While individuals of a certain age are asked for their secret to longevity, couples remaining together for decades are urged to reveal their recipe for happiness. And even though both invitations are staged before cameras producing edited soundbites, the one thing participants agree on out of earshot of the press is that the quality of time is the essence of both.
After learning that 60% of society is younger than age 50, we realized we’ve been in love longer than the majority of Americans have been alive. (Egad, did I just type that out loud?)
No matter. The fact remains that the quality of joyful longevity depends on a continuous curve following life as the lesson of the day and — like history — whatever isn’t learned is doomed to be repeated with someone else.
Here are 48 things we’ve learned in 48 years of being in love.
1. Sound sleep requires laughter lastly.
2. The favored parent is emulated, eventually.
3. Lose at fault-finding.
4. Compliment a meal before adding salt.
5. Whatever is collected will someday be hoarded.
6. Think romantically.
7. Please and thank you are bff’s.
8. Holding hands while arguing is a hearing aid.
9. Listen with your entire body, inside and out.
10. Fight rhymes with flight.
11. Neither caress less, nor roar more.
12. A simple touch is apology enough.
13. Lower expectations except of self.
14. Have music playing in at least one room whenever home.
15. Speak softly and turn a deaf ear.
16. Think kindly about things remembered.
17. Don’t keep score.
18. Never hurt intentionally.
19. Tears have deeper meanings.
20. Leave sentimental notes in unexpected places.
21. Be both the best of you and the best of others.
22. Always ask what is needed, first.
23. Giving what you want is taking.
24. Offer your own opinion last, or not at all.
25. Pets make us better people than people can ever hope to be.
26. A single child will never share as readily as one raised with siblings.
27. Serve coffee with a kiss.
28. It’s not life, it’s living. It’s not death, it’s dying. It’s not fear, it’s fearing.
29. Levity is imperative.
30. Two televisions are better than one remote.
31. Be of mirrored ethics.
32. One comfortable bed in a home is enough.
33. A cloth table covering, cloth napkins, and a fresh flower, nightly.
34. Gush gratitude.
35. Make here the better place to be.
36. Slow dance under every full moon.
37. Send a card by snail mail a minimum of monthly.
38. Keep a joint journal.
39. Sleep in the buff.
40. Insolence provokes anger.
41. It’s neither the lie, nor the cover-up. It’s the enabling.
42. Say what you mean the first time.
43. If in doubt, don’t.
44. A know-it-all never is.
45. Keep a path cleared down the middle of the room.
46. Love is sacred. Belittling it is blasphemy.
47. Yes or no questions need one word answers.
48. You’re not 1-in-a-million. You’re 1-in-7.3 billion.
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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist.
A Joy To Stand The Test Of Time © 9.26.18
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