Love is defined most simply as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. It seems simple enough. In fact, it would be fair to say that most of my friendships fall within this simple definition.
Love is not that simple though. At forty years old, I still can’t wrap my head around it.
The hopeless romantic in me (yes she does exist, contrary to popular opinion) wants to believe that love can be like The Notebook. All consuming, passionate and fierce. A flame that never burns out. I want to believe beautiful love stories like this can happen in real life.
The independent feminist (yup, that’s more like it) in me wants to believe in movies like Ever After. The kind where the Princess does not need to be saved, because she saves herself. The Prince loves her for who she is, and they live happily ever after.
They are both just stories though. Different fairy tales created to captivate audiences.
I suppose what I want lies somewhere in the middle of those two examples. A passionate flame that never burns out, but still respects my independence and ability to take care of myself. Fierce but loving. Loyal and committed.
When I look back at my past relationships, I wonder why they stopped working. The easiest answer is probably not right. These answers focus on the failure itself, as opposed to the cause of it. There is not one stand out reason why, but rather a list of possibilities.
I recently finished reading A Book About Love by Jonah Lehrer. It examined all different types of love, and the factors that can strengthen it. The book explored different studies about married couples, parents and children and even alcoholics.
While I came away from the book with a lot think about, the only definite answer was that love is hard, and there is no one way to make it work.
I was counting down the days until my 40th birthday on September 15, 2017 with 40 Things. Unfortunately, I am a procrastinator and did not finish it on time. Still, I continue to push myself to finish.