Someone To Stay Young With

It’s Christmas Eve in 1905 and Della Young is sad. She wishes she had more money to buy her husband, Jim, a nicer gift, but she only has about two dollars to spend (equivalent to about $60 today). 

But the one thing she does have…her hair. Thick and dark brown, down to her knees. So, she decides to visit the local wig maker, who agrees to buy her hair for $20 ($600 today). 

It pains her to let it go, but in her mind it is well worth it because now she has the money to buy a stunning platinum fob chain for Jim’s prized family heirloom pocket watch, attached with a worn out leather strap.

When Jim comes home from work that evening, she is so excited to give him the gift that she nearly forgets to explain why she cut off all her hair. When Jim opens the gift, he smiles and reciprocates with a gift of his own.

Della opens the present…a gorgeous set of ornamental combs. Jim then admits he sold the pocket watch to buy her the gift.

Now he has a chain but no watch. She has beautiful combs, but no hair. And they couldn’t be happier, because they know the real gifts they exchanged were the sacrifice of material possessions, which don’t hold a candle to the love they share.

Does the story sound familiar? It should. It’s the plot of one of the most famous short love stories of all time, first published in 1905 and written by William Sydney Porter (pen name O. Henry).

It’s called “The Gift of the Magi” because the story ends with the declaration that those who give up material possessions for the ones they love are as wise as the magi (the wise men in biblical times).

When I think of this story, I am reminded of an article I wrote back in September 2022 entitled Love Is An Act. I end that article with a quote by David Wilkerson…

“True love is not something you feel…it’s something you do.”

But this is just one depiction. We all define love in different ways.

Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

The famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, proposed a more spiritual definition, saying, “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”

What is your definition of true love?

I once heard someone say, “I didn’t have my first child until I was 41. I didn’t start my first business until I was 49. And I didn’t find the true love of my life until I was 60 years old.” 

That last sentence really resonated with me because I didn’t find the true love of my life until I was 68! Needless to say, it was well worth the wait, because Teresa has transformed my life in ways I never thought possible.

How do I define true love?

Well, I believe the complexity of love cannot be summed up in just one sentence or with just one idea. However, a friend of mine once paraphrased a quote by Charles Bukowski, saying, “Greg, isn’t it ironic that it seems like everyone is looking for someone to grow old with, when the secret is actually to find someone to stay young with?”

That’s how I feel about my wife, Teresa. Every day she makes me feel younger, more vibrant, and more enamored with life. I am so thankful I found my “someone to stay young with”.