Recently, a reader — who is in her mid-20s — asked, does love get better? Love/relationships change. I can’t say they get better because I’m not sure I believe that. I believe they change.
Your mid-20s. This is a delicate time. At this time, you are on the cusp of everything in your life changing…fast. Career is a focus. I’m not sure it should be.
When I was 25, I was dating a 36 year old. We broke up a few weeks after I turned 25 — after a year-and-a-half long-distance relationship. He said something during that break-up conversation that I will never forget, “Oh, you’re turning 25…no wonder.” This was in response to me telling him that I wanted to stay in Chicago (he was in New York) and begin my teaching career; I was just offered the job that I still have today. My first job. My career.
This was extremely important to me at the time because that’s what was expected of me. I was already late to the game, having taken a year off after college to galavant around Los Angeles. Now, at 25, was my time to settle down, plant my roots in Chicago, start my career and find a Midwestern man.
It took me three and a half more years to find that man — and lots of failed relationships. Those years were some of the most depressing, looking back. Alone. Uncertain. Living in my head instead of living my life.
At 25, maybe — just maybe — a career shouldn’t be a focus. What if I married that man from New York and started a family? What if I turned the job down and spent a year traveling abroad? I can’t have that time back.
What I do know is I met some amazing students my first few years as a young naive teacher — many of whom I still keep in touch with today. I was an idealist then, but I was probably a better teacher too; I probably taught them more about life than I can now, test scores and learning targets too much of a focus in education today.
But love. Well, I see it differently than I did at 25, at 22, at 20, at 18, at 16. It changes. Good and bad. I’ll write more about this as this blog continues, as it looks back on my life and my loves. Right now, I’ll just say that as you age, a passion inside you dies. Life — the machine of it — seems to suck it right out of most of us. I can’t explain it, but please let me know if you agree — or even better, disagree. Please, someone, disagree with me. Tell me your secret.
And because the passion is sucked out, love changes. It’s less passionate, less dream-like, less crazy. More realistic. More comforting. More stable.
Again, please disagree.
Does love change as we age? Let me know in the comments!
Image by @Doug88888 (Flickr Creative Commons)