Love is a funny thing.

It all seems so random, so full of chance. It seems like it can happen, change or end as quickly as the winds shift. No rhyme, no reason, and there’s usually no forcing it – in either direction. What’s meant to be is meant to be. Or is it?

Sometimes I think it’s a wonder – no, probably something more like a miracle – that there are couples out there who say they’ve been in love from the moment they met. Think about the elderly couple who first connected when they were children, grew up a bit and married at 18 or so, then ended up having a blissful 70+ year marriage.

Think about the man who passes away, then mere hours later, the wife does, too – supposedly from a broken heart.

I believe the broken heart syndrome thing, I do. But what was it about them that was so binding, so permanent, so seemingly saturated with devotion and trust, with respect and love? What was it about them that seemed to make the Golden Rule their number one rule?

Was it an invisible force that made sure they were at the right place at the right time? Or was it more of a generational thing – were they simply in an era where love was perhaps more simple and less burdened? Or was it more celestial, maybe something sanctioned by the gods or driven by the alignment of the stars?

Sometimes I think these couples exist only to be the source material, if you will, for writers of romantic comedies. Other times I think they exist to give the rest of us something to strive for, to hope for.

Whatever makes great love great is, I feel, somewhat lacking today. That perhaps-unidentifiable-usually-intangible thing creates something that many want, but the process of ever getting there seems daunting. It can create impatience. It can create desperation. It can inspire everything from a hasty decision to pair off to an extended period of self-imposed exile.

I think back to the people that I loved, or that I thought I loved. Love in my teenage years was innocent and well-meaning. Love in my early 20s was more lustful than loving, a bit reckless and a lot irrational. Love in my mid to late 20s wasn’t love at all – looking back on it, it seems like it was fueled by a desire to be considered a good girlfriend which, unfortunately, had a poor and lacking definition; I shelved all of my interests for theirs, which is never a recipe for success. If you don’t have your own identity, how does the other person know who they supposedly love?

Love in my 30s has been sparse, by design. It’s been kept under lock and key in the interest of protecting my heart, but at what point does protection become detrimental? Does it ever? Sometimes with this blog I feel that I write so much that my verbal communication skills have taken a nosedive. Similarly, in the process of protecting my heart, has it ultimately shut me off from being open to exploring love?

Love is a funny thing, but I’m thankful for it – or rather, for the good examples of it. It makes me want to be a better person for myself and for whoever wants to take a chance on me, and seeing the success stories makes me content in knowing that it will happen when it’s supposed to, if it’s supposed to.

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