Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day that couples feel such intense pressure to be romantic that it all but guarantees expectations won’t be met, and even the most confidently single person feels overwhelmingly alone.
This year Valentine’s Day is on a Friday, which is better than Tuesday, I suppose. But if you try to actually go out on a date for Valentine’s Day, the restaurants are always full, and the lines to get into the latest romantic comedy at the theater are miles long.
If you choose to stay home and cook, then you are, well… cooking. And although I do enjoy cooking, I don’t find it particularly romantic.
For couples, even if sparks fly the other 364 days of the year, you are supposed to muster even more sparks on February 14, which will inevitably be bone chillingly cold and dreary.
Most couples celebrate their unique love story every year on their anniversary. Anniversaries are special because a couple can reminisce together about how they started, and dream about where they’re headed together.
Valentine’s Day, on the other hand, is just a day to buy overpriced flowers, cards, and chocolate.
If it isn’t obvious already, I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day.
I am, however, an enormous fan of love.
Universal love. Crazy, wild, hug random people in the parking lot at the grocery store kind of love. Daisies in muzzles love. Peace and happiness love. Love your neighbor love. Love your enemy love.
Running through a field of wildflowers love.
Happy to be alive love.
You see where I’m headed here, right?
This Valentine’s Day, instead of rushing to the flower shop for a last-minute overpriced bouquet, or spending money on a stuffed animal that will later be sold in a garage sale, or waiting in line after work with all the other guys buying mushy cards that their wives know they almost forgot to buy…
Instead of sitting by yourself on your couch watching When Harry Met Sally for the thousandth time eating an entire pint of ice cream…
Instead of all that…
Hug your kids.
Wave at your mail deliverer.
Turn off the toxic talk radio and cable news.
Shovel someone else’s sidewalk.
Give others the benefit of the doubt.
Count your blessings.
Celebrate your people.
Better yet, celebrate all people.
Take deep breaths and practice patience with those whom you disagree. Most of us are just doing the best we can with what we’ve been given.
Don’t give in to the pressure of consumerism.
We don’t need more stuff.
We don’t need more diamonds, or chocolate, or edible arrangements. (You saw edible and you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you? Get your mind out of the gutter already.)
We don’t need any more things to distract us from what really matters.
But there is a serious shortage of love these days.
This Valentine’s Day, just let yourself love and be loved, in all the simple, beautiful ways we may forget in the hustle and bustle of life.
Copyright © 2020 Sara Beth Wald