Aretha Franklin has found love at 69 years of age and I think in doing so, the Queen of Soul teaches all of us “never married” sisters and those starting over again at any age that love is always possible.
Aretha has been married twice before. As they say, “the 3rd time is a charm.”
When asked why she was ready to try a third time at age 69, she said: “I like being married. It’s an institution that I like. So momentarily I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be married.”
For black women who are so often told that once they hit 40, if they have not yet married life is over, Aretha is leading by example that life is never over if you choose to live it boldly and with an open heart. For high profile, accomplished black women like the Queen of Soul, companionship at any age can be tough to come by, and her public announcement caused quite a stir on social media and elsewhere in the black community because we rarely see black women marry in their 60s.
I’d like to take a closer look at this “news” for a moment and see if there are some lessons we as black women can learn from Ms. Aretha.
1. The first lesson this announcement teaches us is what I always like to say: human beings desire two things as long as we live and only two things: love and connection. If we can grab hold of this truth and embrace it, we will always be “open” to love whenever and wherever it comes.
2. The next lesson is that we have to be willing to try love again, even if we “failed” at it before. To get married at 69 years old, after enduring two divorces is simply inspiring because it shows that Ms. Franklin is not jaded, she is resilient. This is a great model for all of us to follow.
3. By being such a high-profile black female figure who has struggled with weight issues, health issues and personal challenges, Aretha’s example to black women who find themselves beyond mid-life is a good one. She proves that despite the challenges of health and wellness that affect many black women of her generation, life does not end at 65, or when we are set to retire.
Most people who reach their 60s are already married, divorced, widowed or tending to grandchildren and enjoying their retirement. Many have frankly given up on love. Aretha has not and that is a great life lesson for us all.
Sophia Nelson is an attorney, author, political pundit, and communications strategist. She is author of the forthcoming book, “Black.Female.Accomplished.Redefined.” Follow Sophia on Twitter at @sophiaredefined