For obvious reasons, I have been thinking about love a lot lately. There are so many kinds in my life. Some I’m good at; others I still have a lot to learn about.
I’m enough of a dirty touchy-feely hippie to think that love is a gift. I believe we should love as many different people as we can as fiercely as we are capable. It makes our lives complicated, and sometimes it turns our lives upside down, but it worth it.
The purpose of life is not to acquire things, but to find people, build relationships and take care of each other. Families are the meaning of life. I don’t mean the traditional idea of a family with a mommy, daddy, and kids (but nothing against it); I mean people who have found each other and have decided to care for each other whenever they can. Some people are part of your life everyday, like a spouse or parent, some people you only see every few months or years. They are still family.
On the other hand, just because someone is related to you it doesn’t mean they are family. Love as many people as you can as deeply as you can, but only if care enough to keep the trust of that love. If someone loves you, it is a gift. There is a certain kindness inherent in that gift. When you accept love, you accept power over that person and the responsibility to use that power wisely. That all is actually pretty complicated. I think it boils down to the “don’t be a douche rule.”
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot of why love can be such a fearful thing. I think it is two simple things. When you love someone they have power over you. They can hurt you. Also, we make love far more complicated than it really is.
I think we believe that romantic love comes with all of these expectations. We believe if we admit to romantic love we are involving ourselves into this big scary pile of things. We think if we love someone suddenly it stops being about just the two of you and morphs into a mess of future. In our minds, love has to lead to marriage, children, and everything else. If we admit to love, we feel forced to push into this.
Love for me is simpler. Love is that moment of rightness. There is this glorious moment with someone when you feel more right than you ever have. You feel safer, happier, prettier, and more alive than you ever have. Love is that moment when you feel like you could breath in the other person.
Love can change into other things. I think love is an action. If you marry someone, you have to actively work to love your spouse. You have to decide you are going to make things work that day. I think, though, in the beginning before the commitment and those decisions, love is something simpler. We make it more complicated.
I’ve been in love before. My love-life history is a flaming mess. My natural urge is to downplay my past love. I was in love. I learned lots. I moved on. Does that make my current love less valid? No. Because I have been happy before does not make happy times in the future less valid or intense. We can love many many times. The difference is if we chose to commit to the love we are in. Feeling love doesn’t mean we are suddenly tied to another person. We make decisions to be tied to another person.
I’ve decided not to worry about those decisions right now. They will come when they come. Right now, I’m going to focus on feeling.