When we get to our seat on a plane, it can feel a lot like a game of Russian Roulette. We never know who our future seat mate might be. We can’t predict how soon those headphones will need to go on because we’ve ended up beside one of the most boringly verbose people on the planet.
Although those are the types of people I normally get, recently I had the pleasure of being seated next to the combination of two of my favourite things; a woman and an interesting conversation about love.
Allison was the woman’s name, and she began to tell me the story of how, at 92 years old, her mother decided to get married again.
Wait?!? What?!? At 92?! What’s the point? My curiosity couldn’t resist more inquiry…
Allison continued with the details her mother’s never-ending love story. Her mom had been widowed in her mid 60s, and remarried not long after. That marriage would run over twenty-five years, with her husband passing when she was in her late 80s. Then, once again, the path to wedded bliss would emerge at the tender age of 91, when she met her new, would-be husband.
When her family advised her that she should maybe wait to get married again out of respect to them, she sharply responded, “I hardly have enough time left to be concerned about other people’s feelings. I’m getting married, I might be dead in a couple of months.”
My new friend told me that when she spoke to her mom’s new beau, he told her,
”Your mother is the love of my golden years.”
Now, a wedding story on its own may not make for very exciting news, but this one was special. Because it reminded me of something we often forget:
We are never too old to desire, create, and establish loving and thriving relationships.
It’s an odd belief system we’ve developed; that once we’ve gotten to a certain age we might as well just pack it in. We’ve made it this far, why stir the pot and ruffle everyone’s feathers, right? A desire for more will stress out our families and our romantic partners if, all of a sudden, we want a thriving relationship. Date nights are things young people do and/or people whose relationships need work. We don’t need sex, it’ll probably just aggravate our old sports injury anyway, and an orgasm at this point might give us a heart attack.
Single people are suffering from a similar destructive belief system. With the majority of our population entering their 60s, there are many people who have given up on love because they feel they may be too old to deserve it now. Why start a relationship at the end our lives when we’re so close to the finish line?
If the average person lives to the age of 79, then by 60 years old, we have 19 more years of life.
Nineteen years is a LONG time to just exist. Shouldn’t knowing that we only have 19 years left be a good reason to want to shake things up and create the life we want?
Are we ever too old to want dreams to come true?
Having healthy relationships has been linked to having longer and healthier lives. To further that, research has also shown that having sex and great emotional support systems can lower the amount of inflammation we have. People in bad relationships actually heal more slowly than people in great ones. Do you hear that?! Hostile relationships actually hurt us. Imagine the benefits a thriving and healthy relationship can do for our heads and hearts?!
Does this mean that we need to enter relationships to be happy? No. I’ve written about why being a happy single person is equally as good as being in a thriving relationship. Simply put, happy people have happy relationships. And because of that, relationships are a pretty good barometer of how we’re feeling inside.
So, how does one find love these days?
Before the advent of online dating, our ability to find and seek romantic partners was limited by geography and also the small number of people willing to challenge the social norms of dating and seek relationships past a certain age. With online dating, we have SO much more opportunity. We can have coffee with people all over the world via Facetime and Skype. We can find other people who want what we want by simply choosing it from the dropdown menu on the search engine. We can even decide that we just want to go out and have a roll in the hay.
I’m not saying we need to enter into a relationship to thrive. I’m saying that as a global community we need to encourage the exploration of our hearts, our sexuality, and continue to always grow and thrive as individuals and improve our ability to connect with others.
Maybe when we start to understand just how fleeting life is, we will begin to realize that we deserve love during any and all of our years.
Maybe, just maybe, we will see that our capacity and desire for love is not determined by our age, but by our willingness to choose it.
Our lives actually might depend on it.