The other day, someone asked if being a divorce lawyer has changed my perspective of love. This is such a fascinating question. I am not sure I can give a clear-cut answer. It really depends on how you define “love.” I believe love should be defined rather broadly. Most people associate love with only a romantic partner. However, I learned love exists all around us.
Two years ago, I flew to California to take the California Bar Exam. It was a three-day exam, with a three-hour exam during the day and a three-hour exam in the afternoon with an hour lunch break. Every day, for lunch, I would sit on some nearby steps to study for the afternoon exam. I would quickly scarf down a homemade plain sandwich, consisting of Nature’s Own bread and Oscar Mayer Oven Roasted Turkey. Although focused, I could not help but notice my surroundings. Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, moms, and dads were there to greet their loved ones with lunch and some extra support. I was alone. I had no one. And on top of that, I was at a point in life where I felt like my world was crumbling. Passing the exam was not even on my mind. I just wanted to make it through. I wanted to get back on the plane and head home as quickly as possible, so I could figure out my life…again. On the last day of the exam, I went back to my usual spot on the steps. I pulled out my sandwich, which at this point, I ate to just survive. I looked up and there was this lady standing in front of me, holding a bag out at me. She had brought me lunch. Every day she sat with her son for lunch, she could not help but notice I was always by myself. I had never felt love like this before. This was a mother’s love. This was love that came from someone who did not even know me. This was kindness. And kindness IS love. This moment has stuck with me forever, especially when I start to ask myself if love exists…
We have to be careful how we define love and how we define life in general. If we keep looking to romantic partners to give us a definition of love, there is so much beauty in life to be lost. Having a life companion is certainly okay to want. In fact, it is normal. However, if we live life solely searching for that, we will miss out on life. There is so much more to life. There are so many ways to feel “love.” Love can come from friends. It can come from family. It can come from strangers. It can come from a hobby. You get the picture.
On the same note, we should be mindful of destination happiness. Many of us, and I am very guilty of this, believe we will be happier if “this and this were to happen.” For instance, “When I find a husband/wife I will be happy.” First off, if you think being a relationship will cure your loneliness, you are in for a rude-awakening. I know many people, who are in relationships that feel alone. Now, that’s even worse. Secondly, if we are looking to the future, we are forgetting to live in the present. Cliché, I know. But there is so much truth behind this saying. The only way to live a fulfilling and prosperous life is to live in the now. You have to make “now” everything you want it to be. Then when you look back, you will see a large pile of life adventures. Now, that will be your definition of life. And it will be a life you love.