We’re Not Sixteen Anymore: A Baby Boomer’s Adventures with Online Dating
By Leah Parodi
Becky Andersen is a native Iowan, Baby Boomer and recently married mother and grandmother who published her first book about the trials and tribulations of online dating as an older adult. We’re Not Sixteen Anymore is a fun, entertaining read about new love and the sometimes bumpy, and often hilarious, road to find it.
Andersen pens a witty and thoughtful book about the loss of one love and how she was able, with a few not-so-subtle pushes from family and friends, find love anew. Readers will laugh out loud at her dating exploits and perhaps find the courage or inspiration to go out and date as well.
Andersen was married to her high school sweetheart, Harold, and together they have two daughters and five grandchildren. She and Harold were enjoying a loving marriage and were getting ready for their youngest daughter’s wedding when everything changed. “Harold was 57 when he died,” said Andersen. “He just dropped dead. That was on February 27, 2010, three months before our youngest daughter got married.” Andersen’s husband, she said, went to his hunting cabin for some R&R, something he did on occasion. While collecting wood for the fire he had a sudden heart attack and was gone. “I went through every cliché you can think of; I was heartbroken, scared, and even my tears seemed to burn when I cried. I was told I would find a “new normal” but there is no such thing. It’s a couple’s world and I had the most wonderful marriage. I missed that and never thought I would get married again.”
Andersen filled her time with her family and friends, and over time people started telling her that she needed more “male friends.” “My own father told me I needed to start dating!” And without warning, Andersen’s oldest daughter surprised her mother and signed her up for Match.com. “My daughter told me she opened an account for me in her name, and when I asked why, she said that she was just looking for Dad. We cried but then later looked at the prospects.” It took Andersen about a day to gather the courage to fill out her online dating site profile. “The profile was like an essay test! I was scared. I never had much dating experience. I was 60 years old, but when it came to dating, I was in a time warp, and could only relate to my former teenage self. But I soon found I wasn’t 16 anymore.”
However, the prospects didn’t seem to notice and the next day Andersen had 24 matches. She said that she dated a few of them, looking for someone to simply talk to. “I worked at a college and I loved conversation, but with some dates, it seemed I did all the talking. When that happened, I knew that match was not the one for me.” Andersen pressed on with her prospects and then she met Dave. Dave had lost his wife, Paula, to breast cancer.
The first date that she and Dave had was set up at a local, busy restaurant. “I went early to scope him out and waited by the front door,” she chuckled. “But there was another door and he was waiting for me inside. We thought we were both stood up!” She said that they had a nice conversation but Becky felt no sparks. So, they kept in touch by email remaining “friends”. After Andersen dated a few other gentlemen Dave invited her on a picnic as a “friend”. Becky finally realized that she liked this guy. “Harold had set the bar high. And Dave treated me like a queen. We had a lot in common but also enough differences to make a relationship interesting. The lesson I learned was to live outside your comfort zone and listen to your heart.”
After four weeks Dave proposed and the long and short end of it is that a few months later the couple wed in front of 350 family and friends. He, like Andersen, has children and grandchildren. “There is a time to mourn and a time to celebrate,” Andersen said. “I discovered that the heart can expand. I don’t just love one child, one parent, one grandchild. There was room for more love.”
Andersen, happily in love and recently retired, was looking for her next adventure and the idea of writing a book about her dating experiences was gaining momentum. “While I was dating, I posted some of my dating experiences on Facebook. I had so many friends supporting me and they liked to see what was happening.” She posted on-line about her dates in funny, witty snippets and when she stopped dating her friends were sad, wanting to read more. They urged her to write a book about her experiences. “I was retired and saw this as mainly something to do.”
We’re Not Sixteen Anymore: A Baby Boomer’s Adventures with Online Dating was released in June of 2016 and has since received rave reviews. Andersen’s book follows her dating adventures, tongue-in-cheek, Erma Bombeck style, as she navigated the highs and lows of dating as a baby boomer. Feeling way out of her comfort zone, not only dating again but using new-to-her technology, she bravely dove in with both feet. This author not only shares her dating experiences, but also the lessons she learned about life, love and most importantly, herself.
And while Andersen began writing her book to entertain others about the fears and fun of dating again and on-line, this book is a wonderful read for anyone who has ever tried or contemplated online dating. Regardless of readers dating status, all will enjoy this true so-called saga. “If I could help somebody else get out of their dating comfort zone, then I would feel that writing this book was worth it!”
At the end of the day Andersen wants readers to enjoy her book and have a laugh with her. But she also offers encouragement and advice to those who may be nervous about dating again. “First and foremost be safe! Get your dates name and number and share that with a friend along with time and place of date. And meet where there are lots of people.” Andersen also added to be open minded too. “Don’t judge a book by its cover. Email a little before the date and then you need a face-to-face meeting to really get to know someone. Listen to your heart! The clichés are absolutely true!”
Today, Becky Andersen lives near Des Moines with her husband, Dave. They are doting grandparents and like to travel and work in their garden. We’re Not Sixteen Anymore is now available for order on the WriteLife Publishing website, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other major and independent bookstores. For more information, visit www.beckyandersen.com.