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Finding Love Later in Life

Now that I have announced my engagement, I can share a little about relationships and finding love here. I hope this helps those who are feeling the pressure of their family, friends, or the timeline of society.

I honestly thought I would be married with kids in my early 30s. I grew up in the suburbs so I didn’t think any differently about settling there when I was older. I didn’t anticipate getting laid off in my late 20s and I felt it threw a lot of the original timeline I had laid out for myself. We all know nothing goes according to plan… I am getting married at age 40.

Building a business from the ground up wasn’t easy. Also, struggling to pay my rent and car payments when I was unemployed was a challenge. Dating took the back burner while I made a career. There is nothing wrong with that! One by one, my friends married, started families, and moved away from Chicago. I also took a leap and started traveling more abroad and packed up my apartment to live in Paris.

I feel very grateful that I found my career path and have been able to support myself and grow my business as a travel photographer. I had no plan to be a blogger, so I feel this blog and community is a big bonus.

As I got older, dating became more of a challenge. The dating world moved from meeting in person to meeting online. Talking on the phone turned to texting and everything felt a little less personal. I am old-fashioned and preferred phone calls and actual dates vs “Netflix and chilling”.

My family called me too picky when it came to dating. I just felt I hadn’t met the right person yet. One of my best friends and I were having dinner at a restaurant together, both of us were single at the time and we struck up a conversation with the woman at the next table. She gave us advice that I will never forget. She told us to “enjoy being single”… That was such a different point of view from everyone else who was putting pressure on us to settle down.

I started to think about this more and more. Instead of waiting for something to happen in terms of dating, I decided to make the most of the life I had. I continued to travel and I started getting comfortable with eating out alone. Something I used to hate to do. I dressed up and took myself out on dates. If I was going to find someone to love, I needed to love myself first and be happy with my life. It sounds cheesy but it is true. I haven’t asked my fiancé his thoughts but he was very settled in his life when I met him. It helped us make a better match.

It can be so hard when everyone around you is getting married, and having babies, and you just got ghosted for the millionth time. That was me! Love happens when it is supposed to. Plus, some people say it happens when you least expect it. Everyone has different experiences.

I read an article when I was rounding up links and it inspired me to make a list. The list was filled with the qualities I was looking for in a person. I carried a notebook around Paris for an entire week and I kept making excuses on when I was going to write down “the list”. Finally, with a glass of wine and French onion soup, I sat outside one of my favorite cafés and made a list.

When you are younger, I feel you have different ideas of the perfect mate. You can say you want someone of a certain height, hair color, and body build. They basically teach us this when we sort through profiles on dating sites. I made my list when I was in my 30s and there were a lot of qualities that were more important than others. My list was short, but I made sure to highlight the important values I was looking for in a person. Religion, politics, family values, and learning to love my dry sense of humor were all included.

So here is what happened after I wrote the list. Once I finished, it sat in the notebook. I have a new notebook every year when I write business ideas and lists. It is currently somewhere in my closet in a box. I met my now fiancé a year later after making the list… I didn’t realize until I was in Paris back in October that the spot where my fiancé asked me to be exclusive a few years earlier was less than 50 ft from the café I wrote the list on the very same street! It could totally be coincidence. We were newly engaged in Paris when my friend invited us to have dinner at her family’s restaurant which was again just feet from the café where I made the list.

I have no idea if the list had anything to do with manifesting my fiancé or bringing love into my life. I do think that having a clear picture of what is important in your partner will help you when you do find love.

In case you were curious, my fiancé covered everything on the list except for one… I had just gotten out of a relationship where my boyfriend hid us and he didn’t want our relationship to be “public”. I wanted the opposite and I wrote on my list that he had to be ok with being shared on the blog. This is where we compromised my fiancé has no desire to be on the blog, I think that is perfectly fine with me.

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  1. Hello Miss ‘Sparkly ring on finger’. Firstly, “felicitations” on your new commitment to share your life with Mr. Fabulous. I can almost see your beaming smiles between your words. I love that you had a list. Clarity in love, work and goals is so much more exciting than a ‘rough outline’. Fuzzy dreams beget fuzzy outcomes. And I love the comment of your fellow barfly who so wisely advised you to ‘enjoy being single’. As John Lennon so accurately said “life is what’s happening when you’re busy making plans”. Everyday is a gift, where we are a unit of one, two or those with twins…4! I look forward to reading and viewing (via your beautiful photography) your next Chapter of a shared journey. Smiles from sunny Brisbane, Australia 😊🌻

  2. I’m an old person who loves your posts and buys some of your products. That started with French Finds at Trader Joes’s. I married later than most women in my generation which made my relatives crazy. Enjoy your journey and keep posting.

  3. I join the other “friends” in congratulating you and thank you for sharing this sweet story! Lovely and beautiful journey. I wish you and him the very best and if you ever come to Alabama, I’ll meet you for a croissant and cafe au lait at L’Etoile, our beautiful Parisian cafe here in Huntsville.
    Xoxo
    Sincerely,
    Denise

    • Thank you so much, Denise! We would love to visit you in Alabama for a coffee and croissant. ❤️

  4. Hi Rebecca. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful experience. It resonates so much with mine. I found love at 43. Growing up I thought I was gonna get married and have kids before I turned 30. I also struggled to find love until I finally realized that I needed to love myself and my single life first before attracting the right person into my life. I realized I needed to work on myself so I went on a quest to self growth and discovery by traveling and reading very good self improvement books. It was a process. And one day I found myself just happily single and loving my single life so much. I got to a place contentment, and that is when my partner showed up. We have been together for 5 years and I don’t regret all the years it took for him to arrive. I became a better person thought that process. I realized sharing your life with someone is not the ultimate destination. That we are as valuable with or without someone. And that finding a partner is just part of our journey to self growth, and it’s not over once you find that person. In fact, the fun just begins…I thought being alone was the ultimate challenge…but just wait until you live with that person day in and day out…that is the real test of self growth…learning to share your life with someone after being single for so long is the ultimate journey of self discovery, but is just as beautiful in so many different ways😍.

  5. Love your story Rebecca! I’m a true believer in manifesting and have done it many times throughout my life, sometimes unintentionally! My sister teases me about it all the time. I love that your clarity about what you were looking for led you to ‘the one’. Also, timing is everything in life! Some of us are just late developers, on our own path. ❤️❤️

  6. So true – all of it! And while I don’t (most of the time (0; ) regret getting married at 22 and having 3 kids in 3 years, I many times wish I had waited and gone and lived a life of me for a while before I became wife / mom (now grandmom too!) (My “list” at 16 – whew – lordy – it would have been so so very different if I had made that list at 25 or 30!)

  7. Thank you for sharing. I was also someone that got married later in life and just had a baby just before my 40th. I am in a playgroup with other new moms and they are all in their 20s and 30s but I wouldn’t change my path. I was able to move from the US to live in Europe (a teenage dream of mine) and ended up meeting my husband while living abroad (I met him online-something i never thought I would do). Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned but it is just as amazing.

  8. I love this, as an early 40s singleton…. Until I find my partner, I will enjoy regular visits to Paris, fill my beauty cabinet with Sisley skincare and splurge on shoes to my heart’s content. Several years ago, I was sitting at a bar by myself at this small restaurant in Paris, and I was next to two older ladies who told me they visit Paris every year for a month, from Australia. They told me they started doing this annual tradition at the latter part of their life (after they turned 60) and they told me I should come regularly to Paris earlier than they did, and I thought, what a wonderful idea. So I try to travel to Paris every year or so. (Also, good riddance to that ex!) congratulations on this new chapter in your life!

    • I love this! I am happy you chatted with the women sitting next to you in Paris and they inspired you to travel and visit Paris often. Love will find its way to you. You never know when it will happen. Perhaps even in Paris. Keep me posted on your adventures!

  9. As wild as it may for others to read this, but this is exactly what my sister and I did! I like to believe the act of writing a list was answered by the universe but possible it helped us be more intentional and thoughtful early in relationships. I’ll never know but so happy I found my partner for life. So happy you shared this!

  10. Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s a beautiful story, and I’m so happy for you and your fiancé.