Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Range of Existence

I'm about to try to pull a bunch of random thoughts on a particular topic into a coherent thought. Wish me luck.

My admiration for and desire to have personal (platonic) relationships with certain people is strong. Many of these people are younger than me. Some of them are men, and some of those men happen to be really hot, which means a lot of other women I know are attracted to them. But many of those women feel "wrong" for the attraction because the men are younger than they are. I feel nothing of the sort.

I have a friend who has been happily married for many, many years with a man 30 years her senior. The woman my grandfather is currently married to is younger than my mother, and they've been married longer, I believe, than he was to either of his first two wives.

I have a group of friends who has grown very close over the last six months. We range in age from 30 to (I think) 50 (she implied that once, but I don't see it). That range has very little bearing on our friendships, if any at all.

Society puts a lot of emphasis on age. Magazines like People always list the age of the person they are talking about (celebrity or not). We have opinions on who should or shouldn't go together, and express amazement when a teenager has a close friend who's elderly or if there is a long marriage with a large age discrepancy, as if love of any type has nothing to do with complementary personalities.

To me, the deterrent is much less age than experience.

I live in an area where it's quite common to never leave your county, where the "big city" has less than 50,000 people, where a family might go "out west" to Pittsburgh for the holidays. Since I've lived in fifteen places in seven states and visited at least half the states in this country, I feel worldly in comparison.

But in truth, my life has been very encapsulated. I had just barely started to explore when I got married (at age 21) and we started being all responsible and shit. I became a mother at 24 and since then, no matter where my personal focus is, my experience has revolved around my family.

There's nothing wrong with that, and I am extremely happy. But it's the major deterrent to relationships I desire with those creative people I admire so much. They've traveled more, met a broader range of people, lived harder and probably with more depth. They'd have no interest in someone like me.

So, okay, I sped past the coherent point and landed on self-pity. Sorry about that. I'll go back to listening to Jason Manns and thinking about Supernatural while I prepare to do a final edit on This Book I'm In Love With, and leave you with this:

Age is irrelevant. Experience is key.


Erica Orloff said...

Hi Natalie:
Interesting post. My editor often points out to the editorial team when they renew my contracts that my books have depth because I've "packed a lot of really interesting living" into my years. I think age is irrelevant but being open is key.

My friends range from my best friend, seven or so years younger than I am, to three of my closest friends, all in the 70s, to two good friends hitting 90. I never see their wrinkles. I just love their points of view.

As for hunky guys . . . most of my guy friends are gay--gorgeous, but gay. :-) And my other best guy friend is hunky--but he's been like a brother for so long . . . I don't know. I don't have a problem admitting they're all cute. But I am secure in who I am and where I am in life that I wouldn't mess up my family for an infatuation or something.

Natalie Damschroder said...

You didn't say anything that surprises me, E. :)

That last paragraph, though...I'm not sure if you drew subtext from my post or if I'm drawing from yours. LOL I'm not sure where the "mess up my family" concern comes from and feel I must say my appreciation for a talented guy who also happens to be good-looking only spices up my marriage. :)

Misty said...

I couldn't have said it better, Nat :)

Natalie Damschroder said...

Thanks, Misty!

Erica Orloff said...

Oh, no, I meant it from your friends who feel "wrong." Why? I think you can appreciate someone's hunkiness without thinking you are going to go and act on it or behave in a way other than simply a friend. LOL! No weird subtext. :-)

Natalie Damschroder said...

OH! LOL Well, that's okay then.

We won't mention my apparently guilty conscience! Oy!