What is Love?

For sure, I am not an expert on relationships. But I am not the only one who has seen dozens of couples being formed and destroyed, some others being full of hope and sometimes full of anger and regret. At the same time, I have seen a lot of people starting and closing different life projects, either personal or professional. Feeling disappointment as their expectations about a university degree were too far from reality or because they feel their life choices were not the most adequate. I have seen myself struggling with all of this more than once. You could think, well, that is life! But no, that is love.

The first two examples are obvious. A girl/boy loves a girl/boy and it either works fine or not. But what about your degree? Especially for the ones we decided to dedicate to science by doing a Ph.D.? Let’s forget about that speech about doing what you love for a second. We have heard thousands of times that if you do what you love, your life will be awesome; even I said that many times before. But is it that awesome? Not always, right? Both personal relationships and graduate life are similar, full of complexity and shades. We had a good reason to start it, feeling a drive strong enough to climb mountains and change the world. Unfortunately, one day something not-so-awesome (or horrible) happened and your perception changed drastically. You had doubts and fears about the course of the relationship/degree and even started to consider quitting. Many times, the latter is a healthy choice if the relationship/degree is hurting you (in more than one sense) and you are feeling more miserable than happy. You believed that this relationship/degree would be part of your life in a long term. Sounds similar, right? It is maybe because both things require love, even if it sounds extremely cheesy.  Everything that has some value will have a cost, that most of the time is not money. When you love someone/something you must pay, with time, sacrifice and challenges. Love is being there for her/him when dealing with something difficult even when you are not in the best condition. Love is continuing forward with your work even when you are tired and out of inspiration. Both things require giving the best even in the worse circumstances. And if everything goes to waste, you would still have learned a valuable lesson or two, which will be useful for your next relationship/project. In summary, everything we do is a matter of loving it or not. If we know how to love with better quality than quantity, accepting the price that comes with it, accepting that even giving the best will not be enough and letting go when it is time, then things will start paying off at some point.


Photo by @yogipetals // @gradlifemcgill

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