Saint Valentine’s Day was originally a Christian feast day; it did not become a celebration of love until the eighteenth century. It’s always been on February 14th, though, and I suspect the romanticization of the day was an attempt to take people’s minds off the cold, dark days of late winter. Love warms the cockles of the heart, after all. And candy and chocolate clogs them, but who cares on Valentines Day?
While being in love may be the focus of February 14th, love is not the only path to happiness. I’m a firm believer in finding joy in the small minutia of every day life. If you pin all of your happiness on big things: a wedding day, a graduation, a vacation, or a commercialized holiday like Valentines Day, then you’re missing all the moments in between.
Those small moments of happiness can be anything. For me, they are:
1. Hearing my teenagers laugh out loud.
2. When I put money in the vending machine, and the snack spirals to the edge and stops. I bang uselessly on the glass, and to my astonishment the snack falls down. And another one does too.
3. The first sip of coffee in the morning, or the first bite of chocolate anytime.
4. Buying an item on sale, and discovering at the register that it’s even more on sale than I thought it was.
5. Puppy snuggles.
6. Finishing a workout early in the day, after forcing myself to get my butt to the gym.
7. I wonder what the heck I am going to make for dinner, but then I remember that I already have a meal planned, and all the ingredients are in the fridge. THAT feeling.
8. The moment the house lights dim in the theater, right before the musical begins.
9. Kissing my sleeping child on the forehead, whether he or she is an infant, a teenager, or a young adult.
10. Listening to a song for the millionth time, and finally figuring out what that one elusive lyric is. Yes, I realize I could Google it, but it’s more satisfying to figure it out on my own.
And while it’s not a little thing, I think staying in love is even better than falling in love. Falling in love is amazing, and sometimes it’s the stuff of fairytales. But there is no magical happily ever after; staying in love requires commitment, hard work, and a healthy sense of humor. Chocolate on Valentines Day doesn’t hurt, either.