Liability: something that is a hindrance or puts an individual at a disadvantage (Wikipedia).
Ability: the quality or state of being able (Merriam-Webster.com).
I’m on the fence about this one. And I’ll tell you why. I know you must be thinking that it’s because I’ve loved and lost...and that’s partially true. The truth is, I think I’m on the fence about it because I’m old.
I have loved. And I have lost. And, when it comes to love...I’ve gotten old.
I know that many of you are sitting there rolling your eyes and getting ready to hibernate your computers, thinking, “35? 35? And she says she’s old?”
But I think, when it comes to love we tend to age pretty quickly.
Since I’ve been trying to build a love life the second time around, I’m less open to new things. I went from losing my husband suddenly...to wanting to fill that void in my life immediately...to learning (the hard way) that that wasn’t going to happen...to learning (and loving) how to be by myself...to trying to learn how to be with someone else again.
I went from feeling like love is a liability...to learning that it’s an ability.
The truth is, I actually think that most people my age (and older...and some, maybe younger) probably feel the same way. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been widowed, divorced, or never married: If you have made it to a certain age and have found yourself single...we’re probably all in the same boat.
I’m less bendable (mentally and physically). I’m more patient about learning about myself and somewhat less patient about someone else learning about himself (bitchy, but true). And I’m slowly getting to the point where I just like my life...even though it wasn’t the life I thought I was going to have.
Previously married or not...isn’t that kind of true?
In my first, vulnerable single days after 30 (yikes)...love was a liability. There was so much at stake. My sanity, for one. Breaking up or something not working out would have been enough to send me into a tailspin of epic proportions. I fluctuated between not having the time or heart to deal with someone else’s shit to not wanting someone else to have to deal with my own. I flopped around, like a fish out of water, hoping that someone would have the heart to gently throw me back in.
Relationships didn’t work out. And, true to the cliché... “it’s not you...it’s me.” Love meant heartbreak. Abandonment. Happiness, but with a price. It didn’t matter how much I was loved...I sabotaged anything I could get my hands on.
In short...I was the liability.
Golly, I wish I had thought to put that on my online dating profile. Just think of what a hot ticket I would have been.
There came a point (and truthfully...I don’t know when it happened) that that stopped. The ability to love grew. Like a toddler, it learned to walk. And in the childhood phase it learned to run. I like to think that it’s a teenager now: It’ll test you, but ultimately it’s something you might like in a few years so you should take a risk and stick with it for a little while.
I’ve started thinking that the ability to love is not something you just have. It’s something you learn. And sometimes relearn. And sometimes try and abandon while you’re relearning. And sometimes come back to on New Year’s Eve when you’re frustrated with being alone, have had too much wine, and register for eHarmony when you swore you would never do it again.
Wow. Sorry. I think I was projecting there.
The point is...I don’t think that the ability to love just happens. Just like any other “ability” you have, you have to learn it. You didn’t just walk out of your mother’s womb (although, by my third kid it kind of felt like it)...you had to figure it out. You may be a musical genius, but that didn’t happen without some effort. Superman didn’t know what the hell to do with that cape the first time around...they just didn’t include that part in the movie.
Think of the liability he must have been. And we single girls thought we were bad.