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Loving Being In Love

blogentry_paulHappy Valentines Day! (or Singles Awareness Day or S.A.D) – whichever you celebrate or happy Tuesday if you celebrate neither.  I for one have always loved Valentines Day.  It’s one of my favorite holidays and while I understand it’s a mostly commercial holiday, I’ve always enjoyed paying attention to it.  I celebrated on the 13th this year as it landed on my new Disney movie night tradition at the apartment.  My friends and I enjoyed a nice spaghetti and meatball dinner together and watched the Disney Classic – Lady and the Tramp.  One of the sweetest romance scenes in Disney movie history is of course the Bella Notte scene.

In my young blogger days, I actually would go all out for Valentines Day.  For the entire month of February for a few years I actually changed the color scheme of my entire blog to pink and posted a number of entries around the theme of love and romance.  Growing up there was just something about Valentines Day that I recall enjoying.  It may have been the crazy trips to the store to buy boxes of Valentines Day cards you were obligated to give to every single one of your classmates in grad school (that was probably my first experience with the concept of inclusion).  Even in high school when Valentines Day became really awkward, I still continued the tradition in some way shape or form.  There’s something special about reaching out to someone you care about and letting them know that they are loved.  That no matter what – someone is thinking about them.

I probably won’t focus on love for all of my entries at Motivate2Inspire this month, but I did want to touch on a key think I’ve learned about myself over the years on this subject.

I love being in love.

My first official girlfriend was probably the first person to truly understand this about me as she experienced it first hand.  I dated this girl in college that was absolutely captivating – very nice person and we shared a lot of values.  That said, it was a completely non-romantic relationship, but a nice friendship at the time.  I just loved the idea of having a girlfriend.  Someone to talk to, be sweet to, watch movies with, hold hands, etc.  It only lasted 3 months or so because I learned pretty quickly that it wasn’t her that I was in love with, I was in love with the concept of being in love.

So how does that work exactly?  Well I’ll tell you.  I believe it had to do with growing up without any true real life examples of what love is.  My parents, though extremely caring and nurturing in their own way never really displayed any forms of affection.  Not with each other.  Not with my siblings.  Unfortunately I’ve found that this can be an Asian thing and it was apparent with my Asian family.  So I grew up relying on media.  TV. Movies.  Love stories I’d see in Disney films or read in books.  I grew up a romantic.  A hopeless one at that.  I knew I was always going to feel like love had to be perfect.  In fact, I held onto my first kiss for quite some time (like true kiss on the lips passionate kiss).  But there’s a flaw to that isn’t there?  Love isn’t perfect.  In fact, the true nature of love is meant to be broken.  You can’t understand love if you don’t understand what it means not to love or be loved.  The imperfect struggle makes us human.

It’s like what Steve Jobs had to say about life and death – “Death is very likely the single best invention of life.”  Sounded crazy the first time I heard it too, but it makes sense.  Without the looming consciousness that we may die at any future time, it is unlikely we would live our lives in the way/shape/form that we do.  Why would I worry about doing one thing or another if I knew I would have infinite tomorrows to do it then?  Love is the same.

It was the opposite of love that made me the way I am.  Some say the opposite of love is hate.  Some say that it is fear.  I tend to believe that the opposite of love is indifference – apathy – selfishness.  It’s the point of not caring.  That scares me the most actually.  To think about not being able to care about people – love them for who they are; and in return, to think about people not caring about me – not being able to love me for who I am… I think that’s truly telling on why I’m compelled to be in love with simply the idea of being in love.

Being alone can suck.  Trust me.  Though I’ve always been fortunate to be around family or friends or even a special loved one, life has its lonely moments.  I’m always improving on my thoughts with being alone – whether it be my own independence or learning from other voices like ones you can read here on Motivate2Inspire. Overall, I’ve conditioned myself pretty well to be okay with being alone and being okay with just being with myself and loving me and all that jazz.  I read comic books and play video games.  I could probably do that for months and months like I did in my teenage years.  But to be honest, being alone to me feels selfish at times.  That’s why I’ve always celebrated Valentines Day – single or while in a relationship.  It’s a day when I can drop my insecurities and fears and tell somebody that I love them.  Or that I’m thinking of them.  Because in return, I hope they will be able to open up their hearts – whether it be to me or other people in their lives.

In high school, I used to fold origami flowers.  Probably over 20 of them.  I handed them out to all of my girl friends (it was kinda easier having a lot of girl friends being in orchestra – the girl to guy ratio was always in my favor). It served a number of purposes.  For one, the girls that I actually had crushes on could receive one and it still kept my secret of having crushes on them because I gave them to everyone – hence not breaking my heart if they rejected it.  They wouldn’t because everyone got one!

In college while I was single, I was the weird guy that forced my group of friends to go out and dress nice and celebrate together as friends that cared for each other.  One time we dressed up only to eat at the dining hall and watch a hockey game.  But you know what?  It was nice being with friends and having a group date we could say we spent time with loved ones.

What are you going to do this year to be selfless and tell someone that you love them?  What does love mean to you?

I love being in love because I’m conditioned to be caring and thoughtful.  I’m conditioned to be selfless.  I’ve always considered myself an empathetic creature that is tied to my surroundings and the emotions of others around me.  I actually don’t know how to turn the feeling off.  I can’t shut myself off from the world even if I felt I ever wanted to.

Right now, I’m in a stage of my life that requires me to be selfish and take care of myself.  I’m not having too much trouble doing so, except for my need to re-condition myself to care more about what I’m doing with my life right now instead of caring about what other people in my life are doing.  It’s all that independence/interdependence stuff.  But just because I’m focusing on myself doesn’t mean I’m ever going to stop caring.  It doesn’t mean I’m ever going to stop loving.

I’m in love with being in love because somebody has to be.  Someone has to continue to believe in hopeless romanticism.  It’s not about being in love with one person, or being in love with one thing. It has to do with caring about people – caring about someone else other than myself.  And yes, sometimes that being in love involves romanticism, passion, intimacy with someone special.  And sometimes it just involves a thoughtful gesture to someone you know and care about.  Romantic or platonic.  Some chocolates. Cookies. Flowers. An old-fashion Valentine’s Day card. Does it really matter how much we read into the commercial aspects of this holiday?  Or can we just be happy with the idea that someone would love to share with you that they care.

Don’t forget to tell someone that you care about them this Valentines Day – or don’t forget to tell everyone that you care about them this Valentines Day!

Paul Nguyen

Dream. Captivate. Inspire.

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