Letter from the 'Love, Actually' Editor
On self–growth, love languages, and love, actually
I’ve never been more in love than I am right now.
No, I’m not in a committed relationship, nor do I have my eyes on any particular person. If there’s one thing absent in my life, it’s romance.
A year and a half ago, I was devastated to say goodbye to my summer fling as he headed halfway across the world, leaving me to my childhood bedroom and Zoom classes. For some reason I couldn’t get it through my head that we were over—I clung onto the idea of him because I thought, somewhere, that it would ground me. Unsurprisingly, it did the opposite, and I spent most of my time feeling miserable and longing for things I didn’t have.
I was lonely because I convinced myself that that’s what happens when there’s a lack of romance in one’s life. It wasn’t until after a few months of moping that I emerged from my depression den and stopped taking other forms of love for granted.
I’m sure many people are aware of the five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, physical touch, and acts of service. These don’t just apply to couples. But I’ve come to realize that these five groups can be too general, and each and every person loves in their own way. For my friend Sarah, love is leaving a sweet voicemail if I can’t answer her call. For my dad, it’s the hand–drawn cards he gives me on every birthday. My roommate Emma is the queen of gift giving, always accompanied by the words “I saw this and thought of you.” My mom gets me my favorite ice cream cake to celebrate any achievement, no matter how small. Even that summer fling, now just an old friend, sends me song recommendations every now and then.
Reciprocating that love has become one of my daily goals. I make soup for my roommates on cold days, I compliment my friends to make them smile, I call my great–grandma every Friday afternoon.
I show myself love, too. I wear matching pajamas to feel a little more glamorous. I collect perfume samples because the scents make me happy. I go on walks by myself, and I end every night with a cup of tea to unwind before bed.
When I say I’m in love, I don't mean romantically. I mean that I love and feel loved every day, by my family, my friends, and myself. I’ve learned to observe closely and admire the many ways in which those around me choose to demonstrate their love, and I find new ones all the time. My heart became so full when I took note of this. As this issue's namesake movie says,“If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.”
More Like This
Get 34th Street's newsletter, The Toast, delivered to your inbox every Sunday morning.Newsletters