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January 20, 2019

Don’t be Fooled, the “Golden Years” are the Best Years for Love

On a particular luxurious Sunday morning in bed, before the sun came up, my husband drew me to him.

He tuned his phone to a radio station from New York that played old American Classics and laid the phone on the pillow next to us.  We drowse there, my head on his shoulder and his arm around me while Sinatra tells his lover that when he calls her name his heart is aflame or while Tony Bennet sings about that night he saw all those stars fall on Alabama.

I honestly think that these are the best years I’ve known for love. These so-called “golden” years.

They aren’t contaminated with my youth of angst and bitterness over my childhood and how everybody had done me wrong. They aren’t filled with worry over where the money is going to come from or if the children are going to turn out okay or even with any hopes and dreams for the “future” at all.

There’s no “future” to worry about.

Just years that can easily be counted on all my fingers (and hopefully a few toes).

In other words, all that angst is behind me and all that’s left to do is just love.  It’s so easy to do when it hasn’t been turned into some kind of backpack that carries all those expectations of my youth in it. .

Sitting on the chairs across from me in a waiting room once I see a lovely looking gray-haired woman tenderly — almost mindlessly, as if it was an ordinary, everyday thing to do — caressing the back of the neck of the gray-haired man sitting next to her. He looks up at her from his magazine and speaks something softly to her.  “Isn’t it wonderful to be our age and in love?” I say quietly. They smile, nod, agree. They knew. They both knew what I was talking about.

It’s different, all this love without all that stuff attached to it.  It’s freer, more exciting and deeper, if something can be exciting and deeper at the same time.

It’s even sexier. There are no expectations.  Without bulges or body images to worry about, without having to act like those people on the screen act, the eroticism is free to just be there.

I get up from bed one Valentine’s morning.  In the kitchen my husband is cooking breakfast.  I look at the table and next to my coffee cup is the little Italian pitcher half full of cream.  “Gotta give my baby her cream for her coffee,” he comments.  On the radio, Ella Fitzgerald is singing “My Funny Valentine.”  I sit at the table.  My husband comes around to where I am, lifts my hair and kisses me on the back of my neck and behind my ears.  “Coffee?” he asks, reaching for the French Press.  Another song comes on the radio.  This time, it’s Willie Nelson.  My husband joins in.  “….my funny valentine,” he sings.  Four or five versions of the song play, one after the other.  He continues kissing me on the back of my neck.  The coffee gets cold.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities I had in my life to shake loose from the stories that I’d allowed to take hold of me.  So grateful that I have been able to write new stories.

I’m not done yet, I know.

There are still a few paragraphs and pages and maybe even chapters to rewrite but, in the meantime, there’s this love between this now gray-haired “old” lady and this gray-haired “old” man.

Don’t let all this stuff about old people being old fool you.  These “old” years are the best years for love I’ve known.

If you’re not there yet, you have a lot to look forward to.

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Carmelene Siani

Carmelene is a 77-year-old freelance writer who has been published at Elephant Journal, Better after 50, Huffington Post, The Reader, and Broad Magazine among others. Her stories are personal narratives on grief, family, food, and late-life love. Her aim is to help others see the ways that life is constantly opening to reveal its own lessons. She lives by the dictum of Muriel Rukeyser that “the universe is made of stories, not atoms.”

Follow her on Facebook, on her blog and at Twitter.