If you're like me and sick of celebrity love stories, which can often be here one minute and gone the next (not mentioning any names of course (Kardashian)), then celebrate Valentine's Day with a peek into real-life love with real-life couples who are making it work in the real world — especially when it's new for them too. Who needs celebrities (especially when there's love at 60)? Seriously.
Love Style: Christina & Yuri
Northern New Jersey
Yuri: A musician and composer who performs at jazz festivals, concerts and clubs both locally around the world with his jazz quintet, Grupo Yuri Jazz. He's also a founding member of the country rock band, Kinderhook. Yuri performs with musicians of all genres but a recent highlight was with Pat Guadagno and Tired Horses Live in Concert for "Bobfest" (a Bob Dylan birthday tribute concert).
Christina: A film festival maven (she got her MA in Producing for Film and Video from American University in DC) has spent years writing, editing and producing for corporate, non profits, indies, docs and short films. Being managing editor for Film Festival Reporter inspired her to found FilmFestivalReviews, a podcast and blog site with views on and about independent films, filmmakers and the film industry and film festival circuit worldwide.
How they met: Yuri: We met on a trail of a comet on an Aurora Borealis night.
Christina: It was a Kinderhook reunion concert in 2009. I suggested a podcast and he accepted.
How long they've been together: Yuri: We have been in the primal ocean of love from the beginning of time. Christina: About two years.
How does what you do impact your relationship? Being together enhances our creative process as we both are: disciplined self-employed creatives; night owls; Dairy Queen fanatics.
Anything different about your style from when you met each other? Christina is the more outgoing social butterfly who loves to strike up conversations with strangers, and host parties with people from different ends of the earth. Yuri, is more of an introvert concentrating on his music and performances. We enjoy watching films together not just for entertainment but because we are both involved in some aspect of filmmaking (Yuri, music composition; Christina as screenwriter/producer). We dissect what it takes to make a film from different points of views and our discussions sometimes turn into lively debates.
Yuri: Being together enhanced the opportunity for me to shower my gentlemaness and court her, respecting her being – mind and body. All aspects of being together is a constant learning process and in the end, I am more comfortable with myself. There is no competition because we are both winners. Christina: His syntax drives me wild.
Our living style: Yuri is more of a Felix type, likes things in order; I am Oscar — I will get to that pile eventually. We melded our art, music (LPs and a turntable, CDs), books and films along with a family of cats since moving in together: Lola aka Florence-I-Ate-the Nightingale-Lollapazzura; Digit, the Polydactal African WildCat; and Give 'Em Hell, Nell.
Do you shop together? Do you shop for each other? We enjoy shopping together. The experience is eye opening, especially observing other people on how they shop and interact with one other. I love picking a shirt and tie for him. But I prowl surrounding Main Streets for consignment shops and last remaining book and record stores. I stay away from garage sales as much as possible. I "find" things and bring them home -– there's always a cookbook or photography equipment that I'll pick up.
What do you like to do apart and together? Yuri: Shower. But we do that together anyway. Christina: Sleep. But we do that together as well.
We joke that we do everything together — sometimes it seems that way because we are such good friends, intellectual equals and enjoy each other's company. As creative partners, I find I love working with Yuri; we have several projects in development. Writing is definitely a private time and I prefer to write late into the night. He let's me be who I am and it took me a long time to get to be who I want to be and not what others think I should be.
When Yuri is writing music and practicing — that's very much private time for him.
Maybe it's because we haven't had a lifetime together yet — there's a lot of catching up to do. And because there's been a lot of emotional upheaval in our separate lives (deaths of family and friends) and physical upheaval (moving 4 households in 2 years) that we find comfort in each other's company. It's not all fun and games. Being creatives at our age is scary. Neither of us have a full time job, secure finances, or health benefits. With all the things we do, we haven't had a break in a while."
[Ironically though, they did have a recent break -– not the kind they need though: "Yuri broke his wrist about 2 weeks ago, so he can't work. That's set us back, but we're working on a plan; taking it one day at a time, and looking at the bright side (I am the forever optimist)." So much so, that Christina, forever the filmmaker, made a short film about it!
Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? We'll see an independent film. Find a great jazz club.
Why they making it work: Christina: I wanted to find someone and become a family unit. I made wrong choices until I met Yuri again (in my 50s) who wants me to be the person I've always wanted to be: strong, creative, and independent.
Yuri: I never wanted to be married, that's why I stayed a bachelor until I was 60 years old. When I asked Christina to marry me, I knew this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Formula for staying together? The intersection of X + Y in its calculative status of Foucault's theorem equals Love is All You Need.
You see? Everyone's formula is different, or at least, how they arrive at and then execute the calculation, which is as individual and vast as numbers themselves –- it's making the equation work, in all its infinite elements, which sometimes requires recalibrating, that is the miracle of love, at 60 or whenever it comes.