JoeThorntonIt’s February, and we all know what that means: Valentine’s Day is coming! Time to get excited or time to dread it.

In our society Valentine’s is meant to be a time of celebration of romantic love. But not everyone has “someone special” in their lives, so sometimes they feel a bit left out. They have no one to buy them candy or to take out to a romantic dinner. And this holiday, which is intended for loving couples, can leave some feeling isolated, alone and maybe even a little sad.

But I say that’s bunk! There is no reason to feel bad; none at all. And I’ll tell you why. Let’s take a quick look, a general overview, if you will, at Valentine’s Day.

Originally Valentine’s Day was a Western Christian holiday celebrating the martyrdom of a saint (or saints – we’re not really sure) named Valentinus. Lots of stories circle around this saint (or saints), but the point is, this was a holiday intended to feast and remember a dead person (or persons).

It wasn’t until Chaucer (yes, the same Chaucer who wrote the Canterbury Tales) that the holiday became associated with romantic love. 300-years later, people began giving gifts to show their love. Candy, flowers and keys (presumably to the heart) were the norm.

Then a dastardly empire took over the holiday: Hallmark! Yep! We were told that we weren’t good people unless we bought expensive cards and gave even more expensive dust-gathering gifts to prove, yes I said prove, that we love someone. And we must brag about it, too!

February 14th has become the one day each year that we must profess our love to… fill in the blank… for all the world to see.

Now, let’s get real. Rationally we all know that we don’t have to prove anything. We also don’t have to spend money to profess our love and we don’t have to have a significant other in order to love or be loved. It’s as simple as that! And we don’t have to be guilted by our commercial overlord into “sending the very best”.

Remember when we were kids in school, we had to give little Valentine cards to all our classmates? Nope, no romance there.

But just because someone isn’t in a romantic relationship, doesn’t mean that our commonly understood Valentine’s Day cannot be celebrated and enjoyed. We all have friends that we love. Most of us have pets that we love. And no one needs to spend lots of money.

It shouldn’t be about what we do, but what we feel.

If this holiday is supposed to be all about love, then just feel that love. The love we have for our family members and our closest friends. The love we feel for our fur or feather-babies. More importantly, the love that we have for ourselves. Don’t spend money to show your love, do it with a smile and a hug, with some kindness. Or better yet, show it with your time.

Why do we have to celebrate love only on February 14th? I love people and animals and myself every single day. Even all year long!

So if you feel the need to celebrate in some way, go out with friends and get a pizza. Stay at home and order Chinese. Snuggle-in with a good book or your favorite movie. Go hang out with your parents or siblings. Have a nice conversation with your significant other. Spend some extra time playing with your pet.

But don’t put too much stock into Valentine’s Day itself. After all, it can’t be that big of a holiday if no one gets the day off work for it!

Okay, that being said, I just want to say: Happy Valentine’s Day to you! I love you.