Do you want love? Do you want the kind of love that can move mountains, and change the world? What I’m learning is that you can give that love to yourself. Some say that people who are “desperate” for love are missing something within themselves and they are looking for someone to fill that void. I think that’s bullshit; it usually comes from people who are in relationships and want to wax philosophical about love, and share their “relationship wisdom.”

My first long-term relationship (an abusive one when I was very young) made me feel like I knew nothing about love. Now that I’m older, wiser (I like to think,) and happily married to a real partner for life, I still find love to be a complete mystery and that is what gives it that magic.

I don’t feel a void that I want someone else to fill. I love love because it’s an addicting feeling that makes your stomach do back flips and your knees weak. But, there are different kinds of love. You can be in love with life itself. There have been times when I’ve been traveling when I can remember feeling absolutely content and exhilarated at the same time.

There is one morning that really sticks out in my mind from the few months that I was living in Zagreb, Croatia. I bought a cinnamon bun and walked to the top of a balcony that overlooked the city. I took the stairs since the world’s shortest funicular wasn’t open yet (yes, it’s literally the world’s shortest funicular). It was 7 a.m., the sun was rising and the world was quiet except for these two nuns walking by. Some street performers down in the square were playing an accordion and a saxophone. I wanted that moment to last forever; at that point I wanted to live forever, and I felt such peace. That feels like love to me; in that moment I was in love with life. (I went to the “Museum of Broken Relationships” after this, and the irony was not lost on me.)

So, maybe some people who don’t have a relationship are trying to fill a void, but what if they can fill that void all on their own? You can fill that void with moments in your life that make you feel like you can do absolutely anything. Fill your life with moments that make you want to live forever. Fill your life with conversations that connect you to other people. Hell, bungee jump if it will make you feel weak in the knees. Never give up on love; make it happen. Love life itself.

For me, writing gives me butterflies in my stomach. Looking down at Venice from an airplane window gets my heart racing. Standing at the top of a mountain in Italy with the wind blowing across my face brings a big smile to my face.

Now that I’ve met my husband, we love life together. We don’t “complete” each other, we “compliment” each other. We are two whole people, coming together and creating something even better; like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or macaroni and cheese.

I remember an episode of Sex and the City when Carrie’s ex-boyfriend Big is about to marry Natasha who seems plain and simple compared to Carrie’s more exuberant personality and style. Carrie realizes she doesn’t need to change herself for him or anyone else. She says, “Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with them.”

So here is my relationship tip for you: Find someone who is willing to run with you, but until that happens, enjoy the wind in your hair, all on your own.

pbr