Thursday, February 14, 2013

Get your heart-on already!

Back in my much (much) younger days, I loved Valentine's Day.

And not just because I'm a candy heart junkie.

Taking the time to pick out just the right box of valentines at the store, filling them out (on February 13th of course) and then handing them out in class; somehow the whole idea of just sharing these little notes with everyone in your class was a fun and sweet gesture.  It let everyone know that they mattered - whether you were the most popular or least - everyone went home feeling accepted at the end of the day.

As I got older, the holiday started to lose its meaning.  Yeah, it was awesome getting flowers or going out to dinner if I was dating someone (or slinging back a few pitchers of beer with friends if I was single) but over the years it just started to feel forced. There was even a stretch of years where I did nothing for Valentine's Day. It just wasn't a priority nor a reason to spend money.

But lately, I've started to appreciate the idea behind Valentines Day again.

"Bah!"  Some say. "It's just a 'Hallmark' holiday.  It's just another excuse for me to pay too much money for flowers/ jewelry/dinner, etc.  I can't handle the pressure."

Well, yeah.  If you're looking at it as a great conspiracy to open your wallet, then yes, you are feeling too much pressure. But I also think you're kind of missing the point.

And as a side note - if you're one of those people who puts way too much emphasis on the gift, number of flowers or caliber of restaurant you're expecting to go to - then you also are missing the point and probably need a reality check upside your head.  

I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a day out of our ridiculously busy lives to appreciate the people that are a part of them.  Let's be honest, on a day-to-day basis we get so wrapped up in the  minutiae that we forget to get our head out of our I-devices and the headphones out of our ears long enough to look at what's really going on in the world around us.  There's something to be said for just stopping and telling the people in our lives that we like them, love them, or are thinking about them.  You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on flowers or dinner if you feel forced to do it. But if you bring your loved one a rose because it will make her smile, or take your sweetheart out on the town because it's a memory you can stow away and share together - that's not commercialism, it's just nice. 

And in this day and age of online, out of time, out of breath, plugged in, tuned out, high speed, high stress we live in, maybe it's good that someone has decided to force us to take a day to appreciate each other. 

So go buy a box of valentines, fill 'em out and leave them for your co-workers.  Call your mom and tell her you love her.  Light candles for dinner tonight and use the good china - who cares if it's $5 pizza from Little Caesar's (one of my personal favs).  Flying solo?  Pop open a bottle of champagne and bundle up on the couch in a blanket with Scandal on the telly and comment on it with a friend through texting. Valentine's Day is about friendship, family, and those we hold dear. 

And candy hearts. Lots and lots of candy hearts.