Today as I was slurping soup from a take out container at my desk, I reread a line from a memoir about relationships.
…[relationships are] not only time: it is also paradoxically, the denial of time. For forty years I saw myself through John’s eyes. I did not age. This year for the first time since I was twenty-nine I saw myself through the eyes of others. This year for the first time since I was twenty-nine I realized that my image of myself was of someone significantly younger.The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Although the author was specifically talking about marriage, I could relate to what she had written from the perspective of many relationship types. I thought particularly about those formed in my 20’s and 30’s when I felt beautiful and lived on adrenaline. We were all fabulous weren’t we? Anxious only about physical imperfections that could be masqueraded by sensual lingerie or held in by architectural undies. We didn’t think about how we’d get home. We had moxie and sass, and we relied on it.
I caught a glimpse of that in myself today, mirrored by my current penchant for flowing caftans rather than deep v-necks that used to show off my ridiculously oversized cleavage. A deliciously cynical, french, (are there really any other kind…) lover had posted a video…for business, not pleasure, and I was hoping it would be as hot as my soup. It was not.
Much like myself, my little frenchman had grown more generous through the middle, and looked less a leading man than he did the father of three that he was in real life. Don’t get me wrong, I still remember him the way he used to be. I will always remember him the way he was. That’s something his young wife will never have – memories of him in his lean, sexually-charged twenties.
Maybe that’s why old sweethearts with expanded waistlines and thinning hair fall back in love. Regardless of time, they still see their old flames the way they used to be. More significantly, the mirror they hold up to us reflects back the image of how we still feel on the inside: vibrant, vital, and yearning for connection.