Chatting with my girlfriend tonight, I came to a realization: perfection is well, too perfect. When I think about what is beautiful: art, nature, laughter--I realize that it is that which is flawed which inspires my attraction. Perfection leaves very little room for humanity, the element that turns impeccable manners into charm, wit into laughter, and measured candor into wisdom.
So, while I continue this solo leg of my journey, I've finally discovered this: it is my flaws that make me--well, perfectly me.
I'm a writer by trade, but I can't spell worth a darn--I've edited books, taught English, and earned almost every dollar in my adult life based on the written word. I have no patience for technicalities--that is why God invented Spell-Check! I'm busy thinking about the cadence of a line, the overarching theme, and striking just the right tension in a passage.
I also know we judge books by their cover. In response, I try to look perfectly put together. However, more often than not, my hair is a wreck because I love driving with the top down--hair blowing all around my face. I've found a tidy french twist is the perfect mask for that wild side. There are countless skirts and suits in my closet that sport unconventional fixes; I like to think of myself as a Fashion MacGyver, able to repair most any garment with the junk floating at the bottom of my briefcase. Tip: highlighters are awesome for touching up pink pumps and Sharpies are a godsend when it comes to the toes of your pointiest stilettos.
The ultimate imperfection is being divorced. A "used" wife. The self-imposed implications as the tossed aside spouse have loomed, like a dark cloud, over my cheery dispositions for too long.
Strangely, it was a rainy, dark Saturday a few months ago when the proverbial clouds broke. Watching the gray morning turn to a stormy afternoon, I realized the rain was actually a cleansing force, soaking the earth allowing new plants to sprout. (Great metaphor for divorce, dontcha think?)
It is my 43rd year, and suddenly--strangely--for the first time in my life--I am getting attention from men. I'm sure it's because I'm finally embracing my imperfections, instead of apologizing for them.
So these days, I'm not fretting so much about the age spots I'm sprouting, the gray hairs that are too numerous to monitor, and the laugh lines. Ahhhh, the laugh lines!
These I cherish because I'm still laughing after the storm, and the wind, and the rain. More than ever. I think the laughter is inspired by wisdom, which of course, comes with age.
It is probably the combination of laughter and wisdom that is the common denominator in this strange equation: a 74 year old man I met at a party, a 55-year old lawyer I met at the car wash, and a 33-year old computer programmer I met at the coffee shop all asked me out in a single week. I'm guessing it wasn't due to my perfectly matched outfit, my perfect manicure, or my perfect complexion. I'm thinking its because my quirky personality, finally untethered from constant apology--made them laugh and think: attractive at--and to--any age.
Better still, I don't feel like I have to go out just because I'm asked--instead, I'm waiting for a perfectly imperfect partner to stumble into my life.