May 25, 2019
He wondered out loud, what is love now that we are in the last (two, dare I say three) decades of our lives? I said that I wasn’t sure, but what I did know was that it was different from the deep crushes of middle school and beyond that, the urgent, hormone-fueled passion of the reproductive years.
Deeper into our lives we accumulate scars of disappointment and betrayal. These cast a shadow of suspect on others’ intentions and cultivate cynicism. Small accomplishments build strength and independence over the years. Eventually we learn who we really are and, with that, what we want and what we won’t accept. In short, we narrow our parameters as we broaden as human beings. It’s both the gift and the curse of getting older; as we long for connection it becomes easier being apart.
I remember junior high dances: the crepe paper and fruit punch, teachers clustered on the perimeter and mobs of girls and mobs of boys eyeing each other with longing and fear. Cheap cologne and perspiration filled the air as damp hands touched and couples stepped tentatively into the center of the room. Awkward gyrations were met by giggles and taunts offstage. The music stopped and if you didn’t like your partner you’d run back to your gang and recover from the humiliation. If you did, you stayed and danced again and again. A date at the movies might be planned. St. Christopher medals exchanged. Such was budding love…for a week or two.
When we pair off into marital bliss we learn about a new, deeper kind of love. The kind that allows for compromise and sleepless nights and changes of plans. There’s sickness and health and not everyone emerges unscathed. I’m not sure who are the lucky ones, those who celebrate anniversaries of nuptials longer than a life well-lived or those who switch gears and go solo.
We dance the dance throughout life. With suitors and blind dates and girlfriends and boyfriends and spouses we dance the graceful, inspired, painful, disappointing, sensual, desperate, heartbreaking, dutiful, chaotic, blind, uplifting, affirming and transcendent dance. A pas de deux for our lives.
Painting: Pas de Deux © Lissa Banks 2019