I have only been on this Earth a mere nineteen years. That's barely enough to call myself an adult, let alone an expert in any given subject; yet, I believe have been here long enough to know what love is.
I see love almost everywhere.
I see love in the way my dog's tail never fails to wag from the moment through the walk in the door to the moment I leave, and in the way that my mother never fails to send me pictures of him every day because she knows how much I miss home every day.
I see love in the way my best friend always tells me to text her when I get home, and in the way she once brought me tea when I was sick.
I see love in the way I can sit with some people in complete, utter silence for hours on end, typing away on my laptop or just watching the sun go down, without ever growing tired of their presence, and I see love in the way I can spend eight hours with some people and it seems like only eight minutes.
I see love in the way someone's eyes light up when they begin to talk about something they're interested in, and I see love in the way my friend talks about her boyfriend like he put all the stars in the sky.
I believe that love is ignoring the flight attendant's announcement to "put on your own mask before assisting others" and tending to whoever sits beside you first, putting the needs and wellbeing of someone else before your own. It is emptying yourself for the fulfillment of someone else; it is pleasure and it is pain; it is kissing someone in the rain and holding them close as the torrential storms of life pour down on them.
To love someone is to look at them and see beauty in the way their eyes crease at their corners whenever they laugh. To love someone is to hope that in exchange for whatever pain and suffering you may experience in your life, that the person you love may experience all the joy there is in the world; that for every time your heart breaks theirs is warmed, and that for every tear your shed their smile brightens a bit more.
But above all, to love someone is to tell them you love them.
In looking at them and seeing the sun and the moon and all that is beautiful in the world, and in letting them burrow their face into your shoulder when it feels like everything is falling apart.
In cleaning their room when they're sad or cooking them their favorite meal after working an extra shift.
In playing their favorite song on the radio extra loudly because you know how much they like it and waking up a little bit earlier every morning just so they can see your "good morning" text before they begin their day.
In going beyond the explicitness of those three little words and letting feelings flow out through your heart and into the world.
This is how I love others. This is how I define love.