– Contributed by Wee C
Not long ago I used some sort of fancy Facebook app that summarized all my activities on “the FB” into one nifty little presentation. Thank goodness for marketers and their ingenious ideas, eh? What I liked about it, though, was that it told me the word that appeared most frequently on my profile. To no one’s surprise, I’m sure, LOVE was my word. I’m pretty sure that I was born in the wrong era because I’ve long believed that love is, indeed, what makes the world go round. I’m a pretty big fan, to say the least. And not just of the “in love” kind of love, but equally, the “I love you, man” kind of love.
So, needless to say, love is a top-of-mind topic with me. It’s something I think about often, wondering what it looks like, how it evolves, why it changes, how to give it with abundance, and how to gracefully receive it. But recently, for a whole variety of reasons (and don’t any of you get all presumptuous, I just happen to have the privilege of renewed perspective and good literature fueling my busy mind), I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the “in love” kind of love.
As a child of the ’80s, I was born and raised on soap operas and romantic comedies. So early on I came to
be brainwashed believe that being in love was a place of bliss and fulfillment. C’mon, how could you not want what Luke and Laura or Felicia and Frisco had?! The trouble is that for a long time I saw being in love as a destination; a place you work to get towards or what you’re rewarded with after a sufficient period of good behaviour has passed. Surely this is where the tragic notion of brownie points became solidified?
For a long time, I was anxious to get there. To that place called being in love. I now see just how narrow, and frankly stifling, this point-of-view is. And it’s one I bet a whole lot of us share. Heck, the term “falling in love” itself suggests that love, at least in the romantic sense, is a goal, a destination, or worse, an end-state. And once you’re officially “in love”, it’s like the journey has stopped and you can just settled in. You’ve arrived. Let the dirty socks and nagging abound.
But for someone who loves love as much as I do, I’ve come to realize that’s just not good enough. In fact, I kinda think it sucks. It’s certainly not how I want to look at it in my life any longer. I want my definition of love to be far less limiting, much more about a journey than a destination, and much less likely to incite resentment and feelings of confinement.
So, I’ve re-framed the romantic version of love in my mind. Simply, for me love is a shared journey of discovery; a common search. It’s a journey where you get the privilege of creating meaning together. This places love on a continuum and suggests it continues to grow and evolve for as long as you wish to be on the journey together. It’s not a destination at all. And that paints a pretty beautiful picture in my mind.
It’s also a place where you are supported in your growth and where you get to support and mentor someone else in theirs. It’s where exploration is comfortable and never judged. It’s where you get to try and fail, or try and succeed. The wonderful thing about this is that human beings never stop learning or evolving, and therefore, neither should love.
And just because I make it sound all peaceful and balanced, don’t for a second think that I’m trying to take the mad rush out of being in love. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’m trying to sustain the rush for a lifetime.
In my mind, thinking of being in love as a place you work towards, an achievement you wish to accomplish, or something you’ve earned, diminishes it. But perhaps more importantly, it creates all kinds of unnecessary and fabricated pressures. We get anxious to just get there already. We want to check it off our list so we can move onto the next thing – the house, the car, the baby. We get impatient with our significant other and wonder what the hell is taking them so long.
Who knows if I’m right. But right now I like the way this sounds. Thinking about love this way excites me. It makes my heart pretty darned happy. And it makes me wonder what the heck Laura ever saw in Luke anyway.