there is a fine line between stupid and amazing when it comes to love

“Well. People do stupid shit when they think they’re in love.”

I had met my friend out for a drink one evening, and he told me about a girl he had met that was waitressing at our town’s sushi spot. He described her as a cute girl he had never seen working there before; he struck up a conversation, asking how long she had lived in the area and why she had moved here.

“You know what she told me? She moved here because her boyfriend lives here.”

I wasn’t too moved by this statement. I understood the implication. This is not a fancy town. I spent five years living in Colorado after graduating college, and I’m still in my first year back on the east coast living in our suburban town. The truth is, there’s a lot of good things to be said about the area we live in and my goal is to actually appreciate them this time around. But I get it. It isn’t Boulder, or Portland, or Seattle. And it’s not beachfront.

“She told me she used to live on the beach. The beach! And she moved HERE!”

My friend was twisting my mind a little bit. I am a beach lover. I lived in the middle of the country, during a time where flight prices were not cheap. I spent six years beach-deprived. Now I love that I can get to a beach in an hour. In a car, not a plane. If I could live on the beach, even just a block or two away from it, I would definitely be in heaven. And I would certainly have a hard time leaving it.

“Well, what does her boyfriend do? Why did they have to live here, he must work locally?” I asked, wondering if he was a doctor with his own practice set up here, or a teacher, or just a guy who worked in New York City and commuted down there each day, as does a large part of our town’s population.

“I don’t know, I didn’t ask her all of that. But who does that? Picks THIS town over the beach?”

“Well. People do stupid shit when they think they’re in love.”

I couldn’t believe that that was my answer. It came out of my mouth like a seething venom, an angry reflex. It was not the way I felt at all. But I understand why I said it.

When I moved to Colorado, the guy I was dating already lived there. We had met in college. He was older and graduated a year before I did, moving out to Colorado shortly after. I visited him several times, did not want to stay in New York after I graduated, and he suggested we live together. Against my better judgement and my gut reaction which told me, “NOPE!” I accepted the idea. I understood why the cute girl at the sushi restaurant moved to our town for her boyfriend. She’s in love. Just like I thought I was, five years ago.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there’s a fine line between stupid and amazing. And when it comes to love, or the potential for love, sometimes you have to take the risk. The risk that you may look back and realize the decision you made to be with another person was stupid. But stupid isn’t the right word, because nothing you do is stupid if you really believe you’re doing it for love. And if the sacrifice or the change you made to be with that other person becomes a deep love, then your decision was amazing.

If I were that girl and I had to choose between living on the beach or taking a chance living with my boyfriend to make our relationship work—because I felt like I truly loved him and was loved in return—I’d pick this lame town and the person I loved without hesitation. If I don’t give up the beach, I give up the potential for amazing love. If I choose my boyfriend, then I can always go to the beach with the person I love. It’s a risk and a choice. Loving someone, especially at first, is a risk and a choice. And the payoff, to make the person you love happy and to be loved in return, is worth it.

Even if you take a chance on love, choose to do what is risky, make a decision that other people may perceive as “stupid”, you can’t lose. And this is the hardest thing to wrap your head around. The only thing you can lose is the opportunity to love that other person if the relationship doesn’t work out. Everything else that happens, you learn from. You learn what kind of person you definitely don’t want to be with. If I hadn’t moved to Colorado, I would not be the same person today. I learned so much about who I am, and what I want out of a relationship that I’m thankful I took the risk on my college boyfriend and made what I still call, “a really dumb, not-thought-out decision.”

I just hope I still have this ecstatic, crazy, not-thought-out, dumb inclination to take a risk when I see the potential for love. Part of me feels like I suffered a big loss from taking a chance on love. But I didn’t. I found out I didn’t actually love that other person, that we didn’t love each other like that. I realized what kind of love I want to give someone else. I realized my own worth, saw how much I could offer another person, how I was actually capable of commitment, patience, and understanding. I’m happy I tried, I do not regret one moment of love I tried to give my old boyfriend.

To the cute girl waitressing at the sushi place down the street: I hope you know just how stupid your decision was to leave the beach to live in this lame suburban town to be with your boyfriend. I hope you roll your eyes and say, “I can’t believe I live here now, remember how I could walk outside and smell the ocean each day? And now I’m in this suburban Wal-Mart, chain-restaurant town filled with budding families … ”

But most of all, I hope you shake your head, close your eyes and smile, laughing to yourself, “That was the stupidest decision I ever made. I must be in love. And it’s worth it, because it’s amazing.”