not settling for a bad apple. If you haven't read that post yet, I highly encourage you to - as those words are still something I stand by with my whole heart.
This year, I'm going to dive deeper into love. With marriages at an all-time low, it's clear our generation's impression of love has been altered. After all, it's hard to open your heart to something that constantly fails everywhere you look.
But while I can speak to failed relationships, I can also speak to real love existing in this crazy world. I've seen a few inspiring marriages this year, celebrated my parents' 28th wedding anniversary and grown deeper into a loving relationship myself. Sure, divorce is all around us - but it's important to see the good as well.
So, after most of us have dimmed our inner fire for love because of broken relationships and bad experiences, my message is one of hope. Because the truth about love is it's not easy. Some relationships won't work out. Sometimes, you'll end up being heartbroken. But love wouldn't be so legendary if it wasn't real - I think you just have to be ready for it.
In truth, I wasn't always so optimistic. The first time I saw The Notebook, I didn't cry. My heart didn't fill up with any sort of emotion, and I laughed when I looked to my left and saw my boyfriend at the time with tears running down both of his cheeks. Needless to say, that relationship didn't last very long.
In fact, up until a few years ago, I’ve never really been one for optimism. I always considered myself a realist. I realized in my life that true happiness isn't found but created by oneself, so I never set my sights on anything I can’t achieve or fantasize about a life that I thought would never be. That motto shaped a hard shell for the people close to me to break through, but it was one that protected me from the kind of pain others in my life have endured, and one that kept me from ever being vulnerable.
But now, a lot has changed. I've grown up, experienced the good in addition to the bad, and adopted a matured outlook on life and love. While I still believe in the power of creating your own happiness, I also believe in letting yourself be a little bit vulnerable - letting yourself believe in something bigger than you and letting yourself be loved. One day, you'll look back on every tear, heartache and vengeful text message to your ex and laugh - because you'll realize it was all worth it to get exactly where you are.
So go ahead - cry in those romance movies. Dream of your wedding day. Imagine yourself as a parent, a grandparent and so on. Believe that it can still happen to you, because if you don't - then it surely won't.
In the meantime, let today serve as a reminder for this journey and enjoy every step along the way.
That's my dish on love. Thoughts?