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I’m 30 And On My Way To Understanding Love

I am a strong, independent woman – in every sense of the label. But even so, I have a secret cave in my heart that is open to be claimed but never owned. Visitors come and go, afraid to venture too deep, for fear of stumbling upon some gory truth in the dark or being eaten up alive by the wilderness. And to be honest, I am glad for those ‘maybe’ and ‘what-if’ visitors! However, it is also true that I yearn for a resident, someone who can happily call it ‘home.’

woman outdoors

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You see, I turned thirty this week. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Let me explain the ‘being glad for the ‘maybe’ and ‘what-if’ visitors’ story you are possibly calling horsecr*p. Being thirty and single isn’t as bad as you imagine it to be. I mean sure, it isn’t easy either. There are days when those ‘love-is-the-air’ social media feed irks you and when you have panicky thoughts about getting together with an awful ex or freezing your eggs but when the frustration subsides and the hormonal rage ebbs, reason shows up at the door – and with flowers! Happy birthday, ME! :)

Suggested read: Dear Love, You have given us so much…

couple holding hands (10)

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

A decade-worth of dating and a single status call for that kind of intervention. Or invitation – whatever. You know, when you begin to question if there is indeed somebody who can own that space in your heart nobody has dared enter. When you question if love of that kind exists. When you begin wondering if the kind of love you have grown up believing to be true is real. When you wonder if anyone has ever had a shot at understanding love. And begin to doubt everyone who doles out tips on how to understand love. When you question the very essence of love.

What is love? How do you go about understanding love?

And the same decade-worth of dating and a single status teach you that whichever answer you get and stick by, that answer will never be enough. Love is chemistry to the physicist, unbound commitment to the philosopher, emotional variations to the psychotherapist, maybe even a story to the novelist!

woman traveling

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

So, there I was, sitting on my couch on my thirtieth birthday, plucking candles off the cake, attempting to make sense of love, and of course, failing. Understanding love wasn’t something I fooled myself to believe I’d nail, much less crystallize in written form for you guys. But my failure to understand the concept of love taught me an invaluable lesson in love – which I knew I had to share. Of course, my guest, Reason, helped – and we discovered the lessons right where the visitors to my heart hadn’t dared to go.

Suggested read: A letter to my daughter on starting a new life

Dating a lot of people in my twenties made me understand the narrow interpretations of love we, as a society, were living with. For a concept that was, in all measures, beyond cosmic proportions, we were beginning to capsule it in favorite movie DVD piles, a collection of choicest picks on a mix tape, a compilation of the most romantic short stories of all times, a trip to the forest, or worse, blind dates and the right swipe syndrome! In a dating culture where the term ‘dating’ has come to be as ‘loose’ in meaning as the one-night stands it is flooded with or a rough conglomerate of dinners in public and ‘desserts’ in private, I wonder if love is to be found in the million li’l places we keep looking to find it.

love is patient

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As Reason and I took a long walk along the charted and uncharted territories of my heart, we worked together like Holmes and Watson, inspecting all the clues in the curious case of ‘potential for love’ never turning into ‘real love.’ What we found was that while many were, in fact, caught up in the narrow nexus of definitions of ‘love’ they had embraced too hard after watching a sappy romantic flick or listening to a well-composed love tune, and others were never exorcised of the ‘ghosts’ in their head to actually be brave enough to venture into the wilderness of my heart. Years of bitter breakups or failed romances had caused them to put up their defenses, or their fear of complete vulnerability and the consequent intimacy had driven them to adopt withdrawal as a coping mechanism with the anxiety it built in their minds. While many others had developed rigid and refined (not to mention, unreasonable) checklists that could very well be journals for the ‘requisites/criteria’ of a potential partner over the years that always resulted in disappointment, many others were putting themselves out there for anything but love!

Thus, surrounded by doppelgangers of love hovering all around, it was well nigh impossible for me to bump into the real one. Hence, I haven’t found love or understood what it means to be in love, but I have picked up a lot about what it does not mean to be in love. And hence, the big, mighty THANK YOU, for all the ‘maybe’ and ‘what-if’ visitors! They are a big part of what I have learnt about what love isn’t.

Suggested read: A letter to all the men I have loved before

i love you

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I have learnt that being in love does not mean being uncomfortable in my truth, even if it is served cold. And everyone who didn’t like my exposed truth taught me how much I relished the high of my truth-drug. And I keep thinking maybe love is about embracing, loving, and reveling in each other’s truths – whatever they may be.

I have learnt that being in love does not mean changing who I am to make him feel a certain way. I now understand that anyone who is intimidated by how I look or scared of the depths of my mind or the overwhelming nature of my responses is the gap between the me he wants and the me I am. And I keep thinking maybe love is about being true to myself and being loved for the same.

I have learnt that being in love does not imply feeling the pangs of loneliness. And I keep thinking maybe love is about feeling complete in yourself, and yet, sharing that wholesomeness with another – you feel one with!


Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

I have learnt that being in love has nothing to do with fear. And I keep thinking maybe love is about finding someone with whom you can find the way to bliss, even through the dark routes of wilderness.

And more importantly, since I have learnt so much about what is ‘wrong’ in love, I guess I’d know when I really chance upon the ‘right’ one round the corner.

Coz I don’t exactly know what love is, but I guess I am working my way through the ever-shifting definitions! And I am not trying to contain this cosmic force.

To true love.


A free me

Article Name
Is Understanding Love Even Possible In Today's Dating Culture?
Understanding LOVE is like trying to contain the universe in your hands. But some things are just too magical and mysterious to keep away from. Love is ONE!
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."