The Love Stories Of Our Lives
I was watching the re-runs of Friends recently and I was stuck on something that Rachel says, in one of the first few episodes, about how when we are younger we think that we will meet somebody when we are older, fall in love and that is it, and how that is never really the case.
At 28, I find myself pondering about who we are, what love really is and how we as individuals struggle with ourselves in relation with another person. For who we are on our own varies vastly from who we are when attached to another person. This attachment comes in the form of any one or more relationships- parent, child, sibling, lover, spouse, friend and neighbor to name a few- but it is the non-platonic form of attachment that I am most fascinated by.
Love Is A Misconception?
The parameters of love that are set up in society propagate a compulsion whereby anybody crossing the age of 23 and before hitting 30, would have found the perfect match to spend the rest of the life with. If this is not the case, this perfect match will be arranged for the said anybody. I may be wrong but in all that I learnt about marriage in my formative years, I did not see a stress on romance anywhere in our societally-advertised compulsive institution that is marriage. No sir. This notion of romance is purely the propaganda of the media, instilled in the hearts and minds of women and men through storybooks and movies. Here, the idea is that anybody crossing age of 23 and before hitting 30 will compulsively find a soul mate, who shares the same ideas and interests, and with who life is a joyride through the ascends and descents of life.
Change Is The Only Constant Thing
The common factor in all these messages that we imbibe about love, is that we seem to reach maturity by age 23 and it seems that we are expected to not grow as individuals beyond that. In my experiences and in the experiences of all those around me, stability of thought just does not exist. Who are we if we stop learning, evolving, changing our minds as we expand our understanding about the world and our lives in it? As we grow older, we add to our pool of experiences through our interactions with people we encounter when we commute to work, when we switch jobs, when we study further and when we travel to places. Such interactions and the experiences resulting therefrom are bound to change the way we look at things, and the way we think or operate. They change us continuously. And from this argument, it stands that love can never become stable and it can never really “settle”. The process of being in a relationship cannot become mundane because it requires constant re-evaluation of what we are evolving into, what our respective partners are evolving into and how we have to reinvent and find our shared space in this dynamic and ever-changing landscape.
The shared interests and ideas that two people start out with may become obsolete with time and if the two people are able to identify this fact and find common ground to build something again, the relationship continues to grow. I do not understand when I am told that a relationship did not work because one or both people involved in it changed from what they were when they started out. Is it not the rule of life that nothing is constant and that change is actually a good thing? Is it not great that individuals are evolving and are not stuck at the same place? Of course, as two people in a relationship change, it does sometimes become difficult to find common ground.
To me, the challenge in making a relationship work and to be able to stick with somebody long enough to call it a relationship is to be very aware of the person I am now, the beliefs I hold, the things I learn that change my way of looking at the world in big and small ways, and how that inter-plays with the same understanding of the person I am with.
No wonder they say love is complicated!