I came home to a city drenched in rain and I must admit I love it. There's something about the way rain smells in Nairobi that actually makes my heart race a little. In fact there's something about this insane city that quickens my pulse and leaves in a little dry in the mouth. I spent six hectic days in New York, and much as it's nice and all that, I couldn't wait to get back home. My lectures ended on Friday, February 7 at 17:35hrs and I was on my way to the airport 45 minutes later.
It isn't that I couldn't bear to be in New York with it's freezing temperatures and storm warnings - it's just that I missed home way, way too much. I love my city. I can say that with authority because I have been lucky enough to visit some of the most beautiful cities in the world and yet, my heart remains in Nairobi. Yes - given a choice, I believe I would still pick Nairobi, yes, even with the Sh300 parking fee. I love Nairobi. Infact given the choice I make about Nairobi, let's talk about love.
It doesn't matter who you are, how jaded or grown up you are or even how progressive you may consider yourself to be, you won't be able to escape the conversation on "love" this week. In fact depending on which side of the issue you sit on, the fact that February 14 falls on a Friday making this a "Valentine's Week-end" leaves you either excited or a little sick.
However, not to put a damper on the day, allow me to start one fact clearly that we tend to ignore about love. It's not a feeling. Love is a decision.
I once read an article by Ravi Zacharias with this insight: “Without the decision of the will, love is a mockery; without the emotion of the heart, love is a drudgery.”
Still the most powerful force in the universe, love continues to make the world go round – and round. A thousand ships had been launched in the name of love. Kingdoms have risen and fallen because of it. Deals brokered, treaties broken, all because of love, — or the absence, or loss thereof.
Everyday I look at the text messages that come into our studio at Kiss 100, I look through my inbox on Facebook and I'm hopelessly torn between screaming "get a grip" and laughing out loud. And don't you dare write this off as "issues young people have", no my friend. Our obsession with romantic love – the notion that one day you will find The Perfect One, sparks will fly and the cosmos will explode around you – is responsible for more mischief and misery than any other myth of modern life. The mischief and misery will be manifested in the coming week.
Because we have been told to look for "chemistry", flying sparks - we let go of perfectly wonderful people, ignore people who understand and get us, warts and all and even people who are infinitely good for us because somewhere out there someone told us love was a feeling. No my friend, let me say it again - love is a decision. True love isn’t lightning bolts. It isn't chocolates and flowers that die in 48hours. It isn’t something that just happens to you. It’s something that you decide on and then build or break over time. True love isn’t sparks. It’s infinitely better.
Bear with me as I get down to my point - love is a decision not a feeling.
Valentine's Day hasn't commercialised love - it's done something worse. It has forced regimented romance on people.
Let's be fair to the guys for a moment. Does anyone actually like going to a restaurant on February 14? It's romance as imagined by a North Korean dictator. Attention, attention "all of you, dress up, wear red or white or equal shades of the same, walk around looking smug, make sure you act all loved up, sit in restaurants you normally wouldn't go to, and try and look the part". Seriously?
I'm a hopeless romantic, which for those who know me is totally at odds with what most people consider to be my personality. In fact I make no apologies for going all girly and breaking out in giggles when I get a mixed CD of songs, a card (hand made preferably) wine, chocolate - however we all need to take a step back and ask ourselves if romantic love is overrated.
If you consider love for real, forget the North Korean dictator's version - love is primarily about others. Think about it - all this week, the girls will be thinking about the day and what they're going to get, while the boys will be wondering "what the hell?". This week a lot of us will be in love with love. The feeling over-rides all.
The problem with that, is by Monday, nay Sunday, the very idea will leave some very hurt, angry and even jaded.
Some of us will be stood up this Valentine's Day. Infact some have already had the classic fight. You know, the one that ensures he or she won't be with you this Valentine's day - yes that one. Some of you have even been dumped temporarily. Why? Because the person in your life has already made a decision about whom to spend that day with. Feelings are all well and good, but like I said at the beginning of this article - love is a decision. The decision on every item and every aspect of the day will be made based on whom the other chooses as their "Valentine"
This week, decisions will be made about whether or not to part-take in this regimented love-day. Decisions will be made about whether to send flowers and goodies or not, to go out to dinner or not, to go out of town or not, to be with you or not. If truly the hallmark of your relationship is based on what happens on February 14 - then if the decision made doesn't include you, validate you, doesn't edify you or in any way leave you assured about your relationship beyond your FB status - then you have your answer.
Love is a choice, not a feeling or an emotion. It’s a decision you make and we make that decision daily. Allow me to wish you light and love and above all wisdom as we count-down to this celebration of love - a decision, not a feeling.