THEN AND NOW

THEN AND NOW

When I think about the idea of SOUL MATES, I think of my grandparents. They’ve been married for over 60 years and are always making me nostalgic when they talk about the days in which they met, fell in love, and got married. I know it might seem silly that I feel nostalgic for a time that I never lived in, but I think that’s exactly why I get nostalgic. The way their generation approached the whole process of dating was entirely different than the way mine approaches it.

In the time my grandparents lived, people courted. They didn’t engage in this whirlwind “hook up” culture that my generation of young people enjoys so much. It wasn’t uncommon back then to wait until you were married to have sex. What my grandparents did was, date for six months and then get married. Only months after that they were pregnant with my dad. We refer to these times as “the good old days” and these practices as “old school.”

I’ve noticed today that people are waiting until they’re much older to get married and have kids. Women have babies into their late 30’s, early 40’s. They even get married a first time when they’re 40, 50, even older. I can’t tell you how many times my grandmother has told me that that just wasn’t done in her day. You didn’t wait, because what were you waiting for?

Soul Mates is a loaded concept, isn’t it? It implies that there’s only one person in this whole wide world meant for you, which I think many of us would say is not accurate. Surely 50-or-60 years ago, people understood there’s more than one fish in the sea, so it’s not like they placed a greater value on finding a partner than we do today. Yet, they seemed to seize upon their first love so much more quickly than we do, not really venturing to new people to see what else was out there before settling down for good.

We still believe in couples, pair bonding, and marriage because it’s always been done, and I think it’s safe to say it always will be done, but something is different in today’s culture. We seem to place not a lesser value, but maybe a different value on finding someone.

Sure, the way we tend to do things these days allows more time for self-discovery, soul-searching, and exploration. But, there is something charming, even touching about my grandparents’ story and the many others who have a love story similar to theirs. It’s like from the very start of their romance they couldn’t live without each other. Isn’t it wonderful that both ways offer their own benefits connecting two distant generations?

Posted July 24 2013 by Rosalee Gelpi

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