I have an idea that’s been chasing its tail around my head for the last little while. It is a simple idea that I can hardly claim to be original but still there is something so inviting and interesting about this idea that I want to invite it over for a cappuccino and share a quiet moment with it in the garden. Love is a choice. The sheer simplicity of it written there, makes me want to pause for a second to appreciate the startling beauty of the idea. And because I believe that love is a verb, that love is in the doing, then how and who you love are choices you make. On the concepts of all things dark and foreboding, my fingers cannot keep pace with my mind, words fly at the screen to the sound of the keyboard bearing the pressure of my fingertips. Yet, the thought of love and the beauty in the simplicity of the thought love is a choice slows me down and my fingers find a gentler rhythm to describe the knots in my mind.
Don’t get me wrong here, just because I can appreciate the validity of the concept that love is a choice, it doesn’t mean that every time Husband and I have a fight, I run up to him grab his face and kiss him because I choose him. That mature, self-aware version of me is replaced with a foul mouthed, angry creature who wouldn’t dare believe she chose to fall in love with a man who routinely drove her insane. How could I have chosen to love a man mad enough to constantly leave the toothpaste out? How could I be responsible for the fact that Husband sometimes hurt me, upset me and did things that I believed to be unfathomable? If I had a hand in shaping my happiness with Husband, surely, I had a hand in shaping the opposite of that as well. The truth is that I did choose Husband, the truth is that I still choose Husband. I chose his annoyances as well as the happiness he brings to my life. I chose Husband as well as everyone else in my life that I love and even if I don’t always see it that way, it is the truth. Romantic love aside, we also choose how to love our friends and family. We may be born into a family, but we choose to love each other or not.
Who I love and how I chose to share that love is a choice. I am not willed by some invisible force, some whirlwind of rapture that blinds me. I choose every day how to love and the acknowledgement of that choice makes me feel like the world is one of light and possibility. There is such liberty in being able to choose but beyond that, there is startling responsibility in the thought. Sure, there are things we cannot choose, like who we have chemistry with or whether someone you love will share your passion for cheese and while a life without chemistry or cheese is dire, it is a choice we make to see if something bigger grows from the chemistry or whether we can live with someone ridiculous enough to not love cheese. Beyond the who, I can also choose the how. I can choose how I want to define love and what actions and behaviours this constitutes. If I choose to define love or a loving relationship as one where Husband buys me flowers every week, makes me a cup of tea at night and supplies me with an endless amount of puppies then I will be incredibly happy with Husband if he ticks all those boxes (I may also be slightly superficial and have a puppy problem, but hey, those are choices as well). Husband would have fulfilled my chosen definition of love. To an onlooker, it may be totally insane because in his or her relationship, love may be defined differently. To some love may mean dominance, jealousy, emotional and or physical abuse because they may choose a love they feel they deserve. Whatever it is, it is a choice. And whatever we do, we should never forget the power and responsibility of that choice. In a world where we agonise over what selfies make us look the most thin/pretty/vain/stupid, where we are constantly choosing what image of ourselves we want portrayed in social media, we should also be responsible for the choice of love, more so than ever before. Love is a choice.