A Valentine to Older Romance

02/13/2012 10:18 am ET | Updated Apr 14, 2012
  • Lea Lane Author, Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks

This particular Valentine's Day urges me to express something I've wanted to shout from the rooftops for awhile now.

I realize more and more that late love (I'm in my late 60s, my husband is in his early 70s) can be just as romantic as young love. And I think what helps make it especially precious is that you realize, truly, truly realize, that you cannot take it, or life, for granted.

When you reach the later years of your life you probably have lost dear ones, so older love has a bittersweet texture which intensifies every hand-hold, every silly word you share, every giggle or nibble or love note or stolen hug or kiss.

The physical side of older love can be beautiful -- often tossed aside with a nasty "ewww" by younger folks who have no idea, or late-night comedians, or ridiculous, demeaning greeting cards. Wrinkles and flab and scars are the realities of lives fully lived. But there is always candlelight, and the music you remember and dance to, holding each other close. Hands and eyes ever appreciate the beauty of a curve and a smile. And soft lips, and soft words caress more sweetly.

And yes, the wonders of science are there if needed (and by the way, they aren't, always!).

Oh the joy of experience -- knowing what you like and communicating to each other. And the tendency is to give more and take more as well, in part because there is more time to spend doing so. Slow love-making can be exquisite.

When I married my high school sweetheart at the innocent age of 21 we learned together, and fumbled around expecting the moon. But now, two marriages later and in the privilege of late love, I find compassion as well as passion. Acceptance, appreciation, grace and joy. Qualities that I have been lucky enough to age into.

Romance in your later years is not a joke. It is something to hope for. And if you are lucky enough to experience it, cherish it until the horizon of Valentine's Days.