Smart And Spicy
Is Love Good For You?
February 8, 2018
Love, timeless, ageless. But is it good for us?
It can hurt. Surely you get that from country western songs. Moon, June, tune, spoon, it's all good, and then it's not. Is it truly better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?
If you're lucky enough to have someone to love, or something to love, then you are indeed lucky.
"Could it be otherwise?" Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the American poet and San Francisco bookshop owner, once said to me, albeit in a different context. He looked wise, all-knowing, as if he were always in love.
Health, and how long you live, are affected by relationships; studies extolling the value of social connections are inescapable. From the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to Psychology Today, to AARP, we're bombarded with messages of how important this is.
Guess what? Relationships do not have to involve *love.* The latest research shows the good effect of just having interactions with other people. This means in the course of your day, the more people you talk with, the more you communicate with, the more you have a real exchange with, even if it's momentary, this counts.
Want to live longer? Talk to people, while you're waiting in line, for a bus, for your car to come. Tell someone you like their (hat, shirt, tote); ask if they're okay, tell them whatever you think's appropriate. Get that mojo going; it's good for you.
Lack of social connection can hurt health more than obesity or smoking. Relating to other people, mingling, talking, actually impacts genes, and can lead to 50% more increased chance to live longer.
That's quite a claim.
Could it harm you to try it out? Connecting's also supposed to lower anxiety and depression.
Love comes in varied forms; it's not just colloquial love anymore.
And who are any of us to say what's love, what love can be? To care for someone else, to feel for another person, it's love.
Think passion. You "love" something if you're passionate about it.
Times change; think pronouns. It's love to use the pronoun someone chooses; it's love to accept.
* * *
Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
* * *
Are you lucky enough to be in love?
Love: "A great interest and pleasure in something."
That's one of love's definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary
Do you love growing things? Do you love flowers? Do you love soccer? Is there something you love?
Love for a man or woman, love for a child, love for animals, love for life; these count.
It's your heart. Love does your heart good. So why shouldn't love be good for our hearts?
Love in 2018:
Love they neighbor? Israel/Palestine. Red/blued? Identity politics.
Love trumps hate? The signs say it's so.
Can love exist in the age of Tinder and hookups and benefits?
I say yes. It endures, eternally, even if it's ephemeral; loving, for a time, is still love. It lives in our memories, it encourages the heart.
* * *
I've realized that although Valentine's Day can be a cheesy money-making stint to most people, it's a day of expressing love across the world. It doesn't have to only be between lovers, but by telling a friend that you care, or even an old person that they are still appreciated.
* * *
There are myriad ways to find love; I tried Google. It took half a second to come up with 8,430,000,000 results, swarmed with ways to find love.
* * *
Love baby, love.
That's the secret.
If lots more of us loved each other we'd solve lots more problems.
And then this world would be gasser.
That's wha' ol' Pops keeps saying.
So I looked up "gasser:"
Slang. something that is extraordinarily pleasing or successful, especially a very funny joke (Dictionary.com).
* * *
Is art life?
When you look at this year's Oscar nominees for Documentary (Short Subject), they're all about love. Surely worth your time, this remarkable grouping of five views of contemporary us.
From "Edith+ Eddie," Laura Checkoway's heart-grabbing story of a 95-year-old and 96-year-old in love, to "Traffic Stop," Kate Davis' view of how even a loving person can get caught in anti-love, connections make it love. Watching Elaine McMillion Sheldon's "Heroin(e)" show us how people care for people, even in situations where you'd think tough love rules. Frank Stiefel shows what effect love, and no love, can yield, in "Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405," while Thomas Lennon's "Knife Skills" expands ideas of redemption.
* * *
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.
* * *
Spread love everywhere you go.
Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
* * *
All you need is love.
But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
Charles M. Schulz
* * *
Happy Valentine's Day, Pussycat!
Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything.
You can write to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org