Linked In

Buenos Diaz! So, it was a couple of years ago that a tall, slender, red-headed beauty in the state of Arizona joined an online community called for professional networking. A friend suggested she join to make some connections that might aid in her pursuit of landing a job in sunny southern California. This site seemed like as good a start as any in her search for new employment and a new direction, so join Linked In and cross her fingers Miss Ginger quickly did.
It wasn’t long before a strapping young specimen of the male and Polish American persuasion took interest in Miss Ginger’s profile. He was tall, he was dreamy, lived here in San Diego, and worked in a field related to her own. For the latter reasons alone and not at all because of his dashing good looks, she reached out to him via InMail and picked his brain about the job scene. The InMails became Face Time calls, then Face Time lead to texts. It started out platonically enough, but soon the tone began to shift. The convo became a little less “Have you seen this job posting?” and a little more “Hey sexy fox, how many baby foxlets do you want someday? What are your thoughts on Jesus and immigration reform? And do you like cats?”
He liked her, she liked him; he was moved by her passion, she found him endlessly hilarious. He played soccer, she wrote in journals. They both liked cats and country music. They agreed to meet in person and BOOM! CLAP! WOW! Sparks flew, angels sang and trumpets sounded in the distance. Ginger soon packed her bags and joined her beau in California. It was obvious early on that this shit was for real.
This weekend Ginger took another trip, this time down an aisle. There her lover stood waiting to make her a wife. She’s joined Linked In to find a job, she ended up with her soul mate. She’d wanted to connect, and connect she sure did.  
Inspired by their the love and commitment, I’ve reflected a lot on how I’ve come to feel about love. So, here we go: Ginger and Kulpa, this one’s for you.
Lesson 1: Your love’s not my love and my love ain’t your love.
Whether you’re falling in love are deep in the throes of it, inherently someone (and probably multiple someones) will tell you what steps to take next. They’ll tell you what worked for them, or preach about what didn’t; they’ll tell you when it’s too early to do or say or want something, and also when it’s too late to consider such a thing. They’ll offer up a formula for how many days it takes to really know someone. Everyone has two cents to offer you if you want to be happy.
We’ve all been through this; one person will have a friend whose cousin’s dog walker married her husband after knowing him for 3 days and has been married for 50+ years, but someone else will know a girl who knew her man for a week when they walked down the aisle and was divorced quicker than Kim K dumped husband number two. The world will tell you there are certain rules, terms and conditions that you must adhere to and obey or else be destined for loveless misery and a life as a spinster with cats. This just isn’t the case, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m new to this like of thinking- love is truly different from person to person.
I myself spent years thinking people who get engaged before dating for at least a year were absolutely out of their effing minds. My philosophy has been that it’s easy to be dazed and googly-eyed in the first year. It’s what comes next that really sets the tone. Then I met Ginger Spice and the Polish Dream, and I was forced to eat quite the healthy portion of humble pie. They’d dated for a grand total of seven months when they got engaged and there is nothing about that which makes any less than perfect sense to me.
Now, do I think this whirlwind romance makes sense for everyone? Nah, playa.  What works for Couple A may spell disaster for Couple B. There are no universal rules, no blueprint or foolproof recipe that ensures a particular outcome in a relationship. Yes, there are certain truths about love that I think we can all agree on; overall though, I think that love is just too complex and delicate a thing to be or mean the same thing for the millions of people on this planet and their various DNA combinations. Love is too beautifully wondrous and mysterious a thing to be approached so methodically, so practically. I’ve vowed recently never scoff at love just because it’s packaged a little differently than the common ideal. Your love is different than mine, and that’s how it should be.
Lesson 2: Love is a choice.
How many times have you heard the words, “You can’t choose who you love?” If you’re anything like me, the answer is “a f*ck ton.” Your wording might be different than mine. Sorry about that.
Accepting that this adage is not indeed true has been one of the greater revelations of my life. It is a concept first brought to my attention by one of my best friends Daisy after attending a very spiritual wedding treat with her fiancé a few weeks ago. The realization that love is actually a choice has been sobering and at once liberating in turn. If you think about it, “you can’t choose who you’re attracted to” is far more accurate a statement. Chemistry, sparks, butterflies, chills- those are the feelings and sensations that you can’t fake or force. They may take time to develop but they’re either going to be there, or not. If they are, you may fall in love if the timing, lighting or alcohol by volume is right.
Falling in love, however, is not the same as actively loving someone- that’s a horse of a different color. You fall without thinking or planning, you stay because you want and then choose to. Loving someone, especially after the gloss and sparkle of a new relationship has waned, is indeed something we can choose to either pursue or abandon. We choose whether to continue down that path, to give of ourselves, to make time for this other person, to consider their existence as it affects and fits in with our own. We choose to compromise, to listen; to forgive, to understand; to engage, to be present; to be honest, to be patient. It is not an accident or the result of dumb luck when love endures. It is a voluntary, physical practice that we have to work at, and it isn’t always easy.
This may sound burdensome at first; to me, it’s rather beautiful and empowering. If love is a choice, then we can choose to keep the flame burning. When two people make that courageous choice to say “Hey, so, you’re the one. You make me all kinds of stupid happy. So sit down and strap in, because we’re going to remember our love for one another even when the going gets tough,” that is invigorating and noteworthy. It is my sincerest hope that if I do find someone crazy enough to handle my particular brand of crazy someday, that he be brave enough to choose to love me, actively and honestly with all that he has to give.
Love is friendship on fire.
If there is one thing I know to be true, it is this indeed that love is friendship on fire. I have it engraved on a necklace and I tout the phrase every chance I get. People say this so often that it begins to sound banal, but your partner really should be your best friend. Love works best, in my observance, when it takes on the form on a deep, meaningful, laughter-filled friendship.  The couples I know who have persisted and continue to thrive are the ones who are notably each other’s most trusted companion. When my mother has some great and exciting news, my father is the first one she thinks to call. When my friend has a hilarious story to share, she can’t wait to call her boyfriend to tell it. That seems to be the key, to see in your partner not just a person to eat with, sleep with and go to the movies with, but as your favorite person in the world with whom you can’t wait to spend your day.
In closing, to my newlywed friends- I applaud you for daring to making your own rules. They are your own and no one else’s. Own them, live them, thrive in them off into the sunset. I hope you will choose to love one another every bit as much tomorrow as you do today, and every other day as much as the one before. Value your love and the friendship that exists at its core, then set it on fire and let it be the force that binds you. Remember the meaning of the bands you each wear on your fingers and the vows you spoke to each other but a short week ago; I salute your connection and wish you even more happiness that you’ve already known. You’re all linked in and ready to go.; go be happy forever.
Bookishly yours,

They seriously give each other looks like this all the time.
Maids in Waiting.

This chick. Ugh. Making bridal look effortless.

Ginger and the Bookworm