This time last year, I was recovering from an odd bug that led to my passing out and getting stitches (at home!) after cutting my chin open in the subsequent fall. I was terribly light headed and frequently dizzy, and yet the one thing that kept me going was that I had the promise of a date (or what I hoped was a date) ahead of me. Now, I was not the type to put dates in a place of such importance, but you see, I'd met A a month before and that one meeting had turned my world on end. Seeing him again had become a priority, and there was no way something as small as stitches and being unable to get out of bed for more than a few minutes without succumbing to dizziness was going to stop me.
Stop me, it did not. I somehow made it to our coffee shop, somehow kept my cool, and somehow made it a few hours before everything started spinning. We stayed together for six hours that day, talking non-stop. I felt that the world was slowly settling into place, even as my body was protesting at my getting out of bed. I knew then that what I'd felt the first time I saw him weeks before had been right and that my life had already begun to change.
Dramatic and corny and utterly cliché as it sounds, everything did change then. There's a quote in Alain de Botton's Essays in Love on how, "if you asked most people whether they believed in love or not, they'd probably say they didn't. Yet that's not necessarily what they truly think. It's just the way they defend themselves against what they want. They believe in it, but pretend they don't until they're allowed to. Most people would throw away all their cynicism if they could. The majority just never get the chance." I was one of the most cynical people until I met A and got that chance. I held onto that cynicism until the day of our first date. I desperately clung to romanticism and hope through fiction, but I didn't believe it existed in the real world until I laid eyes on him and began to converse with him. I fell in love with an idealized version of A based on his intellectual and cultural self that day, and while those first feelings of love were based on an idealization, they were not any less real. They were signs of hope, and the first steps towards letting go of deep cynicism.
That same book says that when you see beyond the idealizations, you risk falling out of love. I saw beyond those idealizations over time, and far from making me begin to resent flaws in him, doing so has made me fall a thousand times more in love with him than I did then. This is maybe much to share with thousands over the internet, but in these times of growing hatred and fear, I feel the need to share the good. I didn't believe in love and I didn't believe I'd ever even want to find anyone, but my life utterly changed a year ago today, and I see nothing to hide about that. We live in a world that shames idealism and optimism as being naive and childish, but I see nothing to be ashamed about in love.
We aren't celebrating by doing anything big today. We were going to celebrate by going to an outdoor screening of Singing in the Rain by the lake, but again (oddly), I've been sick for the past few days. So instead, we've spent the day in pajamas, drinking lots of tea and alternating between books (me), thesis work (A), and watching endless random videos on loop. It isn't particularly romantic in the ideal sense, but as I've learned this year, the love found in the every day is so, so, so, so much more important than the ideal and in that sense, today could not have been more perfect.
Hello & Welcome!
I'm Olivia, a twenty-six year old grad student studying in Switzerland. This is where I share my thoughts on the academic journey, culture, travels, baking, and my daily life abroad. Read More.