Stressed? Overworked? Frazzled? Broke? Not to worry! Valentine’s Day is coming up. That’ll give you a chance to relax.
Oh, yeah, I forgot: It will only make you crazier. What to get? What to do? Where to go? Over the years you’ve bought (or been given) flowers, candy, jewelry and dinner, and nothing seems to change. If you’re already in love, candy isn’t going to change that. If you’re not, dinner once a year isn’t going to get the job done.
Is something wrong with you? Is something wrong with your partner? Or, just maybe, is something wrong with Valentine’s Day itself? Or all holidays, for that matter.
Do we have any holidays where we’re not required to buy, do or cook something, or travel somewhere? Or do all four of those at the same time? Not that anybody gets Valentine’s Day off work, but you get the picture: It seems the entire function of a modern holiday (as opposed to a religious Holy Day) is to add stress to our lives, not to take it away.
Holidays are no longer a pleasure. They’ve become unholy days of obligation, where we have to run around like crazy people trying to make other people happy, and yet all it does is make us all “busy.” I’ve got news for you: You can’t make other people happy if they’re not happy to begin with. That’s something we each have to do for ourselves.
Now, before you think I am blaming St. Valentine for all this, let me just say that I’m not against love. I’m just against what it’s been turned into. We even expect first-graders to be happy about Valentine’s Day, giving out cartoon-themed cards and candy kisses to their classmates. As if there won’t be enough time in their little lives to obsess about social status and candy. What’s the rush?
Like everyone else, I’d like to make the world a better place, but the Holiday Industrial Complex makes that harder and harder. Turn on the TV or walk into one of those dollar stores, and you’d think Valentine’s Day was bigger than Black Friday, Halloween or Super Bowl Sunday -- our other most sacred holidays in this country.
If you’ve spent hours thinking about what gift would make your one true love happy this Feb. 14, please realize that no gift can “make” a person truly happy. Your bright and shining face is enough. If Valentine’s Day is the only time you tell someone that you love them or care about them, you’re doing it wrong.
People may think I’m out to kill the florists and the restaurants here, but that’s missing the point. I want friends and lovers to buy flowers and candy for each other every day, or as often as they can. I want people to go on dates all the time, or as often as they can. Under my plan, MORE flowers get bought, MORE candy gets shared, MORE restaurants are full.
Stop doing this once a year -- make every day Valentine’s Day. You’ll still be over-worked and frazzled, but someone will love you for it.
(Contact Jim Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org.)