The Ramblings of Love and Happiness

“When I love you, I am happy.” This is not an inaccurate statement. It makes us feel good to love and be loved. We feel happy and safe and all of those warm, bubbly feelings. But that is not all that love means. Happiness is just a small section of what it means to love someone. When you really, truly love someone, you don’t run out at the first sign of not being ‘happy’.

It may also help to find what happiness means in reality. Trust me, I am an idealist at heart, I would love to believe that we could be happy 24/7, 365, but I know we cannot. Pain and sadness and frustration and all the other billions of emotions we have that are not happiness are going to sneak into the pool of feelings drowning our minds all the time. It’s not realistic to say that we are going to be happy all the time so why does it sound fair to say you can’t love someone if you’re not happy.

This is where the blurred lines come in….

“No you shouldn’t be with someone if you are unhappy.”
“You can’t expect to be happy all the time.”
“It’s not fair to keep giving them chances if they make your life less happy.”
“If you never give someone the chance for love how do you know if you could be happy?”

There are so many ways that we can handle love and they tend to revolve around happiness, but how do you calculate what the weight of unhappiness is that crushes the chance of love? As far as I know, you can’t. It would be nice to have these ideal numbers and ratios to tell us what chance we have in succeeding in a certain pairing with this percentage of the time being in happiness over sadness. But that’s not how it works. (Who knows maybe someday it will, but that’s for a much different blog than this!)

Love is this beautiful, scary, happy, and sometimes not so happy thing that enters and leaves our lives with more impact that we often realize. Saying “I love you” should not equal, “I love you, when things are going well,” or “I love you, but only when we’re happy.” That is not love, that is convenience.

I love you because we have happy moments. I love you more when we don’t have happy moments. When you’re unhappy, I love you so much I want to love away the pain at least for a minute or three. When I’m unhappy, I want you to love me back to whole so we can share those happy times again. I will take you at your worst because I’ve seen you at your best and know that even from there we can achieve greater together. But that greatness does not come from running away from unhappy moments, it comes from working towards the ideal that always feels two steps away from us. If we run together though, I believe we can catch it!

If there comes a time when the fight for love and happiness becomes too much and the bad moments out weigh the good, it will not be fun or happy or anything I desire to do, but I will not say that I was wrong in my love. Things change and I may not love you now but last week or last month or yesterday I really, truly did. Feelings may change but that doesn’t erase their history. If I had one day where we both loved and felt happy, I would not let anything take that day from me, and I believe that it would be worth it, even for that one day.

So let there be love and let there be happiness. And if they don’t always align, evaluate why and if it’s something you want to work to realign. If you don’t want to put the work into it, you don’t deserve it. But if you do, don’t let it pass you by. Don’t fear that other person’s love, let it in and love it right back, you could be stronger than you’ve ever imagined.



**Man, I love coffee, but sometimes it gives me the shakes… I still love it, but we need to take the time to work out just how much love we can handle. We reevaluate our relationship and the next morning (and a seemingly ungodly hour) our love is reignited.**


The Break in Spring Break

Spring break: A time for travel and sunshine and beaches and alcohol, right? That does sound like fun, and I wouldn’t complain about being somewhere like that right now, but what I really need requires very little travel and a lot of love and relaxation. What I need is quite simple. A break.

I’ve discovered that I feel the need to fill every moment of my time off doing what society tells me is fun and ultimately what “I am supposed to do” for this thing called spring break. But when I return, I end up feeling more tired and worn out than before I left. I get so anxious about doing all of these fun, seemingly necessary things, that I never get a chance to really take a break. This year, I decided to put my foot down and take some time for me.

Of course, I had some plans for this week, but they did not end up going… quite as planned. What was meant to be a fun few days with an old friend and lover prematurely ended by crashing back to reality with hurt and heartbreak. Again, not quite what I had in mind for this ‘break.’

In the moment, I knew that I could handle this problem in a few ways. For example, I could cry myself to sleep and stay that way for the rest of the week, or I could pick myself up and make the most of my drive up to Minneapolis. I decided to do a little bit of both. Emotions are hard and suppressing them is not healthy, so I decided to go to stay with my family in the cities. I told them what happened, and yes, I cried… a lot. The next morning, I got up, had some coffee, played with my nephews and later that day, my family treated me to a facial at a spa in town.

I am clearly sad about how the beginning of my ‘spring break’ has been, but I refuse to let that keep me from having the break I know I deserve. Spending time with my family is the healthiest way to follow this situation. Healing loss with love is the best remedy I know and that is exactly what I got from the hand I was dealt. If a life decision like this had to happen, this was the best time for it.

My mentality going into this week was to spend my time catching up and relaxing as well as processing where my life is at and where it was going. Even though the obstacles life has thrown at me, my goal remains the same. In fact, it is even more important. I still have 5 days before classes start to take in all of the ‘break’ I can, and you can bet I will do just that!

What makes ‘love’ so important?

What makes ‘love’ so important?

We all need to feel a sense of love.

Some crave attention from spouses
Others crave affection from parents
Some prefer the company of their cat or dog

Some need verbal reassurance of their beauty
Others need to be held through the night
Some only a gentle smile or twinkle of the eye

No matter what the form is, love is something everyone needs.

But why, why do we need it?
What makes ‘love’ so damn important?

Does it make us feel whole, feel wanted, feel something… anything?
Does it make us forget the hate of the world, the tears we have shed, the ones we have lost?

Love has the potential for greatness but it is not this all-healing power that brings people back to life after tragedy has struck. In fact, it is often what put us there in the first place.

Love is painful
Love is scary
Love is loss

So why is this painful, scary, not so perfect thing called ‘love’ so damn important?
Why do we keep coming back to this feeling after it has hurt us so many times?

The rewards are worth the risks
The ups are worth the downs
The pain is worth the pleasure

Love is beautiful because it is complicated.

There are so many dimensions of love: parent-child, siblings, distant relation you love even though you never see them, spouse for 50 years, fiancé of five minutes, the first sight of a guy across the bar, the laughter, the kisses, the tears.

Love is forgiveness
Love is rebirth
Love is beauty

Nothing in the world is purely good or bad, and love is no exception.

Love can feel crushing and it can also lift one up
It can cause your world to be empty or fill it with endless joy

We all need to feel a sense of love. Not always in the same way in every instant, but we do.

It’s what makes us human.
What lifts us up when we are down
But keeps us in our place when we get too proud

Some people have lots of love to give
Some people need a little more love than others
Some people just don’t know what to do with this… thing

Love is who we are, you can push it away, you can deny that you need it, you can choose to use it or fight it, but in the end, love is all we have.

We may be back and forth on the good and bad of love but we cannot deny its importance.

If it wasn’t even the slightest bit important to you, you wouldn’t have read this blog.

For now… I am home

For now… I am home

It took me a long while to really get used to this whole ‘coming home’ thing… I didn’t want to at first. I wanted to continue to explore the world, discover a zillion and three more faces, understand this home of mine. I was a little afraid of being stuck back in this small town Iowa setting again. I went from the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and the coastal mountains of the Cinqueterre in Italy to New Hampton Iowa…

In the few weeks I’ve been home, I have not had conversations with herds of sheep or dipped my toes into the Mediterranean, but I have eaten perfectly grilled sweet corn and danced in the rain of a warm summer shower with some of my closest friends and family.

I have missed far more than the adventures and excitement of the last year. I have missed the ‘family’ I have left on the other side of the world. But here I have been greeted with overwhelming love from the family I left a year ago. We have laughed and talked. We have danced and played. We have shared stories and made more plans for the future. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yesterday morning I got up, walked to one of our local coffee shops, got an iced americano and just sat in the sun and read my book. It truly was a beautiful moment. But it wasn’t the book or the coffee or the sun that made me realize I missed this place I call home.

It was the people. It will always be the people. 

Someone calling to you across the street just to say hello, is a comfort a didn’t know I missed. The feeling of being able to be anywhere in town and see someone you know is something I  used to hate… sometimes I still do. But after not having it, I realize how reassuring it is to know you have people in the world. People who know you, who care about you. People like I have here.

I cherish those people in my life; the ones I have known from childhood who I can tell my deepest feelings to and the ones who I’ve only known for a couple weeks but care about me none the less. I know when I go back to Europe (because I WILL go back) I will have those feelings of love and comfort and recognition. Right now though, I will take the ones I have here.

I have missed this place.

I have missed this love.

I have missed these people.

And for now… I am home.

Loving a Difficult Person

I have, on occasion, been called a difficult person; I’m stubborn and driven and like to be right 100% of the time but things are not always about me, believe it or not, and this blog is not about me being the difficult person it’s about being hurt by that difficulty. It’s about having so much love for a person and that love being pushed to the side not because it is not felt, just not understood.

If you’ve never felt this be thankful and if you have know you are not the only one.

The hardest part is not that the person is difficult to you, it’s that they are difficult to themselves.
It is not that they cannot love you, it is that they cannot love themselves.

Maybe they do not think they can love you enough.
Maybe they do not think they deserve your love.
Maybe they are trying to be strong.
Maybe they are afraid.

What these people don’t think about.. is you. They are focused on what they are or are not capable of and they simply forget that there is another person involved in this equation.

Maybe you have enough love for the both of you.
Maybe you need that person.
Maybe you don’t.
Maybe you do.

In the end maybe you need each other. It’s the balance of the world. I have so much love to give you that maybe it will be just enough for you to love yourself and me too. This is something that you long for; something you dream of; something that clouds your mind more often than you’d like to admit.

Loving a difficult person is not impossible. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back is a little less possible… You can put in hours of time and energy and tears but until that person makes the choice to let you in and love you too you will just waste more time and energy and tears.

I have by no means mastered this. I too am a difficult person. Two difficults do not make an easy, but they may be able to make something.

I will keep on loving you at least until you love yourself. You don’t have to be happy with me, I just want to see you happy!  And if that makes me a difficult person well… tell me something I don’t know!