Thursday, May 4, 2017

What's love got to do with it?

Loving and Living in a selfish world

Gazing down the airplane window, trying to distract myself from the impending take off, I pondered about a TV documentary I had just finished watching on my phone before boarding. Interestingly, it was about an aspect of human existence I haven't spent much time considering, that is, until lately - on the hows and whys and whens - of love, of sex, of lust, of the more basic physical instincts that men and women grapple with, of relationships. 

So much so in fact, that the subject of "love" has been amazingly neglected. Maybe what the author said was true. I suppose in many respects I have also become a little jaded and cynical when it comes to what "love" is all about anyway... I mean, what does love have to do with sex, and vice versa... Can anyone really explain it? And, when do you really distinguish between the two?

How many times have you heard people say - "When you're in love with someone, you'll just know it..." Know what? Know how? Know when? They never seem to explain "it" and most of us - I'd wager - would have a hard time verbalizing exactly what "it" is... So I ask you now - what is love? If that isn't the most open-ended question on the planet at this moment - I don't know what would be!

Throughout history reams and reams of paper and countless barrels of ink have been expended by those in search of in explanation of  love...  Shakespeare wrote "Live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove, That hills and valleys, dales and fields, And all the craggy mountains yields..." Perhaps Shakespeare knew what love had to do with "it". Perhaps if he was still alive and kicking he could enlighten the rest of us - who can say...

Hollywood has made more than its fair share of attempts at interpreting love on the big screen over the years - From Here to Eternity and Casablanca are only a few of the classic films that come to mind. Even today in this post modern century, everyone still seems to be in search of "it." I remember reading an old article in Salon magazine by Barry Sullivan, a series of essays written on spending 34 years making love to and loving the same woman... Is Mr. Sullivan an anomaly? Is long-term "love" a generational thing, and have we forgotten how it works in this day and age - or did we ever know?

I believe the sole answer to all of the preceding questions is quite simply "No." How many of us with parents still living (and still married after 30, 40, even 50 years) can look at them and know they are, in fact, truly happy - or they have never cheated - or have they just acquiesced to an existence of tolerating each other, of a life time of disengagement because being engaged with each other ceased to be a passion for them long ago... I'd bet the scales are tipped pretty evenly in that regard.

Love wins out sometimes, other times - it does not. Pity, most of us still look for the flaws in the person who loves us instead of rejoicing in their love. Selfishly, we get more interested in stuff like money, looks, age, race and so many other things that we entirely forget why we even fell in love with that person. We only want to accept and have the love we think we deserve. 

Perhaps the one thing that can be said - is that when you do happen to stumble upon love - or it stumbles upon you - and you do inexplicably know - cherish it, hold it, revel in it - because just like the weeds that invade and strangle bright blossoming gardens, love will leave you, if don't care for it...if you don't protect it..if you don't respect it.

All these musings as usual, provide more questions than answers - but that's part of life that makes you think, think, think... I hope at the very least we are continuing to do that - even if we are habitually late and ignorant in recognizing true love when it comes to us on a platter. Like someone said, being ignored by someone who's attention means the world to you is the worst feeling ever.

I am a pessimist when it comes to love but I still believe we must like living each day to its fullest all the time and find and cherish the love we find. Maybe, we should all enjoy life while you're at it! Just because the summer of love slipped away and the winter of loneliness is on the way, is no excuse for staying cooped up and forgetting how to - live...and love and try again. Try it sometime and I think you'll quickly become addicted. 

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