Dear Boomer: Finding the ‘one’ and chasing balance

50 years ago, I rode my Kawasaki from Portola Valley onto campus, usually squeaking into class just on time. While much has changed since then, one thing has remained constant: our humanness. We still search for meaning and need connection. We still have dreams and we still screw up. In the last 50 years, as I’ve changed careers and locations, I’ve never stopped appreciating and observing my fellow companions. So, “Ask Boomer” anything. Surprise me. Life is short. Let’s add on to it.

— Helen Hudson ’74

Want your question to be featured in the next column? Ask Helen here!

How do you know when you’ve found “the one?”

Statistically, there could be many “one’s” during your lifetime. Particularly as your generation is dating more and marrying less. And what you’re looking for at 20 may be vastly different than what you want at 40. Still, that magical idea of finding the “perfect” mate pervades the media and our minds.

My suggestion is to find a good friend first. Someone who you trust and who accepts you as you are. If you start there, the sex will be amazing. If you start with the sex, you’re in for lots of disappointment. If you want great sex, avoid porn like the plague. It is the single, biggest cause of ruined relationships that I see in my private practice.

Most importantly, don’t expect to change the other person. It won’t happen. Oh sure, maybe they’ll learn to put the toilet seat down but anything deeper is not likely to shift. By age six we pretty much are who we are. If you think your partner is critical now — just wait until they’re 50.

How can I find the balance between saving money and spending it to do the things I love?

You phrased your question perfectly: “balance.” You already sound like someone who has their priorities in order.  My generation always “saved for a rainy day,” only to find that it didn’t rain that often. In my 20s, I wanted to travel to Greece and dance barefoot through the ruins like Isadora Duncan. Here I am at 70 having never been. Only lately has it occurred to me that I need to do what intrigues and inspires me NOW. If you wait until you’re too old, tired or crippled to adventure, you’ve blown it. Not only that, but starting your bucket list now helps you better get a sense for what you really resonate with.

The only caveat? Don’t book/buy anything until you’ve paid your bills first. There is nothing worse than getting into debt when you’re young. It will ruin both your credit and future dreams forever.