Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Real Love in the Real World

Since I first stood up straight without my corrective shoes during the Mickey Mouse Club, television has been a huge part of my life. Truth is that I can never get enough. The TV is on essentially from my first waking moment to when the timer switches it off after I've fallen asleep.

I started watching General Hospital when I was nine years old. The daytime drama pattern endures fifty years later: As soon as two of the show's favorite characters finally make it down the aisle, someone is in the wings to wreak havoc on their relationship.

Although they conclude more succinctly, movies aren't much different: Kismet, angst, unrequited, requited, unrequited again, then eventually into each other's arms to live happily ever after.  (No doubt some computer generated imagery will also include an explosion or alien invasion.)

Amazingly, we tend to think it's romantic to have our love lives play out like these stories: That difficult, torturous, gut-and-soul-wrenching experiences are prerequisites on the path to eternal love.  

But in the midst of all the craziness, we ignore a very basic reality: Without the intense storylines, there is no story. Without the tedious, drawn-out adventures, lots of people aren't working.

It is wise to remember—and inform our children—that Hollywood's version of romance is not reality, it is an illusion. Relationships may have obstacles and certain dramas (aka life events) will naturally occur but we don't need to cry an ocean of tears to achieve love. In fact, it's often far more organic and usually kind of simple, sometimes even boring. But that's okay.

Because, ultimately, one of life's most precious gifts is to find someone we can trust and with whom we can be our true selves. Believe me when I say that there's no script for that.

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