The Follies of Youth

I attended an engagement party of a niece today and had a chance to mingle with other nieces and nephews in their early 20s.

I was teasing one niece, saying she would be the next target for the matchmaking activities of the older generation.  And she said – as long as the guy is handsome and has a fabulous body.  I had to smile at that requirement.  I didn’t discourage her, after all I know a lot of good men who are handsome.  It is not an either or thing.  But as to being fit and having a fab body, I had to discourage her a bit.  I think that is just a bit too much.

Youth.  So concerned with looks and the physical aspects.  Her cousin was no better.  Though he did say he wanted a woman with brains, it was a taller order in that he wanted it to be accompanied with looks too.  He was pretty sure he would not end up with an “ugly” girl.

I went along with the conversation but I teased them.  I told them they shouldn’t be too stringent with their qualifications or they’d end up with the opposite of what they want.  You never know with these things.  But they were quite adamant that they would stick to their requirements.

I know a lot of those.  They start out with impossible standards.  And end up marrying somebody quite the opposite.

I only wanted someone who I could relate to, intellectually and physically.  It didn’t matter if he were short or not handsome.  I find that leaving it up to fate while keeping your guard up is the best strategy I have encountered.

My nieces and nephews have much to learn.  But they won’t listen to talk from the older generation.  They will have to discover their follies themselves.  I wish them good luck.

Old Love, New Love

The couple were probably in their early 70s, still walking straight and sure.  Both white haired, respectable looking and both pulling a cabin trolley.  They were dressed in  slightly matching dark trenchcoats – nothing loud or fancy, the solid and dependable sort. They stopped near me.  I was in the waiting room … waiting for our ride.

The man seemed to be searching for something.  He was checking his jacket pockets.  Then he put his cabin trolley on the seat and started looking inside too.  The woman stood quietly watching him.  It took a while, so the woman sat beside him, still watching him as he went slowly through his luggage.  I saw no haste no sense of panic in his actions. Then I saw the woman start to speak.  I could not hear what they were talking about.  But at that instant, a thought flashed in my mind.

Wouldn’t it be great if O and I were like that in our later years?  So together, understanding each other, quietly there for each other.  The woman was talking quietly.  Quietly in the sense that her body language did not indicate an accusatory tone.  No, her body language indicated she was probably asking her man if everything was ok or if he had found it already – whatever “it” was.  None of her actions indicated she was impatient.  On the contrary, everything indicated that she was supportive and just there. For him.

After a while the man stopped searching.  They both stood up and left the waiting room.  The man a few steps in front, the woman bringing up the rear.

That short scene touched me like no other love story did.  Here was a couple in their twilight. Still blessed with strong legs.  Still able to travel.  Still having each other.  There were no loud voices, no overt display of affection.  Just a bond so strong I could feel it a few meters away. In the way they looked at each other, in the angle of their heads as they talked, in the way the man waited for the woman and the woman waited for the man.  That was deep love.  

On the other hand, I sat beside another couple on our way to the airport.  I was guessing they were in their late 40’s or early 50s.  The woman was giggling as she rested her head on her man’s shoulder.  They were in colorful clothes.  The woman with ginger hair and the man with a mustache.  They still looked good for their age, albeit a few pounds heavier.  The man had a belly but was still robust.  The woman was curvy.  The man could not stop squeezing the woman’s hand, sometimes intertwining their fingers, sometimes stroking her palm.  Despite their age, the first thought that struck me was – This is new love.  They were so overt with their affection.  Thankfully they did not neck.  Let’s just say that I am one of those people who believe such heavy kissing should be in private.

Old love new love.  The new love fascinated me with the raw energy they exuded.  I could feel the excitement between them as they were definitely off to a vacation.  I could feel the emotions bubbling over.  

And yet when I think about it, it is the old love that stays with me.  Until now I can see the couple in my mind’s eye.  The woman was slim and still pretty.  The man tall and still handsome.  Their quiet ways struck me deeply.  It is borne of an understanding of who each one is and how both of them work together.  It is as it is.  Been there done that.  Yes, that is something I hope I will have in the future.

New love is fun.  New love is exciting.  But new love can be tiring if it does not progress to something more.  With all the bursts of emotions, it brings both good and bad emotions.  That may be good for the short term but I do not want that for the long run.  I am running a marathon not a sprint.

Old love hands down.  That’s what I want.