Today, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw an image of my little sister kissing the cheek of her boyfriend who’s leaving for the Army in 3 days. I remembered the feeling of when my own husband left for the Army, but I knew he was coming back after 5 months since he was in the reserves. In my sister’s case, he isn’t coming back. For a second, I had that same pang in my heart knowing the pain she must feel having to say good-bye to him indefinitely. In that moment, I profoundly realized that the feelings you can have at 17, at 18 and 19, are very much real. In that moment, my little sister was not my little sister, but a girl in love saying “goodbye” to her person.
I believe that people change over time. They really can. However, I also believe that when you are in your twenties, you are still the same person fundamentally that you were when you were in your late teens.
In your teens, you already know what love feels like. You know what betrayal and hurt feel like. You understand what it’s like to miss someone with your whole heart.
Over time, you have experiences that change your mindset. Maybe you change your body, learn new things, meet new people, and grow as an individual – but cognitively, you are capable of knowing what a great love feels like.
I am someone who met her “person” in her teens. I have very close friends who are now engaged to the person they were dating in high school. Their hearts connected from the very beginning, and over time I have only seen all of their love stories grow stronger as they advance in life – graduations, college, jobs, children, houses, death, happiness, and more. They, like me, were blessed to have found someone early in life who they felt strongly enough about to commit themselves to.
So, why all this talk on young love?
The answer is simple: to convince people that it’s worth it. When people say that someone is too young to know what they want at 17 or 18, I say different. I think that although there is an incredible amount of potential and growth in a future, you CAN know what (or who) you want at 17. You CAN know what you want your future to look like and who you’d like to share it with. Do you know what’s to come entirely? Absolutely not! Life, as we know, brings many unexpected twists and turns. Despite this, I think a young heart has the ability to love the strongest…to envision the most brilliant of possibilities…to make the most incredible hurdles feel small.
The resilience and persistence of young lovers should not scare us or make us doubtful of its validity. Trust me when I say that the validity is there – it’s the maturing of two individuals over time that will solidify their hopes and dreams for their future. Their love will remain the same, if anything, growing stronger.
To all the young lovers: it’s worth it. Your midnight drives. Your late sappy texts. Those flowers on your 1-year anniversary, the unforgettable prom night, the petty arguments, your talks about a forever that seems incredibly far away. It’s closer than you think, and you can make it work. When two hearts cannot live without each other, they will always find a way – whether you are 17 or 27.
I sit here now, a 23-year-old married to my young love who is now 24. We are still kiddos in the minds of older people, but I feel like we have come immensely far. That boy who used to tell me he can’t wait to wake up next to me someday? Well, we made it work. It wasn’t always easy. But now, we’re at the beginning of that “forever” we’ve been talking about since 17.
Let young love live on.