Does age affect the way we see Valentine’s Day?

Broken heart

Be my valentine!
I heart you!
Be mine!
I love you!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been bombarded greeted by these declarations long before Christmas was over. Establishments, all the way from bookstores to bakeries, have been more than happy to promote the countdown to the most awaited (or dreaded) holiday of the year.

But before any V-day lovers get their knickers in a bunch, know this will not be a rant on the evils doings of Cupid and his arrows. Nor will it be a history lesson on Saint Valentine and his role in this capitalistic venture upcoming holiday.

Rather, this will be a walk down memory lane (it’s been too long since I did one of those) to explore my attitudes and reactions to the “friendship/love” day.

And so it begins…

Age 6
I remember coming home with a self made, decorated envelope stuffed with “valentines.” Cards illustrated with fat cats and the words “You’re Puurfect, Valentine” made me giggle. The fact that so many people wanted me to be their valentine made me feel special and filled me with joy.

Age 10
Valentine cards, some of them still unopened, filled my backpack. Rushing to my room so I could continue reading “Anne of Green Gables,” I spied Nana, standing regally in the middle of the hallway, a stern look on her face. “Bella, unopened Valentine cards show a lack of respect and appreciation to your classmates. March your behind to the kitchen, pour yourself a glass of milk, and let’s read those cards!” I knew better than to protest.

Age 12
At this age, I had discovered that crafting was not only fun, but also a way to bond with friends. Since we considered ourselves too “big” to hand out valentines, we spent this day making beautiful cards out of glossy paper, lace, and glitter. The recipients? Only our very best friends (known nowadays as “besties,” “bae,” or “BFFs.”)

Age 14
Valentine cards were replaced with “candy grams.” For a mere fifty cents (which wasn’t so mere at the time), you could send friends a lollipop in the shape of a heart, accompanied by a message. Many used this method to send anonymous messages to secret crushes. The amount of candy grams received determined a person’s popularity and sadly, also had the power to undermine the self confidence and self esteem of many. At the end of the day, it was easy to see who was well liked and who was “invisible.”

Age 17
Boys had “upped” their game and arrived at school bearing gifts of flowers and heart shaped chocolate boxes. This was also the time when I received a poem from a young man named Eddie, in which he professed his undying love. I wish I could tell you what it said, but I barely skimmed the contents before shoving it into my pocket. Unfortunately, I forgot all about it and it was destroyed when Nana threw my pants in the wash. When Eddie learned of his poem’s demise (yes, I was stupid enough to tell him), he looked at me with contempt and said, “Bella, may your callous disregard for someone else’s feelings result in you never being loved. Really loved. Like I loved you but no longer do.” (Spoken like a true poet.) Eddie, if you’re reading this, please know your hex worked and to this day, I still believe love is an illusion.

Age 20
This Valentine’s Day brought love (and horror) into my life in the form of a phone call. Hearing the words, “I love you. Will you marry me?” induced a panic attack that lasted for days. (Did I mention it was my first proposal and came from an ex boyfriend I hadn’t seen in two years?)

Age 24
Second marriage proposal. This time my reaction was more positive. Although in hindsight, I would have been better served reacting the same way I had to proposal #1.

Early 30’s
Valentine’s Day was no longer a one on one affair. As a single mother, I went from recipient to delegated card buyer, to crafts expert, to writer of cards. I was also a shoulder to cry on when the Daughter didn’t receive a valentine from “the one” and the Son got too many “stupid girly cards” and none that featured Pokemon.

Age 35
Third marriage proposal. This one came from Christopher, one of my pre kindergarten students who, dressed in a long sleeved white shirt and black shorts, dropped down to one knee, and asked for my hand in marriage. To this day, the beautiful little plastic ring he offered me is one of my most valuable possessions.

Late 30’s
Valentine’s Day celebrations are just a hazy memory. I’m only reminded of this holiday’s existence by phone calls from loved ones (young and idealistic family members), eager to scream, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” Oh, and by the low hanging “Be Mine” sign at the supermarket that hit me on the head and almost gave me a concussion.

Early 40’s
Valentine’s Day? Really? Are they still celebrating that?
Note to self: Include a reminder on Google calendar for February 15. Must beat to the punch other overworked, disillusioned, and exhausted women over the age of 40 for 50% off Valentine’s Day chocolates. (Remember to wear comfortable shoes since physical altercations are very much a possibility).

Oh, chocolate.
You have the power to remind me why I’m still grateful for this holiday. Thank you for that!

Do you still celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Note: Names have been changed to protect the innocent

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28 thoughts on “Does age affect the way we see Valentine’s Day?

  1. Bella, I adore your wit and all too honest assessment of all things Valentine! I still celebrate because I’m fortunate to have a caring, loving husband after going through lots of disappointments, believe me! With you, though, next to Christmas, Valentine’s Day is the holiday when I think those who have no significant other in their life tend to get depressed as they feel the ache of loneliness. May the chocolate be the saving grace!
    Blessing to you!
    P. S. I’ve really missed your blog and hope to see you writing more this year!

  2. Welcome back to the blogosphere, Bella! I’m amazed at all the detail you recall about childhood Valentine’s Days. I don’t remember a thing.

    I also loved your third marriage proposal. What a lovely story!

    This year hubby and I are traveling to visit the stepson and his fiance, and so we’ve rescheduled Valentine’s Day for after our return home. We have plenty of romance in our lives, so no need to put on a special display on a particular day. I can also do without the overpriced meals that stuff us silly.

    1. Nadine, I want the same level of romance you and your hubby have! Ah, how wonderful to have a romantic spouse or partner! I’m grateful for childhood memories. They serve to keep me company on days when it’s cold and damp and Roxy and I can’t take to the forest. Reading your lovely comment reminds me why it’s good to be back, friend! :)

  3. Hmmm…I guess I don’t think about all that much. I don’t think of any holidays much, to be honest. A day is a day is a …I’m just glad to be around here, talking trash and whatnot. I’m just a free spirit and have my share of chocolate at my leisure. I don’t typically like the fillings in Valentine chocolate. It can be so disappointing, those fillings. Maybe I don’t do surprises all that well in my mouth, I reckon.

    Glad you hanging out again. You’re gonna have to take us on another one of your walks. You hooked me with that post.

    1. Totsy, I will definitely do a post of one of my walks as soon as the weather improves. It’s still mighty cold and the trees are bare. Fortunately, spring is right around the corner and Roxy and I will be happy to oblige! I’m with you–filled Valentine’s chocolates do not always result in a good surprise! :)

  4. Ciao Bella! It’s great to have you back & in fine form. I’m with you–it’s too much of a faux Hallmark day. Just pass me a dark chocolate (or two).

    1. Jann, are you a lover of dark chocolate? I wish I could say the same, since it’s a healthier choice, but I’m a milk chocolate lover. My mother says that’s not even real chocolate but I do have a weak spot for the stuff. I’m hoping you will follow and post soon. I miss your beautiful photos! :)

  5. Bella, this is laugh out loud material — thank you for lightening up my Thursday! I don’t celebrate V-day. Sure, I send cards to my family (with maybe a little something-something tucked in for Domer!), but that’s it. My grandpa died on a Valentine’s Day, so it’s always been a bit sad for me (and, as you said, being divorced kind of takes one out of the coupling thing!). However you choose to celebrate (or not), hope yours is grand!

    1. Debbie, I can understand why this day does not have much appeal to you. Both nana and my father passed away in the month of April and it’s still hard to get through this time of the year. I’m delighted the post made you laugh! I miss writing comedic posts. Hopefully I’ll be able to write more this year. Hugs! :)

  6. Bella!! I loved this post! Reading your different Valentine’s experiences made me feel like I was watching a movie of your life! Your google calendar reminder is so hilarious – i didn’t know chocolate was 50% off the day after Valentine’s, but it makes so much sense! It’s all so hyped up!

    Sending love, and that whoever you spent Valentine’s with, may it be wonderful. Or maybe just chocolaty.

    BESOS!

    1. Felicia, the sales are getting harder to find but there’s one little supermarket that marks down their Valentine merchandise 50 percent off the day after Valentine’s. I make a bee line for it early in the morning and like a squirrel, I buy a good portion to put away in my “secret stash” drawer. hee hee! Besos, amiga! :)

  7. I’m with you 100%! I loathe this dreaded celebration of love, hearts and kisses…HUMBUG!!! And why the hell do I want a one hundred dollar bouquet of roses when I can get them 3 for $12 at shoprite…..overpriced, over-commercialize pagan ritual is what I think….lol….sorry! the cold weather has turned me into a mean evil woman….hell, this is what I really feel about Valentine’s day…LOVE YOUR POST!

    1. Eve, evil? No, my friend! Realistic? Yes! I’m with you, sister. Bah humbug, indeed! Down with Valentine’s I say! hee hee! Seriously though, it’s ironic that a holiday that’s supposed to celebrate all that comes from the heart, lacks so much heart! I’m delighted you liked the post, amiga! Thank you! :)

  8. I have vague memories of school valentines. For me, the most fun was making the box they would be delivered to. You can to a lot with an old shoe box and some paper doilies!
    We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day much at our house. Sometimes we share a box of chocolates, but we do that for no reason, too. :) I guess we just like chocolate.

    1. Shary, do I know the “sharing the chocolate box” ritual well! There’s something about opening a new box of chocolates to eat with coffee! Ah, I’m craving dark chocolate and a cappuccino suddenly! :)

  9. Bella, I totally heart you. ;-) I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, per se, although I have an appreciation for its finer intent, which is to shower love upon someone with intention. Of course, I’d rather people just did that as a matter of course. Some people need the reminder.

    On Pinterest’s Valentine’s board, there’s a Valentine that reads something like, “I love you more than chocolate.” I was compelled to comment, “That’s pushing it.” I didn’t add, but could have, “Especially when it comes to dark chocolate.”

    As for love itself, I believe it’s a birthright that starts and ends with love for ourselves. The rest, well… That’s more chocolate. :-) xoxo

    1. Oh, Ellen, you are always spot on, my friend! It’s always just about chocolate! hee hee! I love you more than chocolate?? No way! Unless it’s Javier Bardem. Then, and only then, would I consider this to have a grain of truth! ha! Hugs and kisses for you!

  10. I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Never did, not because I hate it, but because it’s not a holiday in Serbia. When I was younger, I didn’t even know about it, and later, when it became a sort of an imported holiday (and, as you can guess, another way to convince people to buy more stuff), well, I wasn’t younger anymore. :) It’s fun for kids to play with, I guess; other than that, well, discounted chocolate. :-D

    We buy each other chocolate all the time anyway, but hey, discounted chocolate is not to be missed! :-D

    1. An imported holiday–Ivana, that is a perfect way to describe this holiday! I feel like it’s a custom that many countries have adopted because of the hype surrounding it. That said, when we think about it, shouldn’t love be celebrated every day of the year? :)

  11. Valentine’s day is too commercialised. For me it is better to ‘surprise’ one’s Partner with chocolate/flowers etc at any other time during the year when it is not expected and a hell of a lot cheaper! Why buy some chocolate on saturday the 14th february when on Monday 16th you can buy double for the same amount!

    1. Jon, I love your pragmatism! Indeed, it’s a way smarter move to wait till the next day to load up on discounted chocolate! Think of all the pleasure they’ll bring when you sit down to have chocolate or tea! :)

    1. Corinne, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think it’s especially hard on those who are alone. We have enough pressures and stress in our lives as it is to have to deal with “finding someone to be our valentine.” Don’t you think? Hugs! :)

  12. Beautiful Bella, I too, was wrapped up in snow storms and novel edits, and husband’s sick father to do anything else, even blog. So we actually celebrated last weekend and I was treated to a lovely new purse for generously waiting. That means it is not inappropriate for me to comment on this post as well. LOL. Hope your celebration is equally as long-lived!

    1. Renne, my friend, I don’t know how I missed this comment! Please forgive me. I truly hope your routine is back to normal. I know I continue to struggle with mine, but it’s getting better! Hugs! :)

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