aging gracefully, Blog, Love, Marriage, memories

Seasons of Love

 

Image by Rebekka D from Pixabay

Day 273

Maybe it was the post about The Lettermen yesterday or the trigger from a tv show that had me crying yesterday, but for some reason, I am thinking about love in all its splendid glory today.

Entering the autumn of my life I realize my definition of love has changed. Maybe life gives you perspective and it is easier to separate things like love, desire, passion, and longing.

I say ‘I love you’ much easier now than in my youth, but I say it acknowledging there are many different nuances of love. I love my husband, I love my friends and I love my family. When I love you, I have no difficulty saying those three magical words.

Saying ‘I love you’ in our youth carries a weight of response and expectation. I wonder how many books and movie scenes I have witnessed that expose the dangling ‘I love you’ that hangs awaiting a response that never comes.

I remember my first boyfriend. His name was Gordon M. and he was in my first grade class. I still have my class picture and see him and still remember how much I liked him. Of course he had no idea he was my boyfriend — but I knew.

I remember all the loves of my youth. They were each filled with a shy awkwardness and I felt my life would surely disintegrate into nothingness without them. Of course that is the dramatic love of first experiences.

I remember being angry when my parents told me “it’s just puppy love”. It never felt like that to me.

When I was first allowed to date, I remember going to the movies with my boyfriends. These were the times of kissing until my lips hurt and that rush you feel for the very first time. I can still remember some of the movie titles (“Prudence and the Pill” and “Good Neighbor Sam”) but I saw very little of the movies. This was a time of electric excitement.

Then confusion ensues when we start to experience the emotions of love and sex and the ramifications of both. These are the times when real heartbreak makes you feel as if everything you know to be true has been disrupted. Maybe this is when you start to realize that trust is as important as love.

Thinking back to prior marriages, I can see a lot more clearly now than I did then. I understand how longing and love can be confused and I can see clearly that ‘love’, perhaps cannot be enough to sustain a relationship.

Love has gotten easier with age. The goals and desires for companionship are easier, at least from my perspective. I remember well the day hubby and I got married. Before the ceremony, we looked at each other and agreed that if we were not In this for the long haul, then why bother?

There are probably more books, movies, poems, and quotes about love than any other topic. That tells us how powerful it is.

Love does not hurt. It does not cause you pain. Love does not co-exist for very long when anger arrives. Complacency can cause loneliness. Comfortable can have an easiness about it as long as it’s not so comfortable that the feelings dissipate. These things bring an end to marriages. Maybe this is how love dies.

I am a huge fan of Rod McKuen’s poetry. I was sad when he died. He wrote about love in a way that spoke to me. He wrote about the emotions that get confused with love. He wrote about love in the middle and late years of life, which I appreciated so much.

I recently read about Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and how controversial it was when first published. People were so offended they burned the book. Publishers refused to print further editions. There were aspects of love and life not to be discussed in the light of day.

I had no idea where this post would go when I started writing. I just know love seems easier now. Not lacking passion, or without feeling. Experience and time make it easier to discern the difference between love and other emotions.

It is also possible that we love ourselves and our life that we no longer feel the need to share our time and space with another person. It takes work, even when it is easy. When my father passed away, my step-mom said she might go out to dinner with other people but she would never wash another man’s underwear.

And there you have it.

On that note, I will go about my day. I try not to fall this deep in thought too often.

Three, by Rod McKuen

You see how easily we fit together,
as if God’s own hand had cradled only us
and this beach town’s population were but two
and this wide bed but a child’s cradle
with room enough left over for presents.

Tomorrow I’ll buy you presents.
Pomegranates and breadsticks,
tickets round the room and back
and red, red roses like everybody buys everybody.

Everybody’s got a diamond ring

And Sunday shoes.

Neckties and petticoats,
pistols and tennis balls.

What pleases you?
I’d hock my watch to buy you Greece
or sell my car to bring you rickshaws from Rangoon.
All they had down at the corner

were poppies with some lemon leaves.

They’ll have to do
till I can bring home Union Square.
I found a twenty-dollar bill when I was ten.
I bought a cardboard circus and a fountain pen
and a jackknife because I never had one before.
My mother thought I’d stolen the money.
I bought her perfume from the dime store,

She believed me then.

I was rich in those days,
for a week I had everything.
I wish I’d known you then.

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12 thoughts on “Seasons of Love”

  1. I wouldn’t worry about falling too deep into thought, not when the thoughts are good ones like these. I think that we have to accept that love changes over time, and is also too often confused with lust and desire. They are transient things, where love has to be worked at, for it to endure.
    You have to be able to wash someone when they are ill, and be genuinely happy to see them at their very worst, as well as their best. Enjoy something because they do, even if you don’t.
    And compromise, always compromise. Love cannot flourish without compromise. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Such great wisdom, Pete, and Maggie. Strange as it seems, my own thinking has been running along these lines for weeks and months now. I am older than my husband by some 16 years, and in this world, that probably seems like a lot. In some ways we seem the same age, and age seems to lose its meaning as we all grow older. Love as we are younger is about the passion and the energy of life within us. But as we grow older, there is a depth of meaning in simple things like sharing our morning coffee together or perhaps doing some easy thing to make life more comfortable for the other.

      My significant other, Richard, had a major surgery recently, and at the same time or shortly thereafter, I came down with some kind of horrible throat and chest infection that left me having a hard time breathing. But his surgery left his right arm practically useless. He was sent home too early and I had to do things for him that most of us may never do for our other – lifting him up to help him get out of bed and to the bathroom, and to help him clean up afterward – things I have not had to do since I had babies. I had no one to help me at the time, and some days I wanted to just cry because I did not feel well either and no one was there to help me. But that is what we do as we are older. It is not always easy to watch a significant other deteriorate, and it is even harder when perhaps their own child wants to step in and take over their care not because they care about the adult, but because they believe something might be in it for them.

      Life is full of challenges even when we are on our own, and it is compounded when we are with another human being and we have gone beyond passion and joy of finding someone compatible with our overall life goals and dreams. Sometimes there are disappointments when we realize how truly human we are, and as such, how truly vulnerable. My significant other stayed when I endured cancer and came out well on the other side. A lot of men left their mates when that came up. But mine stayed and was there for me every step of the way. And I have stayed with him through his many surgeries and decreasing health too. I think about what is on the end of this story. There have been so many dreams and goals I am wondering if we will ever be able to share as it is all pretty much on my shoulders now.

      But in the end result, as you have written, love is easier to say and mean now in a different light. I really loved and felt everything you wrote as if I were the one writing it. You are such a wonderful writer, and I always enjoy the depth of life you are able to express. I loved the same writers too and the thoughts are definitely shared. Thank you so kindly; this was what I needed very much to read today.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Anne, thank you for reading and commenting. It is the long hours in the dark that no one else sees when loves reveals its deepest meaning. The sacrifices we make can be enormous as we age but they are sacrifices we make willingly. I continue to wish you and Richard healing. What would we do without the poets that articulate the things we feel?

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    2. Thank you, Pete. This post was rather long, so I appreciate you getting through it. Love does require work in order endure. There is a certain letting go of self that is required, I think. I also think it is in the compromise (or the inability to do so) where a relationship is brought to its knees. I appreciate this season of love in both its similarities and vast differences from what I once thought to be true.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I will focus on the ‘literary’ mentions as the others expressed my own thoughts regarding your post.
    Rod McKuen and Walt Whitman…I discovered the first as a book-of-the-month-club selection when I was in HS and then began collecting each new volume of poetry as he pubbed them…I think it was the sign of the times.
    And as for the second – I first discovered the thrillingness of his word phrases in concert choir in HS as we sang musical arrangements of portions of his ‘Songs of Myself’ – Also a sign of the times reborn from the days of transendentalism (Whitman’s era)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, my sister was a huge Rod McKuen fan way back and had his Jonathan Seagull album. I did not care for his voice and I think it was a number of years before I could appreciate his work. I cannot imagine what a change in beliefs when the likes of Whitman, Thoreau, and Emerson were there to express such new ideas.

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  3. As usual Maggie, your writing brings joy and tears to my eyes. The tears are of acknowledgement of former thoughts. The joy is of my new reality that saying I love you and meaning it are such wonderful words. I too, am more comfortable with the genuine expression at this stage of the game. And as always, I hope you know I love you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lauren, thank you for reading through what I wrote. Sometimes I think tears accompany periods of understanding and transformation. The letting go of former beliefs and the embracing of a new way of thinking. Oh, I have cried a river of tears for love gone wrong. I appreciate the ease of expression that comes as we grow older and hopefully wiser. I hope you know that I love you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You have all given those of us far less able to express these types of thoughts and feelings, so much to ponder.
    My husband has had many major orthopedic surgeries in the past few tears, with another due this august. As we get older, they are so much harder to handle, but the love I have for him carries me through these difficult times. There are no choices. We pledged to take care of each other and, as I get older I realize that this IS what we do for love. Its not always easy but there’s a certain satisfaction in fulfilling our pledges. I know I’m rambling, but what Anne described is what I’ve thought in dealing with our own issues. I will stop now! Thank you all for your helpful posts.

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    1. Nancy, you are not rambling but expressing so much of what we all feel at some time or another. I admire your strength for the last couple of years have put a lot on your shoulders. In the midst of all this, you must also love yourself enough to take care of yourself. That’s also part of the wisdom of ag8ng love, my friend. You are both always in our prayers.

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