Note: If you came here looking for info about the “.ai” images (Adobe Illustrator), this isn’t the article for it. Here’s info on what the file extension .ai is and here’s the Wikipedia article on Adobe Illustrator.
So, I realize that a lot of you reading this blog entry might just be big-time Valentine’s Day-haters. Well… in a way, I am, too. But that isn’t going to keep me from arguing that perhaps there is something valuable in Valentine’s Day.
I really would like to see Valentine’s Day become more a day about how much it is possible to care about other people. Sure, it gets overshadowed by “the industry,” a term that quite easily points fingers in many directions, shelling out blame the same way others shell out for flowers, candies and jewelry on the big V-Day. If you’re a Valentine’s Day cynic, but determined, just like me, to find something in it, read on — you might just realize that it is worth it to take back Valentine’s Day.
The biggest argument I always hear against Valentine’s Day is that it’s a concoction of the greeting card companies; that, in some manner, Hallmark has somehow been the biggest beneficiary of Valentine’s Day, followed by diamond companies, jewelry retailers in general, and chocolate companies. Okay, okay, so I can’t deny that there is big industry behind February 14.
The second-biggest argument I often hear against Valentine’s Day is that, if one loves another person so much, why not prove it every single day? Why have one special day in the year, in which everybody is proving their love to people, to prove one’s love to that special someone? Why follow the rest of the sheep and devalue one’s love for another by choosing the same holiday in which to profess an undying longing? Okay, so… I can’t really argue with that. There’s a point to it, certainly.
So, um… why am I bothering with this post?
I guess my own thoughts about Valentine’s Day, despite my mixed feelings (those mixed feelings consisting of joy when someone makes my Valentine’s Day special, and despair when I realize that I’m single on Valentine’s Day), I tend to think that Valentine’s Day is not that bad of a deal.
To those who argue that Valentine’s Day is just something to help fledgling industries of fluff items: since when does Valentine’s Day need to be accompanied by a greeting card, box of chocolates, bundle of flowers or diamond necklace? Would it hurt to go to the crafts store, get some fancy paper and colored markers, and go to town with some cute doodles, construction paper and paste? If you’re part of the “don’t support the industry” camp, the easiest way to get around that is to make Valentine’s Day special with your own creativity. Besides, if it comes from the heart, isn’t it a lot more valuable? Although I love fresh flowers, I do see the point made by some that giving flowers to represent undying love is rather ironic; flowers wilt and then crumble into dust, certainly not the image of undying love. But it’s the thought that counts, no? So if the downside is that purchases are a shallow way to make someone’s Valentine’s Day special, I think it’s best to think outside the box. It can be a holiday free of greeting cards if you make an effort.
And to those in the “love is not a one-day-a-year kind of thing,” well, why not take the opportunity to share an extra amount of love on Valentine’s Day? It doesn’t cheapen anything. That doesn’t mean that one can’t make other days of the year just as special. When I was a child, I had trouble remembering my parents’ anniversary; they would wish each other “happy anniversary” on the 16th of every month, although their anniversary was actually April 16. It took me a while to realize that this was their way of making more days of their lives together special, and I have always enjoyed the race my parents have to see who remembers on the 16th of the month to wish the other “happy anniversary.” In fact, it’s their 25th anniversary this year. (I’d better save my pennies to get them something good!)
I can’t really say that I hate Valentine’s Day, although I have sometimes celebrated it as “Singles’ Awareness Day” in opposition of all the lovey-dovey-ness going on. It really is kind of obnoxious to have to deal with a bunch of giddy couples seemingly rubbing it in to the rest of the world that they’re attached, love each other, and can’t wait to express that love for the whole world to see. So in my final point about Valentine’s Day, I’d have to say that it can be taken back with one more simple gesture: keep it private. One of the solutions to making Valentine’s Day tolerable for others, and ultimately oneself, is to keep it sacred and leave it out of the public eye. That love for your one-and-only? Protect it like you would your most precious possession; isn’t that what your one-and-only is (excluding the ‘possession’ part)? But isn’t your love for that person so intense, so wonderful, something not worth cheapening… that those affections are only worth so much to them? Sure, it’s nice to display love. But the display ought only belong to the recipient, otherwise it becomes a manipulative tool of sorts; it feeds off of the jealousy others have in seeing an exchange of love, and in that action it is truly cheapened.
Furthermore, I believe in not just restriction that love to a special bedmate, longtime significant other or disgruntled (but loyal!) spouse. Spread the love to family, friends, even pets — like I said earlier, what does it matter that everyone else is celebrating Valentine’s Day? Don’t do it to be like everyone else. Do it to take advantage of the opportunity, and make sure to seek that opportunity out again before February 14 rolls around again. That intention will come out, and it’s too difficult to deny love that comes with the right intentions.
I believe it’s possible to take back Valentine’s Day. And you might just find it possible, now, too.