Love is in the air

I wrote this for my old blog a couple of years ago and it's a bit cringey but HEY it's Valentines Day - and if you can't be cringey on V Day, when can you?! 

I LOVE LOVE. There I said it. I'm a full on embarrassingly uncool die-hard romantic. I love flowers and cards and ridiculous gestures. But the thing I REALLY love about love is that unlike a new jar of nutella or a full tank of oil (both lovely in their own ways) – it doesn’t run out if you use too much – leaving you stranded and alone on the M25 at night or scraping the jar for the remnants wishing there was more.

The wonderful thing about love, well one of the many wonderful things, is that the more you use, the more you seem to have. It duplicates itself. The more you give it, the more you feel it. I really think that if you approach life wholeheartedly with love, it’s love you’ll get in return. And that’s all we need isn’t it? Well, no not technically. I do understand basic biology. We need food and water and exercise and light. But love, companionship, friendship – whatever you want to call it – is a vital component of our humanity.

I know it's Valentines day – the day couples get together over candlelight and an M&S two-can-dine-for-£20 meal – but I’m strictly NOT just talking about romantic love – although I do love that kind of love a lot. I’m also talking about friendships, familial love, love of thy neighbour, love of the stranger who gave you his seat on the tube, love of marmite or some well-known brand of hazelnut spread or banana milkshake (or C all of the above), about love of dancing in a most unorthodox manner, running at a medium to slow pace or galloping up empty corridors, about love of singing in the shower, sharing a truly terrible joke or doodling silly pictures instead of doing any work. About all the little and big loves that comprise our lives.

We’ve GOT to stop this inane, blinkered search for the ‘one’ to love. Please. It’s exhausting. No wonder the world is so cruel – we’re each on this singular mission for one person to give all our love to, totally overlooking what should be a collective quest to love as many people as we possibly can. I mean, wouldn’t the world be a much nicer place if this were the case? There are 8.308 million people in London alone. Doesn’t it seem a little narrow minded to give all your love to one? No, no, no you’re reading me all wrong. I am by no means suggesting we bring back the swinging sixties, glorious though I’m sure they were… (Although if that’s what you want to do, I’m not here to judge.) I’m just suggesting we aspire to more than just romantic love to make us happy.

Popular culture would have us believe that anything less than epic, earth-shattering, inconvenient, ridiculously dramatic romantic love isn't really the real thing – but we've all seen Titanic and we know how that ends: becoming stranded in the middle of the Atlantic with only a door between you and the inky abyss. Other films suggest that romantic love is the answer to ever-lasting happiness – ah at long last the couple gets together – now everybody's happy and we can all go home. But I disagree. I think the answer to true happiness can be found in completely platonic love too.

This year, I fully plan to be greedy in love. I think I'll find the more I learn to love other people, the more in love with my own life I'll become. Whatever form love comes in, it’s still fantastic, it’s still love. It should be celebrated in all forms, on the 14th of February and every other day. Imagine being so incredibly in love with the everyday that Valentines Day just pales into insignificance – against the backdrop of the glorious romance of life.

So fall in love, but don’t fall in line. Don’t for a second believe that one sort of love is superior to another. Even if you don’t have 'the one', immerse yourself in all the other wonderful loves of your life. And if you do – that’s wonderful, pour your love into that person – but share it with everyone else too – it’s unlimited after all. Really, love doesn’t whittle down to whether or not you have a significant other to whisper sweet nothings to across a bucket of breadsticks. Love is all encompassing. It’s an attitude as well as an emotion. Approach life with love, and I think life will give love back.


Sarah Barratt