By Marcia Gloster
“Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly…” —Unknown
When I was 20, I met an older man while spending a summer in Europe. It was lust at first sight. Our attraction was so strong that we fell into bed almost immediately. Once we began to talk, we discovered we had quite a lot in common. It wasn’t only that we were artists; our life philosophy was essentially the same, although his, since he was older, was more developed than mine. Often after making love, we’d stay up talking into the early hours of the morning. He taught me about painting, the life of a working artist, what it meant to live completely on one’s own terms.
It was a complicated affair from the start—he lived in London and I in New York; he was married and I was single—and we knew from the outset that we would only have a limited time together. While many people have remarked that my relationship with this man couldn’t have been very fulfilling—after all there were no long-term plans, much less a ring—they are very wrong. I had no desire for any of those things. Sure, I wished I could have been with him longer, but I recognized it for what it was and chose it anyway. Looking back, all these years later, I wouldn’t do a single thing differently. That month, however fleeting, changed my life.
The truth is that no matter what anyone advises you, there are no hard and fast rules. (Fortunately, I’m not alone in suggesting that it’s time to adopt some new guidelines.) Even if you already have self-imposed rules, consider allowing yourself to throw them to the wind and trust your instincts. No matter what your age, if you are open to the possibilities in life, you’ll get a lot more than just going for the brass ring, which, by the way, may occasionally be gold, but all too often turns out to be lead.