Woody Allen drives me crazy. The neuroses, the stress, the fast chatter…but it cannot be ignored that he’s a brilliant mind. One of his famous quotes:
“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.”
This quote has its own Facebook page. I’m not kidding. People just keep reposting this quote over and over…54 minutes ago, an hour ago, four hours ago. It’s kind of ridiculous, I mean, amazing. But don’t get me started on the potentially inclusive brilliance and stupidity of social media, We’ll be here all night (I’m talking to you, Foursquare).
My sister once wrote to me that “the ONE doesn’t make you hurt so much. The ONE is going to appreciate everything you have to offer, will love to do things for you just to see you smile, will be a partner through good times and in bad. The ONE isn’t all peaches and cream, don’t get me wrong. Love isn’t a Sandra Bullock movie, but when you know that you have complete trust in someone and that someone supports you, is your biggest cheerleader and knows when to leave you alone because you’re in a mood and loves you anyway. The ONE is easy. The relationship itself shouldn’t be the third person in the relationship. If it requires this much analysis, it isn’t the ONE.”
Which is exactly what a sister is supposed to say when you’re sleeping on her couch with your suitcase at your feet.
Yes, hopefully we will be so lucky to spend our lives with our best friend, who loves us unconditionally, even when we’re in a bad mood, tearing around the apartment and mad at the world. Even when we are being selfish, spiteful, or just plain old mean. I would like to think that I will find a love in which, when I come through that door, exasperated at my day, I am welcomed with open arms and reassurance…safety and security….a listening ear and a patient voice. No doubt. But I don’t think that kind of love is “natural.” I think it’s a choice. One based on work, patience and resolve. I think it takes effort. I think it takes a bit of suffering. You have to want to do it. I think if you can dust yourself off, come out on top stronger, and have the good sense to piss each other off and challenge each other once in a while, then that’s love, too. True love requires love of truth. The truth in knowing that there is good and bad. True love requires the concrete foundation my sister spoke of…and the desire to build a mansion on that foundation…not to stop construction when you’re tired.
I’m a big believer in timing – that it’s not necessarily finding the right person, but both being on the same page at the same time. Both ready to settle down, both willing to forgo every other member of the opposite sex that comes along, both wanting to start a new chapter at the same time. That makes the other person “The One.”
But that’s the beauty of it, I suppose. That there is no one definition. It’s different for everyone…because everyone is different. We’re never going to find a love that fits like a custom-made couture gown, every seam sewn onto our frame with our dimensions guiding the needle. We live in an off-the-rack world. And our relationships…love, familial, and friendships…are only as strong as our most difficult, weakest threads.