Has love slipped to the bottom of our priorities?

Love can be undervalued and lost amongst the hustle and bustle of our career-driven lives


In a conversation with my ninety-six year old granddad (yes, 96!), he told me that he knew he loved my grandmother from the moment he set eyes on her at merely eighteen years of age. This memory could well be soaked in the romance of a passionate Piscean, or it could just convey how the younger generation of today have been swayed to focus on their career and studies, as opposed to love. “What’s wrong with that?” you say. Well, I suppose not much considering that we have been conditioned to independently pursue our chosen education or career when we leave school.

But is that right? Do you not think that we have become like self-absorbed machines by following this regime? I know my comparison is slightly ‘OTT’, but just take a moment to be a voyeur in the countryside, observe our surrounding wildlife, and see how our lives compare. Take a snapchat of the chaotic rush in a city, and then of the tranquil peace of woodland, with the occasional hustle of a rabbit in a bush. Nowadays, the closest image we see of a rabbit is on our best friend’s ‘story’. Our advancement on earth is remarkable, I’m not denying that, and arguing whether that is good or bad is slightly off-topic, so we’ll save it for another time.

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What I am concerned about is whether we have forgotten our main purpose in life. Is it not to feel, to care and to love? At funerals, do we have written statements documenting one’s success, and pie charts revealing their grades in school? No, that would be absurd, and don’t go getting ideas now, you success-driven readers! Instead, we have personal words of love and adoration, celebrating their life and the lives they touched. Surely that is evidence enough that our priority on earth is to love?

This brings me onto our treatment of love in the 21st Century. I feel as though we have been trained in our twenties to think for ourselves and ourselves only, pursuing what we feel will be the best for us in order to have financial stability and security by the time we reach thirty. What you could be sacrificing here is the potential to fall in love with someone perfect for you, because it wasn’t the right ‘time’ for you. So when is the right time? When you’re living on your own, on a good salary, paying for your colleagues’ pints down at the pub after work at 34 years old? Okay fair enough, you’ve got your life ‘sorted’ as they say; but guess what, ‘Miss Perfect’ has been snapped up by that guy who did see love as a priority.

So what do you do? You don’t have time to nonchalantly fall in love again with that girl who caught your eye in the park. Your dog died years ago so you no longer have an excuse to be there at your age, unless you’re working off the beer-belly, but no woman wants a sweaty man gaping at them. And you definitely don’t want to be caught by your boss having a ‘romantic stroll’, that’s far too Victorian.

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So you sign up to a dating site, and actively forage for a partner, exactly in the same fashion you searched for your university, your car, and your job. And like all of them, of course you’ll excel, because all you need is a spreadsheet for finding the one; that way you can line them all up and see who ticks the most boxes. Yipee! You’ve got a match – you’ve got a date! ‘Workaholic92’ also took the same, sensible and practical approach in her twenties, and here you both are. So are we done? Not quite.

Was there a connection? That instant spark that brought you close to falling for Miss Perfect who strolled so carelessly down that wooded pathway all those years ago? You brush off the nostalgia and see it as youthful fancy: “marriage is a serious business, life is a serious business, and we must look after ourselves before we let someone else in”. But what if we need that someone else there, to love, to care and to support us through our own individual journeys? There’s no denying it, we are happier when we are in love.

Do you really want to sacrifice true love in your twenties to settle for average ‘workaholic92’ when the clock is ticking in your thirties?

To conclude, I’ve selected some wise words from Leo Buscaglia:

“Love is life. And if you miss love, then you miss life.”