FORTY YEARS & THIRTY MINUTES
As we tell it, God (or the Universe, the Creator, the infinite force) was busy one day with Universe stuff, when She looked down and noticed those two cute 50-somethings exchanging pleasantries in a kitchen in Asheville, North Carolina, and it dawned on Her, like a face-palm kind of realization, that the two of them needed to spend the rest of their lives together. In fact, the Universe would be better for it, and after all, She being the All Knowing, making the Universe better was kind of Her thing. It was a snap decision, but it was too good to pass up, so with a little nudge that neither of these unsuspecting mid-lifers even noticed, She got them to kiss, hardly ten minutes after he had arrived from Knoxville to visit his friend. It was during this kiss, or maybe the second one, perhaps the third (they kind of run together) that Mark and Cheri realized what the Supreme Being had already figured out. This was something real, deep, meaningful, and a whole lot of fun!
We like to say it took us forty years and thirty minutes to fall in love. It seemed sudden and unexpected in the moment on that Black Friday of 2014, when a simple visit between two long time friends became much more. The truth is, we had spent forty years watching each other from afar, admiring accomplishments, enjoying real friendship that, though we saw each other rarely, was comfortable and enjoyable. We both treasured the few times we got to talk on the phone or see each other socially. And, sort of like applications that run in the background of whatever device you may be using to read this, without our even noticing, a foundation was slowly being put in place on which, should we ever be lucky enough to stumble on it, a love story would be built. And stumble on it we did. Forty years and thirty minutes. That thirty minutes was amazing!
Fast forward, I mean really fast (at least it seems fast to us) three years, and our new life is under way. There has been much change, especially for Cheri. Selling her home and moving from her beloved Asheville community, where she raised two children and built businesses and a circle of friends who provided support in every aspect of her life, was difficult. Moving back to her home town after being away for thirty some years, a place she never intended to live again, might have been more difficult. These were the right decisions, and the life we are building is jaw-dropping, mind boggling beautiful, sweet, and better than either of us imagined. Perhaps the difficulty of getting here is making it even sweeter. And perhaps that’s the point we want to make in our first blog post together.
If we have learned anything during this process of reconnecting and finding real love, real relationship, real partnership, it’s this; be ready. Be open to "chance taking". Be open to love. Be willing to give up constructs you have put in your brain about the “right” person/job/goal/hobby. (Cheri always said she MUST date/marry a man taller than her. Mark is not. Mark always said he wanted to meet someone completely outside his circle of friends, someone completely new. Cheri was not.) Find the things that fulfill you emotionally /physically /spiritually, and let those things guide you to places and people that offer those things in spades. Finding love in the fifth decade of life is difficult, but so is finding love at every other age, for different reasons. Have an open heart, an open mind, and radiate love in the world. Love will find you.
All it takes is thirty minutes.