I recently had a friend describe me as being “a thousand different shades of gray.” I would say he’s absolutely right. Life isn’t black and white – at least for me it isn’t.

And, with that, neither is love.  I find recently that nothing is as it seems, things don’t fit neatly into the metaphorical boxes that I sometimes wish they fit into, and when we start learning and growing, our lives stop looking like a movie on repeat.  Then, it gets even more challenging to try to predict or label our experiences.  But hey, that’s my experience.

How many times in high school (okay, even in college) did I watch an episode of Sex and the City and tell a friend that whichever guy I was dating at the time was “SO my Mr. Big.” I would meet and date men and label them as “my Aidan” if they were wonderful but too wonderful, or “my Aleksandr Petrovsky” if they were exotic and fabulous but not exactly the marrying kind.  As life goes on and people change, or, as I change, I find that this task of trying to figure out who is “who” in my life according to where, how, and when the fictional character Carrie Bradshaw landed her main squeeze is pretty futile.  Things just aren’t that predictable.

However, at one point, I certainly tried to make things that predictable. In so doing, I came to the appalling conclusion that I would have to get all of my ducks in a row before being able to land this “Mr. Big.”  I would have to do some serious soul searching, get to a place of Dalai Lama-esque human perfection, and figure out all of my sh*t (sidebar: NOT happening) before any man or any relationship could be considered…

Right.

One day at a time, I gradually dropped my agenda and decided to allow life to take it’s course.  As a result, I have been handed a beautiful lesson that is actually quite the opposite of what I ever expected to be true of love.

What I have learned is that real love, for me, today, is accepting myself exactly as I am.  Being loved is being accepted whether or not I’m capable of accepting myself, whether or not my ducks are in a row or one is here and the other is off in an ashram somewhere doing some soul searching of its own. Whether we have the opportunity to share that love with someone else or we share it with ourselves and with the universe, it cannot be taken away. It is infinite. And, sometimes, great love doesn’t end in wedding bells. Relationships work out or they don’t, but it doesn’t necessarily make the other person an “Aidan”, an asshole or a “Mr. Big” that got away. Why? Because life is not that simple, relationships don’t fit into boxes created by sitcoms – they are so much more beautiful when they are allowed to take on their own life.  Love is not black and white.  It is a thousand different shades of gray.  And, just like the rainbow or a spectrum, the colors don’t run out.

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