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No Matter What

13 February 2011 9 Comments

This is a guest post from Pas de Deux series contributor Joel Runyon

I’m not a big fan of romantic love (take that Valentine’s day!)

I’m sorry, but I’m not.

As a lifelong, commitment-phobic bachelor, it’s a little ironic that I’m writing about love. It’s not that I’m love-averse but it’s just that I’m too realistic. It seems to me that that people act like love is some disease you caught from cupid rather than a choice you make every day, which is what love really is: a choice.

Choosing Love
Real love is a choice. I’m not talking about the lovey-dovey-butterflies-in-your-stomach-that-stop-as soon-as-you-realize-the-other-person-has-bowel-movements-type-love. That type of love is good for reality shows, but it doesn’t reflect actual reality where real people actually have real bowel movements.

The Blog of Impossible Things

As a rule, I do TRY to avoid religious subject matter, but St Paul's insanely lucid message still manages to deeply inspire, 2,000 years later. They read it out at my sister's wedding, which I remember it resonated the most for me. Any one who has ever truly known love "gets it" right away ~ Hugh MacLeod

I’m talking about the real love.

Love that lasts – like the kind of love that Hugh mentions in the comic. The love that the old people at the park have for each other when their eyesight is bad, their skin is wrinkly and they both smell funny and neither of them could give a hoot because they know they have each other. That type of love.

That type of love doesn’t just happen.

At some point in their existence together, their lovey-dovey-butterfly love stopped and they had to decide that they were going to deal with this person for the rest of their life. They had to decide that they were going to love this other person. Hairless and toothless. Fat and wrinkly. They decided that they were going to love them. No matter freaking what.

There comes a point in a relationship where you decide whether you’re going to love something, someone or somewhere no matter freaking what or you don’t

Your girlfriend, your wife, your neighbor, your job, your parents, your car, your siblings, whoever or whatever it is: you get to choose whether you love them or not.

Fortunately, this type of love applies to other stuff besides relationships.

Like Your Job
Unless you’re Alan Perlman, you probably didn’t just fall into “the perfect job” your first time out. Most people, who have jobs they love, didn’t get them right away. They figured it out, little by little, slowly understanding parts they enjoy and the parts they didn’t. Then, the majority of them went out and made their own dream job.

They fought, scratched, and worked hard until they got it.

Even once they “got” their dream job, it didn’t get easier. Ask them. They still do a lot of very difficult work, but they’ve reached a point where they love it so much that the hard parts don’t matter anymore. They love the work they do so much that they choose to love it despite all of the parts they aren’t crazy about.

They love their job no matter freaking what.

When you choose to love something, all the reasons “why not” doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Whether that “it” is a person, a thing, or a place, you get to choose whether you love it or not.

Instead of not loving something because of all the perfectly good reasons why you shouldn’t, you choose to love it despite each and every one of those reasons.

My friend has what is quite possibly the ugliest dog in the world. There is no logical reason for anyone to love the thing, but the entire family is enamored with it. They choose to love it despite the fact it may be a crime in some countries to show people a photo of it. Despite a severe lack of compelling reasons to do so, they love that dog, no matter-freaking-what anyone else says.

Moving Beyond The What
In life there’s always a what. There will always be a pretty long list of good reasons why you can’t do something and why you shouldn’t do something. Including love.

Making the decision to love somebody no matter-freaking-what is moving beyond that long list of good reasons, despite any validity it may have.

It’s not easy.
It’s not perfect.
And it doesn’t “just happen”.

But like most things in life, it comes down to a choice.

Your choice.

You can move beyond the “whats” and choose to love something or someone no matter freaking what or you can choose not to. But you get to choose.

What are you going to choose?

Photo Credit: Hugh Macleod – Gaping Void Gallery

The Blog of Impossible ThingsPas de Deux Contributor – Joel Runyon

Joel Runyon makes a choice every day to tell a great story with his life by doing impossible things. You can read about his journey to cross off meaningful adventures on his impossible list at his blog. Say hi to him on Twitter @joelrunyon.

Song: Dandelion Heart by David Gamboa

9 Responses to “No Matter What”

  1. Roxanne says:

    I like the notion of choice applied to the theme of this series. Thanks for giving me loads to think about.

  2. Joel says:

    Thanks Roxanne 🙂

  3. Noel says:

    Love as a choice … why have I never thought of this before? Brilliant! I have always been more of the mindset that love “happens” to you, but I think looking at it through this lens is really interesting. Makes a lot more sense for long term relationships, marriages, and “real” love.

  4. Val Malone says:

    Joel, I love that you’re bold enough to speak the truth about what commitment really means. Handsome Princes may or may not come rescue us in times of despair….but ultimately it’s a decision to commit to what is sometimes hard freakin work to make things last! Great post.

  5. Emmanuelle says:

    And choice is freedom, as Jean-Paul Sartre would say. Brilliant post!

    • Joel says:

      This is where I come up with a clever quote & reference in response to yours, but unfortunately, my knowledge of french philosophy is lacking :(. Thanks for the comment Emmanuelle

    • Emmanuelle – Voulezvous coucher…wait, that’s probably not right. 😉

      You bring up such a good point. So many people would look at having to make choices and work a bit at love as crushing and limiting.

      But, as Sartre would argue, there is a beautiful freedom in exercising the CHOICE to do something, rather than having it forced upon you. It is like reading books in high school. I read novels that I painstaking page-turned through, loathing them.

      As an adult, re-reading some, I am almost embarrassed that I disliked them so much at one point. But loving something because you want and choose to is so much more liberating than feeling it thrust on you.

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