I love love. Always have. I’m a sucker for a romantic story or people showing kindness to each other through love.
I also LOVE Valentine’s Day, and encourage you to embrace the holiday on some level too. It’s a day to celebrate love of all types – friendships, romantic, familial, self – and I think there’s no better time than to embrace all the positive relationships in your life than on a day when so many others are celebrating. Embrace that loving energy out there in the universe this time of year and put it to work for you.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about only romantic relationships or as a reason to buy someone a greeting card. Instead, allow it to be a time to tell those in your life that you love them, miss them and want to see them. Set up friend dates. One of my best Valentine’s Day-related memories is going on a ladies date with my friend Lisa. We got dressed up, treated ourselves to a nice steak dinner, and went to see a blues band play while having a nightcap. It was one of the most memorable dates of my life. Seriously. It was just a good, relaxed time with one of my best friends and it always brings back great memories this time of year. So, I’m going to do more of that.
It’s also a good time to reconnect with family or to just tell them you love them. Valentine’s Day also evokes a fond memory of my sister from childhood, which is probably the event that started me on my path to loving Valentine’s Day.
When I was little, my older sister gave me a Valentine’s Day gift that was so special to me. It was this little plastic figurine with the word “love” in red, the letters rounded. Laying on top of “love” was Cupid, leaning his head on his hand, and the whole thing couldn’t have been more than a few inches tall and wide. I loved it. I had it for years and can remember it perfectly in my mind’s eye. That act of kindness from my sister, which made me feel so special, set the stage for a lifetime love affair with Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day, too, can be a time to teach others the importance of small acts of kindness on a much more literal level, and can be used as a teaching opportunity. Kids love Valentine’s Day and exchanging valentines (well, many of them do) and you can use that to your advantage. When I was a kid, I learned to spell and write my name because of Valentine’s Day. My mom taught me how to write my name so I could write it on valentines for my classmates in school. Giving out valentines to my friends thrilled me, and I loved receiving them just as much. I’ve always loved the cute heart-shaped sweets that come along with the day, and as a self-proclaimed chocolate fanatic, a day filled with sweets-centric puns and chocolate suits me.
My mom and dad always gave me and my sister Valentine’s Day cards and little gifts on the day, to make it special. My mom went out of her way to make holidays stand out, doing little things to make us KNOW how important we were to her throughout the year. It could be a handwritten note, a more elaborate gift, or somewhere in between. The dollar amount never really mattered, but the acknowledgement of the day did. My sister and I have carried that tradition on in her legacy into adulthood, creating special days in between all the more mundane ones that life offers.
As an adult, I’ve found joy in giving gifts and letting those around me know I love them on Valentine’s Day. Again, what’s bad about a day that reminds people of love? I know people think it’s a made-up holiday but I think a holiday centered around showing each other love and celebrating the love people have for each other in all types of relationships is a beautiful thing. And in today’s world, I’m all for a holiday that helps us focus on love and puts it front and center.
This Valentine’s week, I hope you find your joy. I hope you celebrate love with a friend, lover, family member, or yourself. Or all of the above. Take a bath. Give yourself a facial. Get your nails done. Spray on your favorite cologne or perfume. Go out for a great meal. Take a road trip. Do something that makes your heart sing, if even just for a moment.
To me, that’s what Valentine’s Day is. A moment to celebrate life’s little luxuries, and sometimes the larger ones too. So, indulge in that chocolate cake, if just for one day. I know I will. And with our one-year wedding anniversary coming up in a month, I truly have something to celebrate with my husband this Valentine’s Day. We’ll be celebrating with little luxuries all month long. He married a Carroll, it’s in my blood.
But seriously, Valentine’s Day is so much more to me than just the romantic side. I’ll also be reaching out to my other loved ones and letting them know I love them and miss them. I’m hoping to get a sister date in there, and a few friend dates. There will also be texts and phone calls. And hopefully, there will be a little more love in the world this week because of a holiday that celebrates the greatest emotion.
Here’s to finding love and joy in your world this week.