Walking into a card store at this time of year will make you do one of three things:
A) Depress you, because the array of reds and pinks remind you that blue is the only color you’ll be thinking of on Valentine’s Day.
B) Frustrate you, because the beloved 14th of February is looming ever closer and you have no idea whether you should get your valentine a simple card that won’t give away your deep, undying devotion just yet, or go all out and get them that lovey dovey, sentimental card that proves they are the one you can’t live without.
C) Make you want to scream and hide, because you just can’t believe how sappy some of the poems are and you’re absolutely flabbergasted as to why they get printed, let alone bought. (These are the kinds of cards that cause Wilford Brimley mustaches to grow and cavities to appear, the only cure being medical supplies delivered directly to your door and a good ol’ root canal.)
But while Russell Stover and 1-800-FLOWERS are basking in the scent of fine chocolate truffles and dozens of roses, men and women alike are pulling their hair out just to prove their love for one another on a specific day each February. What most don’t acknowledge, however, is that Cupid doesn’t take a 364 day breather between shifts – his arrow-shooting gig is a 24/7 commitment.
Love doesn’t always wait for 30 degree weather so you’ll have something to warm up to, nor does it hold off until February so it can melt snow as it melts hearts. Love is in the air, as they say, it’s every sight and every sound. If two people really love each other, and make sure each other knows, with or without having to say the words, then they don’t need a specially designated day to tell them when to dote on one another.
Valentine’s Day, instead, has become the ideal occasion for the insecure. While men dread its approach, women use the day as a barometer to gauge exactly how much their significant other cares about them. The barrage of jewelry advertisements is enough to make you realize that Valentine’s Day has fallen into the commercialized gutter, like most other occasions and holidays. If your kiss doesn’t literally begin with Kay (Jewelers, that is), you’re more than likely going to be digging yourself out of the doghouse for failing your Valentine’s Day responsibility to make your lady friend feel like the queen she is… or thinks she is, anyway.
But forced acknowledgement of one’s feelings for another completely negates the point of showing such feelings in the first place, for feeling trapped by obligation doesn’t exactly scream undying devotion.
What we need to do, instead, is take our own cues and attempt to perpetuate the special sentiments of holidays and occasions the whole year through. Every year, we wish we could keep the Christmas spirit alive throughout, yet we rarely see any effort made. Like Christmas, Valentine’s Day is an occasion that carries with it a beautiful message that has become distorted through the passage of time.
Forget the roses, chocolates and jewelry. Ignore the cards and bring Valentine’s Day back to the bare minimum, when it was not the quality of the gift, but the gesture that mattered. Do not reserve your affections for one or two occasions a year, and don’t limit your love to your significant other. Spread love every day, in every way, to everyone. Surprise a loved one with a gift, perhaps something you randomly came across at the store that reminded you of them. Call up a relative you haven’t heard from in a while. Donate a few dollars to a charity you support and show your love and care for humanity as a whole. But whatever you do, don’t postpone these actions. Start shooting some love arrows of your own and give ol’ Cupid a run for his money.