how to meet the love of your life

The love of your life is a person. Don’t take this for granted. Because here’s the thing: the love of your life doesn’t think of him- or herself as the love of your life. They don’t actually think about themselves in relation to you at all. Like everyone else, they’re the protagonists of their own story. They are a whole subject, stripped of the genitive modifier that defines them in your mind, another disparite ego out there in the world. When you imagine them as the love of your life, you’re bounding them. You’re saddling them with a duty and reducing them to one segment of the experience of being alive: loving you. And that’s unfair.

Wanting an abstract, faceless person to show up and ooze into all the cracks in your psyche sells both of you short. There will never be a woman in a red dress or a tall dark stranger who appears from the corner of the room to charm you unbidden. What there will be are these: your friends. Your acquaintances. Your unexpected introductions at a party. Someone who will co-generate a spark with you. And there will be a push-and-pull, a back-and-forth, a banter. There will be a meeting of minds before the heart even gets introduced. There will be gradual increases from either side, tenacious, then audacious, until that leap of faith where the gap closes.

Look. If you try to divvy up the world’s population into Romantic Possibilites and Everyone Else, you’re compartmentalizing in a way that chokes off some of the fluid, wonderful pleasure that defines being a social creature. The real things in life don’t fall into neat, check-list-able categories of go to school, eat a meal, make friends, fall in love. Think of dinner parties where you laugh more than eat or classes where you learn just as much about your fellow students as you do about Marxist economic theory or differential equations. The desire to stick a romantic relationship onto an already-constructed life like it’s another Lego block is akin to driving to the gym to run on the treadmill. It’s joyless. It’s idiotic. It’s refusing the incredible alchemy of ebb and flow that is letting your life be a harmonious entirety of a project.  You don’t need solving. You don’t need saving. You are not a puzzle piece. You just need to get your life out of the oblique case and put it first and foremost. The secret truth is that the love of your life is just your life.

So many of the friends I have are Romantics. I see it in the male and female and straight and/or gay: all this waiting, hoping, planning, dreaming, despairing. Don’t, please. Or at least don’t waste away doing it. Because if you do find human partnership that satisfies you, it is not going to be a transcendent paradigm shift, but rather a resonance, a deepening of something you’ve already found to be true in yourself.

But then, I am no expert. I am just a person.

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