All the Other Ages
While looking for inspiration for this post, I found the perfect quote:
The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. —Madeleine L’Engle
This! So much this.
I didn’t really suffer any panic attacks heading toward forty. I was too busy. It wasn’t until I passed forty-three that I really caught on to the fact I was supposedly middle-aged. Even then, I didn’t panic about it, because I’d also discovered something else. Middle age comes with this amazing sense of Zen. Seriously. At some point between thirty-nine and forty-three, I just stopped worrying about stuff.
Now, this didn’t necessarily make my life simpler. Not worrying about the directions to a place I’d never been before was a bit of a mistake. Because I’m GPS-challenged, getting un-lost involved several phone calls to my husband so he could Google me back to civilization. He then wanted to know if I was feeling okay, because Kelly Jensen doesn’t go anywhere without a map. Ever. Seriously, I used to travel into New York City with lists of addresses and subway directions.
Now I just hop on a train and figure it out along the way.
A part of it is that I’ve been to the city so many times I know which colour line I should be on and from there it’s just a question of uptown or downtown. The other part if it is that I don’t mind taking the extra time to get to wherever I’m going. I’m no longer in a hurry. I also enjoy having adventures along the way—because I haven’t lost the wonder of my childhood. The ability to appreciate new things and the desire to explore the unknown. At forty-seven (wow, already?) I know I don’t know everything. I expect stuff to go wrong…and I still love using my imagination. Also, I’m old enough to have built some extra time into my journey for all of the above.
Another thing I enjoy in my middle age is writing characters in their forties. Whether they’re looking for companionship or in a long term partnership, older folks have a somewhat different view of love. These guys—the way I write them, anyway—can be just as dramatic as a twenty-year-old, until they wear themselves out and have to take a middle-aged nap. Then they remember they’re older and wiser and get on with what they need to do.
I love writing older love because of that built-in extra time factor. There’s a bit more thinking involved, maybe. That’s not always a good thing and, when all the blood is rushing south, it’s also patently false, but even if a forty-five year old character does leap first—he probably looked yesterday. So you sort of get this fusion of prepared excitement. Yes, I just used those two words together on purpose.
When Was the Last Time is my second story featuring older guys and it’s one of my favourites because it touches on another subject that’s close to home—long term partnership. I’ve been married for nearly seventeen years, so I know a little bit about the habit of ‘getting comfortable’. What endeared Paul to me—made me enjoy writing this story—was his reaction to his relationship troubles. He didn’t roll over and wait for the end. He panicked (and flailed and generally made a fool of himself) and then spent a week remembering how and why he’d fallen in love with Evan. He processed ‘all the other ages’ of his relationship, picking out the good and the bad.
He also grew up a bit over those several days. Because that’s the other thing about getting older—until you’re done, you’re not done. We’ve all still got growing and learning and loving to do, whether it’s starting again, or remembering why we’re married or partnered. Remembering where we came from, and not forgetting all the other ages we’ve been, will help us on that journey.
Title: When Was the Last Time
Author: Kelly Jensen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 12th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Roman
Page Count: 42 pages
Reviewed by: Belen and Ele
Paul Summerfield is stunned by the gentle reminder it has been over a year since he and his partner, Evan Akkerman, have made love. He vows to take Evan out for Valentine’s Day. Dinner and sex. Lots of sex. There’s only one catch—he’s supposed to be in San Francisco that week cataloging the art collection of an important new client. No problem, he’ll just change his schedule and cut his trip short by a day.
In San Francisco, Paul struggles with regrets and the fear his love is slipping away from him. Every call to Evan seems only to prove the distance between them is increasing. All this, and a key piece of his client’s catalog is caught up in customs. To keep their Valentine’s date, Paul will have to choose between the career he’s built over fifteen years and the man he’s loved for just as long.
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If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. At lot of what she writes is speculative in nature, but sometimes it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.