I was never the type of girl to be able to make an instant choice. It just wasn’t part of my being. Quite often, I looked at something and pondered the meaning of its existential existence for far too long. Even inanimate objects… food, couches, artwork. You name it and that object became some sentimental part of me.
I met my long term boyfriend far before I knew what “I Love You”sounded like coming from someone else. And perhaps it was too soon for me to grasp the concept of the meaning, but I thought I did. But only today, the day before the celebratory day of love known as “Valentine’s Day” do I really ponder the meaning of love.
My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 years this summer, and in between those 10 years we’ve grown and adapted and changed into what our relationship is currently.
So I guess I should define love in the various stages as I’ve felt them:
“Do you want a donut?” He asked. It was a simple question and here I was over analyzing the context of it. If I get chocolate will he think I’m fat and only sit on the couch eating boxes and boxes of chocolates weeping melodramatically at films like “The Notebook”? If I get vanilla, does that make me boring? I bite my lip nervously and choose the chocolate donut with vanilla glaze.
At 15, love was innocent and fun. I saw him and knew I had to have him. He was charming, smart and funny and even then there was a strange magnificence about him that I could never explain. Least of all to him. We went on our first date (a strange reminder of something that wasn’t a part of me yet), as I sat in his sister’s former boyfriend’s overly large truck. I scanned his face for a reaction as we prepared to enter this new endeavor. First date jitters which pretty much define a good portion of the first few years of our relationship.
At 20, we enter mid-college years. And relationships become about identity. I think I took this a bit extreme and felt that my identity and his identity had to coordinate and match and be perfect in every way possible just like in the movies and books. I was unable to figure out what or who I should be and so we entered a six-month break used to discover ourselves and find out if we wanted to be together. I dated, I went out with friends, I ate fantastic food, drank wonderful wines and had awesome adventures. But there was always something missing. I had found an identity and discovered myself but there was a deep dark pit called heartache within this new identity.
At 25, we found common interests. We adopted a dog. We were adults for eight hours a day Monday through Friday and we were kids again when we came home. We joked. We poked fun at each other. We watched cartoons. Life for the most part became a lot less serious. It was a warm hug after a long day or a hot cup of tea waiting beside his french press coffee. It was the small things that became the big things. Love was still not able to be defined. But I still felt it.