Older Than Dirt: VALENTINE'S DAY

What is love? It means different things to different people. And look how easily we say, "I love that program" or "I love my new shoes" and that sort of thing.

But in reality, love is really saved for the special people and animals who have touched our lives. Some people are blessed with having found the "love of their life" at an early age and remain with that person throughout their life. For the rest of us, it doesn't work that way.

I believe that timing plays a big part in who we end up spending our life with. We have all seen the movies or read books about those who were able to go back to someone they knew when they were much younger. I know of a couple who rekindled a first love relationship at a class reunion, many years later. Sometimes you run into someone who may have once been a "dear friend" who now fits perfectly into your life as a romantic partner.

When people marry more than once in their life, it does not necessarily mean the previous marriage was a mistake. It often means the timing was just all wrong. If you married young, perhaps you got swept up in the idea of the wedding and did not think the rest of it through. Or maybe the sex hormones had taken over your ability to reason. Young people often do not see the partner as a long term commitment, but instead react in the heat of the moment.

Having children right away can also take the romance out of the relationship. It does change the dynamic of things very quickly.

So, if you marry someone and it lasts 10 years or so, does that make it a failure? Absolutely not. If you had some good years, and parted not hating each other, I like to think it was a learning experience. My mother always said, "Sometimes you have to squeeze a lot of lemons, before you find a peach." And again, what you wanted at 20 may not be what you find fulfilling at 50. Sometimes you just have to learn what you don't want, to figure out what it is you DO want.

Lost loves have become much easier to find these days. Who hasn't looked online for that guy/girl you cared so much for many years ago? Lots of people have reconnected with the past, and actually started lives together, all over again. Going back to the timing thing. Maybe you moved away, they married someone else, but now you are both in the right place in your lives.

A few years back, the mother of a friend of mine was flying on a plane to Washington state to visit. She happened to be seated next to a nice young lady and they chatted during the flight. Before my friend's Mom got off the plane, the young girl asked if she might get her phone number.

She said, "I know you are single, and my Dad lost his wife a few years back. I think you two would really hit it off."

Fast forward three years, and these two did meet, fell in love, and are married now. Both in their 70s! You just never know when and how the old love bug may bite.

Is it possible to love someone yet not be "in love?" But of course. That is pretty standard for couples who no longer have that spark that once brought them together. They may even end up divorced, but will always care deeply for each other. Sadly, they may spend the rest of their life trying to find that "spark" with someone else, and come up empty.

So, if you are alone and feeling lonely on Valentine's Day, there are all kinds of ways to find love again - if that is what you choose to do. There are those among us who do not feel the need to be in a one on one loving relationship. Instead, they are satisfied with the memories of past loves and enjoy their life just as much.