Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.
Autumn is flirting with September in a dance of revolving heat, rain, humidity, and crisp breezes. Soon I know autumn will have her way with the world, and I couldn’t be happier. Flickers of yellow and orange and red begin to appear on trees, and the temperature actually drops at night. All in all, I’m waiting in anticipation of October. As it approaches, there are a lot of things on my mind. Not the least of which is what October brings with her as she arrives. A year ago, I was waiting. I knew what I was waiting for, but I had no idea how long my waiting would continue. This week last year, I began to see a few glimmers of hope, a few warm tingles. And then as October 1 turned to October 2, after a gleeful two hours of zombie-filled revelry, my waiting ended. A man I had fallen for over the course of a year and a half invited me into his life, and we started down a road together.
Given the context of emotion this week holds for me, I suppose it’s only natural for me to think about love. To ponder that thing that drives us so much through this world. I think the silver screen presents us with many unrealistic views of romance and love. (<–Understatement.) Frankly, the few chick flicks (aka rom-coms) I’ve seen lately have been so far away from reality that they’ve left me wanting to repeatedly bang my head against a board.
What is love? What really makes a relationship work? If I could answer both of those questions succinctly, I’d probably win the Nobel Prize for Peace. I’m just sayin’. Go to any Barnes and Noble and you’ll find sections littered with books trying to explain love and fix relationships in 200-400 pages of easy step-by-step instructions.
Do soulmates exist? Is there that magical moment where you just know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have found the one person who can make you happy? I might disappoint the world’s movie-going rom-com fanatics by saying this, but no. I don’t think either of those two things really exist in the way they’re portrayed. Relationships don’t follow a flow chart of: meeting –> spark –> blossoming love –> conflict –> happy ending/sunset + horsey + castle. Relationships are messy. Why? Because you’re taking imperfect people and smushing their lives together. To expect perfection is naive at best. However, I think the reality of love is more charming and beautiful than simply following a formulaic interpretation of easy happiness.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last two or so years since I met John, it’s that communication cannot receive a higher commendation in the world of love. And before you can communicate, you need to know and be happy with yourself. If you’re looking for someone to complete you, you’ll never find that. But I digress. I don’t think love happens like in the movies. Or at least if it does, it’s not even close to being the majority.
I think a lot of the time people get caught up in this idea of the magical moment that will make everything clear, make everything easy. There’s no quick fix for anything in this life, in love especially. I still think the guys in Thrice said it right when they said that love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment. Relationships take work–they don’t just work because you want them to. Sometimes they take sacrifice and selflessness. Both of which have to go both ways. While I think that two people can experience an initial click or chemistry, I don’t think that two lives just slip into each other without a ripple. People have different dreams and ambitions. To me, the mark of the best relationships is the ability of the couple not to expect their lives to poof into perfection, but the willingness to build something together. A family. A home. A life. Whatever that may look like. That’s where the beauty is to me.
That’s what I honestly love about my relationship. Looking into the future and knowing that each of us will build something together. That in the two years behind us since we met, we have begun building a foundation. We’re two adults long since launched from the families that raised us, and in the last year, we have begun a new family. A small family for now, just the two of us, but with strong ties to the families we came from. Something to build on together into something that fits us both.
I can’t think of a truer love than that.