Today is Valentine's Day and the shops are full of red hearts and red roses; out-sized greetings cards with red hearts and red roses; boxes of chocolates in the shape of hearts and roses; teddy bears holding red hearts and red roses, bottles of champagne decorated with red hearts and red roses and, who knows – even toilet cleaner decorated with – yes, b****y red hearts and red roses...
Commercialized? Oh, what makes you think that?
It's also my mother's birthday. For obvious reasons, we've never ordered flowers to be delivered on her birthday.
For many of us, Valentine's Day is just a slap in the face. Even for those of us in happy romantic relationships, love is something we express every day, not just on 14th February. My husband and I give each other a card – if we remember, and we usually don't – but that's all.
And – it seems to me, looking at my Facebook feed, that those of us with happy relationships are in the minority. In real life, my close women friends are married: my close male friends are single (and not interested in a conventional marriage). In the virtual world, there are more singletons than not. Some of them are happy singletons; some of them would rather not be single.
Maybe that's a biased sample. After all – most people in a relationship do not spend all their spare time at the keyboard – unless they are writers looking for any excuse not to write... (Guilty as charged, m'lud.)
But all of us have love. Somewhere.
Last night, a single man of my (virtual) acquaintance complained in our group of his single status. He would love to be married and to have children. At fifty he has given up on the idea of children and is despairing of love.
His post garnered more than 500 comments. Some were part of threads which became gloriously silly, but there was a lot of good advice. "Tough love," as another friend described it. "Stop complaining, get up off your bottom, go out and meet those women," seemed to be the gist.
My point is, not that he is unhappily single, but that he is actually surrounded by love. Just not romantic love (although some comments were along the lines of "If I were free, I'd date you!")
There are few of us who live lives of such isolation that we have no love.
Maybe that love is from children, other family members or friends (whether virtual or in the "real world").
But we all have love. Somewhere.
If we look, we'll find it. And maybe we should tell that person, those people, thank you.
We don't have to give them red roses or a box of chocolates in the shape of a heart.
A thank you and a smile will do.
A Moodscope member.
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