Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day! This is another “funny how things get lost in translation” instances, because in Spanish, the holiday goes by the name of Love & Friendship day. Love isn’t always easy, but friendship seems to be something we tend to grasp better, because we hope our friends will be there even when our romantic relationships don’t pan out the way we’d planned. Maybe if as a society we could shift focus from fixating on the purely romantic aspects of Valentine’s Day, and embrace a broader definition of love, we’d all feel a little more loved when it rolls around. Hallmark could probably manage to sell a ton of cards for friends, too, so it’s a win-win, capitalism.
Seriously, though, I am surprised that Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated en masse given its roots in martyrdom. History’s a fun subject, given that as much as things tend to change, so much remains the same. We’re all looking for love, in some shape or form. It’s our loved ones who are supposed to give our life meaning, after all. We’re not robots, mechanically pushing through attempts at a productive existence without some underlying hope that it’ll mean something to someone, some day.
From where I’m writing, I can see a flow of traffic; in each of those cars are people trying to make it from their point A to their point B, and if pressed they would likely say it’s because of, what exactly? Home to work, work to home, picking up kids, dropping them off, heading to or from campus, the destinations don’t really matter. If properly pressed to expound upon their reasons for being on the road, the common theme of it somehow fitting into their own broader goals would likely emerge.
This whole week, I’ve been stopped and asked by strangers to give them directions to their destinations. In my current law school bubble, I internally bemoaned their intrusion on my busy schedule. But maybe it was the universe’s way to shake me out of my law school daze and remind me that relationships matter, even those with random strangers. I could have been a jerk and told them I don’t know, but I’m trying to remain human so I didn’t. I don’t know if my directions helped, but I feel like at least I made the effort.
And maybe that’s really the whole point of this holiday, however you may feel about it: it’s a not-so-subtle reminder to put in some effort into showing appreciation for those folks in our lives we think matter. If we can take the time to be kind to strangers, we should be able to make it for our friends and loved ones, despite the insanity that our life schedules occasionally impose upon us. Or take the time to be kind to ourselves, even when we’re feeling lonely.