No Regrets: What We Do For Love
Two strangers meet—in this case, thanks to internet dating. There is an instant attraction. Call it a knowing. Call it love at first sight. Whatever words you choose to put on it, it is still only a possibility. With this promising beginning, this spark ignited between them, two complex human beings now need not only a reasonable amount of time to pass as they get to know each other but also a reasonable variety of shared experiences. They need to see how their complexities interact—not to mention their friends, family, pets and other “parts”!
Let’s face it: anything small or large could be a deal-breaker. Much as we so want the instant gratification, and certainly the happy ending, we now have to put in the time and yes— the work.
This man I met, more than two years into this kind of internet outreach, met most of my pictures—including some I didn’t even know I had. He was (and is) brilliant, attractive, successful, self-aware. We are age and background compatible and have many cultural and experiential similarities. As an unexpected bonus: he races his sailboats, drives like Andretti, and kisses deeply like you are the only woman on earth. Believe me, someone who thinks a 74 year old looks better without makeup is a keeper.
But wait: this is a man who plays very big in the world. This means he has (and as a result is busy with) extensive commitments to his clients, employees, colleagues, partners, grown children and their children, ex-wives etc. He is also a humanitarian, passionately intent on making a huge difference in the world. He is a man of action and intention. With him there is no room for lazy thinking—or lazy anything.
Why would this be of concern to a strong, independent woman who has her own business, friends, and family commitments? I don’t begrudge this man his involvements: but with him I am way out of my comfort zone in terms of his athleticism and physicality. I no longer drive a car—I developed a kind of car phobia, so even sitting beside someone who drives the way he does (although he is a superb and careful driver) takes more courage than I thought I had. He wants me to bike-ride with him: I have not been on a bike in many years. Getting used to the way his racing sailboat tips way over in the wind has been a revelation but I am getting much more comfortable, knowing more about the wind and how safe the boat really is—it is meant to tip like that, and rarely leaves you floating in the water in your lifejacket. But even if that happens, when you know what you’re doing it is not really a big problem.
Right now I am taking one step. Whatever happens with “us,” because that is not completely in my control, perhaps not in his either, the Universe has sent me a phenomenal gift on the eve of my 75th birthday! I like the braver, more active person I am becoming.
My pattern over the last few years after my husband died: long nights of couch sitting to binge watch movies or shows, which incidentally followed long days of chair sitting at the computer to write—yup, often seven days a week no less. I liked my life. It was filled with wonderful friends, my daughter, our dogs, my networking colleagues, my wonderful book clients, and much more. But I knew early on that I would have to literally as well as figuratively” keep on my toes” in this promising relationship. Maintaining my comfortable but essentially sedentary lifestyle was not going to work with this man. And of all the choices I had—and I have had many—he is the one I want.
Perhaps you can relate: what I realized is that in order to be with him I would need to “get back into my body.” As a writer I am required to sit in front of the computer for hours on end without moving anything save my fingers. Then there are the iPhones, iPads—and Netflix. I kind of forgot I even have a body. The people who know me were astonished—but very supportive—when they discovered that I am taking sailing lessons! That I have joined the remarkable JCC (Jewish Community Center), where I take several swim classes a week. I also now work out with a personal trainer. In the last two months I have dropped 15 lbs. and several inches, with a bit more to go—and it’s going! I like this new woman.
You may remember that song from A Chorus Line: What I Did For Love, music and lyrics by Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban. In the next-to-last scene of the stage production (there was also a movie, which was very true to the play), the final eight selected dancers are together onstage. When asked what they would do if they were ever told they could no longer dance, the character named Diana Morales (i.e., “Morales”) sings this song. It is truly an anthem to undefeated optimism and all the dancers join in, signaling their agreement. Whatever happens, they say through this song, they will be free of regret. They are also acknowledging that they made sacrifices and choices in their lives for the love of their art; and that their talent, no matter how great that talent is, is, the end, only theirs “to borrow.” They are also acknowledging the transitory nature of time, talent, and life itself.
So yes, I am pointing towards tomorrow with this beautiful man who somehow walked into my life. And if he walks out, because he wants to or because I want him to—either of which is of course always a possibility, whether today, tomorrow, next month or next year– well, I can’t and won’t regret what I did for love!
I hope he feels the same.
Wish me luck, and–the same to you!
Let me leave you with these two wonderful videos. See which of these equally beautiful but very different versions you prefer.