Oct 21st, 2006

Love is a Burning Thing

I have this phrase running through my head, and I've been giving it a lot of thought. Turning it around, looking at it from all angles.

The phrase is "unconditional love".

I know that I loved my parents unconditionally, but to be quite honest, it took a long time to get there, and a lot of therapy to achieve a place in myself where I could do that. I think that to truly love unconditionally, one has to love oneself the same way, and first.
In the context of my current contemplation of the phrase, I wonder, however, about the difference between unconditional love and enabling. Is there a difference? Is it so easy to mistake the two?

What are the differences? Unconditional love means accepting the flaws of the other. Enabling means, maybe, ignoring them. Or... or what? Approving them?

Is youth a flaw? Is it possible to be young and not blame your inexperience on others? At what point does youth become adulthood? Is it age or knowledge or experience, or just a mental switch?

Are you an adult when you think you are? Or when others look at you and say you are? The late, great Satchel Paige said "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?" By that accounting, my own age is somewhere around the mid-twenties. But the calendar tells me otherwise. My bank accounts, my responsibilities, my life-style choices, the amount of time I have left in the workforce, all tell me that I am fast approaching senior citizen status. And yet, in my head? I still heart rock and roll. I still like to go out and shake my groove thang. I have no understanding of the fact that my knees won't let me ride my bike for 20 miles at a clip.

I graduated college on my 21st birthday, and had no doubt that I was an adult. I had a degree, I was of legal age in any country on the planet, and it was time to leap into the world and see how strong my wings were. In hindsight, of course, I was still green and in many ways still the child I had been when I entered school. But I didn't think so then.

In going through my parents house, I have found letters that I wrote them from that far away point in my life. I told them not to worry about me. I told them that I believed that my wings were fully fledged and that I would fly. I told them that I knew I was green, but I was hopeful. I believed in myself. (God only knows why. Maybe I was high when I wrote the letter.)

I still believe in myself. The world has never shaken that belief out of me. It has tried, it has shaken it to the core, but it never shook it out. I love myself unconditionally, which means that I know my flaws. I even try to improve them. But there are things about myself I cannot change. There are other things I could, but would not. The rest? It's all just smoke and mirrors.