Love Made Me Younger


The last twelve months have been some of the most stressful of my life so when people started thinking I was much younger than I am, I had to stop and wonder why. First, let me give you some perspective on my year.

 Last year I lived in a big house in the suburbs with a comfortable office and six uninterrupted hours each weekday to write. I had a special area set aside for brainstorming with corkboards and whiteboards mounted on the walls. I worked in the yard to keep healthy, building stonewalls, extending the lawn, planting trees, and building perennial beds. The yard was big enough that I could work with my hands every day and never run out of things to do. (I worked without power tools to get the maximum exercise out of my projects.)

Here are some of them:

Perenniel Bed Behind the Swimming Pool

A Little Creative – House Numbers Built In
Stone Wall And Strawberry Bed
Dry Stone Wall I Built Along The Front of Our Property

With two kids and a dog, books to write, meals to cook, and all that work outside, I never lacked something to do. I seemed to have the world by the tail, but I wasn’t a happy guy.

 Fast forward one year.

 I have moved into a single room with my few remaining possessions crammed in all around me. I write squeezed in between my bed and bins full of clothes with my laptop on my lap. The whiteboards, the desk, and the bookshelves are all gone. I still work with my hands during the day, but now I work for food—eating at Subway would be considered a major purchase. If that doesn’t make my new situation cozy enough, one of my roommates likes to play guitar at 3:00 am. Johnny Cash. Same songs over and over. All night. Loud. You’d think I’d be miserable.


 So a few weeks ago my daughter’s friends asked if I was her brother. I wouldn’t have paid any attention, but another group of friends had asked the same thing a week earlier. These girls have seen me dozens of times. I’m at every game. I used to drive carpool. So I had to wonder why they were seeing me differently than they did before. Then the woman at the high school ticket booth charged me student admission for a football game. When I handed her back the extra two dollars, I knew something was up.

 What changed?

 When I wrote Addicted To Love I wanted to explore the idea that deep down we all want to find a passionate connection we can’t live without. I created a place where everyone was desperately in love and obsessed over their lover so much that the rest of life became background noise. My parents have this sort of connection and maybe as I was writing this novel I was bitter I hadn’t found it myself.

 And then something wonderful happened.

 I found someone I want to spend every waking moment with. I reach for her when I wake and if she’s not there, I reach for my phone to look for word from her. When we are in the same room for more than a minute, one of us always closes the distance until we touch. It is an unconscious desire to be close that makes my heart sing whenever I notice it happening.

 For us being close is much more than physical. I can’t remember when it happened the first time, but some time ago I was upset and my sweetheart explained what was bothering me and why. I was dumbfounded. I felt like half of the little old couple in matching rockers on the porch, but we’ve only known each other a short time. She cares enough to reflect on what makes me tick and she knows me better than anyone ever has. It is as if I have been alone all my life and suddenly I’m not.

 Something I said to her sums up our relationship. “When I appear, you smile.” It is so true. No matter how many times I enter a room, she lights up when she sees me. Finding this amazing connection and feeling so deeply loved has made me so joyful that people think I’m 25 years younger. If you think I’m crazy for falling madly in love at my age, please don’t tell me. I like feeling like a teenager.

 As Black Friday passed, I saw images of people hurting each other over little pieces of plastic and was deeply saddened. Material things will never hold that important of a place in my life and I hope they won’t in yours either. I encourage you to go out and do some Christmas shopping. Help our economy, celebrate the season, but focus your energy on those most important to you. You might start looking younger, too.




11 Comments on “Love Made Me Younger”

  1. Your roommate sounds like your father with the Johnny Cash!

  2. I so very happy to hear you have found the love you have been missing CJ. You are such an amazing person, I never doubted you would! Congratulations, and continue to feel like a teenager. Age is certainly an attitude!

  3. Wonderful and inspirational to know of your happiness.

  4. wolfshades says:

    In spite of such a small cramped room, with the Johnny Cash neighbour, you are living the dream. You’re right that many (most) of us are looking for a genuine passion like that. So good to read when someone we “know” (as much as anyone can “know” someone through books or Facebook) has made that connection.

    Great read!

  5. Matt Farmer says:


    Congratulations. I’m going through those same feelings now. A woman I went to High school with but didn’t really know her then, well we knew each other but not well. We had different friends and all that high school stuff. Then early this summer at our 20 year class reunion we hit it off. And it has been great since. I’m reading Addicted to Love currently and I’m enjoying it, the biggest problem with finding “her” is it has taken away from my reading time.

    • cjwestkills says:

      So glad it is still going strong. I remember you telling me about her this summer when this was just beginning. I can relate to that wonderful feeling of being in love. I hope the relationship between Wes and Leah reminds you of yourself and your special woman.


  6. Carol Ann says:

    CJ, In a way I feel like I know you well. Then there are other times when I feel like I don’t know you at all. What I do know for sure is that I love you and always have. You are a very special person with a very special gift. I understand your story and I am so happy you have finally found your true you. Sometimes God allows our whiteboard to be wiped clean so He can re-create something closer to His original plan. I hope and pray that the two of you will create a beautiful tapestry together in His care. I look forward to meeting her, I have a feeling I’m going to love her right away also, smile…. Take care of yourself and if you ever need anything Mom knows how to get in touch with me. Hugs to you all….ps tell Dad he still owes me a CD, smile… CAS (your other l’il sis)

  7. Debbie says:

    I’m so happy for you!! Life is soo much better when you have a special someone to share it with. Enjoy every moment!!! 🙂

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