How do you define love? To want, to need, to not be able to live without? It’s such a simple word, yet it covers all manner of, well, everything.
I love summer storms and snowfalls; they’re some of my favorite things.
I love pad thai and drunken noodles; I left Spain (in part) to be closer to them.
I love my dog; his kisses warm my heart like no other.
And I love my family, but I don’t always like my family. But still, I love them.
But why? To love a thing, an inanimate thing, is simple — you enjoy it, you crave it, you want it, maybe you even need it. But to love a person… What is that?
Familiar love is a unique case — it is based on nothing but ties, no emotions or feelings, just a unifying blood. It’s unexplainable and undeniable. It just is. But to love others, strangers, friends…
What is it? To love a person, what does that mean?
Is it looking into a stranger’s eyes for the first time, getting this all-knowing intuition that you’re meant to be with them, the ever-elusive love at first sight?
Or is it a growing feeling of unity that comes after years of building friendship and trust, the perfect foundation for an intimate future?
Or could it be that feeling in the pit of your stomach, that urgent sensation stronger than lust or physical desire that distracts you from all else, so that you can think only, almost obsessively, about that one person?
Or is it the same as actually loving an inanimate thing; is loving a person nothing more than knowing that you cannot live without them?
Our society seems obsessed with love, with the idea of falling head over heels in love, with happy endings and with finding our soul mates. It seems that we get so caught up in trying to identify the truest form of love and whether we’ve reached it, whether if the person we love is an ideal match for us, and whether we can love them in each and every way, that we’ve forgotten that we can love each and every person in our lives, or at least those we deem worthy of love, differently.
Loving people comes in levels of intensity, of reality, of longevity and of depth. No level is constantly moving in one direction or another. These levels, and their rises or falls, cannot be predicted. They cannot be tracked. For, ultimately, there is neither reason nor logic to love, it just happens. And it happens often. And each and every time you love someone, even for a second, you are falling in love. It may not be a lasting love. In fact, it probably won’t be. But in that moment, you are falling, and you are falling into one kind of love, or another.
I fell in love with the stranger that sang Hopeless Wanderer to me outside of a hostel; I fell for the twinkle in his eye, the curl of his hair and the sweetness of his voice. I haven’t spoken to him in years.
I fell in love with the boy who led me to a rooftop, for nothing more than to watch a sunrise. I fell in love with him more over time, over distance. I haven’t spoken to him in months.
I fell in love with my past boyfriend. We fought; I moved; we broke up. We fell out of one love and into another, and I still hold onto that love, and was able to speak with him just yesterday.
Everywhere, there is love to be given and received. There are strangers with glints in their eyes, with stories to tell. There are friends who love as friends, and friends who love under the guise of friendship, hoping and waiting for a spark to ignite and intensity to grow. And then maybe, out there, somewhere is that one person, that one soulmate, that radiates a love that I cannot yet even imagine. Or maybe not.
Either way, I refuse to go looking for said possible soulmate. Instead, I choose to let myself fall into each moment that greets me, and let myself fall in love freely.
Never have I felt so much warmth, so much love, in my life. And never will I be able to live, or love, any other way.