My lover is 24 years older than me. That didn’t seem like a problem at first. We felt like teenagers in love together. He felt like my peer, my equal, my partner in crime. Sure we had different experiences growing up, but that was largely cultural – east coast money vs. west coast hippy. Then we got pregnant and I started to think about how old he would be when our baby was born, went to kindergarten, graduated from high school…
He was 58 when we first got together. We had danced around each other for a few years before that. We have always had a strong sexual connection. I think I let that blind me into ignoring our age difference. In fact, age doesn’t mean anything to me. We are who we are and we fit together fantastically. That’s all that matters.
Except that lately, it matters more. He’s almost 64 – that magical Beatles age – and I will indeed still need him, still feed him when he’s 64. I’m watching him age. There are more lines in his face. He was having erectile problems, but through a radical diet change, these problems have largely self-corrected. I don’t need him to have a hard-on for good sex anyway. He’s running in the morning now too. He’s taking care of himself which I respect so much.
He is 24 years older than me. Considering that men tend to die at a younger age than women, he is very likely to die before me. I guess it’s taken me 5 years to fully realize this fact. This man who is the greatest passion of my life is going to abandon me, not because he wants to but because nature will demand it. I get angry and sad when I think about it.
And then I think, why borrow grief from tomorrow? Why not wring every drop of joy from today? I have so much to learn from him and wild experiences to share with him. I will be devastated to lose him, but the love that we share will always be mine. I plan on making every moment an adventure until one or the other of us stops breathing. Who can say what will happen? If it comes to it, I will take pleasure in caring for him when he can no longer do it himself. He has saved me a hundred times over. Our relationship is characterized by the tenderness we have for each other. Why not celebrate it now and always?
This coming to terms with mortality is changing how I look at my relationships. Things can change so suddenly, and while I don’t want to put energy towards a negative outcome, this risk of loss has honed my appreciation for the people I care about. No more taking my lovers for granted. Every kiss is precious. Each love is to be cherished. I challenge each of you to contemplate what it would be like to suddenly be without your love(s). Now use that information to create the today you desire. Life doesn’t last forever.