You are a human being and, try as you might to avoid it, you’re going to love someone sooner or later.

I know. It’s rough.

So the time is going to come when you’ve opened your heart to that person, or that group of people, or that place, you’ve let them break down the walls around your heart and you’ve let yourself love them.

And then you’re going to have to leave.

Just so you know, I’m not necessarily talking about romantic love. The thing that keeps popping into my mind as I write this is the daycare where I worked this summer.

I worked forty hours a week, minimum. That’s a lot of time to spend with a group of kids. I memorized their favorite picture books. I walked into another teacher’s room to pick them up every morning, and they clamored over to me and made grabby hands, reaching for hugs. I found caterpillars for them on the playground. I held them while they cried. I spun them around in circles.

I learned to love them very, very much – not just as children, but as individual people.

And now they’re gone. They’re out of my life entirely, and I am out of theirs. And as happy as I am, I walk around every day with the slightest little heaviness in my heart. It’s a heaviness that belongs to forty tiny human beings who I miss every single day, because I loved them.

And because I left.

The thing is, love – for people, for places, for ideas, for institutions – is wonderful. But love also hurts you, almost always. These are facts. They co-exist. They do not cancel each other out.

And you could go through your life and you could refuse to love. Or you could stay rooted in one spot, but you were not designed to be rooted. You were designed to grow. You were designed to leave.

And I think the only way to do that is to accept that life, in order to be good, does not have to feel good all the time. Accept that it is good to love someone so much it hurts. Accept that it is good to be so passionate about something that your heart stings when you mess it up.

Accept that life is beautiful, but not beautiful in a simple way that you will someday understand. Accept that sometimes bad things feel good, and sometimes good things hurt, and that’s just the way it is and you can’t change it.

Open your heart to love. Open your heart to whatever it brings you – because it’s better to feel the heaviness and sting of leaving than to stay in one spot.