Okay, it’s Valentine’s Day. A lot of folks really hate this day. Hate it. Hate it with a disturbing amount of passion. Maybe they hate it for good reasons, because it’s clearly the most emotionally-laden faux holiday ever driven by commerce. It’s a lot of pressure to drop on this one day out of the whole long year. Tens of billions of dollars are spent to compel men to be romantic on this one day, to compel women to be romanced.
It’s a sad thing, isn’t it, that we have to set aside a day for romance. For that reason, it’s a good thing that we do it—even if we’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. Even if it’s driven by the makers of chocolates and by florists and by jewelers and by the manufacturers of greeting cards. Even if the engine of Valentine’s Day is almost completely commercial, it’s a good thing we do it.
Because romance is important. Romance lifts us out of the mundane. It elevates us. It sweeps aside the boundaries of our ordinary workaday lives. Romance, really, is the willingness to let yourself be carried away by something larger than you are.
That doesn’t necessarily mean romantic love. You can be happily single and without a partner and still be caught up in romance. You can find it in novels and movies, to be sure, but it’s also out there in the real world. It’s the delight you take in a foggy day, and it’s that moment of undiluted pleasure you get when you see a Canada Goose scull its wings before landing, and it’s that smile you get from a stranger you see through a shop window, and the smile you give back. And yes yes yes, that’s all incredibly sappy. But it’s true all the same. A large chunk of romance grows out of the willingness to be sappy.
So yes, it’s a stupid, commercial holiday destined to disappoint more folks than it pleases. But it’s not the day that matters, or the chocolates or the jewelry or the flowers or the dinner at a nice restaurant—although those are all very nice. Valentine’s Day is good because romance is good, and anything that reminds of that is worthwhile.
So just give into it. Be a sap. Be an unapologetic sap. And then go out and do it again tomorrow.