Love . . .

Simple question: What is "Love"?
Simple answer: Impossible

Love, as I explained to my 6.5 year old daughter just this weekend, is a many splendored thing (I am pretty sure choosing the word splendored didn't help the ensuing conversation go well). It is something very different to every person and every person is capable of loving a million different ways.

I don't believe in white-hot, passionate, blistering love (that is short lived and, if not, the people engaged in it have faulty wiring for sure). I don't believe in soulmates (at least not the kind where there is just ONE for any ONE person). I don't believe that if you love pizza you should go ahead and marry it (despite the fact that said playground taunt apparently persists 30 years on from the days I would toss it around). I don't believe that you can even love two (or more) children equally and the same. I don't believe love has any definition but I have five basic criteria for love (that apply to any type of love you can imagine) . . .

1) It is unconditional.
2) It will diminish in time but, if it ever existed, will always stay at least a faint, far-off ember.
3) It requires constant work, energy, and dedication to stay strong.
4) It must start with yourself and be shared on to other people, places, things, and varieties of Little Debbie snacks if it is a "healthy" love.
5) All love, because it is unique and comes from within and goes outwardly is unrequited. If it is MATCHED or EQUALED, fine - but it is not returned in the truest sense of the word. 

To summarize and combine - You can not find love anywhere but in your own heart and if you don't maintain focus and develop the ability to love AND find the right recipient for your love it will fade to a point where you're likely to reach a point where you become hardened and stop giving love in a healthy way.

I have only ever been "in love" once in my life. I sucked at it. I don't think I'll ever even try it again. I don't blame her - I don't blame me. I blame wiring and priorities and lack of communication and lack of work. To take responsibility . . . I sorta' suck at love in general. Parental love is something that I feel like I've got under control. Friendly, platonic love is something I would dare say is a strength of mine. Familial love (as a son, brother, uncle, etc.) is a mystery to me. Love of work and professional achievement? My heart is allllll in. Affectionate love is something I'm probably not wired well for (I don't love myself enough, I suppose). Love of junk food? Aces. Love of talking trash? Mastered. Love of a good story (told or heard) and a good board game to stretch my mind over? I am dedicated to it.

Anywho - love who and what you want. Give the target whatever portion of your heart, soul, and mind you think appropriate. But know that it is fragile and not guaranteed. If you understand that - you'll never really  be hurt by love and you'll never feel like you're wasting your time with it.

That's my not-so-cynical, honest perspective. Want something hopelessly romantic in the face of fleshy temptation? Two words . . . Moulin Rouge.