Forever and Always
By Jessica Small
Ok, so here’s the truth: I’m a total romantic. Now, I know you’re thinking “This kid is crazy. She’s only a teenager. How could she know anything about romance, or love? Impossible.” But I respectfully disagree.
I’m obviously nowhere near an expert on the subject. However, in honor of Valentines Day, I decided to share some of my thoughts, from a teen’s perspective, on love.
I don’t think love is age specific. My own parents met as kids, dated as young adults, said “I love you” after just one week, and have been happily married for 21 years. For me personally, I do believe I’ve been in love. Yes, I understand that most people would call me naïve, but hear me out on this one.
There’s a difference between loving someone, and wanting to be with them forever and always. Loving someone means you think about them, even when you don’t have to. It means missing them, or just missing things about them, whenever they’re not around. To me, love is when you can be having the worst day possible, and just hearing their voice turns it all around. Or when a warm hug makes you feel safe and happy and invincible. And my favorite indication is when I think about the other person right when I wake up (yes, even BEFORE I contemplate what I’ll be having for breakfast.)
But love isn’t a concrete thing. From my experience, I’ve learned that you can be fooled into thinking you love someone, when really you just love things about them. My favorite character from That 70’s Show, Michael Kelso, put it perfectly in an episode from the comedy’s fifth season. When asked if he loved Annette, he replied “Well, I love parts of her.”
As humans, we’re always trying to make connections. Almost everyone longs for companionship. But sometimes we are so eager to find someone, that we trick ourselves into believing we love them, as a whole.
Forever and always (AKA my idea of real love) is about more than just lust and good feelings and loving some of an individual’s qualities. It’s more than being impressed. Real love is about compatibility, in all aspects of life. It’s about reliability, commitment, and especially happiness.
Not that I’m committing to a “forever and always,” but for right now I’m enjoying being a blissful teenage romantic. I adore spontaneously getting a bouquet of roses and going on nighttime beach adventures and holding hands in a Publix supermarket and going on coffee dates afterschool. I know I was definitely in love with parts of a person, at one point. And I know I definitely love the guy I’m currently dating.
To me, love is really just a label for the happiness we feel after we find someone who compliments our own qualities. I’m sure I have a lot more to learn before my “soul mate” comes along. Who knows- maybe my perspective on love will change. But for the moment, this is my seventeen year old opinion on the matter.
On that note, I hope your Valentines Day is full of love – whether that’s loving parts of a person, your current companion, or a “forever and always” soul mate.
Jessica Small is a junior at Wellington High School. She is the Sports Editor of the school’s online publication, whswave.com. She is enrolled in rigorous courses at WHS and aspires to go to Emory University, following in her brother’s footsteps. She is involved in her high school dance team and is president of ThinkPinkKids.