I've had the shit kicked out of me from love. As a single guy with a steady job in a hip city, it would seem like I hold all the cards. Living the bachelor dream. What could be better, right? But it's not that easy, at least for me.
I should have just kissed her. I can't tell you the number of times that thought has haunted my mind. And as agonizing as that may be, I feel like those vulnerable moments in a relationship are the most magical. I don't remember much about the tenth kiss, or the hundredth kiss, but that first kiss, I could write you a short novel.
What's love in the 21st century? Is it changing, if so how? Those raw, magical, tormenting moments (Should I kiss her? Should I not? Should I try to hold her hand?) are now being mitigated by apps like Tinder that make taking a leap of faith as easy as swiping left or right. I've never tried online dating despite frequent encouragement from friends. Maybe I'm pretentious, or romantic, but I feel wrong leaving love to an algorithm.
Here's why love is important to me
Loved ones give life context. If someone handed you all the world's riches on a silver platter, it'd still feel rather meaningless and irrelevant without the presence of another to share in the experience. Sometimes I feel like I'm "falling behind" my coupled peers. They've "found someone", or are already married, and then the other self-comparisons come flooding. What's wrong with me? Something is definitely wrong with me.
The act of loving another requires extraordinary bravery. That's why I've had the shit kicked out of me. And sometimes, my biggest mistakes in life are mistakes of omission, inaction, being terrified to take a punch. But then I learn. And hopefully the next time I find myself teetering on the fence, I'll somehow draw the courage from my experience.
Life, happiness, love, we must ultimately find our own definition for these ideas. The secret, is not letting the fear of getting the shit kicked out of you stop you from going after what you want.