Despite the tag line at the top of this page (Exploring how lives are transformed by love, war and travel), I’ve written a great deal here about war, but not much about love. Or travel, for that matter. I will try to rectify that imbalance in the coming weeks.
One reason I want to correct the imbalance here is because in my real, off-line, non-cyber life, the imbalance has begun to be corrected. It has happened because love has come into my life again, after a very long absence. It has come in the form of a beautiful and wonderful woman who need not be named here, because if she reads this, she’ll know I’m writing about her.
Recently, in the local newspaper, I read a piece about a man who was in his 70s and had been single for over 40 years. He spoke, rather smugly I thought, about his extended singlehood, and how perfectly happy he was in that state. Oh yes, he likes women a great deal, and enjoys their company, but he really likes living alone, and just wants everyone to know that he is happy as a clam, so please stop telling him that he’ll “eventually find someone” to share his life with. He’s ok. Really!
Reading that, I thought: How lovely for him, that he has this life, this way of living, that he clearly treasures, and that brings him satisfaction. I also thought: Living alone for 40 years is not a fate I want to befall me. I’m ok living alone and not in a relationship – I’ve done so several times over the years – but it’s not what I want for a permanent state in my life.
Unlike the gentleman interviewed in the newspaper article, I do want to share my life with someone (the right someone, mind you) because, for me, so doing magnifies the joyous times and makes the difficult times easier to bear. We have such a cult of individuality in our American society, and the proudly single fellow, whose happiness in his life I do not doubt at all, exemplifies that to me. Maybe he has five cats, or a large number of friends and relatives living nearby with whom he is close. Or he just lives quite alone, happy to not have to take anyone else’s thoughts or desires or foibles into consideration: whether they leave the cap off the toothpaste tube, or don’t put the toilet seat down, or they like foie gras, which he finds reprehensible.
I, on the other hand, do want to take into consideration the thoughts, desires and foibles of someone else. I want to seek balance. Find equilibrium. Mix elements, and create a new material of life in the process. It’s not alchemy; it’s chemistry, of the most elemental and wondrous sort.
Life, or the universe, or the gods or angels, or devas or celestial beings – whatever or whomever they might be – have given me the chance now to find that equilibrium, to create that new stuff of life that I think is so essential to the fulfillment of our humanity and our spirits – our souls, if you will.
I’ve done things both well and wrong in my life, when it comes to love. At one time or another, I have loved a lot, and I have loved too little. I’ve also been loved a lot, and too little. From the times when I loved too little, I have regrets … many regrets. I cannot do anything about those regrets now, though I have tried, and so I have to forgive myself and let them go.
The most important thing I can do about regrets, though, is to not make new ones. The most important thing I can do is to love well: to love honestly, and unreservedly, and kindly. To be present and open, every moment of every day. To give, and be willing to receive.
That is the chance this woman has given me. It is so very important for me to take this chance, to create the love and the life I desire, that I sense is possible with her; that I think she too desires. To love, and live, in a more connected and cherishing way than I have ever done. It feels attainable, now, with her, and the experience is teaching me the meaning of gratitude.
And so, for all of that, at this moment in my life, on this beautiful August morning – august in every sense of the word – I am profoundly grateful: for life, for love, and most especially for her.