It's as of "awe"--to pick the one that seems to work the best from that list--is a pool of something, and we are immersed in it. To be "in awe" suggests that awe is floating all around us, or we in it. It also suggests travel, or at least progression--to be "in" something, one must have moved towards it, the same way one moves towards a city or a structure: "I am in Kansas City," or "I am in the pantry."
Curiously enough, although the preposition "out" exists, we generally don't apply it in the same way. We don't say, "I'm out of awe" once we have calmed down and are no longer impressed. In fact, "I'm out of awe" more sounds like one has been so awed that one no longer has any more to give--the inventory is bare, as it were.
You must have noticed that I have left out the most obvious emotion we are in: love. We speak about being "in love" as different from "loving." "I love you" and "I am in love with you" are two different states of being.
Twenty five years later, I know what both mean.
I love my wife, Sue. Sure, in the simple, conventional sense of love--wanting to see her happy, changing my life to suit hers (and knowing that the opposite is happening) enjoying her company...everything one expects from the rather commonplace phrase, "I love her." I hate to sound blase about this, but after twenty-five years, even the sentence "I love you" has been uttered many, many times by both of us. We both mean it, and it still makes each of us feel good, but there can be no denying the newness of hearing that is gone.
Beyond that, though, I am in love with her. That means something very different. There's a sense of irrationality to it, as if everything I believe about how the world works doesn't apply to her, or to us, or to me. Being in love with Sue is a state of being that I have been in longer than any other state--I've been in love with her longer than I've felt anything else.
The newness has not come off that.
When we meet someone new, say at a party, we might be asked, "So who are you?" It's a simple question, but also a very deep one. Do we answer with our profession? "I'm a teacher." In my case, that would cover just over twenty-five years of my life. I'm in my 26th year now, so that's a long time. I could also answer other ways, "I'm a coach," "I'm a writer," and so on, and in each case, that would cover a lot of what I do.
I could also say, "I'm a father," and that would cover a little over twenty years, my daughter having turned 20 this past November.
But I fell in love with Sue (isn't that a wonderful verb? "fell." As if we lost all sense of footing and direction) before I married her. I fell in love with Sue when we first started becoming friends back in high school, around 1985 or so. That's over thirty years.
So who am I?
I'm in love wirh my wife, Sue.
Happy 25th anniversary, my love!