I came across an article on YourTango this week titled, “Why It’s Never Too Late for Love.” Unfortunately, the article doesn’t really say much about *why* it’s never too late for love, but it does cover how you can go about attracting a healthy love relationship. All the advice given in the piece is sound: release the past, create a vision for your ideal relationship, take different actions. “You have to create space for your beloved. The space must exist in your thoughts and in your heart …. You must create a clear vision of how you want the relationship to function …. If you continue the same patterns and continue to look for love in the same places, how can you expect to have a different outcome?” All excellent points. But talk to me about believing that it’s not too late to do all these things when you’re over 30 and divorced with a child. Talk about finding love at 40, 50, even in your 60’s after a spouse you love has died. Talk to me about believing that it’s never too late to find love.
No, actually, wait. Let me talk to *you* about believing that it’s never too late to find love. Because one thing I have done very successfully in my life is fully embrace my humanity. Before I expound on what I mean by that, I guess I’ll say maybe I haven’t *fully* embraced my humanity, but I sure do nudge myself every single day to embrace my humanity more and more and more. And what I mean by fully embracing my humanity is not allowing myself to feel like my life was over once I turned 30. I mean that I challenge myself to rise to the occasion of each day and grow in love and appreciation for myself and for the process of life. I task myself with believing that my life is getting better every single day and will continue to blossom more fully and get better exponentially over time. Fully embracing my humanity involves rejecting the social mores that say women are useless after they turn 30 or after they have kids – a fact that’s easy for me to reject because I realize that same society devalues women as young people, too, so none of the rules count. It’s about never letting go of the idea of potential, keeping the belief that anything can happen and holding fast to the notion that some of those potentialities – in fact, many of them – are going to be wonderful, including someday, somewhere, somehow finding love with someone great.
It’s not a delusional belief, the idea of waiting for that “special someone.” (Barf.) On the contrary, it’s actually rooted in a deep truth – the kind that comes with being self-possessed. The kind of assuredness that can only come to a person after they have reconciled a lifetime of believing the lies they were told or the ones they told themselves with real reality. It comes from the experience of valuing and honoring your sense of self more than the idea of finding someone else. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not a belief rooted in selfishness or narcissism. It’s about being that elusive ‘whole’ instead of someone looking for another half.
And I suppose some people in the world are lucky enough to have been raised whole rather than made whole, and I bet a lot of those people find love when they’re young or youngish and get to be and stay happy on a relatively peaceful journey. This post isn’t for those people. It’s for those of us who need to believe it’s never too late to find love because a teeny tiny part of us worries that it’s too late. But it’s not. It’s never too late. And though I can’t point you to tons of examples of people finding love after a horrible divorce or the loss of a spouse or after years and years of waiting, I do always think of one woman’s story that reminds me so much of my own, reading the memoirs of her past felt like looking into a crystal ball and seeing my future.
In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, author Amy Dickinson writes about being constantly pulled back to her small town roots in Central New York, even as she finds success in big cities all around the world. She divorces her husband when her daughter is small, raises her as a single mother until she sends her off to college, then goes on to find love with a handsome handyman who happens to help her fix up the house she buys as a mature adult. It’s a dreamy happy ending, the kind the best/worst romantic comedies are made of, but the thing is – it’s actually real. It’s a real woman’s real story. And the way Dickinson writes about her fateful meeting with her second husband is so pure, so sweet. She says something like, “We locked eyes and realized we wanted to do it differently this time.” It’s trite, sure, and cheesy, and romantic, but isn’t that what’s so great about it? That her second love was actually worth waiting for?
Six months ago, I made a decision that fundamentally changed my life forever. And that decision, in short, was to fully recover from co-dependency, be alone, and love myself as I am. And it’s not that I’m not interested in dating or open to finding someone wonderful to be with, it’s that I’m finally totally committed to finding someone wonderful to be with and have charged myself with no longer lingering in the arena of toxic or unrequited love. Without any quiver of doubt I can honestly say that I am so content to be alone, working, raising my daughter, and that there is no way I would compromise the peace I have found as a result of that decision for anyone who isn’t worth it. I am totally, fully, completely willing to wait for real, devoted, loving love, even if that means never finding it. Because the bottom line is, I have finally found it inside myself, and if that’s the only romance my heart ever knows, so be it. I am the kindest love I’ve ever known, and I didn’t even know loving myself was possible. I didn’t know it could be done. But now that I have this, I will never let it go, and I trust in the fact that waiting will be worth it if someone else is ever going to come along.
I try to think that maybe he’s out there, getting better every day, so that by the time we meet we can just look at each other and laugh. “Well, shit, finally! I thought you were never gonna show up!” We’ll have fun together and genuinely like each other – none of this tortured drama stemming from self-loathing crap. Just crisp, clean, clear whole-hearted love. Because you can’t love someone whole-heartedly unless you yourself have a whole heart. Just remember that while you believe and wait.
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