As Valentine’s Day approaches for the 22nd year of my life, like any other single I’m thinking about my relationship status and the lack of romantic love in my life. This time of year it’s easy to get in a funk about not having a boyfriend and having a future as a cat lady but I’ve been there and done that. I have never been in love, never approached love, and have no prospects for it at the current moment. Unfortunately, I’m not living Taylor Swift’s version of twenty-two, so I don’t have a million guys knocking down my door. It’s hard dating after college, and it’s hard to meet anyone my age when the only thing I ever want to do after work is put on sweatpants and watch whatever’s on ABC Family. It’s hard enough to exist as a single unit right now, so I’m not sure how I would juggle my own roller coaster of a life to fit with someone else’s.
But I have to admit that I do get a teensy bit jealous at all my friends and co-workers in great relationships while I’ve been by myself forever. I mean, dammit, I’m funny! I read! I listen to good music! (I’m pretty much amazing, actually, but I’ll stop there.) But the even weirder thing is that when I think about love, I don’t think about all the normal stuff like having someone to do stuff with, the physical aspects, or being a part of a pair. No, when I think about being in love, I think about fear.
They say that love is the strongest force in this world — it can move mountains, it can overcome all, and it endures the test of time. That’s nice and all, but we’re not living in the movies and that’s not always the case. When I think about love, my thoughts immediately go to all the bad things too — broken promises, break-ups, divorce and pretty much anything horrible that can happen to two people in love. It makes me sound pessimistic, but I’m not saying that I don’t want to be in love because I do someday. It just scares me.
It scares me to think of giving up control to a feeling that’s so powerful that my judgment can be clouded or will change me otherwise. It’s scary to think about putting another person’s feelings if not before mine, then equal with my own. That thought isn’t even coming from a place of selfishness, just a place of realizing that my life has always been about me and solely me, for the longest time. When I see my friends in their own relationship drama, it awes me how many of their decisions are colored by their relationships, which is both beautiful and really effing terrifying since we’re so young. It’s hard to understand how people continually fall in love despite being hurt before, but I know that just comes from a place of fear. And even though I’m not some sage old wise person, even I know that most of life is getting over our fears.
And despite my fears, I do want to fall in love. And when I do fall in love, I want to be all in. I want it to have the highs of a Beyonce song, the vulnerability of a Fleetwood Mac song, and the epicness of a 80s rock anthem. Even though I’m scared of love, I want the experience because I know that life wouldn’t be full without it. So maybe next Valentine’s Day, I’ll be on the other side of this equation saying that love is the best thing ever. But I still think it will be scary. But unlike other fears, love isn’t something to be conquered. It’s something to revel in and to remind you that you’re alive.
[Lead image via majabokun/Shutterstock]