I have a lot of opinions. They change of course over time. Sometimes they change due to conversations. Sometimes they change by experiences. Sometimes they change inside me and I am not really sure why they change at all. I just know they change, and that’s part of growing, and that’s what I think wisdom feels like when you suspect you’ve gained some.
I’ve never really attempted to write about love. I’ve written songs, letters to others, or tend to find myself in conversations where I express these ever changing opinions about it, but every time I want to sit down and attempt to capture any of my thoughts on the matter, I come up with some distraction to delay the inevitable another few months (I started this post three years before publishing it so months is a bit of a misnomer). Yet to be honest I think about people, and connections, and relationships, and that allusive four letter word a lot. I’m fascinated with the mystery of it all, and I think I’m in good company based on thousands of years of art, music, movies, books, and so on.
I was born it seems with the frustrating combination of a very analytical mind and a heart filled with passion and romantic ideals. My brain tells me that feelings are nothing more than a reaction to thoughts, subconscious and conscious, i.e. a person’s checklist refined over time through mistakes or ambitions that define our perfect mate or as I call it “doing the math.” These thoughts begin to ripple like small waves in the ocean, until mixed with hormones, hidden “clocks” and convenient timelines, and some evolutionary biology, they begin to crash onto the beach until the body and mind have become overwhelmed with these “feelings” for someone. Then we can destroy them and burn them down, and one day they are gone completely, and we hope that we can reconstruct these past variables to feel again, but without the hurt that followed the last time we let ourselves “feel.” My heart tells me that even though my brain has some decent points, there is a magic to it all that tends to feel like a large play that has already been rehearsed, and the characters you meet are just actors that you’ve met before, and they’re all part of this amazing dramatic, funny, thrilling, scary thing we call life.
These opinions I have come from these warring elements of brain and heart (don’t tell the heart that the brain controls everything as it is pretty sensitive). These same ever changing opinions have led me to my latest general conclusion on love, and that is that a selfless love is a love that may hold the key to everlasting happiness.
As different types of love goes there is of course lustful love, where your thoughts are shall we say occupied around specific activities. The more advanced version of lustful love is romantic obsessive love, where the simple touch of a hand can bring you to your knees, and the thought of someone else with them burns green with jealousy. Lastly there is the more adult long-term attachment love where the commonplace and the comfort of someone in your life warms your heart knowing you have someone by your side, whether they are the right person or not. Yet in all of those cases there can be a finality to each. Be it a lack of wisdom, self-esteem, self-image, or even just the inevitable change within ourselves that happens over time, each experiment in love teaches us something we didn’t know before, and hopefully prepares us for another journey with someone else. My theory on selfless love is that when you have journeyed through all of those various stages, you have the wisdom and patience to know that all of it could go away, and you are ok with that (this can also be referred to as the “stop giving a f*** method”). Yet, you work to ensure it never happens every day. Selfless love means you can separate the selfish desire to be with someone, and love yourself and the person you’re with enough to allow them to find someone better than you one day, if that is what they need, and if not then you nurture the love you have actively knowing it is temporary. Instead of assuming that your partner will always be around, you love them as if every day is your last.
The devil’s advocate part of me reminds me that this theory is also another way to say, “why work for anything real if you are willing to let it go.” If you love selflessly and you want them to be happy, you could easily convince yourself that the way to make someone happy is to remove yourself from the equation. If you don’t have to work for anything you could easily walk away with a clear conscious, even if that isn’t the best thing for anyone in hindsight. However, I do believe you need to be wise enough to really see if you are the actual problem, and assess whether or not you could fix that problem, through behavioral changes. Or whether you aren’t right for the person, and they just have a problem seeing that, because they aren’t wise enough yet and are blinded by the other types of love above. It is a very fine line, but I do believe that it is possible. I think when people after a relationship reflect back and say, “you know. I really wasn’t happy with them,” it is either because they actually learned something and gained wisdom from their last experience and are ready for the next one, or they changed the past memories to cope with the present reality of being hurt.
Didn’t I say writing about love is hard? No wonder people get dogs. Actually the more I reflect on it dogs are the true epitome of selfless love. They love you with zero conditions. If that isn’t selfless then I don’t want to know what selfless means (some would argue I really don’t based on my definitions above). I guess the moral of this post is everyone should get a dog. Humans are just too damn complicated. I mean look at that face. Instant heart melt, and no tears. Until well you know. Nothing lasts forever.
Wait a second. Maybe that’s the moral of this post. We are all just dust in the wind. Technically Kansas taught us that moral. They also taught us to lay our weary heads to rest, and demanded that we stop crying (very Dad of them). Because everything dies. Including, well you know, everything.