By Alix Kucker

Recently, a friend lamented that, at age 38, she could no longer hope to find a life partner, because her life was already half over.  Her dilemma struck me to the core, and moved me to respond:

My friend,

You must know that your life isn’t nearly half over; it hasn’t half begun. Yes, I am absolutely pulling rank as your elder. How do you measure a lifetime, anyway?
Some perspective. A month after you were born, I marked my first wedding anniversary.  I spent eleven years with my husband, and had his child.  He turned out not to be my life partner, and we didn’t live happily ever after. Thank God! By year nine the relationship seemed interminable. The divorce was protracted and bloody. Even so, I never shed as many tears over it as I would over later loves. My gut and my home were never so disrupted by divorce as by the endings of several relationships that followed. The lack of marriage license was never really germane; my heart and ego were.
The urge to merge and periodically nest doesn’t actually seem to be connected to particular norms, or even dimly related to any cognitive function. Pairing off, for any number of reasons, for whatever length of time, appears to be almost a given in the animal world, and not controlled by culture, or coupled exclusivity. While there’s always some societal overlay placed on human pairing – no matter where or when one lives – consider this: parrots mate for life without contracts or clergy.
The real answer may be as simple as a need for heart to beat upon heart, or pulses to rhyme. Every relationship is a unique time capsule that cannot be measured in days, acquisitions, or privilege. Some work, some don’t, but the occasional glimpse of transcendence keeps us trying anew. Short and glorious might well trump long and tedious.
Barring disease or disaster, your next – or current – love could last to your nineties or beyond.  He or she may already be on stage, or not yet in the wings.Nurture love without trying to mold it into known shapes. Draw your own maps. With love, a few years can be a lifetime.
For the record, love walked into my life again at fifty-four, after I’d given it up and turned my back. It may last until the twelfth of never, or fate may have other plans. I’m clue-free, but I can tell you this:  I will never be too old to try.

With great affection,

Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.