(Written in 2016) I went for dinner with one of my oldest friends last week and we had been discussing his, what I perceived, to be a quite successful dating life. As he looked across to the next table at a young couple who were out on a date, he said something that has stuck with me, 'If I was to have all the knowledge that I have now and give it to my 19-year-old self, I would be amazing'. This will be my 2016 favourite saying but it got my thinking about how age makes us more emotionally equipped to deal with matters of the heart. When Paul died some four and half years ago now I closed up my heart, understandably I guess, but eventually when you are brave enough, strong enough even, you open it back up to the world. I don't just mean romantically, I mean to everything. Your open heart, though is not the same, it is more honest, purer, like it has had a great big cleanse and come out all fresh and clean. In fact my heart is greater now than it was before. When I was younger, unrequited love was heartfelt and produced tears that were all consuming to my life, they would be based on a broken ego and an upset on 'why me?' 'why won't you choose me?'. 'Why don't they want to be my friend/lover'. Blah blah. I would have talked with my friends over and over trying to understand why they didn't like me, because thats what you think, that they don't 'like' you. You see something in the future that they don't see. Their vision of their journey is simply different. I would never tell the person who I was brokenhearted over how I felt, oh my goodness why on earth would you do that, to expose yourself and the deepest feelings of self consciousness. Well that would be just awful to be made to look a fool, right? Well, now that age has caught me up and I have been to the lowest depth of grief, I don't ask those questions, it is much simpler, much purer than that. You know that feeling when you get to the front door and you have a feeling you have forgotten something and can't remember what it is, well thats what an open heart feels like when I give it to someone now. Even if they don't return their admiration, if a friendship doesn't quite happen as you would hope, it doesn't feel that egotistical anymore, it just feels honest and real. Today I am stronger than before, I am able to express how I feel to someone. I have strength to say, I love or care for you and I know this won't change things, I know you can't make sense of it, I know you can't fix it or change how you feel, but I need to tell you my feelings and feel a little brokenhearted and share with you my pain, my plan for my future seems a prospect that is not going to be as it once was, however the difference is I will find a way to enjoy it one way or another. In my youth I would have given up on all of that and gone into self-destruct! We so often deny ourselves the opportunity to just be sad, to say to yourself, 'I feel sad and that's okay'. In the past I wouldn't allow myself to feel sad and angry with somebody because they may throw it back at me and call me crazy because of there own insecurity through my honesty. I know airing my emotions is now braver than you can ever be and you can give strength and love in your words of honesty. However take warning, if your reasons for opening up your heart are that you want to change someone, hurt or upset them or you need to feed your ego, then stop and try to do something else. If your reasons for sharing your heart are that you want the other person to know that they are adored for the person that they are, that they are or have been important in your life, that you want to show them that they should never change but you also understand that your words will not change the situation or their feelings, that you personally want to grow emotional and intelligently, then be honest with all matters of the heart. To be honest though it takes for major things to happen in your life to have the mindset to see the world this way. It took to lose a great love for me to know the importance and impermanence of life. You should also remember it is how we deal with those hearts that open themselves to us, imagine the strength it takes for someone to do that. So when someone does, I have learnt that you must be kind with it. I probably have not in the past. Be kind always, but especially when you have someones heart.