Monday, December 13, 2010

Old love

40 years ago...and today
Simply Living

Forty years ago this week, I made a decision that changed my life.  Instead of going back to my parent’s house in Yardley, Pa. for winter break, I hopped on an airplane and flew to Boston.  I’d never been to Boston before.  The only person I knew there was my high school friend Megan.  I asked Megan if I could visit and she offered me a place to stay. 

At the time, I was a second-year student at the New College of Hofstra in Hempstead, NY.  Although my official major was Humanities, a more accurate description of my college focus was Being Involved in Relationships.  Academically, I was doing fine but my relationship meter had bottomed out.  The trip to Boston was a step toward independence.  I was tired of constantly searching for that special someone.  I’d had my fill of pining over boys.  My plan was to spend the holiday in a guy-free zone visiting art museums, exploring the city and reconnecting with my friend. 

That’s not what happened.

Megan lived in a big house with several roommates, one of whom was a longhaired, bearded fellow with thick lenses in his plastic-framed glasses.  His name was Ralph and we met shortly after my arrival.  Within three days, we were a couple.  I never did make it to any art museums during my Boston getaway.  Megan and I hardly spent any time together and instead of exploring Boston, Ralph and I hopped into his blue Datsun station wagon to spend a weekend on Cape Cod.  Afterwards, we drove to his parent’s home in Illinois for Christmas, stopping first to see my folks in Pennsylvania. 

The paths we travel in life can change so abruptly.  I was only 19 when I met my future husband but it was an encounter to last a lifetime. 

In the 40 years since, Ralph and I have had countless adventures.  We’ve lived in three different states, raised four children and are presently enjoying the pleasure of being grandparents.  Both of us shake our heads in disbelief when we consider how much time has passed since our fortuitous New England encounter.  The years may have grayed our hair and wrinkled our faces but they have also added a treasure trove of shared experiences and depth to the affection we feel for each other.  I’m more in love with my husband now than ever.

Ralph is currently reading Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Singularity is Near.  Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers and futurists.  His predictions for the past 21 years have been remarkably accurate.  In this 489-page tome, Kurzweil draws a detailed picture of what he believes the future will hold.  For the next 40 years, he envisions a world far different from anything we’ve yet experienced.

It is understandable that my husband finds Kurzweil’s concepts intriguing.  There comes a point in life when the road ahead looks decidedly shorter than the road already traveled.  Kurzweil presents possibilities that extend the journey.    

Only time will tell if his predictions prove true.  Although the author’s view is optimistic, I don’t share my husband’s enthusiasm for the topic.  I’m more concerned with the present that I am with the future.  I find myself more inspired by all that has already transpired than I am by what might or might not come to be.

I’ve learned many things over the past four decades but one lesson that stands out is that nothing is static.  The direction your life takes can change in an instant.  For me, that instant happened forty years ago this week.  Would I go back and do it over?  In a heartbeat. 

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