robert rowland smith on first love

June 21, 2012
from Robert Rowland Smith's "Driving with Plato":
What's so odd today is that this sense of the unique experience of love coincides with the common knowledge that love can indeed befall you more than once in a lifetime. In this sense Anna Karenina heralds the modern age, and "first love" is precisely that: first but not last. As people live longer, become more affluent, and are aware of increased choice, there's a much more developed sense of love being a pleasure to be refreshed periodically, like buying a new house. And yet first love is special, an exercise of the soul that both recalls the munificence and warmth of being a child and introduces the sense of oneself as a grown-up, as someone who might make a journey through life with someone you didn't start life with. You become yourself with another self: you make a pair, and in doing so you see the future in each other's eyes.