Dec 17, 2009


I sat on the train today commuting into the city and among all of the people rushing to work I noticed an elderly couple. They boarded the train, couldn’t find seats together and each sat on the end of the row; allowing the aisle to separate them. As the train moved away from the station, the man reached out over the aisle and grabbed the woman’s hand. They only held hands for about a minute, then he smiled at her and let her hand go. It wasn’t anything monumental, just a gesture, and it got me thinking….

  • If they were young, I would have thought about how naïve they were. Its puppy love…
  • If they were my age, I would have thought about how cheesy they were. Ugh it’s the morning commute for God’s sake...
  • But because they were in their 70’s, I thought about how damn cute they were.

It made me think that maybe all the Hallmark bullshit about “Love” may not be a marking ploy just to sell overprices greeting cards after all. I have wanted to blog about Love before but I just couldn’t get motivated. I even considered making a Blog entitled “Love is all you…HAHA” but I couldn’t whole heartedly mock love either. I was on the fence, in the middle.

Maybe its because…
When we talk about love we allow ourselves to be vulnerable OR
We don’t want to jinx it OR
We don’t want to get our hopes up OR
We are afraid to plan on it OR
We have been hurt and we just can’t find it within ourselves to believe at the moment

Whatever the reason... Love as a 20something is a touchy topic. But the people on the train inspired me today to write about it. So here goes…

At this point in our lives, each and every single one of us has been burned by what we thought was love. In some cases, maybe it was, in others we have to believe it wasn’t. Either way, by 20something, we all have our own battle wounds and we have all endured our own suffering on a count of love.

Some of us have been left jaded and some of us have moved forward. The problem is that by 20something were moving in all different directions. I have friends who are single, involved in something complicated, in a relationship, engaged or even married with children. After high school and college we disperse. There is no more set-track or timeline to follow. So those of us who are single (like myself) wonder if maybe we have fallen behind. Those of us who are in relationships wonder if we’re rushing or settling. It’s complication…actually it’s a mess.

Right now I’m single and on a “weak moment" I think…
Will I ever meet someone? Am I ever really going to be satisfied with one person? Am I going to be single the rest of my life?

When I was in a relationship and had a “weak moment" I thought…
Am I really happy with this person? Do we have Hollywood-Movie-Titanic-like chemistry? Is that chemistry even real? Am I cutting myself short? Is there someone else out there waiting for me?

Bottom Line…Whether we’re single or in a relationship, at 20something– we are cautious, unsure and questioning.

The sad truth is that dating only gets harder as we get older. No longer do we like someone solely on our ideas that they are “cute” or “fun” or “cool.” These things still matter, but only to a degree. They are no longer the make or break of a relationship. The characteristics become more complex. “Cute” becomes “chemistry” “fun” becomes “motivated/driven” and “cool” becomes “similar interests.” We have all new categories to define and examine.

I’m not sure if the idea of the ONE makes me hopeful and whimsical or straight up anxious. I’m leaning more toward anxious.

Sometimes I believe in the ONE and sometimes I think it is putting all of this pressure on us. While we wait for the ONE we concoct this idea of a fictitious person. This ridiculous idea of the ONE is what I think can be mocked---The idea of a check list of characteristics and attributes that we believe the ONE should have. It is all so silly because its forcing unrealistic expectations onto the next poor person we date.

So in my desperate attempt to mock Love, I can’t do it!

I can mock the check list theory of the ONE– that one person will meet and exceed our list expectations. This I can mock, and rightfully so, because somewhere along the way, the meaning got skewed. But then there is another theory of the ONE…the theory of the ONE where Love comes in.

When Love is involved the ONE is viewed differently. The person no longer has to be the perfect match to our paper checklist. We not longer see that The ONE as a superman waiting on a white horse. Instead, the ONE is just a regular person, faults and all, who we decide that we just don’t want to live without. This theory I can live with. This I can support. This is what I need to be reminded of.

So, as I looked at the couple on the train today, I thought that maybe they are the proof that love is out there. Maybe they weren’t high school sweethearts. Maybe they weren’t even married. But in that moment, to each other; they were the ONE person that they didn’t want to be without. Maybe that is enough…

Lets stop taking the phrase the ONE so literal. Maybe at different points in our lives there are different “ones” who we need and want along the way. Maybe for some people there is a single ONE, but for others, maybe not. I don’t really think anyone has the answer--Either way the subtly of holding hands across an aisle of a crowded train, serves as a small reminders that love is out there, for any age, at any time.


"Love is not singular except in syllable." ~Marvin Taylor
"The past is behind us, love is in front and all around us." ~Emme Woodhull-Bäche