I’m listening to Natalie Merchant’s Beloved Wife, and I’m again reminded that with old age comes a sense of too much time perhaps. The narrator in the song has been left bereft by the death of his (or her) wife after fifty years and doesn’t know how to go on. The anguish in the song always brings tears to my eyes.
My inner-romantic longs for this grief, being unable to continue because my love is no longer with me. The cynic wonders if this is another example of the someday-my-prince-will-come myth. “Does this type of love happen anywhere outside movies, books and music?” the cynic asks.
Having never had a romantic relationship last longer than two years, I know something of that grief already, however. It’s a pre-emptive grief, knowing that it becomes less and less likely to be with someone for fifty years (just by dint of me getting older!). The grief is for missing a man who has not yet (nor may ever) come.
And yes, I’m an extremist, an all-or-nothing sort. The band Cake in their song Love You Madly talks about wanting a love where “all the dishes rattle in the cupboards when the elephants arrive.” I agree completely. To me, anything else is a waste of time. “I don’t want to sit across the table from you wishing I could run” as Cake puts it.
I’m sure many of you who are in long-term relationships want right now to tell me that I’m being unreasonable. That love isn’t like that. That love is also about not liking the person you’re with sometimes. I’m totally prepared for that, but even when I don’t like that person, I want to be madly in love with him. I’m not looking for happily-ever-after, just enduring passion.
This is why I’ve been single in my life more than coupled. I have set myself (not others – myself) a certain goal and am committed to sticking to it. For you see, as much as I dream of a dish-rattling passions, I don’t let not having one bother me (much). If I never feel that passion, I’ll still be content. At the end of my life (whenever that is), I’ll know that I never just filled time not being true to myself in any large-scale way.
- Dreams are good, but don’t fill time waiting on those dreams.
- If you’re true to yourself, you’ll never have to just fill time.
A fluffy omelette with tomatoes, cheese and hot peppers.