What the Heck Is Love Anyway?

Summer has just ended.

Grade school Grace was always excited for school, it meant friends.

Middle school Grace was always excited for school too, it meant cheer.

High school Grace was always into school too, she loved new stationery.

College Grace was thrilled about school, it meant friends.

It looks like I’ve returned to grade school.

The best part of going back to college is seeing all of your friends. You see countless Snapchats and Instagrams counting down the days until the return to campus. But there’s this bittersweet transition of leaving home and the people you have learned to love over the summer.

This summer I had the option to stay on campus for my job. I could leave, but I could stay and live in an apartment with one of my now-best friends. I chose to stay. I made good friends, so very different than my friend group from the school year.

Then the summer ended, and my school friends came back. I missed them terribly. I love having them back. One is sitting with me on the couch as I write this.

We start to share stories of the summer and those we’ve learned to love.

Some of us had those infamous summer flings. Some more serious than others.

Some of us had makeouts. Some of us made amazing friends. Some of us had time to reflect, grow, and write.

But then summer was over. How do you go on? What will it be like?

I am going into my second year of college. How will we start again? Last year we came to college knowing no one. Now, we are the upperclassmen.

So I’ve been here all summer. I’ve had an Ohio summer full of lakes, drives, sunsets, and ice cream. I’ve made new friends, lost connections with some old ones, and grown bonds over many, many, FaceTime calls.

The friends that I met last year trickle in on campus, mixed in with first-years and faces from the summer. Hugs are given, and the laughter here is louder than ever. This is love.

I’m realizing the boundless love that exists within friendships; within short romances, long relationships, and everything in between. Even the love for yourself. Even if no one says it, there is a special becoming in the summer that transcends our hesitancy and caution.

That midsummer is magical after all, maybe Shakespeare was right.

At the beginning of this new school year, I want to hold on to that love. That beautiful, effervescent, summer love. Cliché, I know.

But, we deserve it. We deserve boundless love from the people in our lives. Love comes and goes, but it is beyond powerful.

This summer I learned to love. I stopped being afraid of love. I fell in love, and maybe out. I stumbled to find words. I have friends who learned to love themselves, who loved who they have become.

Grow and flourish as this school year begins. Do not get caught up in the stress, do not let darkness creep in on you. Learn to love, in many forms. Learn to live, and it may take its time, you may never be done.

Love isn’t concrete; its fluid, and takes the shape you give it. Please, ever so carefully now, take your time in building the love you need.


Image Credit: Feature, Grace Orwick