…in neither the British nor the US English connotation of the word. (17:30)
It very well could have stayed that way, yet a friend knuckled me into getting Gamjatang with her at 20:00. By knuckled, I mean, she politely invited me, and I acquiesced.
Regardless, I had a lot of time to think today about the idea of Valentine’s Day. What it means to me; what it means to my friends; what it means to society.
It seems to me (according to my brief and unfocused analysis of Facebook), that there are two types of people. Those who are so incredibly ecstatically in love that they want to share it with everyone. And, there are those who are in a different camp of apathy or cynicism. And, to be honest, both are a-okay. As a closeted (not-so-closeted) romantic, I love it when my friends share their happiness. We encounter enough negativity in the world that wee rays of love are a refreshing reminder of the things that are good in the world. I also can understand the need for friends showing independence of “I don’t need a partner; I got my own life.” These posts highlight the necessity of knowing your own person. Both are okay, and because you are in one mindset, it doesn’t make it the better place; it just makes it yours. There are two things I would like to address this Valentine’s Day. The first being the idea of radical self love. The second is spending quality time with those about whom you care.
So, radical self love, what does that even mean? It means loving yourself in spite of all of your flaws. This is something with which I personally struggle. All.the.time. “Well, Botsford, if you aren’t self-aware enough to have your life together, who do you think you are giving me advice?” Wow, what an excellent question from the back row. Life is a learning curve. Sometimes, it is steep. Sometimes, it is meandering. But, we are always learning about ourselves. The moment you stop working towards being a better person, you’ve lost.
It is imperative to love yourself, which is sometimes difficult to do when you’re mouth breathing through a retainer, wearing pirate socks and mismatched pajamas (totally hypothetical; my pajamas always match). But, it is so important to know things about yourself that make you genuinely, intrinsically happy. If you are constantly searching for external affirmation (Katie Botsford), you will find it uncomfortable to create internal happiness and a sense of independence. Now, you can sometimes achieve that with a partner if he or she (or they or ir) chooses to work through it with you. However, that is a lot of pressure to put on another human, so make sure you communicate your needs to your partner. You will continue to learn and grow whilst in the midst of relationship (see above: life=learning curve). I promise.
Sometimes, looking in the mirror and appreciating what you see (physically, emotionally, mentally) is hard. Sometimes, it is easy. But, it is always necessary.
The other thing I would like to stress this Valentine’s Day is the gift of your presence. It doesn’t matter if you are with your significant other, not-so-significant other, family, friends, or even by yourself. Exist within the moment. Put your phones and iPods away. Turn off the television. Spend quality time with the person/people in the room. Have a meaningful conversation. We are so wrapped up in the immediacy of this technological age; everything has to happen NOW. I need the updates NOW. I want to know what ________ is doing NOW. Chill out, bro. The internet will still be there in a few hours.
Tonight, I had dinner with several people who are incredibly important to me. Afterwards, the four of us split up and two of us went home to have tea. For the first time in quite a while, I had a real conversation. Neither of us rushed to get the latest Facebook update or text our other friends (we DID send an important photo to one of our mutual friends). If you find yourself alone this evening, spend time exploring yourself or dreaming of a future adventure. Take time to be present with yourself.
Whatever you are doing tonight, be an active participant. Choose to make this a positive Valentine’s Day. If you are ecstatically happy within your relationship, run amok with fireflies in your wake. If you’re in the deepest, darkest forest of fear or anxiety, just try to find one firefly; cup it in your hand, and allow it to light a path.
Wherever you are in your life, have peace, friend. Goodnight.