I remember back in the day when I was in grammar school, and had to write Valentine Cards for everybody in my class. Not only was that one more thing to do besides homework (cutting into my valued reading and play time), but I’ve never been the popular type that had a lot of friends. My “inner circle” usually consisted of between one and three friends, and they may or may not have been in my homeroom class – meaning that I was writing cards for a bunch of people that I only vaguely knew. And everybody had to get one, even the guy that copied off my paper during spelling tests and the girl who always got recess cut in half for the entire class because she didn’t know to shut up when the teacher said to can it or recess gets shortened with each word. So Valentine’s Day wasn’t much fun, even during school days.
Fast forward to my freshman year in college, when my brother got married on Valentine’s Day weekend. I wasn’t dating anybody at the time (Rick and I met and started dating 8 months later), and nobody had a problem making me feel bad about it. It really got to me because I was 18 at the time, and didn’t realize that they were showing their own a**. Fortunately, I had some fabulous friends that were in a similar dating dry spell, and we had fun with pizza, Pepsi, and Star Trek marathons. If anything, people shaming me for not having a boyfriend made me realize the value of family and great friends, so despite my hurt pride it did give me a valuable lesson. Still, not one to build up my fondness for Valentine’s Day.
My last Valentine’s Day fiasco was a few years later, in my early working days. In my first days in this job, I worked in a small office. There were 30 of us sharing one floor of a building, so let’s just say that moods, like germs and gossip, were highly contagious. Nowhere was this more apparent than the year when Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday, and everybody was freaking out about how they were going to “do up” the night right. Nerves, stress, and frustration built on our regular workload equaled a lot of frayed tempers and more than a few raised voices and snarky comments from people the flower delivery guy didn’t stop for that day. It’s rare for a Friday to be a bad day, but that was probably one of the worse Fridays of my work life.
Frankly, I believe Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a consumer holiday to boost retail in an otherwise slow season that’s starting to see the profits from Christmas slip away to operational costs. That’s why the expectations are so high: to encourage you to show your love by spending more money. Relationships are a daily investment, not a once a year blitz. And I’m not the only one who believes this. In fact, Rick waited until March 14 to propose, because he felt that doing it on a holiday was cliché and lazy. He thought we needed our own special day, and I agree that it was nice to do it a month (or two, for those who got engaged at Christmas) after everybody else got engaged, so it was our own special time. Plus, it surprised a lot of people.
My point is that you can’t win with Valentine’s Day, so don’t try. And for goodness sake, don’t let it make you feel bad, because you’re better than that. Besides, nobody writes card anymore anyway. And you can have wine and a meal anytime – and probably a lot less crowded if you wait until February 15! But hey, if it works for you, then let us know your secret.
That’s all today. Take care. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.