I fall in love every fifteen minutes. I can’t help it; I can’t wait at a traffic light to cross the street without falling in love with the girl standing on the opposite pavement, the way she struggles with the breeze to keep her hair tucked neatly behind her ears, or the way she hugs her books to her chest. Statistically speaking, during the hour-long walk to and from university, I will fall in love at least four times.
It’s not just people – though they are perhaps, with all their complexities, the easiest to fall in love with – on the same walk to class I could fall in love with a single lilac flower, determinedly standing in full bloom even after its siblings have been taken by the cold. I could fall in love with the way the clouds float effortlessly across the pale sky, or the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, or even an empty can rolling across the street.
I am not so delusional as to think the world is perfect. I am all too aware of the way injustice stalks our world, consuming what it wants, when it wants, with no thought to what is fair or right or good. But, there’s something about the fact that life goes on in spite of this grisly truth that makes my heart swell with emotion. The real ugliness of the world means I cling to those small moments of beauty all the more strongly; I fall in love with them.
I fall in love with my friends, my family, and strangers on the street, with the trees, and the flowers, and insects and animals, and all the spaces in between. I see two strangers walking in opposite directions down the same pavement and I fall in love with the way they awkwardly dance around each other, the way they politely chuckle and walk away smiling when they finally manage to successfully walk past each other. I can’t help it; but, even if I could, I’m not sure that I would.
The idea that ‘love’ should be reserved for only a handful of people that first must earn it is a concept I learned very early on, through books, films, music, and the way people spoke to each other. The idea of saving up all your love for ‘the one’, a great romantic love that will only come around once in a lifetime, feels so cold and dispiriting to me now. To put restrictions and limitations on love feels like such a bleak perception of something so naturally wonderful; it makes no sense to me.
Who decided that ‘love’ had to be romantic, anyway? That it was restricted to people, or living things, or even tangible things in general? On a daily basis I fall in love with concepts just as easily as I fall in love with people, if not more so. And it doesn’t last a lifetime, or even a long time; sometimes a moment of love on an otherwise ordinary day is all it takes. The idea that love cannot be so small and simple, that it must be large and important and rare, only feels like an attempt to stifle freedom of happiness.
I think it makes me sad because it works the other way, too; if everyone is supposed to reserve ‘real’ love and treat it as too precious to give away too often, it is so easy not to recognize small acts of love when they are given to you, to dismiss them as not being ‘real’. I am so glad I now understand that when my dog lays his head in my lap, that is a real act of love, and that when my mother asks my sister how her day at school was, that is, too, and so is when I accidentally make eye contact with someone in the library and we both smile, embarrassed.
I do not want to be reserved with love anymore. I want to fall in love as often as I can. I want to feel my heart expand and grow with every tiny bit of love I send out into the world, whether it’s a long hug for my best friend or an awkward smile for a stranger I will never see again.
In my humble opinion, love is far too beautiful not to be shared with the world.
Amelia Crowther is a film student living in the UK. She is a self-professed past addict dedicated to the art of the mix CD who enjoys journaling, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and thinking about outer space. Check out her personal blog here.