Are you as happy as we are when baby boomers are the focus of novels? Especially romance novels? Especially sexy romance novels? That’s how Augusta Wright’s “The Runaway” plays out. The leading lady, empty-nester Linzie Russell, is running away from all she’s ever known. In this excerpt from the beginning of the book, Linzie is reflecting on why she’s changing her life, this late in the game. You might find that you relate.
I confused contentment with happiness. I draped myself in loneliness and it became my norm. What I’ve learned over the past months is that I have to make my own happiness, because no one else can do it for me.
My husband wasn’t cruel to me; it’s just that he was never around. He never gave me the closeness and companionship I always craved. Work and church were what mattered most to him, and I followed dutifully because it was expected of me. I became very good at doing things for otherpeople, but never thought much about my own needs until lately. I was afraid of being called selfish.
When we were first married, I tried to develop a social life with other young couples, but the only thing my husband wanted to do was work. I loved raising our children, but was always frustrated by all the friend and family events we missed.
I believe that being part of a couple means fulfilling one another’s needs. I felt I was doing all the giving, but got no nurturing or understanding in return. I had made my choice and never expected pity; my life wasn’t terrible. Still, all I ever wanted was to be with someone who wanted to share the same interests, like reading, cooking, travel or just spending a lazy afternoon together. Is that too much to ask for?
I‘m not sure I can ever have that relationship at this point in my life. I don’t want to be hurt or disappointed again. I’m not leaving here in search of another man—I’m leaving to find myself. I can be happy without the entanglements of a man. This is my time. This is my adventure into the unknown. So here I am leaving the security that I had ever known, for what? For many years I’ve felt a strange beckoning. I wasn’t sure what it was exactly, but the feeling has grown so strong that I can no longer ignore it
I missed my girls, but they’re grown now and have their own lives to live. I am alone here now because they live far away from me. They don’t need me to take care of them or hover over them. I love my children and grandchildren dearly, but I don’t want them to feel obligated to give me their attention. Young husbands and wives need to learn to take care of each other. They have to learn to love and care for themselves as well as their children. They do not need an old woman in their way demanding attention like a child.
I need to do this now before I wake up and find out that time has passed me by. Time does not wait for anyone. Each birthday adds another reminder that I won’t always be able to go as I please, when I please. Take a good hard look at yourself, Linzie Russell; your time is now!