I keep coming up with theories on love. It’s a theme in my life. I’m of that age where it strikes everyone around me as odd that I should be single and approaching 40. A real estate agent on Saturday proclaimed he thought it was profoundly weird I wasn’t married. “I mean, you keep yourself fit, so why don’t you have a husband.” It was a logic I refused to try and follow.
I’m also of that age where everyone around me are in relationships that strike me as, well, more than odd (toxic, perhaps? highly compromising?). And so I come up with, and collect, theories.
I was thinking about this theory this morning. I met a woman in Provence called Francine who made me lemon balm tea late one night and in her soft voice told me she thought it was better to fall in love later in life. She was 50 or so and single and still believed it wasn’t her time yet.
Her theory has a wonderful French fatalism about it. With a dose of “eat your cabbage first and leave your succulent pork chop till last” thinking (you’re either a “eat the best thing on your plate first” or a “save the best till last” type, right? I’m the latter.).
“When you fall in love and find your match when you’re young, ” she said, ” you haven’t been around enough to handle the hurt. So when it ends, the pain is so bad,” she said. (French fatalism dictates that love will, of course, end.)
This was the better bit: “When you fall in love late, you’ve been hurt and disappointed before – by love, life, friends, work. And so you’re less fearful. You know nothing ever hurts that bad. And so you can look forward to really enjoying the love.”
Life can only get better than what has been before, Francine added.
I got what she meant. As I often say “sheer years on the planet” means you have less fear and care about less stupid stuff. This stupid stuff doesn’t have to get in the way so much. And so you can give more.
And, yes, life only gets better. And I think love gets better, too.
Being of a certain age renders you firm. Open to the real stuff. It’s a risk, leaving it until later. But it’s a risk I take knowing that my openness and bravery is only getting riper.