I have always loved Valentine’s Day. Even when I was a teenager who’d never been on a date, pretending to be surly in my steel-toed boots. A friend brought me flowers, shiny-eyed and unabashed, and taught me how lucky I was, deeply loved despite my single status.
Another friend told me the other day that, instead of Valentine’s Day celebrations, her niece’s preschool has Friendship Party Week, which they celebrate with multiple daily friendship parties. It sounded like the best, and got right to the heart of what Valentine’s Day has always been to me: an opportunity to celebrate. Grown ups tend to put a little bit more of a romantic spin on things, but it’s still about taking time to celebrate what you love. I’m on board. Misgivings about commercialism go right out the window when I see dudes on the train with cellophane-wrapped baskets of red and pink trinkets. It melts my heart. People are trying, taking the opportunity this day provides to give love. I like that.
Massage business spikes, too. Once again, people using this day to treat their loved ones nicely. So good! But what about you? What if nobody got you a massage? What if you didn’t have an angelic friend bursting through the 90s grunge shadows of your youth? What if you feel seized by jealousy on this day, coveting heart-shaped boxes of chocolate or shiny engagement rings? What if your heart is in tatters?
Today, I wish you your own sliver of goodness, some love or something close, warmth or kindness.
I’ve been thinking lately about learning Newton’s Third Law of Motion in high school physics class: for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction, so that, when a rocket expels exhaust, the exhaust in turn pushes the rocket. The rocket pushes against its own fire. It’s all on the rocket.
I have absolutely no business giving physics lessons, and I’m clearly taking lots of creative license here, but I’ve been thinking about this law of motion in relation to good will. What happens when you put out love? Do you push yourself somewhere? Somewhere forward? There’s some interesting research out there suggesting that altruism and generosity make people feel better on the giving as well as the receiving end.
This Valentine’s Day, I wish you love, whether you’re with a sweetie, dancing with people around the world, rocking a friendship party, or celebrating by yourself, your heart like a rocket, propelling itself.
If all else fails, get yourself those sweet-smelling flowers, a bon-bon or two, or book a massage for your well-deserving self. Happy Valentine’s Day, all!