What is Love?


Ella Presley

LEXINGTON, KY: Stores like Hobby Lobby have their shelves stocked with teddy bears and candy to help encourage people to give gifts this Valentine’s Day.

Love is what makes the world turn. Love is what inspires people to get out of bed and try to change their life. Love is what makes them stand up and stand for what they believe in. Each person is impacted differently by love, and chooses to respond to it in different ways. The Lafayette Times interviewed four individuals on their perspectives on what love is, how we express love, and what it means to be in love.
The first person we interviewed is Sullivan Breeze. He is ten years old and is currently in 5th grade. He goes to Providence Montessori School and likes to play soccer and watch football.
The second person we interviewed is Mackenzie Rink. She is twenty years old, single, and currently attends NC State. She is studying Sociology and enjoys outdoor activities.
The third person we interviewed is Josh Breeze. He is fifty-one years old and lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife Rebbecca Breeze. He is a retired police officer and now works for the Lexington Alcoholic Beverage Control Office in Lexington, Kentucky. In his spare time, he likes to watch football, listen to Imagine Dragons, and shoot BB-gun.
Our fourth interview is with Paula Cunningham. She is seventy-three years old, retired, and lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her partner Joe Monti. She likes to read in her spare time and loves telling stories.

Q: What’s your favorite romance/rom-com movie?
Sullivan: “Rome, Love, Chocolate” on Hallmark.
Mackenzie: I’m going to have to say “10 Things I Hate About You” because it’s just like a good one ya know like I feel like it’s as real as romance can get. It’s still pretty cheesy but it doesn’t ya know like beat around the bush at all.
Josh: “Return to Me” because the overall story is a great story. The comedy in it is very funny and clean.
Paula: I’d pick the Holiday. It’s just so romantic and he’s so sweet to Cameron Diaz I don’t know what his name is and he cries real tears because he’s so in love with her.

Q: What’s your favorite love song?
Sullivan: “Someone Like You” by Adele.
Mackenzie: “I Have Nothing,” by Whitney Houston. Because she is just a raw singer she’s so good and so emotional it’s a great tune to belt out when you’re feeling lonely.
Josh: “Never Tear Us Apart,” by INXS. It’s one of the first songs me and mommy (his girlfriend/wife) listened to together.
Paula: I think one of my favorites is “For the Rest of Our Life,” by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The words are just so sweet and it talks about when you’re getting older and how your life will be.

The first two questions we asked the interviewees were “Get to Know You Questions.” The answers they gave us truly depend on their personal preferences. There’s not really a correlation when it comes to the age of the person and the age of the song/movie. Mackenzie’s favorite love song (“I Have Nothing,” by Whitney Houston) was released before she was born. Sullivan’s favorite love song was released when he was just one years old. A lot of these preferences depend on what they’ve been exposed to whether its by family, friends, or their own discovery.

Q: Do you like Valentine’s Day? Why or why not?
Sullivan: It’s okay I guess. Nothing really happens.
Mackenzie: No. I just think that it idolizes that you need to have somebody when it really should encompass all things. Such as loving yourself or just not having it at all I think it’s kind of dumb. It also puts so much pressure on people that they “have” to date.
Josh: Uhh, yeah. I guess, I mean? I prefer the other holidays more.
Paula: I’m gonna say yes but I think it’s become a Hallmark holiday and not a real holiday.

Q: What’s the most memorable date you’ve been on?
Sullivan: Uh let me think, yeah none.
Mackenzie: I went waltzing with a guy once. It was memorable because it was the first date and it was crazy and I’d never done that before.
Josh: We went to see “Spies Like Us” at the movie theater.
Paula: It’s when Joe (her partner) asked me to fly to Philadelphia where he drove me to an air force base and surprised me with renting a plane for an hour and flying to Atlantic City and back.

Q: What’s the best Valentine you’ve ever received/given?
Sullivan: Received – chocolate
Mackenzie: I would say a bouquet of roses from my mom because it made me feel important and special and no one’s ever done that for me.
Josh: Given – I surprised Mommy (his girlfriend) in high school with a dozen roses. Received – I would say a letter of encouragement Mommy (his girlfriend/wife) gave me on February the 12th 1995.
Paula: The gift was from Joe and it was a jewelry set (earrings, necklace, and ring) with gold and rubies.

We decided to ask the interviewees about Valentine’s Day since it’s coming up soon. In this case, your experience with Valentine’s Day and dating really does depend on your age. Sullivan, who is ten years old hasn’t gone on a date before. Now, are there some ten year olds who have gone on dates? Yes, but the younger you are, the less likely it is. When you compare this to Paula, who is seventy-three years old, she has gone on many dates, and a large part of that is due to the fact that she has lived much longer than Sullivan. She has had more time to go on dates with people and to celebrate Valentine’s Day with other people.

Q: What do you think of when you think of the word “love?”
Sullivan: A heart, lips, red, and pink.
Mackenzie: The traditional married couple. It’s what society tells us is love.
Josh: Caring for somebody.
Paula: Security and probably respect and truthfulness and being comfortable with who I am with that person.

Q: How do you receive/give love?
Sullivan: If it’s my friends, I give them candy. For family I would do things for them before they ask.
Mackenzie: I would say it depends on who it is. If it’s my friends I will go all out with presents, but if it’s a boyfriend I just want to cuddle and hug.
Josh: Doing something for somebody before they ask.
Paula: My love language is doing things (service). I will make breakfast and remind him (her partner) of important things he needs to do and touch him with my hand on his shoulder and hold his hands.

How you recieve/give love can really depend on you, as we see in the responses above. Some people prefer acts of service, others prefer physical touch, some prefer words of affirmation, or receiving gifts, or quality time. What you prefer can be based on personal experience, how you were raised, or how you were hardwired.

Q: Have you ever been in love?
Sullivan: Uhh (me-”answer honestly”) okay once. And I’m not telling you who.
Mackenzie: No. I think I’ve thought I’ve been in love but I didn’t know what being in love meant.
Josh: Yes. It felt like there were butterflies in my stomach.
Paula: Yes I’m in love now. You can’t wait to see them and the other thing I thought of is it feels very exciting and then you always make time for them. If there is something he wants to do, you make sure you make time for that.

Q: (For those who answered yes to the previous question) What does it feel like to be in love?
Josh: Cause of the feeling I got every time I saw that person.
Paula: Because I didn’t want to be with anyone else. There was no one else I cared to be with other than him.

Q: (For those who answered no to the question before last) What does it feel like to love someone?
Mackenzie: You’re willing to do anything for them In terms of dropping what you’re doing if they’re in trouble. You’re loyal, you’re honest, you don’t feel like you need to be someone you’re not.

With the interviewee’s responses, we can see that the younger you are, the less likely it is that you’ve ever been in love. It’s more likely to be infatuation, a crush, or even just lust. When you’re young, it’s hard to differentiate between feeling like you are in love with someone as opposed to loving someone. Loving someone most often needs to be two ways. You want your love to be reciprocated. Loving someone, is a choice. Falling in love isn’t always two ways. You don’t need those feelings to be reciprocated by the other person. Falling in love is not a choice. The younger you are, the less likely you are to have fallen in love, and the less likely you are to know how that feels.

Q: What is love?
Sullivan: Showing interest in someone.
Mackenzie: Being your authentic self with somebody else.
Josh: Caring more about somebody than yourself.
Paula: It’s a lot of things. It’s a relationship, it’s appreciation, it’s respect, tenderness.

Each person has their own definition of what exactly love is. Some say it involves being authentically you, others say it involves respect, and many say it involves showing affection for someone. Every single day, we see love everywhere. It could be someone talking to a stranger at a bus stop, a couple holding hands, or someone playing fetch with their dog at a park. Love can be shown by a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates, or even a handmade gift. Love surrounds and encompasses the world whether we choose to see it or not.