I have a confession to make.
I donít think the way Valentineís Day is run is very fair.
Now, donít misconstrue that right out of the box. I may look like Iím going to go on the ďwhy is the romantic burden on the manĒ approach or something of that ilk, but thatís not the case. Itís two Valentineís Days now that Iíve not been single, and I love doing something just a little extra special for my girlfriend on those days.
My beef with the holiday is the emphasis on romantic love.
I get it. Saint Valentine lived in ancient Rome, and he was a priest in Rome who, according to legend, married young lovers in secret when Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage, the mentality being single men made better soldiers. Valentine was put to death for his actions on Feb. 14, and, as the story goes, the holiday of love is at least part of his legacy and a way of remembering what he did.
So fast forward a dozen centuries or more, and it becomes tradition to hand out affectionate notes to the ones you love and present them with gifts, much as the young couples back in Valentineís day (see what I did there?) gave to him as he sat in a prison in Rome. Itís become a day to celebrate romantic love.
And I love it. I do. Thereís something about being in love with the right person that makes you feel more alive, stronger than you used to think you were, like youíve found that half you know fits you just right and makes you more complete, among many other, less describable sentiments. I treasure my relationship and time with my girlfriend, and she does the same.
I stop short of saying romance is overrated. I think thatís looking at the situation from the wrong angle. No, I believe other types of love are underrated, and perhaps unfairly so as they can be just as strong and bring just as much fulfillment in oneís life as that of the flowery, ooh-la-la variety.
I love my parents, for example. We haven not always got along, and I fully acknowledge there were times I havenít been as grateful to them for their sacrifices and love for me as I should be. My love for my mom and dad has only grown stronger when Iíve entered adulthood.
I love my church and its members. Again, there are times we donít get along, but we share a bond that allows us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves that, hopefully, in the simplest of terms and at the very least, will leave this world a little better for having existed.
And I love you, reader. Itís very likely I donít know you by name or my poor excuse for memory caused me to forget it, and we may not have even met face-to-face. But I care about you, and want to produce a paper every week that fills you in on information you want to know, need to know or both.
The point is love comes in all shapes and sizes: unconditional, platonic, brotherly or otherwise. So if by the next time the February pink-and-red decorations start sprouting up like Strawberry Shortcake and her minions are slowly taking over the world, and you find yourself without a romantic partner or date, donít fret. Heck, even if itís not anywhere close to Valentineís Day anymore, donít worry yourself. Find the kind of love you want to celebrate, and hang on to it. Spend time with those you love in any way, because frankly, a life with no love at all isnít a life.