It’s the most cringeworthy time of the year.
Wait, maybe that’s not how the song goes.
Yes, folks, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day.
It’s the day where I roll my eyes at the copious amounts of nauseating social media posts. You know the type. Basic girls across the globe professing how much they “like, totally love babe, and are excited for forever and always. XOXO.”
I’ve never understood all of this Valentine’s Day hoopla. Sure, I appreciated when my dad spoiled my mom and I with Malley’s chocolate covered strawberries. That was a win. (Hint: That’s the key to my heart.)
However, I’ve never been able to wrap my head around all the fuss.
To me, Valentine’s Day seems just like another American holiday – centered on consumerism.
Now before you point fingers and assume I’m a bitter, man-hating feminist who sits alone in a dark room with my 90 cats, sipping tea on a Friday night, hold on. That’s not the case.
I’d like to think I’m fairly normal when it comes to relationships. I grew up surrounded by love. This love has inspired me to live each day knowing a little bit of love can make the world a better place.
I’ve seen the love of some of the most beautiful people I’ve meet throughout my years of doing weekly service. I’ve seen the love my friends show me, and one another. I’ve seen the love professors show students when they want them to succeed in the classroom. I’ve seen the love of my grandmother towards her five children and nine grandchildren when she would stuff everyone’s faces with stale cookies from Marc’s. I’ve seen the love between my older brother, his wife and their three adorable children. (I’m convinced they got their good looks from their auntie. Just kidding.) I’ve seen the love my boyfriend has shown me, even roughly 400 miles away. I’ve seen the love between my parents, as they reach 40 years of marriage.
I’ve tried, to the best of my ability, to emulate this love.
And yes, sometimes I have a strange way of showing it (they don’t call me ‘Miss Awkward’ for nothing).
However, all of these people have taught me to love in a world where, at times, we’re surrounded by insincerity, pessimism, fear and doubt.
Let’s get back to why I’m not the biggest fan of some modern Valentine’s Day practices. The holiday is a cop-out. Boyfriends feel obligated to buy girlfriends flowers. Wives feel obligated to bend over backwards and do something extra special the one-day out of the year.
I have nothing against flowers or fancy schmancy dinners. I quite like both of those.
For many, it’s the only day of the year where people truly go above and beyond to “show their love.” There’s so much pressure for everything to be perfect. But that’s just silly.
What I’ve learned from all the people in my life who’ve taught me how to love is that every day should be Valentine’s Day. A boyfriend should surprise his girlfriend with a bouquet of flowers in the middle of September just because he wants to say he loves her. A wife should treat her husband to a special dinner in the middle of July just because she wants him to know she cares – not because it’s a national holiday and she feels obligated to.
What I’m trying to say is to live every day with a heart full of love. Surprise your friend, mother, father, brother, sister or partner with something special every so often just because you want to remind them how much they mean to you.
Say I love you every day, multiple times a day. Hug often. Smile just because. Do random acts of kindness.
Live a life of love 365 days a year – not just one.