It’s natural for us to believe that in order for a feeling to be genuine and sincere, it needs to stand up to the test of time.
Often our closest relationships are, indeed, our longest and oldest ones, too, and there exists extravagant romanticization of the idea of love that lasts forever, ’til death do us part.
There are problems with this for few different reasons. Namely, that most of the love we will experience over the course of our life — whether that’s platonic, familial, or romantic — will, in fact, be fleeting.
We date people for weeks, and maybe months…years if we’re lucky. We watch childhood friends come and go, and we move on (or move away) from the people we once loved so completely that we never thought we’d see the day.
So, why then have we have defined success in love as the act of taking it with us to our grave? Why do we mindlessly conflate the duration of a love with its depth and divinity? And why are we intent on dismissing all other types of love as somehow being less than, just because they don’t last?
On Lesser Types Of Loves
Did you ever love someone before you even really understood what love was?
You were likely only but a child, equating the effects of an emotion you had yet to experience with something else — something less. Maybe you knew you loved your parents, but wouldn’t have been able to describe exactly what that meant to you at the time, mostly just because you had no idea. Maybe you developed a childhood crush so strong it must have been love, only to later look back and realize this was not necessarily correct. Does incorrect, unpracticed, or imperfect love not count for something?
Did you ever love someone for what they made you see in yourself?
It wasn’t a person that you loved, but the way they made you feel…made you think…made you you. You may have felt guilty at the time, loving a human being only for the mirror they pointed back at you. However, there is no guilt in becoming a better version of yourself. The alternative is, what…becoming a worse one?
Did you ever love a decision you made in the past, at the same time, never wanting to make it again?
You drank too much, and partied too hard, and wasted all your money in your 20’s. You fell in love with choices you now place on the retrospective shelf of sorry mistakes; a type of reckless, temporary love for a practice (or person) you understand no longer serves you, nor your life. But what makes you think you ought to feel guilty now? At the time you certainly didn’t. Does the joy attached to those memories really need to be diminished just because you are changed?
The point being that these types of temporary love are not less than — they are learning. And we should apply this same line of thinking to all loves that do not last.
Because if most love is temporary then we would do well to honor the sanctity of the short-term. We would do well to not overlook the importance of the impermanent. And we would do well to embrace more of the types of love we call “temporary”.
A temporary love means that we have learned.
And there’s nothing lesser about that.
Alexandra Walker-Jones — March 2021