Valentine’s Day: A Hallmark Moment for Us All

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, stores are replete with pink and red, using up all the shelf space to advertise the joys of togetherness. Hooray for us! Hearts and flowers everywhere! There’s no middle ground in this holiday: we either have a valentine…or we do not. Nobody seems to celebrate being single; personally, I think the folks at Hallmark are missing out on a major marketing opportunity—instead of it being a source of pathos or shame to be on one’s own, why not hold it out as a mark of the triumph of the individual? Where are those “Footloose and Fabulous” cards? “Free From That Psycho” bouquets? I’m serious! You could make a lot of money with these ideas…


Awhile back, I caught a bit of Titanic on the tube. Prior to all the sliding deck chairs and strains of violin music, romance blossoms between Steerage Jack and First Class Rose. Near the end, he grabs Rose’s hand and says, “I can’t turn away without knowing you’ll be ok. You jump, I jump. Remember?” Given the context, it’s actually a nice moment and made me wonder whose hand I’d grab.


Who is this person for you? Are they alive or dead? When was the last time you saw them? Do they know how much you cherish them?


People enter and exit our lives all the time. We wind up being friendly with people who surprise us, people we didn’t think we had much in common with, but there they are—being our friends. One of the things I appreciate most about significant adult friendships is that they can be resumed or maintained over the course of years and miles; we no longer require that daily infusion of a person’s presence to bask in the glow of their good energy. The speed and power of thought is how we connect; their energy and ours just, somehow, sort of, mesh. Interesting, isn’t it?


Where I think some of us get lost is in the idea that after a certain point in our lives, meaningful friendships are impossible to find. Folks tell themselves they’re too busy to get to know anyone else or they demur making an effort, claiming it’s all just superficial. More often than not, they use their relationship or career as reasons for not seeking out new friends—let alone renewing those that have drifted away—and then they wonder why, in the midst of this busy life they feel so lonely. I never fail to be amazed by this attitude. The way I see it, the world is filled with potential new friends! Fabulous, amazing people whose journeys will instruct me and whose company will make me blossom. Riches abound!


When was the last time you met a person who caught your interest? Did you do anything about it? Have you talked to them about something that’s real?


As I’ve gone about the business of leaving Santa Barbara and re-booting in DC, I’ve had to invent ways to meet people and initiate the arduous and tentative process of forging new friendships. I’ve tried to make myself relevant and interesting to folks whose life circumstances are different from my own—people whose lives are settled and aren’t on an active quest to forge a new network—people who could just pass me right by. They’re caught up in their own domestic dramas, insecurities, and regrets. Some of my attempts work and some of them don’t. But, in order to have a fighting chance, I have to make the effort; I have to reach out. When was the last time you extended yourself to another? How easy or hard was it?


If we think back to Jack and Rose on the Titanic, there they are, jumping together. Good for them. But re-booters know that everyone, whether “with” someone else or not, can’t go anywhere without summoning that individual courage to jump. Nobody can do that for us. We have to jump on our own. So, this February 14th, spend a moment being your own best valentine before joining in on all the regular hubbub.







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2 Responses to “Valentine’s Day: A Hallmark Moment for Us All”

  1. Julie Says:

    I love this post!

  2. dignitarysretreat Says:

    Thanks, Julie. All that jumping is bound to get us somewhere, right?

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