Another Valentine’s Day has come – the 12 months between each February 14th seem to go just as fast as any 12 months. Once again, everywhere is coloured red. Every radio station is running Valentine adverts. Every store or business is offering a Valentine’s special or sale or package. Some guys are running helter-skelter trying to meet the impossibly high expectations that Bae has set for them. Others aren’t stressing themselves out; they’ve just outsourced the entire thing to some gifting company to do all the thinking and execution. But there are some who aren’t doing anything different or special – it’s just another day for them. And we’ve not even covered those who aren’t in any relationships at the moment – it almost feels like they are automatically left out of the fun.
I think the pressure to mark the occasion one way or the other is a bit too much, especially because more often than not, it’s just an opportunity for people to try and out-do each other – who got the best gift, who pulled the best stunt, whose gesture was so amazing that everyone was jealous. However, I also believe that while it shouldn’t be the only day that couples, friends and even family make it a point to do something nice for each other, it definitely can be a good occasion to remind someone how much they mean to you.
When I was growing up, my mum always gave me a Valentine’s Day card. Even though she had a ‘permanent’ Valentine in the form of my brother who was born on the day, she always dropped a beautiful card on my bed in the morning, just when I had gone off to take a bath, and I would come back and read the words she had written, reminding me how much she loved me and how grateful she was that I came as her first child. As an adult, she doesn’t quite give me cards anymore, cos I don’t live with my parents now, but she always sends me a loving message. She taught me to gift, and to gift thoughtfully. Those cards meant a lot to me because they were a reassurance of my mother’s love, as small a gesture as it seemed.
When we got old enough to receive valentine gifts in school, my mum would ask us to show and tell at the end of the day. She would read the cards, look at the gifts and ask questions about the people that gave us gifts. It was her own way of getting to know what was going on in our lives, and who might need some well-placed advice with regards to boys or girls whichever the case was. Sometimes, someone didn’t get a gift, and she made sure that person understood that it didn’t mean they were any less special. More often than not, it was me J, so receiving the card from my Mum was pretty much as good as it got. And I learned to really appreciate that.
As I got older and waded into relationship waters, I sort of paid it forward, doing small but thoughtful things on Valentine’s as well as other days, mostly because the idea of putting a smile on a loved one’s face always makes me very happy. Of course, I always remember to send my mum a message as well – she is and will always be my first Valentine. Interestingly enough, I get a message from my Dad now and again. With boyfriends, sometimes I get one who is just as happy to celebrate as I am, and other times, I get one who doesn’t think it’s necessary. I go with the flow. My flow, based on how I feel. And for those times when I’m not in a relationship, I do something nice for me because hello! I love me too.
This year, I’m gifting my mum because she deserves it. So if you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day, that’s perfectly alright. Try to do it thoughtfully though and not just make it one big show. If you decide not to celebrate, that’s fine as well. There are plenty of days in the year to do something nice for that special someone (family too). Bottom line, do what works for you for whomever you feel like. Don’t be pressured by what’s happening around you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!