I am definitely a hopeless romantic at heart. I am also a realist and a very practical person. And sure, I remember the excitement I felt as a teenager when I got valentine cards and gifts from secret admirers at school. But I have a different opinion about Valentine’s Day today. As New York Daily Tribune has put it:
” There was a time when Valentine’s Day meant something. Then it was a business of real lovers and there was a sweetness under its delicate shy disguise.”
As it stands today I am single. But event when I was in a relationship I never understood why we had to have a day to show or celebrate love. As if we shouldn’t do it every day. Many of us don’t know the story of Valentines Day. For those who don’t remember here’s a real quick refresher: There was a priest in ancient Rome who secretly married couples because he felt bad for the soldiers who couldn’t marry their loved ones because the Emperor Claudius II thought that unmarried soldiers fought better. That’ s a pretty noble cause in my opinion and worth celebrating. Fast forward to today. We have $20 strawberries, $200 pre-fix dinners, $80 flowers and all sorts marketing promotions to increase spending on Valentine’s Day.
We live in a culture of commercialized consumerism. If we are in a relationship Valentine’s Day represents a declaration of our partner’s love for us, measured by the effort they put in on Valentine’s Day. If we are single we are constantly reminded of our single status. Social Media has taken this to a whole different level. Now it’s so easy to portray a picture of a perfect relationship by posting the perfect Valentines Day celebration pictures. But I know better than to fall into this trap. I know better that real love takes patience, dedication, and constant effort. I don’t get fooled by the commercial message that “If he really cares, he will go above and beyond and buy this or that for you.”
What I feel like we’re missing today is the true intimacy in our relationships. This kind of intimacy that takes the time to find and build. It requires patience, compromise and accepting other people as they are not as we wish they were. Instead, we take shortcuts and opt in for the picture perfect superficial love that we see on TV, in Valentine’s Day ads, and in movies. We get swept away by the commercial idea of love and believe that this ” being in love stage” will last forever. I have found this disappointing at best. So this Valentines Day I chose to focus on the kind of love that I do have in my life today: friendship, love for my dogs, love for the environment, and love for my country. I spent the evening surrounded by people who share my beliefs and invested my time in building relationships and sharing ideas. Whatever you did this Valentine’s Day I hope it was filled with true love in any shape or form and that you can count on this love every day of the year.