Valentines for Everyone: Not What You Think

February 12th 2016


My name is Olivia Pirie-Griffiths and I’m the new member of the team who brings you the Not What You Think podcast. I’m stoked to be involved. We’ve got a few odd n’ interesting things to jump into in the coming season, but first up this week we’re talking getting older as a lesbian in Australia. How who you love affects how you get to age.

If you’ve listened to us before, you might know we’ve covered everything, from pirates to bacteria to living with your hair. But three of our episodes have been about love: Viv McGregor (ACON & the (NSFW) Claude Initiative) talking about the ethics of loving more than one person, Emma Daniels (Dear Pluto) talking about getting gentle while you date and, this weekend, Teresa Savage (55 Uppitty) telling you about being a lesbian over 55, and being happy about it.

So today I’m going to drop some love talk.

What is love… actually?

On a day like Feb 14, you’ve got to wonder: is there a difference between what love is and how we treat it?

It’s a trickster of a thing, this kind of chat, as everyone views love from their own avenues of perception. It might be a smell, a warmth, it might be a feeling in your big toe for all anyone knows.

Alain de Botton in The Book of Life talks about love as an adaptation of social and cultural perspectives that have changed dramatically over time. Marriage has changed from just being this means to stability, to something that got romanticised — a rash act done for reasons of the heart.

For me, though, I’m looking at this love palaver from another angle.

Love, at its essence, is surely not just marriage. It’s the other way around: marriage comes from love. But there are so many different kinds of love. It’s not necessarily between you and another person and it’s not necessarily romantic.

Arrgh! Well then, what is it?

The great American author John Steinbeck wrote a letter to his son on the topic, and it’s a goodie:

“There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance… The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect … The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had. … If it is right, it happens — the main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

Here we bloody go, you’re thinking, the last thing I feel like having a yarn about on a Sunday is philosophy, and that’s probably fair enough. But on Valentine’s Day, I think it’s kind of important to point out that love is literally available to any of us, whenever we want and wherever we go.

You can love yourself, your family, the water you dive into every afternoon, your dog, your best friend and life partner. Love is connection. Love is connecting. The more we open ourselves up to interactions around us the more of that connection we’ll gain.

So there you have it, one random producer’s opinion of love and Valentine’s day. This day should be a day to recognise love itself, as one of the basic currents of life, as something in yourself when you want it, and as something all around you if you breathe out, breathe in, and let it be.


Hear Not What You Think on FBi 94.5FM: Saturdays at 10:30am. Or subscribe to the podcast!