Sunday, March 25, 2012

A few thoughts about love

Tomorrow, I turn 30.  As a young girl, I always thought that by this point in life I would know exactly what real love was; I would be in it, married to it and having its babies.  I've since learned that the life you are meant to live has a funny way of upending all of your plans and expectations for living it.  And, after three decades on this planet, I still don't know everything there is to know about love.

In fact, I don't think anyone really can know all there is to know about love -- what it is, how to receive it, why and when to give it. I speculate that love not only drives us, but it also teaches us and we will forever be students to its lessons for as long as we are alive.

30 years, an absent father, one traditional "first" love, one love with the wrong person and the subsequent divorce therefrom and one beautiful baby later ... well, I think I finally know a little bit about love. I've certainly learned what it is not, when it is wrong and that it sometimes just isn't enough. I've also learned that I am not afraid of love, no matter how many times I do it wrong or it does me wrong. I believe in love. Always have; always will.

I've also learned that falling into it at 30 is a lot different than it was at 25. Or at 19. Years ago, I innocently thought love made things easy. Or at least easier.  It doesn't.

Love is as peculiar as it is complicated. When it is real, it won't look like you thought it would. It certainly won't look like it does in the movies.

In love, we don't always say the right things. Love doesn't give us magic powers to read the minds, or the hearts, of others and just because we love someone doesn't mean we can automatically empathize with them, know exactly how they feel or even how to react half the time.

Love won't always calm you down, ease your fears or chase after you if you run away scared. Sometimes it will, but sometimes it won't and you can't truly love if you always expect that it will without ever expecting that it won't.

Real love is not weighed down with expectations.  If you expect too much from love, you end up feeling utterly defeated when things don't match up with all of your best laid plans and what may start out as love gets replaced with disappointment.

Love isn't something you can plan for and it doesn't follow a plan. It isn't linear, from point A to point B, and sometimes how it starts and where it ends can't even be distinguished. And the why of it often can not be explained. Nor can its pace. Too fast for one person, might be too slow for another. Or just fast/slow enough.

Love isn't always simultaneous, mutual, fair or equal.

Love is both beautiful and messy at the same time. It makes us crazy when we fall into it and even crazier still if we fall for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time and/or with the wrong person. At the end of the crazy, it's often painfully devastating too.

Love is harder than most of us would like to admit and it takes more work than we are sometimes willing to give. It takes maturity. It takes doing it wrong over and over in order to learn how to do it right.

It takes action.

Love is an action. When it is easy and most importantly, when it isn't. Especially when it isn't even convenient, love is -- first and foremost -- actions carried out in light of what is felt in the heart.

Love is typically inconvenient, yet we can not live without it. We feel complete when we give it and when we receive it, therefore through experiencing it we know that it's worth it. Life is challenging enough without having to go through it feeling anything less than complete.

In the end, when love is real, it is everything.

What is real love to you? Or rather, what is it not? Have your views about love changed for you at all over the course of your life? Do you love more truly now than you have in the past? 

1 comment:

  1. You are so right - love is so very different at this age than it was at 19, or even 25. It's mature, understood, battle-tested love. Been there, done that, love. It's realistic. It's not always puppies and rainbows. When love is right, it's right for all the right reasons and none of the compromise or's pure, but pure because of experience.


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