Stop Saying I’m too Young to Know what Love Feels Like

When are you no longer “too young” to know what love feels like?  25? 35? There seems to be this minimum age requirement imposed on us by society for what the acceptable age is to be in love.  But love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection; it’s an abstract concept and an emotion that everyone feels differently.  So how can people say that I’m too young to know what love feels like?

I believe that I’ve known that feeling since I was 15 years old, and since then, I’ve been hearing that I have no idea what love feels like.  I’m five years older now, and people still tell me I’m too young to know what it’s like to be in love.

But I do know what it feels like to be in love.  I fall in love with the crisp morning air when I go out for a run in the early days of summer.  I fall in love with the feeling I get when I’m blasting music in my car with the sun beating down on me through my sunroof.  I fall in love with meeting new people and exploring new places. To be honest, I’m in love with life itself.

How is that different from falling in love with another person?  I’ve loved so many people in my life, but I do know that there is a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone.  Both times I’ve truly fallen in love with someone, I had this kind of eureka moment where I just thought, “wow, I’m really in love with this person.”

I think the misconception of “being too young to be in love” comes from the fact that when you’re younger, you don’t always understand what healthy love is.  My first love was not healthy; he definitely did not value me or treat me the way I deserved. I didn’t realize this at the time, because I was so blinded by my initial feelings at the beginning of our two and a half year relationship.  The heartbreak when I finally did end things felt unbearable at the time.

So many people told me during my first real relationship that I didn’t know what love felt like, and didn’t understand why it was so hard for me to break up with him.  Even looking back years later, I still know that I was in love with him. At the time though, I was only looking at the good in our relationship, which was definitely outweighed by the bad.  After growing up a bit, I realize that the only thing I didn’t know about what I was feeling then was that it wasn’t healthy.

Honestly, that love was so necessary though.  It helped me grow as a person and prepared me for my next love, someone who treats me so kindly and is my absolute best friend.  Instead of just one eureka moment, it seems like there’s a new one every day with him.

So yes, I am still very young.  But I’m also very lucky to know that I’ll be able to say that I’ve known love during my lifetime.