First love is a little foolish and a lot of curiosity.
– George Bernard Shaw
People say your first love is unforgettable, but I have a different take on things. I think that as we grow older, the love we consider to be the first changes. Objectively, there will always be a first boyfriend or girlfriend… But the thing with hindsight, or feelings for that matter, is that it makes any certainty impossible in the strict sense.
I’ve called a few men, “the man of my life”. I don’t think it was a false thing to say. I think they were, each in their own time. Giddens writes that “the experience of time is not that of succession of nows, but the interpolation of memory and anticipation in the present-as-Being. Neither time nor the experience of time are aggregates of ‘instants’…. [the] literature ignores … the reflexive moment of action which constitutes day-to-day activity of human subjects” (1979: 55). Maybe I’ve not understood this correctly, but what I think Giddens is trying to say is this: the only reason we see our actions or time as instants rather than a continuous stream is because this is the way we reflect on things. So if I apply this to my own life, this is what I have to say: my perception of the men in my life as all having been “the man of my life” at one point in time, regardless of whether it is something that still holds true today, can be supported by the theory in which my re-examination of the past chops time into distinct experiences. In which case, I interpret it as a reason behind the paradox of love. It reassures me that there is an explanation which allows my past impressions to live in the same world as my newer ones, untarnished. Thus distinguished, my new love can begin as a blank slate. The only thing that changes is, hopefully, the wisdom that I’ve gained.
Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep burning, unquenchable. – Henry Ward Beecher
And it’s all okay, ’cause love will find a way to be what love is…