Today is Valentine’s Day! A day of love, a day of romance, and the one day out of the year when shops can charge three times as much for a bunch of roses and people will actually buy them. This is the day that has teenage girls giggling with excitement and grown men weeping with frustration. Single or married, man or woman, young or old, this day affects us all... whether we like it or not.
When I was in High school, we used to send Valentine’s Day cards to our friends in different classes. Instead of going the conventional route and buying the generic hearts made by the Grade 9s, I would spend hours making personalized cards for a great number of people. On Valentine’s Day itself, I remember sitting in base-class, waiting with anticipation to see how many cards I got and from whom. I, being the hopeless romantic that I am, always had the faintest hope that that big bunch of roses sitting at the front of the class was for me. After a while I learned that big romantic gestures only happened in movies and that any secret admirer that existed was more likely to be a creepy pervert than my prince charming.
Thinking back, I was always disappointed about the cards that I didn’t receive, instead of appreciative of the ones that I did. I didn’t realise back then that although I didn’t have that special someone, I was still surrounded by people who loved me. And that is what I think Valentine’s Day should really be about. Instead of getting sucked into the hype and believing that today should solely revolve around your one true love, why not celebrate those people who are important to you, regardless of who they may be. For me, nothing sums up this thought quite as well as the opening dialogue of one of my favourite movies of all time, "Love Actually":
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around.”