It’s my first Valentine’s Day during a pandemic and 49 weeks since I’ve left my house.
My husband left an adorable card on my desk this morning. He’s an awful artist, but his depiction of us as two stick figures hanging out watching TV on our L-shaped couch was sweet. The front of the card said: HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY COVID 2021! Next to his stick-figure self, he wrote “Pete (happy).”
My first thought was: We’ve been stuck in this house 24/7 for 49 weeks, and Pete’s happy?
Which made me happy.
My second thought was: Damn, girl; it took you a long time to figure this love thing out.
The writings by Greek philosophers like Aristotle and Plato recognized the complicated manifestations that love presented. The word “Platonic,” for example, came from Plato’s belief that physical attraction was not a necessary component for love. The philosophy of love, expressed by some of the greatest Greek thinkers, has profoundly influenced how we love, and how relationships are defined.
I recently found one of my journals from 1975. On the inside front cover, I had written nine Greek words under the word “LOVE.”
I don’t remember writing the words, but I was impressed that at 22, I was interested in what the ancient Greeks thought about anything.
And they were numbered from 1-9, which I deduce was my way of ranking them based on their relationship to me or to my life at the time. But I can only surmise.
The words didn’t include definitions, so I looked them up today and tried to connect them to what might have been happening in my 1975 life.
Philia means affection that grows from friendship. Since I can’t get into the mindset of my then 22-year-old self, I’m assuming that because I listed Philia as number one, that maybe I was in love with a friend?
Eros needs no defining. The fact that it was number two on my list made me hopeful that whatever Philia I was feeling was way more than just friendly. Was that why I had placed it so high up on my list of love words?
The Greek definition of Storge is familial love, or the affection one has for a child, parent, or sibling. My life was complicated back then, but regardless of circumstances, my family was everything to me. It was a small nucleus, but the love I had for them was supersized. And yet, I have this hunch that Storge had nothing at all to do with my family.
Mania is defined as obsessive love. I have no clue as to why this word was on my list. All I can hope is that whatever mania was going on, it was euphoric and not dysphoric. Or maybe I threw it in the mix as a reminder that love is not always healthy.
Ludus has several meanings, like sport, training, and public games. But the definition that jumped out at me was “affection as a game, and nothing serious.” Perhaps this friend was nothing more than that. Was my friend playing games? Or maybe I was the game player.
Agape is unconditional, transcendent, selfless love, love through action, and the highest form of love. I think I know what I meant by this one, and it saddens me.
Pragma is longstanding, enduring love. I don’t remember much from 46 years ago, but I can guarantee that back then, I did not yet know how to stand in love. So maybe I was confusing it with pragmatic, i.e., practical, sensible, realistic.
This Greek word means hospitality or guest friendship between guest and host. It also relates to generosity, courtesy, and trust to those who are far from home. I was far from home, and there’s that friendship word again.
The Greek philosophers divided “love of self” into positive and negative. Self-obsessed love vs. self-compassion. Back then, I still hadn’t figured out that I would never truly be loved until I loved myself, so I’m not surprised this was at the bottom of the word pile.
Fast forward from 1975 to Covid 2021.
I’m old and in a pandemic, but I’m happy in love.