Love. It is a word we all know. One we tend to associate with Valentine's Day, red roses and cheesy picture montages. Subconsciously it is also something we inevitably, and sometimes desperately, seek to attain. Probably because it has been ingrained in our mind since the day our little eyes started watching Disney. However, with my parents being the exact opposite of hopeless romantics, love, in the romantic sense, was swept under the rug. Never to really be talked about or discussed as anything more than a fairytale.

To be perfectly honest I never cared to look much into love myself. My knowledge of said phenomenon was instead composed of what I had learned in Nicholas Sparks novels and romance flicks. Well, at risk of sounding cliché I’ll admit that I found love when I was 17. I found it in a person who had become an amazing friend, yet who I had begged to not fall for. The facts were, I was scared. I was scared of leaving the comfort of not having to answer to someone, of being so unattached to anyone that essentially nobody could hurt me. I was worried about what people would say, and when taking everything into account I was making excuses. Nonetheless, I was unable to escape loves persistent grasp and eventually I gave in...and I am forever grateful that I did.

I believe that love will be the one thing that pushes you so far out of your comfort zone that you will question how you could have lived any other way. Yet, the fact is that love isn’t kissing under moonlight, and chocolate roses. The thing is that the movies got it all wrong. Love is far from the easiest thing you will ever do, in fact, it is the one thing that will test your limits and in turn teach you a million things about yourself that nothing else can. I believe that love is feeling somebody else’s joy, anger, frustration etc. as your own. It is having another person be part of you in the sense that they can genuinely feel joy in your accomplishments and empathy in your failures.

I believe that love is also ageless. A statement many will disagree with because, of course, love in high school can’t possibly be more than an infatuation right? My credibility to most will appear shallow, after all I am no 80 year old with eons of experience. Yet, I believe that love sometimes chooses to sprout with the worst timing, making you believe that your youth discredits its validity, but I have seen that it doesn’t. Whether you are 80 or 18, love in some ways will be the same. It will be being able to sit on a couch together for hours and have the time of your life doing it. It is missing someone when they leave even though you have seen them for ten hours. It is learning to be selfless, even when it is inconvenient to do so.

Becoming comfortable with saying "I love someone", better yet saying "I love you" was a process. It dragged me out of my constant neutral state of indifference, and forced me to care and consequentially grow. A change in our life and more importantly a step outside our boundaries is what makes us grow. Whether it produces the smallest change in our mindsets or a creates a huge impact on our entire perspective one may never know until we stop making excuses and allow life to happen. In my case, I allowed love to happen, and when I did life truly changed. I can attest that my fear of judgement diminished, I learned to dive into new opportunities while putting other’s opinions aside, I learned to be open and caring, to embrace the emotional person that I can be, and most of all I learned to make my happiness my priority. Reality is that our comfort zones are only comforting because we are blind to anything better.I believe in pushing our bounds, throwing our comfort zones away, and choosing to take risks simply because life was not made to be experienced in a box!