The Woman I Love, by Bob Perkins

Living the ‘us’ with Joni Evans …

Our Women I Love series is written by good men expressing what it is they love about their women.

There is something wonderful to be said about love later in life. It isn’t the fairy-tale story of “we met in high school, dated in college, married, raised kids and succeeded.”

It is more about real-world experiences – bad marriages, broken relationships, good days and bad, stepkids, jobs, resignations, transfers and life. That is why finding love later in life is so fabulous.

I first met Joni at a world-renowned Ted conference in California in 2003. We were introduced by a mutual friend at dinner, with 12 others around us, and she struck me with her wit, charm and grace. So easy to talk to and so much fun. But we didn’t fall into each other’s arms; life at our age is too complicated for that.

We did stay in touch … She sold a book idea I had; I introduced her to a large client. And then we both surfaced from relationships and realized the wonderful possibility existed. We said, “Yes.” Not to marriage, but to life, to figuring it out, to moving ahead and to being open to all kinds of “new,” while always seriously committed to the “us.”

It has been quite the ride. Joni left William Morris to start wowOwow and I was plunged into the world of start-ups, high-powered women and the daily pressure to fill the spaces of wowOwow with the best possible content. There were venture investors to woo, advice to give and her two wonderful hands to hold while riding the daily roller-coaster ride of any start-up.

At the same time, I had all the ups and downs any business owner feels in the turbulent economic world of the last few years. Old clients, new clients, board meetings and everything that work entails. All kinds of “new,” always committed to the “us” …

I got Joni re-interested in golf (but have failed at downhill skiing). She rekindled my passion for reading (but hasn’t quite gotten me on her spirituality page). I have learned to love her dinner party rule of only one conversation, which she ruthlessly enforces. And I think she’s learned to appreciate my regular trips to the gym and using a foam roller.

Of course, there is all that past … Friends who divorced, strangers who married and two sets of friends to mix, match, impress, disappoint, excite and appreciate.

In other words, we picked up life at the same pace we had always lived it, but now we had each other. It isn’t about our past, it is about the here and now, and living every second to make the next second the best possible present. As Bonnie Raitt once wrote, “Life gets mighty precious when there is less of it to waste.”

Finding Joni later in life is fabulous.

Editor’s Note: Bob Perkins is the president of Consensus Research Company, based in New York City. He spent four years in the U.S. Air Force as an instructor pilot where he became a captain. He is currently reading Socialnomics by Erik Qualman. Joni’s handicap is a secret, but her goal this year is to break 90.

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