After a long drought, it’s tempting to think it will never rain again. Here’s why you should keep looking up.
People who are single, but don’t want to be, find it easy to grasp Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. He once said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” Anyone wanting to spend time with a pretty girl or a handsome man, but instead has endured years of fruitless searching, has no trouble picturing the “hand-on-a-hot-stove” analogy. The prospect of another day alone can feel as if time has stopped entirely—and that love will never arrive.
“Never” is an infectious word, like a flu virus. Once you’ve caught it, everything loses its luster. Exhaustion and depression become lead weights strapped to your feet. All you want to do is stay in bed and pull the covers over your head.
As justifiable as this state of mind may be (the stove really is hot, after all), it’s not very useful. Because unlike the real flu, this one won’t go away on its own. Once you’ve given up on love and despair has set in, recovery requires conscious intervention.
Fortunately, there is a cure. Just as your condition began as an idea—that true love is a rare creature you are likely to never see—it can end with one as well. Here it is: Love is always closer than you think. That’s not another empty greeting card slogan or a top 40 song title. It is the truth. Love is always nearby, even when all appearance argues against it.
The romantic comedy “Love Actually” begins with a montage of touching scenes filmed at London’s Heathrow airport. One after another, people come through the arrivals gate and are greeted by someone they love. They embrace and kiss. They cry, they laugh. Hugh Grant narrates the imagery like this:
“Love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends … If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that love actually is all around.”
When you are resolved to resist words like “hopeless” and “never,” you will see evidence of love everywhere you go. You’ll stop visualizing vast distances between you and the love of your life. Rather, you’ll imagine that he or she is just around the corner. You’ll recognize the love you see between a small child and her grandfather at the park, or best friends huddled for hours over coffee. It is a ubiquitous current that never ceases to flow—and that is presently carrying you and your partner toward each other.
Love is always closer than you think. Write these words on sticky notes and wallpaper your world with them. Put them on your bathroom mirror, in your car, beside your bed, on the inside of your front door, so it’s the last thing you see before you go out. It will help make the hours of waiting for romance seem like minutes instead.