I used to believe love was like Santa Claus.
Everyone knew it didn't exist, but there was some sort of unspoken agreement to play pretend and let the children figure it out for themselves. I loved my parents and I loved my sister, even when she stole my favorite Lululemon leggings. Even as a six year old, I knew this feeling was different than what I saw in the movies.
Does true love exist or have we been lied to half of our lives? We are all capable of feeling strongly for another being. However, not everyone will express or experience love in their lifetime. As a consequence of our own devices, we create a destiny of perpetual singleness. It's a tragic tale, but a few bad apples can discourage our pursuit of a healthy, committed relationship. Trust me, I am not someone qualified to give advice to the heartbroken. But, I'd like to instill faith in humanity, so that millennials don't believe a proper date consists of cheap wine and a Trojan.
We're all chasing something: our buzz, our fix, anything that will satisfy our immediate desires. Hungry? Postmate sushi, swipe into a dining hall, order ramen to go. Lonely? Send a snapchat, post a story, swipe right on tinder. We are all guilty of indulging in our cravings, seeking out what may be wrong, but feels right.
It's not your fault. We live in a world of social media influencers and self-driving cars. Validation is an appealing substitute for connection; it's instant and requires minimal effort.
Why introduce Liam to your step-mom, when you can post a bikini pic to receive affection? While I hope you are catching onto my sarcasm — too many fall into this pattern: chasing desire, thinking it will amount to red roses and a white-picket fence. If you are not looking for something serious, then go ahead — get laid, then ghost when you're bored.
I remember being a dumb, naive seven year old, wishing for my parents to kiss, hold-hands, or show some sign that they actually liked each other.
My illusion of a cohesive family unit, kept their marriage strung along. Now that I've matured, experienced love and heartbreak, I realize how selfish my motivations were: they were clinically "un-in-love".
When my parents finally cut the cord, I became an angsty thirteen year old, determined to never find love; I couldn't stomach the thought of putting my unborn children through the havoc that is modern marriage. This led to a pattern of casual relationships, never amounting to anything that could last. In the words of Olivia O'Brien, I viewed love as "a contest of who can care less more". I was a self-diagnosed philophobiac, abnormally fearful of forming romantic attachment.
My condition is not uncommon. Our perception of a healthy relationship is shaped by the Bachelor and Taylor swift. Prince Charming no longer rides a white horse; he wears Vineyard Vines and pays for your Mojito. Instead of asking for dinner and a movie, he asks for your Snapchat. A few casual hookups and a sushi dinner build the foundation for this relationship. We end up more in love with the chase, then the person waking up to our left. No, your Romeo and Juliet fantasy does not have to end in insecurity and a crippling nicotine addiction.
Falling in love is not our soul purpose for existence. Sure, evolution seems to suggest that we are here to procreate and perpetuate our genes. But then again, I don't know if science can explain why I fiend for boys who still play Fortnite. We are here to form meaningful connections — whether that be with your dog Marley, your electric guitar, or Colin from HR. My recommendation — love yourself, because if you don't you'll be stuck chasing people who don't love you either.