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Four lessons for older singles revealed in upbeat message from Borneo

Chris Anastasio and long-distance girlfriend Tina, stand with Greta (Tom Blake’s life partner) and Tom Blake, in front of Blake’s deli of 26 years. Photo: Courtesy

By Tom Blake 

This week, I received an email from Borneo, sent by a man who is no stranger to this newspaper. Chris Anastasio, 80, San Clemente, formerly of Dana Point, who was featured in the Sept. 28, 2014, issue, sent a message from a cruise ship he is on.

You may recall that Chris and his girlfriend of 12 years, Tina, have the longest long-distance relationship I have heard of in my 21 years of writing about senior dating: 5,419 miles. Tina lives in Buckingham, England.

In late August, Chris was hospitalized for emergency triple-bypass and open-heart surgery. In that September article, he said, “The operation really slowed me down. Sometime in the not too distant future I will be dancing and traveling again. Tina and I are taking an 11-day cruise in late January departing from Singapore.”

Chris kept his word. Last Wednesday, he wrote: “Email is almost impossible from the ship. So far, we have had a wonderful cruise and have been to some great and interesting places: Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Danang, Vietnam; Hong Kong; Manila, Philippines, and yesterday we spent the day on a beautiful beach on the Philippine island of Boracay.

“We are now heading towards Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo. The weather has been almost perfect; we’ve had no rain. The sea has been calm except for one day when it got a little choppy.

“It has been interesting to see different countries and how people live, as expected there are the rich and the poor. We like the ship although it is rather old; the crew and food are excellent. We send our love and hugs to our south county friends.”

There are four lessons older singles can learn from Chris:

  1. Love at 80 can thrive, and be as fulfilling as love at 50.
  1. Even though most of us will face health issues as we age, we should not let those issues stop us from pursuing joy in our lives.
  1. A positive attitude can help us heal, get through hard times and live life to the fullest.
  1. Long-distance relationships can work, even if there are 5,419 miles between partners.

Chris flies home from England at the end of this month. The first thing he will do is visit the people living at the San Clemente Villas, where he volunteers and dances with the women residents there. He is an inspiration to older singles. 

Upcoming events for singles: 

  • Singles Age 50-plus Meet and Greet, Thursday, Feb. 26, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, 34085 Coast Highway, Dana Point. For information, call 949.248.9008. 

Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and former business owner who has authored three books on middle-aged dating. For dating information: To comment:

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