I never imagined myself being fifty six. I turned that age recently and frankly, it amazes me. Back a handful of decades I couldn’t see myself being thirty or heaven forbid, a crusty old dinosaur of forty. But here I am. I can get a senior’s discount in some places now and lawn bowling is starting to look really appealing. There’s a touch of arthritis in one of my fingers, I don’t run as fast as I used to and the term, old-timer’s league, has a romantic resonance and alluring cachet.
I’m at a point in my life now where there’s likely more years behind me than in front of me. I’m okay with that because it’s been a thrilling journey up to this point and I’ve managed to learn a few things along the way to being me. I don’t know if I would necessarily say that I’m wiser but I do confess to being less susceptible to being fooled – by others or more often by myself.
The trick of getting older is being able and willing to take the time to look back and see the trail. For me it’s how I learn to appreciate the gifts that come my way and how the hand of Creator looks taking care of my life. It’s valuable. I’ve made a lot of plans through my life and I’m more than glad that most of them didn’t come to fruition. They say that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans and that’s startlingly true in my case.
Like the other day I was thinking about how my mind has changed over the years. I swore up and down that I was a dyed-in-the-wool bachelor. I believed that I couldn’t possibly find someone who would ‘get’ me or the things that mattered to me most. But I’m married now and living a darn good life. But there were times that I thought that I would never meet the one person who could make it all worthwhile.
That woman would be spectacular. Not only would she be sensitive to my needs but attuned to my dreams. I called her Dream Woman. She was going to be the one who finally ‘get’ me, the one who understood implicitly the things that moved me, motivated me, thrilled me and made me the man that I was. She would be the ultimate partner because she cared about everything important to me.
Dream Woman would care, for instance, that the starting infield for the 1965 Boston Red Sox – the year I became a fan – was Lee Thomas, Felix Mantilla, Rico Petrocelli and Frank Malzone. That would matter to Dream Woman because well, she was Dream Woman. I love baseball and I love the Red Sox and to me, Fenway Park (where I’ve never been) is the green cathedral of hope. She would know all that and be there with a crying towel when they lost and a hug, a kiss and a cheer when they won. Dream Women do that sort of thing.
She would also care deeply that the bass player for the 60s rock group Moby Grape was a guy named Bob Mosely or that the origin of the banjo was the Gambra River in Africa, made from a hollowed-out gourd and gut strings. Recorded music is one of my passions and Dream Woman would know that the Hanks – Williams, Mobley and Ballard – are part of the ongoing rhythm section of my life. Oh, and she would also know that Hawkshaw Hawkins wasn’t a character from the L’il Abner comic strip.
Dream Woman would care immensely that the thirteen primary poles in a tipi stand for a principle meant to guide the lives of the family that lived there. She’d care that the ribs of a sweat lodge represent the same things to guide our prayers and petitions.
I always thought Dream Woman would be like that. She would be the female version of me, and the perfect partner because of it. She’d glean the spiritual connection between a knuckle curveball and an honor song and know that Kraft Dinner with a can of tuna thrown in is the bachelor’s casserole. That’s what the younger version of me thought was vital.
Well, nowadays I look at my wife, busy with the things that drive and motivate her, watch as she becomes, every day, a more fully fleshed vision of who she wants to be and I can’t help but be thankful for her. Her full life fills out mine. Her joy over the things she appreciates and adores have become important to me.
I see now that my Dream Woman doesn’t necessarily need to care about things like baseball, music, books and the nature of First Nations politics and spirituality. It only matters that she cares that I do. Ain’t aging grand?