While plenty of artists have written about love, life, and relationships, it’s hard to argue that one of the most influential ones of the current generation is Taylor Swift.
Through 9 albums and hundreds of songs, Taylor Swift has shared her experiences and perspective with those who have followed along on her journey. From reckless highs, devastating lows, intense connections, and healthy relationships, Taylor has taught us plenty of lessons about life, love, and how it grows and changes with us. How to embrace it, survive it, and remember it.
Now that Taylor is re-recording her albums (and consequently taking us all down memory lane), it only felt appropriate to reminisce on some of the most important lessons she has taught us about love during the last decade.
1. Love can find us in the most unexpected places
Whether we are prepared for it or not, sometimes love shows up in the places we don’t expect. It isn’t always a meet-cute at a coffeehouse or bumping into an old friend after being years apart. Sometimes love shows up at an event you didn’t expect, and being open to the idea that love could show up suddenly—or even have a string of events that lead love right to where you are.
“Were there clues I didn’t see?/And isn’t it just so pretty to think/all along there was some/invisible string/tying you to me?”-Invisible String
2. It’s okay to dream about a big love
Here is the truth: It’s more than okay if you dream of having a big, romantic love. One full of passion and thoughtfulness and excitement. One that feels adventurous but not insecure, hopeful but not taken advantage of. Taylor herself fully embodies that idea in so many songs—and it’s a reminder that while you may want to check your standards at times to make sure they are for the right reasons, it doesn’t mean you can’t hope for a big, overwhelming type of love story.
“Can I go/where you go?/can we always be this close?/forever and ever”-Lover
3. It’s okay to say you’re sorry
When you fall in love with someone and you’ve been hurt before, sometimes it can feel easier to cut loose a love and run away than to own up to your faults and try to work things out. It can feel like you should take off and run before they hurt you—or before you hurt them. However, when you’ve found a person you really care for and want to make things work with, it’s important to say you’re sorry when you know you’re in the wrong—that’s part of being in a healthy relationship.
“I’m sorry that I hurt you/I don’t wanna do this to you/I don’t wanna lose this with you.”-Afterglow
4. You do not have to give them another chance
After a relationship ends, sometimes your ex may decide to pop back up in your life again. They may try to apologize, say they’ve changed, or make promises to be a better person. However, forgiveness and second chances are yours to give out—you do not have to just because a person claims to want to be a better partner right now.
“People like you always want back/the love they pushed aside/but people like me are gone forever/when you say goodbye.”-All You Had to Do Was Stay
5. You will fall in love again
It can be so difficult to believe when you’re fresh off of a breakup, or still trying to heal after months have passed. The devastation can feel so immense that we wonder if we’ll ever fall in love again. Yet eventually, after time has passed, love will find its way to us again—it just takes time.
“I’ve been spending the last eight months/thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end/but on a Wednesday in a cafe/I watched it begin again.”-Begin Again
6. You will heal from the heartbreak
After a relationship ends, it can feel as though you will never fully heal. Just when you think you’re getting better, a memory can resurface and knock you to the ground again. While taking the time to grieve a relationship and accepting your feelings are both important, it doesn’t mean you will feel this way forever. Eventually, the heartache will ease up, even if it takes time.
“And by morning/gone was any trace of you/I think I am finally clean”-Clean
7. Letting your guard down isn’t easy, but it’s necessary
After being burned by love so many times, it can start to feel as if the safest thing you can do for yourself is to be closed off and reserved. We can believe that we have to keep our guard up because the other person will undoubtedly hurt us if we don’t. However, sometimes keeping that guard up does keep us from finding authentic, remarkable connections. It’s necessary to let your guard down at times because love requires a little bit of faith and risk to experience it at its fullest extent—and you might be surprised at how much a person will still choose to love you, even at your “worst.”
“Even in my worst times/you could see the best in me/flashback to my rebounds, my earthquakes, even in my worst lies/you saw the truth in me/I woke up just in time”-Dress
8. Not all love lasts, but it can still mean something
While we can remain very caught up in the idea of “the one” and pretend it’s the only love that matters, it’s not exactly the truth. The loves we encounter along the way may not have lasted, but they did make an impact on us. They did help us grow, learn, and become a newer version of ourselves. Even if we prefer not to think about them often, it doesn’t mean they never mattered.
“And it could’ve been sweet/if it could’ve been me/it would’ve been fun/if you would’ve been/the 1” –the 1
9. It’s okay to look back on the memories
While you may not pine for your exes to actually return back to your life, it’s okay to admit that some of the memories were actually good ones. While you may not feel that way until you have some distance from the end of the relationship, eventually you may catch yourself fondly recalling certain memories—and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you want to be with that person. It simply means you can appreciate the good times for what they were—good.
I was reminiscing just the other day/while having coffee all alone and lord it took me away/…and darling it was good”-Holy Ground
10. The people we fall in love with can change us
Whether we feel it was for better or for worse, the people we loved did have the power to change us—and in some ways they did. Love makes a deep impact, and it’s worth acknowledging the power and gravity a person can have on us.
“I never saw you coming/and I’ll never be the same.”-State of Grace
11. It doesn’t matter how long the relationship lasted—love can still be powerful.
While some people may claim that you have to be in a relationship for a long time for the love to truly matter—but that’s not always the case. Sometimes we meet a person and we dive headfirst into the raging, wild, inescapable emotions that come along with new love. Sometimes the relationship ends sooner than we expected, but it doesn’t mean the love was insignificant simply due to the amount of time it lasted.
Honestly, the fact that Taylor wrote the majority of Red about a relationship that lasted three months is proof that love shows up and sticks with us—there are no rules when it comes to how intensely love decides to arrive.
“There we are again when I loved you so/back before you lost the one real thing you’d ever known/it was rare/ I was there/I remember it all too well.”-All Too Well
12. The way we view love can change over time
We all have expectations of what we believe love to look like. Whether we look at movies, romance novels, our friends, our parents, or our past relationships, we collect different ideas of what love is and is supposed to be. However, as we grow older and experience more of life, the way we view love can (and does!) change over time. What we thought love was back then, we may realize wasn’t love now. Or that maybe it was love when you were 18, but it’s no longer the kind of love you want at 28—and that growth is so beautiful.
“I once believed love would be burning red/but it’s golden”-Daylight