samedi, février 09, 2008

Middle ages

For those of you in the mood for luuuv, nota bene-it's almost V-Day!

Although my focus on this deluge of sentiment has been scanty (sexy, huh?), I've noted that there are tons of advertisements for jewelry, candy, flowers, cell phones, undergarments, jogging shoes....Merchants don't care how idiosyncratic the ways in which you express your appreciation, but they want you to express that affection by shopping at their store.

Read the linked story out of today's NYTimes on why middle-age seems such a miserable time for so many. Happiness in love seems to peak in early adulthood, dip in our middle decades, and rise again with old age.

The writer, who has read thousands of entries for the Modern Love column, notes the disappearance of the partner or the spouse in many narratives. Middle-aged men and women, whether married or not, are often walking that thin line between younger kids and older parents-which may sometimes lead to frustration and depression.

Middle age also carries with it a recognition of our shortcomings and mortality.

American society, to date, has also been one of seemingly endless choices. When we realize that loving partnerships are a hell of a lot of work, we get disillusioned. Then we try to find a way to make it easier on ourselves-most often, I suppose, by finding a new partner. The stress of poverty and lack of education also apparently play a role in our breakups-some data shows a lower rate of divorce among college-educated men and women.

In old age, perhaps we are more grateful for the simple pleasures-and don't take them for granted anymore.

As a middle-aged single mom, I find myself craving some of that simplicity in the moment-without the arthritis and the assisted living. Relational games (the withholding and giving ones) have no allure for me. I'm ready for a straightforward, honest, humble relationship-one in which we are both aware of the wonderful impossibility of having found the other person in the greys and the garbage and the honkytonk hearts strewn behind us.

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