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February 11, 2011

Is Valentine’s Day a Hallmark Holiday?

As we get closer to Valentine’s Day, I am getting slightly anxious that I did not sign up for the Valentine’s Day Singles Cruise next week. I am not in a relationship and at times I fall into the trap of feeling left out by not having a Valentine or sweetheart to share this day with me. The benefit of being on a Valentine’s Day singles cruise is the comfort and enjoyment you feel being with people in the same situation that are making the most of it. I’m jealous wondering what kind of fun and memorable experiences I will be missing.

Don’t feel sorry for me, you have to admit that the brilliant marketing minds at Hallmark have exploited this trumped up holiday. I have been in various staged of relationship bliss during the Valentine’s holiday and I am not sure what’s worse; the heightened expectations to create a perfect romantic experience for your partner or to make your own decisions about how to celebrate it, if you must, alone. Roses, chocolates, jewelry, champagne, lingerie…….. all to say “I love you” on a single day?

There are several different versions of the origins of Valentine’s Day. One of the most popular is the idea that Emperor Claudius III banned marriage because married men did not make good warriors. A priest named Valentine was caught performing secret marriages for young men. He was arrested and thrown into jail. He allegedly developed a “friendship” with Claudius’ blind daughter and healed her. On the day of his execution he wrote to the daughter and signed, “Your Valentine.” It sounds like this holiday, aside from the Hallmark influence, was created from pain, fear, injustice and intolerance!!

Instead of celebrating with my soul mate, I will be meeting my brother and sister-in-law in Key West for the weekend as they escape the brutal winter of the Midwest. I will literally be a fifth-wheel for the Valentine’s dinner as another couple will be joining them, reservations at Blue Heaven for five!! Instead of being bummed about this, I am so excited. I will celebrate being in one of my favorite places, at an awesome restaurant, with people I care about and the place and the people will both be there to enjoy again and again after Valentine’s Day! Or maybe Sunday night I’ll be on the hunt for a Valentine’s Day date for Monday night, in Key West, you never know!!! Either way, I will choose to be happy, loving and in the moment.

Pain is inevitable in life but suffering is a choice. I hope if you are single you will take the intentions of Valentine’s Day, to share love, and practice it all the time. Imagine if we made the effort every day, to care about ourselves and the other people, or strangers in our lives like we do on Valentine’s Day? What a great place we would create! I am certain that love will come my way when it’s meant to, until then, what have I got to lose?

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