I often reminiscence on the innocence of teenage love. When we would stay up all night and talk on the phone, despite having to wake up for school the next day. The times when we would spend the whole week looking forward to the weekend so we could see each other. When our dates consisted of meeting up at the mall with our groups of friends. Back when we would write each other’s initials in notebooks with a heart around it. And “I love you”’ was said one month into the relationship, and we knew we really meant it. When we would smile all night after a simple kiss on the lips. When we would "take" their last name and name "our" kids. When we were completely smitten and thought this person would be in our life forever....Remember?
The older we get, innocence becomes a thing of the past and responsibility takes over. We have to be mindful of the roles we play (and those others play) in our lives. People have been hurt time and time again and carry that baggage along with them. We remain skeptical and are less willing to give of ourselves to others. The image we once had of our “ideal” lover slowly fades away and practicality sets in. We are on a perpetual audition, looking for the best addition to our lives. Our time is more sacred, so we have to be positive others are worthy of it before giving it up.
Dating is full of ups and downs and can go really good or realllllllllly bad, rarely with any in-between. We are often faced with back and forth, contradicting emotions such as discouragement, excitement, confusion, and contentment. There are often gaps in our lives where our love life is either non-existent, right-person but wrong-time, or just overwhelming. We often consider any and everything before making committed decisions involving our love lives such as location, children, family dynamics, etc. Compromise becoming the core of each relationship.
I’m not sure which era of love is better. I miss the innocence of high school love, but I remember its naivety. I welcomed everybody making myself more susceptible to heartbreak. But what that type of openness taught me was the importance of standards and understanding my worth. Yet, it's exhausting feeling like though I know what I want, I'm always searching for love. I wish it was just as easy as going to the mall or a basketball game and leaving with multiple numbers from potential boyfriends. I don't know where and I don't how to find it, but I think the lessons I learned, whether desirable or not, during this era of innocent love has prepared me for the era of responsible love. Neither one of them has to be better. And though that era of love was reflecting where I was personally, as I continue to grow, my era of love will grow wholly.