Welcome back to another RREG blog installment! It’s me, Kirby, your Social Media Coordinator. It’s that time of year again… Some people love it, some people hate it, but ready or not here it is… Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that are impossible to miss. Stores fill their aisles with chocolates and red teddy bears the week after New Years. The jewelry commercials are everywhere. Heck, not to mention it’s “The Bachelor” season! There’s no denying that Valentine’s Day has become a commercialized holiday. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t people out there who look forward to giving/receiving chocolates, roses and the whole nine yards on February 14th every year (I’ll never turn down some sweets!), but that’s certainly not what Valentine’s Day means to everyone. In fact, I know a few people who just like Valentine’s Day because of all the candy that goes on sale the day after.

Personally, I’ve always felt that there is a lot of societal pressure around making sure that you have someone to call your Valentine every single year. I can remember being particularly stressed out about this during adolescence, of course! And then, something changed one year – it was the year I had my very first “real” Valentine. They bought me a beautiful necklace, my favorite candy, and some flowers. Of course I was appreciative of the gesture, but the whole ordeal got me thinking, “Why is this the first time they’ve ever given me flowers?!” Why do we wait til Valentine’s Day to give our loved ones gifts? And I don’t necessarily even mean monetary gifts – of course I love flowers, but I love handmade cards, too! I realized that receiving flowers on a day that I wasn’t expecting it would have meant way more to me, personally. And I haven’t gone all out Valentine’s Day ever since. If I’m going to surprise a loved one with a really spectacular gift, I prefer to wait until a birthday or anniversary, a day that is really and authentically “all about them.”

So that’s my relationship with Valentine’s Day. This complex idea about an “authentic” Valentine’s Day popped into the heads of all of RREG ladies in the office earlier this month. What does it mean to be “authentic?” To us, authenticity means remaining true to yourself and the things you value in life and love. A lot of us are at different stages in our lives age-wise, career-wise, relationship-wise, etc., and we got to thinking about the dynamics of Valentine’s Day for different people. All of us had some really diverse Valentine’s ideals and traditions, and we thought it would be so fun to share something new and different this Valentine’s Day rather than the typical, “Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget to get roses delivered to your wife’s office and call your mom!”

Let’s get the scoop on Our Authentic Valentine’s Day; I asked all of the ladies the same two questions: What is the first word that pops into your head when you think of Valentine’s Day? And, how would you describe your perfect Valentine’s Day? I’ll start…

 

Kirby:

“The first word that pops into my head when I think of Valentine’s Day is ‘chocolate.’ My perfect Valentine’s Day would probably consist of spending the entire day lounging around with my boyfriend and just enjoying that time together, and then eating a really nice meal with some wine and dessert.”

Pier:

“‘Culture Pressure’ (2 words!) The beauty of love is it can’t be wrangled or finagled into revealing its whole, lovely self on one day a year from the manipulation of commercials about perfect love. Valentine’s Day is not a thing for me. The love extended on Valentine’s Day has always felt forced and temporary. But what I do respect about Valentine’s Day is that every year on one day, we are reminded as a nation to LOVE ALL, always.”

Janie:

“‘AHH!’ I am not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day … I kinda feel like it is a hallmark holiday. Perfection is hanging with my family/grandchildren, and that is going to happen this year!”

Stephie:

“‘Sweetness.’ My family really gets into Valentine’s Day – rather than focusing on my husband and me, we celebrate with our children all the different types of love in our lives. Our perfect valentines would definitely involve all of us spending the day together visiting our friends, baking treats for each other, and getting outside to hike or play. Valentines kind of marks the impending spring for us, so connecting with nature is important.”

Tasha:

“‘Love.’ While I am typically a big holiday person, Valentine’s Day mostly reminds me of Valentine cards at school as a child and the celebration my kids might have. Whether in a relationship, or not, I am not big into the exchange of material things to represent love, and more prefer more thoughtful, unexpected expressions rather than ones of obligation. That being said, I enjoy the moment to give my children a little piece of chocolate and make them feel special, and see their smiles from the surprise. I suppose a perfect Valentine’s Day would include me being with my loved ones, and all being happy together.”

Sue:

“‘Conversation hearts.’ When my daughter was young I would leave them around the house for her to find. My perfect Valentine’s Day would be for the world to love and show kindness toward each others. Say a kind word instead of being so defensive all of the time!”

Jessica:

The first word I think of and the first thing I think of on Valentine’s day is… death. As this day approaches I am reminded of two very strong men who have left me broken hearted on Valentine’s day. A former boss, who taught me a lot more about life and it’s not about being greedy but if you have extra to share. On Valentine’s day of 2009, Tom went to be with the Lord as he died peacefully at home from sleep apnea. I was recently engaged and went into the pharmacy to show off my sparkly little ring and that day the tears were even more sparkly as they ran down my face as I heard the news.
Fast forward 5 years… my grandpa had surgery but was doing well. They moved him out of the hospital and into a rehab center and we had stopped in to see how he was doing. We had just had our Valentine’s date (my now hubby and I) and I remember thinking how awesome and far along he has come. He was showing us things he did as part of his rehab. Skin cancer… my grandfather’s heart was the last thing that stopped. It was still strong and full of love for his family as we were all standing around him after being rushed to the ER… the day after Valentine’s day. 

My son has the middle name Houston. That was my grandfather’s middle name. I am reminded to love who is here with you. Never take time for granted. And that my son will be a strong man because he has it in his blood. I love that we have a holiday to celebrate love! The love of family, animals,  yourself,  friends… everybody has something they love! But I experience a lot of heart ache and anxiety this time of year… my Valentine’s day is best spent busy or in bed.”

 

There are tons of differing opinions about Valentine’s Day, and that’s okay! There are aspects of the holiday which are less than authentic, but the one thing that we can all agree is the most authentic of all is LOVE. Love takes on so many different forms: love for our partners, our children, our friends, our family, and our work family. Love is the purest and sweetest emotion and experience; the world could always use a little (or a lot) more love! So, if there’s nothing else about Valentine’s Day that you can get behind, take a moment to notice the fact that, whatever your traditions may be on the 14th of February every year, most everyone is taking a moment to recognize LOVE in all forms. And that, in itself, is possibly the most authentic thing of all. If only we did this every day of the year!

Let’s all try our best to spread a little love this month.

Take care,

Kirby xx