In this strange and sticky world of digital-age dating, I thought it’d be nice to start a fresh conversation that gets back to the heart of things. I asked a few people who fall within the “Millennial” generational to share what love means to them. Here’s what they said:
“Being in love is like being naked. Even when you’re wearing clothes, you know that deep down, you’re still naked. If you’re lucky, you and someone special get to be naked together.”
— James, 24
“To me, it always felt impossible to love someone else because I was too focused on myself, or maybe even too in love with myself, or the idea of wanting to have the perfect life. Regardless, it was sort of selfish and ultimately I knew I was in love with another person when I started to keep their interests more in mind than I did my own.”
— Justin, 27
“I thought I was in love a few times over the years, but what I experienced back then cannot even compare to how I feel about love now. My first real love did not happen until I was 20 years old, and it felt like I was flying. It felt like I was taking off into the sky and floating above the clouds, even though I am afraid of falling. It was like chasing the sunset around the planet. Just to watch it over and over again, reveling in its fleeting beauty before the inevitable night.
To me, being in love is being human. Love is making time to see one another, even though your work schedules are opposite. Love is dancing like idiots in the kitchen to weird French music while cooking dinner, and feeling like you are the only two people in the world, even when you are out for drinks with friends. Love is becoming comfortable being open and vulnerable with another person, even when it terrifies you. Love is something everyone should experience, for love is in all of us and being in love is a grand adventure.”
— Hannah, 22
“Love is the ultimate je ne sais quoi. It means something different for everyone, and the best we can do is matching our understanding of love as best we can with another person. To some, love is service, making another person’s life easier and doing the best you can to provide for their material comfort. To others, love is physical closeness, hugs, kisses, back massages, foot rubs, sex. Love can be kind words, or gifts, or an evening spent on a mutually enjoyable activity or conversation. Most of all, the paradox of love is that it is both unrequited and reciprocal. It can’t be both, and yet it has to be to be love.”
— Aaron, 34
“Love is a tough subject for me, as most often it has ended in heart break. Regardless of how it ends, or if it even does, I feel as though we can all agree that being love is incredibly powerful. To me being in love is all consuming. I think that’s why we sometimes lose ourselves within others. But being in love is beautiful. I think that to truly become one with another is something rare that not everyone gets to experience.
So regardless of the pain that can be caused, we as humans always seek love. That’s why we fall back down only to get back up and try, time and time again. Because love is kind, love is pure, it’s messy and confusing as hell. But love will always be worth it.”
— Victoria, 24
“Being in love is like walking through a ring of fire because you know you have someone’s hand to hold the entire way. It is the most challenging, enriching, and worthwhile thing to do in life. Being in love opens doors, and invites you to share an experience with someone that makes both of your lives better. Once you look in the eyes of the person you love, you see exactly what you like most in the world, and having that close to you makes you happier than any other experience possible.”
— Jesse, 24
“Love isn’t something you need to survive. But, I think it’s something that defines the human experience, and, while rare in the course of a lifetime, once experienced, it changes you. Knowing what it means to care about another more than yourself. Knowing what it’s like to surrender who you are to another.”
— John, 25
“For me, love is a baseline condition, an empathetic respect offered to any fellow person. The boundary between that basic love and the state of “being in love” centers on an awareness of trust in another individual. This trust is built partially on mutual hobbies, interests, etc., but largely depends on a set of shared experiences. Once one determines that another person will not only refrain from harming them, but indeed take active effort to prevent harm, this trust allows for vulnerability not exposed to anyone else. That vulnerability is what I would call the state of “being in love” – a willingness to share the thoughts and feelings we normally keep to ourselves out of fear of reprisal.”
— Paul, 25
“Love is not always an easy thing to find. Love in fact, is a state of inevitable and perpetual heartbreak until it is truly found. It seems backwards, but once found, feels like every previous hint of its notion accumulated and manifested into a single being. Love is certain. Love is pure. Love is real. I believe that being in love is something to not take for granted, so love the one you’re with but also the ones who helped you out along the way. “
— Dean, 25
Let’s keep the conversation going. What does love mean to you?