First love is beautiful in its vulnerability. Our innocence allows us to feel without the hesitation of fear. With no cautionary memories to bind us, we advance toward all that is new and unlimited. We are, perhaps, at our finest when with our first love. We are pure.

I met my first love in college. Having never had such intense feelings before, I was certain he’d be my last love. My experience was one of total surrender. I found myself in the midst of an emotional force that took me on its current.

I’d awakened to another dimension of myself; one that activated heightened awareness and creativity. I felt at one with all of life. Everything formerly common became vibrant and meaningful. The sky was bluer. The grass was greener. My world shifted to Technicolor as my heart blew open.

I was never more alive than in that time of first love.

Is the first cut really the deepest? Clearly, it leaves its mark. The journey can be sublime or excruciating. Often, it’s a mixture of both. For some individuals, first love blossoms into lasting love. In mutual recognition both partners “know” they’ve found their life mate. They’re the exception to the rule, not the norm.

Heartbreak is often the end result of first love. The first cut is deep. Lacking years of accumulated guard and defense, its sting is sharp as it enters the virgin heart. Despite its severity this is not the cut that wounds us. It’s the remembrance of the outcome that disables our ability to love again, completely.

Caution, guard and fear linger as they form a protective barrier to love. The memory of our loss is far greater than the loss itself. Retaining our wisdom while removing these barriers becomes the tightrope we walk in order to open our hearts again.

The sweetness of our naiveté is what we mourn. This is the observation that haunts us, and serves as our deepest cut. Our innocence was our freedom. Beyond the loss of a lover, it’s this freedom we find ourselves searching for later in life as we struggle to tear down the barriers that disallow love’s entry. In the reconstruction of love’s crash we yearn to ascend to that precious place of vulnerability, once more.

We don’t all get the storybook ending. We live real lives, not those crafted of fiction. We each get our first attempt at love. It may appear that we’ve failed. But we’ve succeeded because we have loved.

Love is a skill set. We live and learn and try again. Our first attempts were the dues paid for admission to this magnificent opportunity. And throughout our lives as we improve our skills, we seek to recapture the purity of who we were when able to love beyond our guarded selves.

We strive to bypass the fear of letting another human being into the deepest places we hold. We hunger to feel again. We crave the sweetness of that desire because love is the essential quality that makes our life-journey valuable.

Our first love may not be our last love. But it’s forever etched in our hearts. It’s the reminder of the finest part of ourselves as we found unity with another. It’s the template we seek to revisit. Now with additional awareness and a greater capacity for love, we move forward in our quest with a clearer goal in mind.

Love holds no guarantees for any of us. It’s the realm we enter to find ourselves again, and again. Beautiful. Pure. Open. It’s a gift we give to ourselves, as we share it with another.