I was about to begin this post when I realized I could not type. The keyboard would not function. The mouse was fine, but that was about it. Removed the laptop battery, blew on it, reinserted it, held the power key for 15 seconds, and now I am as good as new. I’m ever thankful for technology, but we are at its mercy in so many ways. We must wait for things to “go through.” We must hope our devices last a while before inevitably malfunctioning. We depend upon signals, connections, reception. Our patience grows thin concerning these things. We cannot even imagine mailing something and waiting for a return reply. Why wait?
It’s important to wait, though. We can do other things in the meantime. Waiting is underrated, in my opinion. When you have to wait for something, you appreciate it so much more. The immediacy we have come to expect these days has removed that burst of pleasure. It’s affected our state of mind. Our happiness. When we were children, we were told, “Good things come to those who wait.” And sometimes, that was true. Depending on what exactly it was we waited for, that is.
The last few times I sat down to write on this blog, I had no idea what to say. Where to begin. My blog used to be this very diet/weight loss centered place where I talked about what I weighed, what I was eating, what sort of exercise I was doing, as well as emotional battles concerning body weight, appearance, and food. But for quite a while now, I’ve not felt like focusing on those things. I’ve gained some of the weight back as a result. I’ve always had to focus my attention on diet, exercise and these other patterns in a laser-like fashion in order to get results. But you can only focus on these things for so long when you have a husband, children, a job, friends, interests, hobbies, etc. For years I talked about the necessity of achieving and maintaining a healthy balance when it came to diet/exercise, but it’s just been so much easier said than done.
And so I’m not depressed in this area, although, truth be told, I am still searching for my motivation…my mojo, as my friend R would say. I’ve been exercising just about every day, but not pushing myself as I know would boost my progress. And I’ve struggled with late night eating. Typically it’s not unhealthy food, but still, it’s just too late to be eating. My friend T suggested protein as a late night snack, which is a good idea (yogurt, for example). For some reason I crave dried figs and almond butter in the evenings. That’s not an unhealthy snack, but just too high in sugar and fat for that particular time. So I’m working on that.
You may be wondering when I will ever get to my actual topic: Love. Well, here I am, at last. I was thinking the other day about the concept of love while I was in the midst of some mundane task. We all know what love was supposed to be, or how it was explained to us as children…or perhaps it was explained differently. I was told that one day I would “fall in love,” get married and have children, and that was what love was all about. Yep, that pretty much sums it all up right there.
Growing up, I didn’t really observe much of that. My parents divorced when I was 8, and then my younger sister and I watched as she went through a string of relationships–just one that was close to enduring (6 years). But I just never really observed that romantic, fall-in-love, prince/princess, rainbows everywhere lovefest that had been described, or was periodically described to me. I came to learn as I got older that love was not (for me, anyway) so cut and dry.
It wasn’t for everyone. Or maybe just didn’t happen for everyone. It didn’t necessarily entail being fawned all over and covered in flowers and chocolates. Wining and dining was not some automatic thing. It wasn’t all rainbows. In fact, it might be largely rainbow-less. You didn’t always have compatible personalities, goals, desires, priorities, likes…you didn’t care about the same things. You spent a period of time together — a season — and then moved on to better weather. Sunnier skies. Someone who met your needs, which had undoubtedly changed…not the fault of the last one, necessarily. But someone who gave you what you felt you needed, and you once again felt the joy of getting to know someone. The adventuresome feeling that I now recognize (but still treasure) as the “not-old” feeling. You felt young and happy and admired…sexy, intelligent, almost immortal. You decided that you really felt loved again.
So the problem, or maybe it wasn’t a problem but more of an interpretation at the time…was just the way you defined “love.” As in, love was something that made you feel all of these wonderful things that apparently you needed this other person to implant into your insecure psyche. Of course, as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to find that love is about much, much more than another person helping me to feel young, attractive, intelligent, funny, talented, secure, etc. Not to say that a person who loves me doesn’t assist me in experiencing those feelings — of course they make me feel good — but that is just part of something much bigger. Something I’m not sure I’ll ever fully comprehend, and that I can safely say I barely (if at all) understood as a younger woman.
Love is not defined by a romantic relationship. We may find love there, certainly. But we also find it in the minds and eyes of children, in our pets, in other animals, in the touch of a loved one, in the warmth of a balmy day, when our face is buried in the hair of a friend, when we are clasped in a hug. Love is the music that lifts our heart or drags it through trenches, the leaf that clings for dear life to the tree that is bent on shedding it. Love is saying yes…love is saying no…and everything that results from those actions. Love is a smile between 2 strangers, holding the door, looking out for one another.
Falling in love is another thing. You can fall in love with a person, but is it really the PERSON? Or something ABOUT the person you are in love with? Is it something in their personality, a talent, a skill? A mindset? Is it something in their physicality? If it is, does that mean you haven’t fallen in love? Does that diminish the loftiness of love? Does it make it not really worthy of being associated with love? Should we all just forget about it because it was just too simple to be love?
Does it have to be complicated to be love? It seems in life that often the most complicated situations come down to something so utterly simple…that I can’t believe it must be complicated or needs to be full of a lot of whatever to be considered love. But where relationships are concerned, I think love itself is just a part of the puzzle.
You can be in love with a cause. With a business. With a concept. With a mentality. But does that mentality persevere? I’ve found in my life that this is not the case. Perhaps because our minds are always changing as we take in more information, process it, form ideas and opinions. We fall out of love with certain ideas and into love with others. And the funny thing (to me, anyway) is that no one has any problem with that. Well, I suppose they do in politics. But in other areas of life, where our minds are continuously tweaking, adjusting, changing, adapting, etc., we’re not necessarily going to be in it for the long haul. So one day we were just ON FIRE for this particular thing, but down the road, we change our minds. We’ve lost that loving feeling.
For me, love is maintaining my home. Cleaning, straightening, ironing, packing lunches, making breakfasts, baking breads and muffins. Doing A LOT of dishes. Saving money creatively. Sharing music with my children. Laughing with them. Enjoying a coffee with my husband. Ignoring his video game but sitting close to him in the early mornings. The “being there.” Babytalking to my cats while I stroke them and carry thema around like babies. Sweeping leaves, weeding the yard, savoring music on Spotify, practicing cello, working out a song idea at the piano…trying to make sense of guitar.
But even at work, in my office, I find love. Laughing with colleagues, standing up for another one, spoiling them with baked goods, listening to their struggles, doing my best to get the job done. Knowing they are all fellow human beings doing what needs to be done to carry on their own lives…love is there. The smiles. The bits of personal chit-chat that say, “I’m a person, not just a coworker.” The connection reminds me of the love that flows through every one and sustains us all. Even in our darkest times. That is when a stranger smiles. That is when someone asks, “What’s wrong?” Maybe someone holds the door, then, or says, “Let me take that for you. Your hands are full.” That’s love talking right there.
Love for my friends that is never-ending because they are always close to my heart and in my mind. Feeling their presence even when we are not together. Even when time has passed. Knowing they are there, breathing in and out, living their own daily lives. Hugging them close internally at that thought.
I even find love in traffic. And give it. I love to let people in. You know, when lanes are closing and you’re trying to get over, and that one car finally lets you in? And you thank them profusely? That’s me. I let people in AND gesture wildly to say thank you when people do me the courtesy. I NEVER lay on the horn. People are so impatient, beeping like crazy…ugh…used to make me mad. Now I just feel pity over it. They aren’t feeling the love for some reason. They aren’t opening themselves to it. When we close ourselves and make it all about us, we turn into selfish, beeping fools. And I mean on the road and off the road. So you just have to try to be that person (if you’re actually in a position to interact) to remind them that the love is there, ready and waiting to be tapped into. Sometimes they’ll realize it. Or ignore you. Or beep at you, LOL. Whatever.
My point is, love is everywhere. We can see it and experience it if we choose to be conscious of it and open to its gifts and lessons, some of which may be painful. Love is the heartbeat of our lives, creating an endless, changing rhythm. It is up to us to choose the dance. And very luckily, because love is all-encompassing, we can spend the rest of our days falling in and out of it. Which at times is very nice, in my opinion.