originally published February 2008

Ah yes, we are upon one of the first fine commercialized holidays of the year 2008! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. The day to celebrate your partner and the singular life that you share together. Or maybe it’s simply the day to celebrate the budding potential of that. Or perhaps it’s the day where you sit at home feeling sorry for yourself devouring freakishly unhealthy amounts of chocolates.

This thought popped into my head the other day as I was stepping out of the shower (try to keep with the thought train here). I considered how we’re all supposedly sophisticated creatures capable of cognitive thought with four digits and opposable thumbs. But, we’re also very primitive. I always find myself trying to refine my eating habits and get healthier at this time of year and the more and more I think about it, the more I think it has something to do with some underlying animalistic trait.

It could also have to do with that horrible fact that we’ve all just come off of Christmas and New Years – both of which shower our unsuspecting waistlines with turkey, stuffing, and chocolates all eaten to excess. Then we have Valentines Day in February, the holiday simply made for giving our sweeties sweets. Then right after that we have Easter which is the quintessential holiday to plump up our children (and ourselves, admittedly – I personally have a weak spot for the Creme Eggs).

So this is the debate that I’m partially wrestling with in my head this year. Am I feeling more compelled to exercise and eat right because I know all this food has come and is still coming and I just need to make room!! Or, is it because somewhere deep down inside, because I’ll (likely) be single for Valentines Day this year, the crazy suppressed animal in me is trying to tidy up to find a mate, as if by some strange stroke of nature.

Who knows really! All I do know is that leading up to Valentine’s Day there will most definitely be a little extra chocolate in my diet, my dog will increasingly get walked more in an effort to be a little healthier, and the actual day itself will probably be like any other. Sure, I’d love to get thoughtful little things – maybe even flowers! I personally liked the fun and more personal side of the occasion. Remember when you’d make little pockets, taped at the back of the classroom or on the front of your desk, out of construction paper and disposable doilies. That was certainly an inexpensive and thoughtful way to mark the day. Then you’d get to explore the contents of your pouch after days of anticipation to see what was inside.

So this year instead of marking the day as commercially as possible, consider what the real point of it is. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars right on the heals of the biggest gift giving time of the year, take that money and invest it into something that will result in quality time. Go out to a meal that’s a little more exorbitant then normal and share conversation and time to yourselves, or even have a romantic cook-up at home. Celebrate the life you’re sharing with your partner and other loved ones and be thankful that you’re fortunate to have those people around. Sometimes, just a few out of the ordinary kind words are even enough!

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