I was in a class once during my senior year in college, and the professor asked the class, "How long do you think people stay in love for?" We went around the classroom with an estimate and it was very disconcerting to me that nearly everyone put it in the six months - one year range. What? Didn't your parents ever read you fairytales? I know that we grow up and learn that fairytales aren't real, but come on, six months? As I'm sure you can assume, I did not give that answer. I was the only one in the class who said I think it lasts forever. My professor laughed and told the class to watch out for me because I didn't know anything about love.
Well, three years later, I still think about this and still cannot understand why no one else would believe that love lasts forever. I think the exact opposite. I think even the little loves, you know -- the kind that "teach you lessons" and break your heart and leave you teary eyed? Well, once the anger and pain is gone, you still look back with fond memories; I think that little glimpse of care, that's love. Once you have loved someone, I don't believe that love will ever leave you. Maybe the longing, attraction, passion will leave you, but not love. Love stays through it all.
Maybe I had it lucky, and maybe it made my life a little bit easier to keep believing in fairytales because of the love I grew up with from my parents.
It started with a sophomore boy at Bishop Feehan High School, his hair too long and his basketball shorts too short (he claims that was the style back then, but I'm not buying it). He was sitting in the back of the classroom goofing off with his friends. Many stories start this way, if you think about it. In walks this shy girl who quietly goes right to her desk and sits down, not looking around the classroom. What better way for a high school boy to get a girl's attention than to throw a grape at the back of her head? So that happened. And then so did the next 30 years. Now, if it were true that love only lasts six months, my parents would've been past that stage in about 1976. My parents have a suitcase tucked away in their closet (only a daughter who snoops would be able to find) that has every note, letter, card that they sent between each other while they were dating. They've been through it all, made sacrifices and created a beautiful life together through all of the ups and downs. My dad's birthday was a few months ago and I took a picture of what my mom wrote in the card because I don't think there is any more genuine of a love that after 30 years still saying: "If we live to be 100, I'll never get tired of looking at life with you and living life with you. Love you forever." So, maybe it is because of my parents that I believe that love lasts forever. I think that even though we're told fairytales aren't real, some loves prove that theory wrong.
To be completely honest, though I am a complete love believer and no matter how much I love love, it scares me. I've seen love, I've felt love and I've been in love. But I've also seen and felt how bad it can hurt to try to un-love. The lesson I've learned about love is that you cannot undo it. Once you let it into your heart, no matter whether the person goes or stays, you're stuck with that love for the long run. I think that's actually a positive thing that love demands commitment. Many people (probably my whole class who only believe in the six-month love) would agree that it's a risk to love; people don't like feeling vulnerable to someone else. But if you're like me and put a wall up when you notice someone is beginning to get close to you, make a conscious effort to knock that wall down yourself. Don't make someone else knock it down for you; after all, if this is a new love then they never hurt you in the first place. I'd say start with just a few bricks; let them in a little bit. Then once you see that all they want is to be on the other side with you, I think the whole rest of the wall might just fall down on its own.