Love at any age
Have you ever noticed when you go to the romance section at any bookstore, all of the romances feature young people? Pick any romance in that section and most, if not all, of the protagonists are in their 20’s or early 30’s, occasionally, they may be (gasp!) in their late 30’s. Rarely do you see any with the main characters over 40. You might point to a couple of books where there is a secondary character that is older, but let’s face it; it is rare to find romances that feature middle aged or seniors citizens.
I’ve been trying to diversify my Romance Book Club selections each month. This age issue really bothered me. Finding a good, fun romance featuring characters over 65 had become my blue whale. I posed the question on a book lover’s Facebook page: can you recommend a good, fun recent release featuring senior citizens? I got lots of responses. Most were for books that had been written decades ago & were tragic love stories. Yeah, that sounds fun.
So, that got me thinking, what does that say to people about love? That love is only for people in their 20s up though 35 and then it’s over? That’s ridiculous. For those of us who have been on this earth long enough, we know that life doesn’t always go according to the script. Marriages fail, spouses die, spouses leave, people break up, etc. What about someone who got married right out of college, thought they were happy, then comes home to find their spouse of 25 years has taken off to Las Vegas with his secretary? Or the man who has been in love with the same woman for 10 years, then one day, his lady love says, “It’s over”? Does that mean love is no longer an option for them? Does that mean they have nothing left to look forward to except loneliness? Like I said, ridiculous.
I am an optimist. I believe that as long as you have a pulse in your veins, love can happen for you. Never give up, no matter how many years you’ve been single or dating endlessly. You never know what can happen. One day, you might be grocery shopping, reach for a bag of oranges at the same time as someone else and then it happens.
Take my recently widowed 65 year old stepfather. After my mother died, I told him that he’d most likely be married within a year. I told him that whenever an eligible bachelor becomes available, there is an invisible alert that goes out to women within the tri-state area, especially for someone who is a good man like my stepfather. He’s managed to keep his looks, too, so that’s an added bonus.
He scoffed at my prediction. Then a couple of months later, I got a phone call from him. He was seriously dating someone! He had recently re-connected with his high school sweetheart on Facebook. They were a big item in middle school. By the time they turned 16, they were at the (gasp!) handholding stage. She told her mom that she would not be surprised if she had his last name one day. Her parents, for some reason, did not want her to continue her relationship with my stepfather and made her break up with him. He was devastated. It hurt him so deeply that whenever her name came up among his friends, he just could not talk about her.
Life & years went on for both. Both got married to other people and both became widowed. Then they found each other again, 50 years later, and picked up where they left off. They’re getting married in January, 50 years to the date of their first date. How sweet is that?
So, you never know what will happen. I say have an attitude of hope. Life is so much better when you believe good things are coming than to be hopeless.
Oh, and that blue whale? I did find a really good romance, The Switch by Beth O’Leary. It’s about a 79 year old grandmother, who is looking for love, and her 20 something granddaughter switching lives. It’s available at Deborah’s Book Club Bookshop at https://bookshop.org/a/13380/9781250769862.