just around the bend

I can get bored with the most marketable love story. You know the one: a boy and a girl meet when they are in their physical prime. They're fit and their skin is clear and they both have full heads of hair.

And they date for a respectable amount of time before he proposes at a point that is both reasonable but still exciting. She hasn't started to drop passive aggressive hints and her friends aren't whispering behind her back.

And they marry at a point when their careers are well established and finances are stable, but not so late that their parents worry if grandchildren are ever going to happen.

The story continues after the "I do's", although the credits have rolled. We all know what happily ever looks like. They grow old together with only the normal sorts of disagreements, both content and healthy until they die peacefully in one another's arms in their 95th year.

It's the story I want for my children. A story that doesn't involve fear that love might never find them. The story that doesn't scare me for it all happening too soon. A story with no heartbreak.

But love isn't always pretty and it doesn't always come to us in a perfect package on our 25th birthday when we are fully recovered from the breakup that happened nearly a year ago and ready to start again. And love doesn't end without at least one person's devastation.

Love comes and goes. It must be fought for and worked at. And sometimes, despite everything, it evades us for a time.

But it can return. It will. In new forms and in unlikely packages, hidden in plain sight or found on the other side of the world.

And lightning can strike twice. Happiness can find you more than once.

You can be happily married for decades and suffer the deepest heartbreak, and on the other side, there is love for you again.

I want to honor all the love stories, in all their forms. Because sometimes when we don't see these stories or hear them, we start to wonder if they actually exist, wonder if they could ever happen to us.

They do exist.

They can happen.

Have faith.

a lesson in life/ a lesson in love/// north beach wedding reception

In every picture, she is touching her friends. A slight squeeze to the shoulder. Hands held together.

When the party bus pulled up to the restaurant, she walked right up to the bar ordered a drink, and then was quick to offer it up to each passing friend. She is clearly the kind of person who made the party happen. The sort to bring people together. 

I'm reading a powerful book: "The Upside of Stress." And I already have one dozen things I want to tell you about it.

One of the things I want to tell you is that people of who have a positive view of aging in midlife live on average 7.6 years longer than those who don't. (Exercising, not smoking, maintaining healthy blood pressure on average only add 4 years, just for perspective).

Last week I got to photograph Janice's wedding reception at the Westlawn Inn in North Beach, MD-- a party for friends a couple of months after her ceremony in the Keys. And it was the most fun I've seen people have on a random Tuesday that I can recall.

Here was a couple finding love later in life. Inspiring each other to make art. To laugh loudly. To play. It was inspiring.

We all need to take a lesson from Janice, and maybe if we do, maybe if we stop worrying about getting older, and start getting excited, maybe we'll get 7.6 more years of live to do all the things we love to do with the people we love to do them with.