Love as it ages
Love is a man-made concept and like all man-made concepts, it’s quite subjective, fluid and hard to define. Thanks to literature, and now media, we have a nice little template to go with. But why is this static?
If you are 18 (or probably younger today), love is that feeling which gives you the tingle, makes your groin ache and what not. If you are in your 30s, love is that feeling when your husband surprises you with roses even on your 10th anniversary, and you can put that on Instagram. When you are in your 50s, love is that hypothetical feeling when your husband praises your culinary skills in front of your family and friends. Given that the husband would never do such things, your love probably died the day you had kids. When you are in your 70s or 80s, it is love when your spouse holds your hand while crossing the road. But then you think they’re trying to act like they’re 16, because love is only for youngsters no?
I’d like to argue that love can be so much more, but we are limiting its potential by trying to confine ourselves to the template thrown at us by a large data set of movies with stereotypical plots of love and it’s implications on our lives. Ask anyone who has lived a long life (I mean like over 40-50 years) with a companion and all they have left of this person is memories, they will tell you what love felt like for them.
If we let love to take over our lives and let it do its magic without trying to control every minute of it, I am sure we will have so many more stories about love to tell our next generation. Okay, I haven’t asked anyone about love when they are old and withering, and it’s hard to guess either because social conditioning makes us feel like it’s wrong to feel romantic love as we grow old.
We like to think of love as a short-lived fleeting feeling one only feels once or twice at the most in our entire lives. That’s because we still think of love as being that pain in the groin. But if you’re still feeling it down there in your 70s, it’s probably just herpes.
But what if love is not just about someone whispering sweet nothings in your ear or running their fingers down your neck. What if love were to walk into your life in disguise, would you ever know? The problem is we don’t recognise the face of love as it ages, it only feels familiar in retrospect. The same love that you feel for someone when you are 16, grows into a different person as you grow older. This 3rd person called love in your life evolves with you.
What if I told you that love is that feeling of exhaustion (or relief) when you walk into a house that looks like a disaster, but your partner has managed to put your toddler to bed by the time you got back home from a tiring day at work. What if love is hidden behind frustration from not being allowed to sleep in late even on a Sunday because your spouse can’t start the day without your coffee or home cooked breakfast. What if love is that feeling of helplessness you feel when your spouse won’t give up on trying to change you even after 40-50 years of marriage.
Most of us have probably been in love once or twice, but watching love as it ages is a whole new experience all together, I think.