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Does anyone carry a torch for their first love? Or somehow hold that person on a pedestal of some sort? Why do those feelings seem to stick around for so long?

I talked with a friend and I got to thinking about my first love. It feels like for that one relationship, we truly come with a clean slate. No holding something against a person for the past transgressions of a prior relationship.

From the beginning, the relationship is pure. Innocence and hope, undiluted. It comes so easily and changes us permanently. I’m beginning to think we need that pure love to guide us when we find someone to spend the rest of our life with. We need it so when we finally meet that special one, we can already know the power of love, especially when it is so often being overshadowed or hidden by the baggage accumulated in a lifetime.

Our first love is easy, effortless really. I believe it has to be so EVERYONE has a chance to experience it. But to appreciate easy, things must first be hard. It’s not difficult to get complacent in what we have if we’re constantly given everything we ever need. Working hard makes it that much sweeter when the good times cycle back around.

Patrick and I have been together for twelve years. We have had our ups and downs; knock down/drag out arguments, fought, cried, screamed, made up, fought some more, broke up, got back together, fought some more, had a kid (and two after that), cried & fought some more, on and on. You name it, we’ve probably done it. Maybe twice. But when it is good and we’re back in synch – MAN IT IS GOOD!

Good enough to fight through the difficult times. I think I will carry my first love with me always, but I feel I might have a better understanding of what exactly it is that I am carrying. It isn’t the connection I shared with that person, it was the purity of that connection. That purity of love will stay with me forever as my reminder what I’m fighting for when Patrick and I hit our next downswing. I’m fighting to love and be loved.

Pure and simple.

2015 Update:

Written: 12/20/2013

Excerpt: The true power of love isn’t measured by the places you’ve seen or the things you have experienced, or the accomplishments you have made. It is measured in the weight of hearts you’ve touched, the wealth of opportunities for growth you’ve created, and the brightness of the souls whose lives you bring to light.

Thoughts:  When I originally wrote this, I considered my first love to be the boy in high school that I was desperately in love with and even gave what I considered to be my virginity. His hold over me was strong with some tiny piece of my always believing somehow, some way, we would find our way to be happy together. As I’ve grown over the past year or so, I have realized that my connection with that boy was nothing more than a place holder for when I would be ready to give ALL of my heart and soul to the one person who would love me more than any other in existence. Interestingly/paradoxically (or “bipolarly”) as long as I held on to the belief for my fantasy love to work itself out, I was keeping myself from experiencing true love with the person I was always meant to give myself completely to. It wasn’t until I was ready to put down the possibility that there is someone out there better for me that I would ever be able to find true happiness or feel true peace with the man I wanted to love me forever. The second I accepted my reality as more important than my “fairytale romance” my real life was somehow transformed into a real life love story full of fanciful events and magical experiences. And somehow the man I held to be my “best guy not quite perfect enough for the forever position” morphed into the person where I couldn’t imagine living not having him by my side, as often as humanly possible, with as much opportunity for love and happiness as ever existed. He became my fantasy fulfilled when I stopped picturing a nameless, faceless person and decided for myself that the man who stood faithfully beside me for almost fourteen years now was the man I should have been happily living alongside the entire time.

Hope: I hope that people will look at the hearts around them and consider the possibility that their “real” true love is already in their life and just needs the benefit of being considered for the role of forever loved and universally/unconditionally accepted. Too many times I believe we miss out on our opportunity for happiness because the first time it was presented to us, it didn’t “seem”like a perfect fit, yet somehow that person fit themselves “seamlessly” into a position where life wouldn’t be right without them.

Moral: All that glitters is not gold and all that is gold is not always of value. Find the pieces that sparkle with sincere connection, warm your heart with heartfelt passion, and dazzle your soul with divine inspiration. Anything less and you’ll find yourself holding a foolish piece of gold plated nothing.