Fall in love again.
I had this thought the other day about Rapunzel. Like, of course she fell in love with the prince! She'd been trapped in a tower for most of her life and he was the first person she had ever met besides her kidnapper. I mean, the odds were pretty in his favor.
I dated a bit in high school and less in college. I always got bored, and once I realized I got bored, I just sort of...quit dating. What I'm saying is, I didn't acquire a lot of real serious relationship experience before I met the love of my life. Trev and I met and married quite young. Did you know I take flack for that sometimes? Like because I met the perfect man at 21 and we've been happy ever since I actually have nothing real to say about love and relationships? This accusation has been brought against me more than once.
The thing about Rapunzel and the prince is that you don't know anything of the story outside of the honeymoon phase. I mean, what happens when he rescues her out of that tower and suddenly she sees this big wide world out there? The prince was good when he was all she knew. Does he remain "the one"?
I married a Prince Charming. And he has continued to be a Prince Charming all of the days that I've known him. And while he is a knight in shining armor (because I think you can be a prince and a knight? Can you? Well, he is.), I entered into this relationship on my own accord. He chose me and I chose him and I like that about our love story.
But whether or not he was the 100th man I loved or the first; whether or not I met him at 15 or 55; whether we stayed locked in a secluded tower or visited every city on earth, sooner or later there's going to be a time to choose. We choose to love. You might think that sounds unromantic, but I say it's the most lovey-dovey thing there is. I married a man who chooses me every day even though he knows that girls do poop and that I'm super cranky almost every morning.
The point is, I realized, that when you make this choice, sometimes it comes easily and sometimes it is harder, even if you don't know why. But by realizing that loving is choosing, you grant yourself this wonderful opportunity to fall in love over and over again. Every time you do, every time you make the choice and then you are reminded of why, every time your heart goes soft again, your love grows stronger.
By the time I turn 30, I'll have spent just shy of ten years with a man that I love. I know that's just a fraction of the time that we'll have together on this earth, but already I have fallen in love with him multiple times. Settling down doesn't mean that you've experience that feeling of falling for the last time; it just means that you don't have to seek it out in strangers or unknown places any more. Instead you choose what you already know is good and right for you and you learn to love it more and more in new ways every day.
If you haven't found Mr. Right in your twenties or thirties, or heck, your forties and beyond, I think it still applies. We all have to keep our hearts soft. We all have to make choices. We all have to believe that love can happen again and again. So whether it's loving the one you're with or waiting to turn the corner into the man of your dreams, don't forget to fall in love again.