I'm officially taking Valentine's Day off my list of things to get grumpy about. Honestly, the list is growing longer by the minute these days and I've got to be more selective about what I'm raging against.
I've decided that, despite my deep-seeded hatred of all things corny*, Valentine's Day is a good thing.
And the world needs good things now, more than ever.
I don't want to exaggerate but every day on this planet lately feels like bloody Dante's Inferno.
We have fires, floods, pandemics named after cheap beer, global warming, anti-vaxxers bringing measles back, Donald Freaking Trump and a bunch of other people and things actively harming the planet every day.
Frankly, we could do with more than one day a year to remind ourselves to be nice to others.
It doesn't have to be romantic love either. If you don't have a romantic partner, you can just give your brother or sister a call today and tell them they rock (because they probably do, they're related to you).
Social media today is split between people who love love and people for whom this day cannot end soon enough.
That's usually me too. Grumpy McGrumpypants over here, I refuse to overpay for chocolates or go for a nice meal just because society/Hallmark/whoever dictates I should.
But despite what my youthful anger would lead me to believe, hating on Valentine's Day is not really the "death to capitalism" stance I like to think I'm making.
Instead, I'm just missing out on a nice meal and sounding like a right killjoy that no one needs to have around.
Fresh off this epiphany, I'm here to tell you Valentine's Day is fine and hating on things that are fine does not make us cool.
Sure, we've screwed it up (as us humans have a habit of doing with good things). We made it commercial and tacky and corny and you're totally entitled to hate those facets of it.
But, at its core, it's really not high on the list of things to get offended by.
Frankly, is it really that much of a made-up holiday than Mother's and Father's Day or, you know, Easter and Christmas?
All holidays are made up holidays because the calendar itself is one big social construct. It doesn't mean we can't enjoy the hell out of some special days, just for the sake of it. Life would be so dull otherwise.
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Your problem is not really with Valentine's Day. It's with this obsession with giving, with showing affection by spending money, with waste creation, with mindless consumerism. Those concerns are very legitimate but they are not the exclusive domain of Valentine's Day.
There are many ways to celebrate today and they don't all have to involve spending money or adding some more crappy teddy bears or plastic junk to landfills.
You can also choose to not celebrate it at all, in any way. But you can always make a choice to pick up the phone and call a friend or relative and let them know that it's Valentine's and you are thinking of them. It'd probably make their day, and cost you zero dollars.
The bottom line is: The planet is on fire, in some places literally, in most places figuratively. Let people enjoy harmless things.
New Zealand, in particular, has a real "blokey" attitude problem, a sort of "real men don't show feelings" crap that we just can't seem to shake off quick enough. In a country with that kind of issue, any tiny little thing that gets us to feel feelings should be valued, or at least appreciated.
Today is nothing but a yearly reminder to do just that: be a bit nicer to the ones you care about.
What's so bad about that?
* With the obvious exception of corn on the cob, corned beef and corn chips. Different kinda corny, ya know.