“You Balance Me.”

We lean on each other when necessary.

I said that to my husband the other day as he was helping me down the stairs, and it’s true. We hold hands when we walk together, not only for affection, but also to keep each other from falling flat on our faces. I willingly admit that that is more likely to happen to me than to him. I get distracted and forget to look where I’m going. I trip on curbs more often than I’d care to admit. I miscalculate stairways. My depth perception is tenuous at best.

So we walk along, acting like a third dimension that gives structure and shape to what would otherwise be a flat, ineffectual plane. We lean on each other when necessary. We prop each other up.

And this extends to the emotional realm as well. It’s great when someone is willing to validate your thought processes. It’s nice to have a sounding board. It’s comforting to be able to give and receive advice. We each have different structural and emotional strengths and weaknesses. We allow each other those. We don’t cling or overwhelm. We supplement each other.

When seeking out a partner, it is important to have a lot in common. But don’t overlook the opposite qualities, either. If your ship lists to port and his or hers lists to starboard, you can meet in the middle and keep each other from sinking. It’s quite nice.

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The Kind of Little Old Lady that I Want to Be

I don’t want my advanced age to be my cage.

A few weeks ago, I wrote The Geometry of Love, about a living demonstration of how all of us cross paths in random ways, and as we do, our influence widens. The demonstration has certainly had an impact on me in terms of how I view the world. But there was one detail I left out at the time, because it was a profound experience, and I needed time to digest it.

I didn’t participate in the experiment myself. I observed from the sidelines. But when they were asking for volunteers, I noticed an elderly couple sitting in front of me. Her arm shot up right away. She looked like she was in her late 80’s. She might have been 4’6” tall, and as fragile as a baby bird. Her husband grabbed her arm and tried to talk her out of it, because it involved spinning, and it was extremely obvious that this woman had balance issues. But no, she was anxious to get in there and participate. And so she did. He looked on with concern, but he didn’t stop her.

As she spun and wove amongst the other participants, she had a look of pure delight on her face. It made me smile. She was living her life, and having new experiences. But halfway through the demo, she came back to her seat and held her husband’s hand. She knew her limits.

I sat behind her and thought, “Wow. I want to be that woman in 30 years. I want to get in there and still try new things, even if it’s perhaps more of a challenge than I may be capable of meeting. I want to interact. I want to experience life. I want to go, and do, and see, and feel, and touch. I don’t want my advanced age to be my cage.”

But I also want someone to look out for me. I want him not to hold me back, but I want him to care, and I want him to be a safe place to return to when I realize I’ve gone as far as I can go. I want someone who will still hold my hand in my 80’s.

I’m proud to say that I’m pretty positive that I’ve found that man, dear reader, and I’m marrying him today. It just goes to show that it’s never too late to find your person. Wish me luck!

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A Plethora of Routines

Most of us have routines that allow us to go on autopilot from the moment the alarm goes off in the morning. (Some people even wake up seconds before the alarm. I can’t decide if I envy them or not.)

We all have our ways of getting ready to face the day. The thing is, no two people’s ways are exactly alike. Which means that routines aren’t really that routine after all, when you think about it.

One of the hardest things to get used to when you’re in a new relationship (if I am remembering correctly from what seems like an eternity ago) is your partner’s way of doing things. It takes some adjustment. (Don’t believe me? How many people have either said or heard, “Would you please put the toilet seat down!” at least once in their lives?)

I used to live with someone who would cover the kitchen counter with washcloths, to keep it from being scratched. It used to drive me absolutely nuts. When he was out of town, those stupid washcloths would disappear, believe you me. But when he got back, out they’d come again. Sigh. I suppose if that’s the worst thing I had to complain about, I was doing rather well. But still. You know?

I also know someone who pulls out about a foot and a half of dental floss every time she flosses. Why? I don’t know. She probably doesn’t even know at this juncture.

The point is, there are billions of different ways to live life. I find that equally amazing and daunting. We have so many choices. The world is full of possibilities.

I’m starting to wonder if I could adjust to someone else’s routine after 53 years of doing my thing. I’m not sure I have the energy. As my memory gets worse, I even find that I sometimes surprise and/or irritate myself. So, yeah, there’s that.

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That Certain Something

The older I get, the less I care about the physical attributes of a potential partner. Anyone who is obsessed with washboard stomachs and full heads of hair when they’re pushing 50 is not being realistic. Certainly, be well groomed and have a grasp of personal hygiene, but I’m not expecting a hard body.

What attract me most are those qualities that you can’t always detect at first glance. Intelligence peppered with a sense of humor. Curiosity. A generous nature. Compassion. Kindness. Decency. A willingness to make a fool of oneself for loved ones. Integrity. Not taking oneself too seriously. A willingness to kill spiders if you hear me scream.

Am I asking too much? I don’t think so. I have all those qualities. Maybe what I’m looking for is me. But seriously, I see glimmers of that person everywhere. In the man who clearly adores his disabled child and would do anything to make her smile. In the guy who volunteers to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. In the professor who gives that riveting yet entertaining TED talk.

It’s the way you live your life that will move people. Just be yourself and pursue your passions. Embrace your life. It will show. There’s no more powerful pheromone on earth than that.

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