One of my professional colleagues announced that she is having an “Un-Valentine’s Day Party” this coming weekend. Single and having just turned 40, she’s as jaded about the candy-hearts holiday as one could get. And who could blame her? It’s not glamorous to be single and 40 unless you’re a famous movie star and even then I suspect that there’s a lot of dysfunction and self-doubt hidden behind clever movie marketing campaigns.
Over the years, I’ve experienced all the emotions that Valentine’s Day can muster. Beginning with the delight as a little girl whose Daddy always remembered his girls with a sweet treat, to the cycle of hope/dashed hope around getting a special card in the construction-paper-covered shoebox from a particular boy (it changed every year, of course) to the realities – good & bad – of adult Valentine’s Day drama.
I call it “drama” because like everything else in life, Valentine’s Day is what we decide to make of it. A number of years ago, I decided to enjoy Valentine’s Day whether I was in a romantic relationship or not, because that small factor aside – I still had a lot of LOVE in my life to celebrate.
I still have my parents, who are healthy and enjoying life and my sister and I still get a small, sweet Valentine’s Day treat from our father. I have 2 grown children who, no matter how old they become, will always be my most cherished Valentines for the year that they pooled their money and walked to the local florist to select a 3-rose spray of flowers to bring me on the first Valentine’s Day that I was a single mom (they were in grade school at the time). I now have grandchildren, who are the cat’s pajamas when it comes to love! I have my sister who lives close enough to see several times a year (though I wish she was closer!) along with her son (my nephew) and her husband and when the 4 of us get together, it’s always a great time!
I have shared my life and home with many beloved pets over the years and each of them was a source of love and joy. My 2 current pets, Callisto & Ganymede are wonderful companions and delightful furry-friends (the “crumbs” in their fur are actually pieces of catnip which makes picture time much easier) 🙂
I have been blessed to work with so many terrific people in jobs over the years. I’ve had a lot of jobs and am thankful for all the really great friendships I have made over the years and for the lovely memories I hold dear.
Lastly and certainly not least, I have learned to love myself; to appreciate the unique individual that I am and to honor the path that I have walked to become who I am today. So I welcome Valentine’s Day and am thrilled to have a special day to remember all the love that I have in my life.
If you’re not convinced, and no matter the list of friends, family & fur in your life who love you; you’re feeling unloved this year, there’s one surefire way to cure it. Give some love to others.
Volunteer to read a book to kids in an after school program at a library or Girls/Boys Club; visit a Senior Center and share a smile with a lonely elderly person. Pack several Homeless Emergency Kits with a Valentine’s Day theme and hand them out to homeless people along your travels (encourage others to do the same). Walk a dog at the local animal shelter. Spend time with homeless cats or bunnies there, too. Work a shift at the local food bank or run an errand for an elderly or shut-in neighbor.
Love isn’t bottled up and waiting for Prince (or Princess) Charming to buy from a store and present to us on a satin pillow. Love is available for us to experience and share in every moment. If you’re feeling left out of the Valentine’s Day festivities, don’t pout and sit it out. This year, choose to Be a Valentine and my guess is that you’ll have a smile on your face that will last longer than a box of candy from a secret admirer (good deeds are easier on your hips, too!)