Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!



The snow is melting; there's still quite a bit left on grassy areas, but no trace of the magic that was there when I woke two days ago. It's time to look forward to spring, so when I went to Central Market and saw one of my favorite harbingers of spring, pussy willows, I bought a bunch, and for Valentine's Day, a bunch of pink tulips too. This was money well spent: I smile every time I walk into my kitchen and see them.

A lot of women (and most of the men I know) hate Valentine's Day. It's sort of an odd day. It's supposed to be a day when lovers express their love for each other. I think that everyone who celebrates it with that in mind enjoys Valentine's Day; but for many people, Valentine's Day has become a day when men give gifts to women, and women give...well, whatever the gift inspires them to give, I guess. That's more than a little twisted.

I decided when I was very young that I wasn't going to sit around waiting and hoping for things to happen; I was going to take charge of my life. To that end I was on my own in Chicago when I was 17; I learned to drive at 30; I finished college and went on to grad school in my 40's; and part of that early decision is why I found myself getting divorced at 50. When I was younger, taking these steps was sometimes frightening but usually exhilarating, but as I get older, I find that a lot of the time what it actually entails to take charge of my life leaves me feeling like Sisyphus; especially when it comes to big things like refinancing the house, or buying a new car, but also for more mundane things, like realizing when the power went out during the snowstorm two nights ago, tripping a smoke alarm upstairs, that turning the thing off in the dark was up to me, and only me. I can laugh now at the fact that I managed to get the thing off the ceiling and remove the batteries while standing on a step stool in the dark, using my cell phone for light, but it didn't seem so funny at the time.

So, being the independent, take charge sort of woman that I am, I decided a few years ago that if Valentine's Day is a day for lovers to express their love for each other, then maybe those of us who aren't in a relationship on Valentine's Day should use it as a day to express our love for ourselves; to treat ourselves to some things in which we might not otherwise indulge ourselves. The first year I did this I wanted to commemorate it, so I bought myself a beautiful pair of garnet and pearl earrings. Since then I've kept it simple.

Tonight, wearing those earrings, I'll pour myself a glass of wine and make myself a really nice dinner: grilled scallops; a salad of mixed greens with chevre, walnuts, strawberries and blueberries, tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette; and for dessert, a bunch of grapes with two cheeses, white stilton with lemon, and brie.

If you're in a relationship, use this day to celebrate your love for each other, and if you're alone, don't miss out on the opportunity to use it as a day to celebrate your love for yourself. Happy Valentine's Day!


Cynthia said...

You are an inspiration!

marigolds2 said...

You are, as Cynthia says, an inspiration. What spunk and self-determination is here. We all need this sort of pep talk, love for ourselves not generally being women's strong suit.

sunflowerkat321 said...

We all need to recognize that we deserve to love and celebrate ourselves, even if there is a "significant other" in our lives.