Having reached the ripe age of 44 (and-a-half), and having had (more than) my share of boyfriends, lovers, life-partners, flings, affair drama, cheaters, unrequited longings, one-night-stands, long-distance illusions, shots-in-the dark, near-misses, friends-with-benefits, a marriage, a divorce, failed rebounds, singledom, single parenthood, and now – touch wood – a mature (and in truth, tempestuous) later-life commitment with a new partner, I think I can speak with some authority on the topic of love and relationship.
So as I reflect on the countless passions, emotions, mistakes, joys, delusions, jealousies, arguments, disagreements, heartbreaks, madnesses and maladies I’ve lived and loved through, a picture slowly starts to emerge. Albeit still somewhat blurred and fuzzy around the edges.
And thus I find myself able to add my voice to that of my equally well-qualified 44 (and-a-half-year-old) partner’s in offering up sage advice to his 20-year-old son who has just suffered the break-up of his first serious relationship. And one day in the not-too-distant future I hope to also be able to wisely guide my now eight-year-old daughter in her matters of the heart.
All this navel-gazing and hoary knowingness has prompted me to revisit my own life circumstances at the naive age of 20. And to marvel at the short-sighted innocence of a young mind/heart in the throes of love.
I even went so far as to check out my ex from that long-gone, but not forgotten era of my romantic history on social media to satisfy my curiosity about what his life looks like now. And promptly found myself wondering how different my own life could have been had our entirely premature plans for spending our lives together panned out.
Despite me eventually accepting that we should go our separate ways after almost seven years tightly entwined in each others’ lives, I always felt somewhat cheated after we broke up. Sour that he moved on with his life together with a woman whom he would not have met had it not been for me. The woman he ultimately chose as a life partner, and who never had to go through the struggles and sacrifices of the early life-building phase that he and I went through with each other. The woman who would become the mother of his daughter. And the woman who would end up all these many years later living an apparently dreamy, comfortable existence thanks to the successes and accomplishments he achieved after we broke up.
Yet, I take my own comfort in knowing that even so, I am today exactly where I need to be, with the man I was meant to be here with, now, as the mother of a most beautiful soul who may not be here had it not been for the many failures, twists and turns in my quest for love. Each step in my journey – including this early false start – brought me to this point, these precious loves.
And I now cast my gaze to the future, and look forward to applying all the hard-earned learning about love that I have gained since that first earnest foray into an ill-fated fairytale. After all, I’ve finally understood that it is I who write the story.