The People You Will Fall In Love With In Your 20s
Jun. 8, 2012
By Ryan O’Connell
You will fall in love with someone who annoys you, whose orgasm face looks and feels pathetic. Despite all of this, there’s something keeping you drawn to them, something that makes you want to protect them from the harsh world. What you fail to realize, however, is that you are the harsh world. You aren’t their noble protector — you are someone to be protected from but it takes a lot of dates, a lot of nights where you question whether or not you are actually a good person, for this to ever resonate with you. When it’s over and whatever love is left is put back in the fridge like a sad plate of leftovers, you will finally understand that you have the power to hurt someone. You can either hurt them or love them and it’s up to you to decide what kind of role you would like to take on in future relationships. What feels more comfortable — being the one who loves more or being the one who’s loved less?
You will fall in love with someone who’s cold and always seemingly pushing you away. When all is said and done, they will be forever known as the one person you couldn’t get to love you. Unfortunately, it will hurt and sting worse than the good ones, the ones that chopped up your meat for you and picked out an eyelash from your eye and were nice to your mother, because love often feels like a game we need to win. And when we lose, when we realize we couldn’t get what we ultimately desired from a person, it makes us feel like a failure and erases all the memories of those who loved us in the past. It’s a permanent smudge on your love resume.
You will fall in love with someone for one night and one night only. They’ll come to you when you need them and be gone in the morning when you don’t. At first, this will make you feel empty and you’ll try to convince yourself that you could’ve loved this person for longer than a night, but you can’t. Some people are just meant to make cameo appearances, some are destined to be a pithy footnote. That’s okay though. Not every person we love has to stick around. Sometimes it’s better to leave while you’re still ahead. Sometimes it’s better to leave before you get unloved.
You will fall in love with the old couple down the street because to you they represent the impossible: a stable, long-lasting love. You’re trying to get someone to like you for more than ten minutes. A monogamous “never get sick of ya” love seems unfathomable. “What’s your secret, sir? Do you just say yes a lot?”
You will fall in love with smells, the good and the bad kind. You will want to wear your lovers shirt because it makes you feel close to them and you’re okay with being that PYSCHO who is legitimately sniffing their shirt in public. You will fall in love with sweat, certain perfumes, the smell of the season in which you fell in love. This particular love smells like fall. It smells like Halloween and a roaring fire and leaves and fog and mist and candy and food and family and whiskey and sex and the lint that collects on sweaters. When it ends, if it ends, you will never experience another fall without thinking of him, her, it. The memories will stick to the ground like a mound of leaves and will only dissipate when the weather drops.
You will fall in love with your friends. Deep, passionate love. You will create a second family with them, a kind of tribe that makes you feel less vulnerable. Sometimes our families can’t love us all the time. Sometimes we’re born into families who don’t know how to love us properly. They do as much as they can but the rest is up to our friends. They can love you all the time, without judgement. At least the good ones can.
This is where I’m supposed to tell you that you will fall in love with The One, a person who isn’t too cold or too nice. Their “O” face is perfectly fine and they’re not afraid to show how much they love you. This person is supposed to wait for us at the end of the twentysomething road as some kind of reward for all the heartache and loneliness. We deserve them. We’ve earned this kind of love.
So fine. You’re going to fall in love with The One. You’re going to fall in love with someone who will make sense beyond college or a job or a particular season. They’ll make sense forever and won’t ever want to leave you behind. I’m telling you this not because it’s true but because it NEEDS to be true. Everyone is entitled to this kind of love, so why not? Have it. It’s yours. Blow out the candles on your 30th birthday, holding their hand, and let out an exhale that’s been waiting for ten years. Do it. Now.