There exists a vague, dark, constant fear at the horizon of life. On all sides of us, drilled into us by media and stories and the sweet-but-perhaps-misguided advice of extended family members, we are told that we are supposed to “partner up” and that, if we don’t, life will be nice, but meaningless. We are convinced that there is a kind of “soulmate,” someone with whom we share a love that renders all others secondary, one with whom we build a nest and fulfill our purpose — that life is entirely constructed around this unique love. But the truth is that life is filled with almost endless kinds of love, love that gives meaning and color to life and makes us better human beings. And each of them — not just love that gets caricatured in romantic comedies — deserves to be praised.
When your parents tend to you while you’re sick, giving you soup and putting on your favorite movie and placing a pillow gently behind your head to prop you up; when they answer your calls with a warm voice even after you’ve made the too-frequent mistake of treating them like you don’t care about them; when they give you a place to sleep or a little money to get you back on your feet because, even though they want to teach you independence in life, they still want to see you doing alright — that is love.
When your friend collects the pieces of you strewn all across the room after someone who claimed to “love” you left you for someone else; when they lose days with you, laughing and singing and eating junk food and doing everything that was good about childhood that we have somehow forgotten to do in early adulthood; when they keep secrets across decades where others wouldn’t have been able to hold it in for a single afternoon — that is love.