I see it in her flashing eyes, the flush that’s radiating through her skin, the insuppressible smile in each syllable. The texture in her voice is overflowing with excitement and vivacity. She’s no longer in the room with me…No, she’s departed to a different time and place, enveloped in the haze and warmth of her new interest. The energy she exudes makes the goosebumps erupt on my skin, transporting me to my own memories of the same.
My friend is in love.
And as quickly as her demeanor, her spirit, and her happiness exalt from her, she quickly retracts.
“I know, it’s too soon. It sounds like I’m moving too fast.”
So familiar is this scenario of a love-intoxicated friend of mine, quickly flipped to cynical, apologetic, and cautious. Familiar because I’ve been there, and likely you’ve been there. As Brene Brown courageously speaks on how we allow fear to steal joy from our happy moments; we ingest the judgments of other’s experiences of heartbreak and scorned love. A voice inside warns us with flashing sirens, and the walls barricading our hearts add yet another brick layer. This taints our optimism and holds us back from being our fully expressive selves.
Is it too soon? What is too soon? What is that so-called “magic number”?
I’ve gone down that careful, logical love path, where timing is phased long enough to prevent the societal eyebrow raise. Go on some dates, take time getting to know one another, let that time build… After an acceptable waiting period, move-in together, adjust. Several years later, get engaged, take some more time. Do the deed.
And sometimes it works… But sometimes it doesn’t.
I’ve gone down that radical road, where meeting the first week leads to living together the second. Each step advances fast enough I must formulate the story and reasons my heart has never felt this way, so as not to appear impulsive. He moves to another country, and after only one month of dating, we know love will conquer all. This love will anyway.
But sometimes it doesn’t work out… And sometimes it does.
And I’ve judged. The now happily married friend with 3 kids, who decided to get married after only a month, yet proved my criticism wrong.
I find the “logicalization” of love fascinating. The science, the reasons, the theories. None of those ever sold me. And while there are tendencies, some patterns, and natural biochemistry in it all, there’s nothing that explains the erratic way love can make us feel and act. Or how two people, perfectly fit in every category on paper, just don’t make a match. Or why my perfect marriage failed.
Through all of this, the only thing I have made sense of is… That love makes absolutely no sense. It’s illogical, irrational, gravity-defying, rule-breaking, and generally crazy. It brings the best of ourselves, the worst of ourselves, it carries the greatest joy, it causes excruciating pain, it heals, it hurts.
So, I turned off the equations, the rules, and all the rationalizations I made for others approvals. I removed the checkpoints, the timelines, and listened long enough to hear my inner voice. How does it make me feel? Accepting this has liberated me to follow my heart.
Go for it. Try it on. Be all in. Get a bit wild. Take your friggin hair down.
Is there risk we might get hurt? Yes.
Because anytime we go for something that means anything, it undoubtedly exposes us. There’s a chance we’ll look silly or be left with our pants down.
That is love. Obnoxious, excruciating, maddening, sweet love.
Tidy, organized, planned love? There’s no strategy resulting in guarantees. Sometimes it fails miserably.
Unabashed, out-of-control, spontaneous love? This, too, may plummet south. It can rip your heart out.
But with this greater risk, comes more monumentous rewards. Love that shakes us, transforms us, and deepens our hearts. Completeness, fulfillment, and awakening of the soul. And if there’s anything to be illogical and radical about, it might as well be love.
Being half-committed will never let us let go enough to wholly enjoy the ride. Apprehension will never allow us to fully show up and be present to meet love. Hesitancy will never give us a chance.
So, to my girls out there (and even some of my fellas), I won’t judge you. Go after it. I’ll be here waiting for your gushy call. And if it’s the 15th time you’ve been wildly in love, and “this guy is different”, or she “could be the one”? I’ll go with it… Because one of these times you’ll be right, and taking that chance is always worth it.
Always take the chance.