ludicrous lie. I need to be authentic. Anyway, I was struck by this vision a few days ago… Couldn’t I be deeply happy living with my closest friends for a long time or forever, enjoying my freedom, my friends, and romances near and far? Can’t I just meet people, fall for people, have short and flaming romances, have long-distance romances, have people I care for always but nothing too enmeshed with me (because like you said, I see my best qualities dim when I’m too attached to a partner)? Thank you for painting another picture on my desire. Your exact picture cannot be mine, but the colors, oh, I see them, and they fit with my picture beautifully – my life and my dream that I am working on every day. I can see myself becoming more like you in the future. Thank you.

  8. PolyCouple says:

    I couldn’t agree more! My wife and I have been poly for a while and greatly appreciate the insight.

  9. hevnztrash says:

    Thank you for this. I’m 36 and am going through the exact same transition. For 8 years I had a primary and we were very much enmeshed and leaned pretty heavily on each other. This worked for us for a really long time but, like you said, people evolve and change over time and it stopped working out for us. I’m been SoloPoly for about two years and really have learned to love and accept myself, flaws and all, and have really gotten to understand the unique way I love and why. Although, I have people that i have romantically involved with on a regular basis, I’m in no hurry to build a primary relationship as I continue to learn these things about myself. And they understand my need for that. This piece has given me some reassurance that I am making good, sounds decisions for me and any potential partners I may cross paths with.

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