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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Love, Aging and Marriage

Last year my wonderful mother-in-law met a man and fell in love.

My father-in-law who was a force to be reckoned with-he had a HUGE fun-loving personality, passed away 7 years ago.  My mother-in-law had no intention on ever dating again.

She went to a party.  She met a guy.  They went on a date.  They went on a few more.  They fell in love.

And I'm not talking that societal perception of "mature" love- this isn't just companionship.  They sparkle when they are together.  They exchange glances.  When he had a health issue last summer (turned out not to be serious), the panic in her voice was fear of losing someone she loved.

Just like she was 16. Or 25.  Or 65.

So when they decided to get married I was surprised that more than a few people said "Really?  Why bother at their age?"

I usually responded "Well, you know they HAVE to get married..."  implying that she was knocked up.

This usually got a laugh.

But I have to say, my real response is "Why the hell not?"  Love is love.

You see, in my position as a financial advisor, I have the benefit of working with people who are older than me.  I have good friends- not acquaintances- actual friends- who are any where from 20-40 years older than me.  I really have a friend who is 100.

I also feel very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about aging from my clients and friends.

Age really is in your mind.  Yes, your body does slow down, but for many people (and I throw myself in this mix), it's not age related.  I have a 71 year old client who regularly runs half marathons.  He's pissed he can't do a full any more.  I have a 60 year old coach who does centennial bike races.  He did a triathlon last year.

And it's not just physical accomplishments.  My "older" friends take classes.  They learn new hobbies.  They travel the world.  They read books.  They volunteer.

They live.

I know other older people who simply get old.  Life is something to be endured and at some point they have decided they are on the tail end of the ride and just want to wait it out.

When they were younger, they were probably the same people who let life happen to them, rather than living it.

This is a video that made the internet rounds last year about an older couple trying to learn how to use video conferencing.  They got handsy with each other towards the end.  This was apparently "cute."  Um... I HOPE I'm still getting handsy with my husband in our 70's.  Otherwise, those last 20+ years are going to be very long and very boring.

Seniors using the computer

And speaking of getting handsy.... back to my mother-in-law...

I am so happy for her and her "man friend" as I was used to calling him.  I don't think it's remotely crazy that in her 60's- which I don't think is remotely old-- she met someone and that they want to spend the rest of their lives together.

No one knows how much time is left on their clock.  They could have 30 years together.  They could have 5.  My husband and I could have 5 as well.  One of my favorite lines I use when helping people decide when to retire: "You get to pick the first year, not the last year."  And I believe it.

Every day counts.

And to quote my 100 year old friend "Life is short.  Enjoy it."

Congratulations to one of the most wonderful people I know!!  I wish you MANY years of happiness.

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