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What LOVE Looks Like, In This Day And Age

My Facebook feed has been hijacked by engagement and marriage announcements. Before I know it, the profile pictures of rings and vows shall be replaced by ultrasounds, swaddled infants, and soon after, diapered toddlers. For now, though, I am stuck with the rock-shot- close ups of princess cut and pear-shaped gems, all professing an undying commitment. But here’s the problem with that- this is one half of a generation that decides to put a ring on ‘whatever they’re settling for’ by the time they hit their mid-twenties, while the other half is just beginning to start hooking up more often, lose weight, start a business, go trekking in Europe, glue themselves to the couch (depending on the monthly booze-pizza-books-Netflix budget) or just hit the therapist, if not right away, then, immediately after their cash withdrawal receipt fails to live up to their expectation!

sad woman_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pinterest

Don’t get me wrong- there, of course, are a few lucky souls who truly find love before proceeding to seal the deal with a kiss, but as for the rest of humanity, love is fast becoming a lost art. The more rational minds would call the phenomenon one of profusion; but to be brutally honest, it is simply, confusion. A confusion that multiplies with the nerve of a gripping sitcom.

There was a time when this confusion was absent from human connections – a simpler time in the nineties – when people said exactly what they felt and life continued like a brilliant summer day when birds chirped and you knew life was good. You just knew. You knew it in your heart.

Suggested read: Of loneliness and miracles: Why we are so unhappy

It was the time when lovers walked side-by-side on the street, friends waltzed in for vodka lemonade at any time during the day, and people knew what it meant to connect with another person, another soul.

A time when mornings didn’t begin with checking the notifications on social media and nights didn’t embrace slumber in the fading blue of one’s phone screen.

A time when our quick-fix culture didn’t mess with things that didn’t need fixing, at all. Like love.

What love looks like

sad woman_New_Love_Times

Image source: Flickr

Now, you can feel the confusion floating around. It’s in the air you breathe. It crawls on your skin as you scroll through countless mushy gooey posts of friends getting married because, to them, it seems like the next logical step. You can feel it on your skin, itchy and scab-like. You want to scratch at it, peel it away, and feel free again. But just like the chocolate melting in your Starbucks latte, you can’t segregate it from yourself. You cannot distinguish it from your being, and you sure as hell can’t seem to shake it off when you don’t know where it is.

This confusion latches on like a bad habit, like when you swap walking for taking a cab or get through 2-3 packs of cigarettes during a day (because, hello, do I look like I’ve got my sh*t together?), and intentionally forgetting to wish friends you hate, coz they are happy. Or at least, they seem happy.

It’s a vicious circle really.

You hate it. The person next to you hates it. And the person on his friends’ list hates it too.

Yet, we all fall for it. We LOVE the confusion. We can’t seem to let go of it.

It serves an exclusive purpose in our lives- the purpose of reminding us that we are an  effed up circle with as much love for a shot of tequila that lifts our dampened spirits as for the next person we think we can fall in love with. Because the fuzzy, warm feeling in our tummy in both cases is fun and nice and familiar. Of course, until that b*tchy hangover or the loser-lover spoils it. Then, it doesn’t matter anymore.

woman initiating sex_New_Love_Times

Image source: Shutterstock

We go after mindless sex just so we can have better company than tequila. Of course, a guilt-induced series of likes on sappy Facebook posts like, “My friends are getting married, and I’m getting drunk,” follows suit. Coke, bikes, beer, drunken sex, Urban Outfitters, rap music- you name the dope and this artsy-fartsy world of labels brings it unto you, so you can be high exactly when you are down in the dumps.

Suggested read: The paradoxical like race of a Facebook generation

It’s crazy- and we love the craziness. We seem to cling to it, like ‘twere the oxygen we need to survive. At least, that’s what Woody Allen said, way back in 2009. And I am nodding my head, in a vigorous YES (no, I’m not high…okay, who am I kidding), but here it is:

“I mean, look at us. We meet people. We get involved, we fall in love. Then we fall out or apart and carry on looking for something or someone else. Sometimes by free will, some other times as requested by events. And the worst part is, we don’t ever get better. We are scarred, from every romantic mishap or life punch. We get all dramatic and shit because we are afraid to get close to anyone, and anyone is not getting any closer either, so we end up playing a major difficulty missed connections themed ancient computer game.”

It makes sense. We are split into these two selves- a self from a former simpler, uncomplicated time when your longing for a healthy, amazing relationship with someone (who knew to show up for the same) translated into action, and a doubt-ridden, fearful self in the here and now that wishes to break free of commitment as soon as it inches close, because it likes the distance. We are growing rather fond of the space it offers for all that ‘wisdom , learning, and experiential growth’ from heartbreak, pain, and suffering. While there is substantive proof in support of that learning curve, we need to do the math and understand the cost at which it comes.

Isn’t all the drama too steep a price to pay for giving up on love?

We are choosing sadness because the only way to come out brighter, smarter, and wiser is to pass through it. We are relentlessly pursuing love in a half-hearted manner, so that when it doesn’t work out, we can wallow in self-pity for a while, feel justified in being cynical and judgmental for some more time, and then, fall back into the same cyclical pattern all over again.

couple hugging_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

We allow ourselves to get attached, but never too much- for we know the pain it entails. We are, perhaps, more attached to our jobs, a TV series, a diet plan, our favorite pasta or even, a celebrity than we are to a person. Because the moment we start to feel more, we have to rip it right off. It sucks and it is sad, but it is the truth.

Suggested read: My social media brand is way cooler than I am, but I must win

And just when we land in a chair at that wedding where everyone we once knew is in a couple now, that itch starts to prickle from all the ‘love in the air,’ and we’ve got to rush home, crack open a bottle of wine, and allow the monsters to climb in. Loneliness is awesome, or so we repeat to ourselves.

If only we knew how to get rid of it!

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
What LOVE Looks Like, In This Day And Age
A scary view of what love looks like in this day and age...
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

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