You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes, well, you might find / You get what you need. ~ The Rolling Stones
Is love the first thing you think of when you see it’s Valentine’s Day? Does this day conjure up thoughts of a romantic dinner, candy, flowers, perhaps jewelry, or are you overcome by the arduous task of acquiring the perfect gift that exactly describes your feeling for another person? Aside from the gift-giving part of this holiday, let’s talk briefly about love.
So much can be said about love in old age. Pretty much all of it is positive. Love is timeless. It matters not if a partner or object of affection is twenty years older or twenty years younger.
Love is love.
When we get older, we realize that our time is limited and this changes our perspective and focus. What we want and don’t want becomes clearer to us. In love, things like age and race and physical desirability give way to like-mindedness, comfort, shared values, and peacefulness and serenity. Personally, I find a good listener who asks questions to be very attractive too.
At any age, love can be a salve for the tougher parts of our days. The great thing about love when we’re older is that it doesn’t have to be traditional to provide the same kick it did when we were in the throes of young adulthood.
Love is love.
Love happens also with pets, friends, and with certain situations. A certain situation I love is when I’ve got a great book, a cup of delicious coffee, my pet friend, Kali, and the sun at my back as I settle in to read. Ahhhhh….that’s a comforting feeling of love.
Some elders are stuck in a rut defining love as only that thing they have for a spouse or family. This is limiting. It’s entirely possible and just as real to have powerful love for a friend or for someone you don’t know that well who has done something kind, generous, or thoughtful. Plus, I’m sure you’ve heard about love felt by people who have met on the internet but, as yet, haven’t met in person. How can this be real love? Platonic love is still love. In addition, friendship is a different kind of love.
Love is love.
All these loves are just as real as what a couple married fifty years might experience or, in our youth, that spark of physical attraction you hope lasts forever. The components may look and feel different with added emotions and experiences tossed in like lust, having a shared family, peace, security, friendship, etc.
Are you open to receiving love or are you limited by a definition of it that you felt when you were twenty? Is it okay that excitement can be supplanted by peace, comfort, and joy? Are you cheating yourself out of a powerful experience because you won’t let yourself feel love in old age? Look around you; there is love to be had.
Celebrate all the kinds of love today … and always.