Wednesday, January 21, 2004


I was at the bookstore tonight, minding my own business, when I see before me about twenty copies of a TIME magazine special edition. "Love Keeps You Healthy." It was this in-depth report compiled with expert opinions and detailed research all about how being in love makes you live longer and stay healthier. I was appalled. As a single woman living in a society with constant pressures on getting married and having boyfriends, it becomes increasingly harder every day as every moment I'm getting older and moving closer to becoming an Old Maid.

This TIME special edition did not help. Telling me that I'm unhealthy and will have a short life because I don't have love. I mean, we've all heard of some reports saying that the more sex you have, the more energy you have and the more calories you burn. That one makes sense. Sex is exercise. I don't have sex right now, but I do the StairMaster a few days a week. Believe me, I realize it's not quite the same, but it does still give me more energy and burns calories.

There are also reports that say that having a pet will help keep your stress levels down and will help you to live longer. That one makes sense to me, and I do have a pet, so I'm in the clear there too. But not having a boyfriend is somehow making me unhealthy? We now have to work out, eat right, reduce stress and be in love? As though it isn't already hard enough to be single and alone without being reminded that not only might we die single and alone, but we also might die sooner. Great. Time is passing by and so is our opportunity to find love.

I was infuriated. But after thinking about it, I think I can see how some scientists might come to that conclusion. I think about the toll it takes on my body when I'm lonely. I think about the nights of not being able to sleep or the days of never really getting hungry. I think about the hours I've spent crying over lost love or opportunities that are now ruined. And I understand. I understand that it must be hard on my body if it's been so hard on my heart and my soul.

It makes me remember Split Aparts. Bear with me, this is a watered down version of one of Plato's theories. See there once was a time before evolution started happening when all humans were not humans, but were tiny little one celled organisms. And then we started dividing and getting bigger, developing into the people that we are today. We split in half. We split apart into two separate but equal halves. And after evolution and growth has taken place, we still feel incomplete and we spend our whole lives looking for our other half, our Split Apart.

If that theory is true, then TIME's theory that love makes us live longer could be true too. Maybe our bodies work better when they're whole.

And maybe we get weary of being alone. If we're searching for our other half, we could wear ourselves out with the waiting. My grandmother is alone. She was divorced about thirty years ago and has been alone ever since. I don't think she's a very happy person and while she has plenty of volunteer activities and numerous friends, I listen to her and I feel bad things turned out so different from what she hoped. Living alone, sleeping alone, having no one around for comfort and companionship.

But there's one thing that TIME forgot to mention in its special issue. Love comes in many different forms. Love can come from the comfort of an old friend's familiarity, the laughter amongst family, the tight grip of a friend's hand during troubled times, and the strength that you can draw from someone who loves and always supports can surely also lengthen our lives. The love I see in my friend's eyes and hear in their voices enrich my life in ways that I know a romance would fall short.

So yes, if you live without love, any love, your body may not be able to support the burdensome weight of your soul and your lungs may give out trying to fill up an empty heart. Before you start counting how much TIME you have left to find that special someone, try counting how much love you have in your life that keeps you going strong.


template by