“Growing up is strange.”
It was a recurring theme, a statement repeated ever louder and with more emphasis than it had the last time. The exact words and phrasing changed, but the message stayed the same.
Growing older posed peculiar opportunities, created ever changing environments, and constantly challenged the notion of predefined societal precepts.
As she sipped on her organic Fair Trade coffee out of a locally created mug, she wondered whether she was destined to become a hippie. It always seemed the question of love was the underlying problem at hand.
Love comes in many shapes, sizes and forms. Love comes in the simple expression of human connection, friendship even in moments passing. Love comes in the intense sexual connection of two lovers. The questions arise for the in-between and beyond. Are these two extreme ends of a linear equation, or are these merely two pieces in an array of infinite possibilities?
Such a simple word, so often used, taken, and given away, yet so little understood.
Each love is uniquely different. The love between any combination of people will differ based on the capabilities, background and experiences of such people. Two friends. Estranged parents raising a child together. A group united on political beliefs. A community of religious believers. Strangers driving the same unusual make and model of car down the freeway, side by side. Lifelong monogamous partners.
Who is to say which of these loves matters more? Who is to define what these loves can or should be?
The important thing to understand about these relationships, long or short, big or small, is that they are relative to those experiencing them. No two loves can be the same.
Is love linear? Do you move through life loving only one person at at time? Or do you in fact, hold love for many people at once?
It would seem obvious. There is family love, friend love, romantic love, lustful love. There is fast love, easy love, difficult love, slow love. There is deep love, shallow love, momentary love and long lasting love.
Friend love can give way to romantic love. Romantic love can give way to friend love. Lustful love can give way to romantic love. Friend love can give way to family love.
Yet, so often, love feels competitive. We want the love we have to be the best version of love, because we want to feel confident that we are living a fulfilled existence. We want to believe that we’re not missing out on something better. We want to believe that we are offering the best love that there is.
When we become insecure in our love, we become madmen. We hide it away, we attempt to validate it in some way, we distance ourselves, we lash out at the love of others.
The truth is, there is no ultimate love.