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The Heart of the Matter

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February is upon us, and with it comes Valentine’s Day—that seemingly sentimental holiday cynical folks roll their eyes about, or designate for young lovers only. But let’s not dismiss it so quickly.

One of the benefits of age is that we truly have the long view when we’re older, and, when all is said and done, it’s giving and receiving love that proves to be the most valuable part of life. Love between partners. Love between parents and children. Love between patient and care giver. Love between friends. Love between pet and master. And it’s all good.

Our bodies develop problems that need to be addressed, people come into and out of our lives, and our circumstances change over time. It’s easy to feel vulnerable and apprehensive when we need to rely on others for help. But just as our hearts keep beating, those hearts keep benefiting from doses of love we receive from all sources--sometimes unexpectedly--lifting us from despair, filling us with delight and smoothing out the rough spots we face.

Who is better able to appreciate the positive impact of love than those who have lived a long life? To quote seventy-nine-year-old French actress Jeanne Moreau: “Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.”