Valentine's Day is coming...

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here

Courtly love... the romance of knights and princesses.

Courtly love... the romance of knights and princesses.

Various legends, good PR and time, has suggested that the first Valentine's Day card was written by Valentine himself. He wrote it to the daughter of his jailer, who was no longer blind due to Valentine's divine intervention and signed it, "Your Valentine." The next day they executed him. It seems back in the day there were a number of martyrs named Valentine, and through their trails and tribulations, February 14th became a special day. 

Romantic and courtly love started to take hold and by the 18th century February 14th had evolved into a day for the sharing of flowers, candies and hand written cards (called valentines) with those you loved. With the advent of the industrial revolution and the mass production of greeting cards, modern Valentine's Day was born. 

Fast forward to the 21st century and Valentine's Day has now evolved into a commercialized venture with roses at $15 a piece and overly priced restaurant meals; with this, year after year, a counter revolution to this sacred day has been growing (in light of those thrown to the lions). While part of this is the result of higher than usual pricing, there is also those who do not have a "love" at the moment or "are not a couple" and this day comes across as a condescending slap in the face. We have all known heartbreak, a love lost or a love never realized and it can be painful... quite a lot actually. We just don't need the Valentine's Day industrial complex reminding us.

So it is an interesting situation we have here, as love and the recognition of love is a very noble endeavour but it has evolved in such a way that we want to "stab it" in the proverbial heart with cupid's arrow. What are we to do? As with all problems, it requires a different perspective to help us understand the situation; and this is where wise mentors or just down right smart people come into play (this is my subtle business commentary in an obviously social, lighthearted, blog)*. In the case of this Valentine's Day situation, I turned to the master Louis Armstrong or as we like to call him, 'Satchmo". For those of you who are not familiar with Louis Armstrong, he was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and arguably the most influential figure in jazz music. It was Satchmo who introduced me to the song "What a Wonderful World" and a new perspective on Valentine's Day; the song is a bit of an anthem for me and it goes like this:

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed the day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
But they're really saying is I love you.

I hear baby's crying and I watched them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
Yes, I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I look at Valentine's Day not in the limiting context of a couple staring into each other's eyes**, but more as to how Louis Armstrong sang of this wonderful world. It is the line, "I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do, but what they're really saying is I love you", that gives me a new perspective of what Valentine's Day should mean (and does mean). So go shake someone's hand or give them a big hug, as frankly, it's more meaningful than a $15 rose. I think it's how many of those Valentines would have wanted it.

So here's to this wonderful world, particularly on Valentine's Day.


*Do you have your "go to list" of experts and wise council that you can refer to? You should.

**Couples staring into each other's eyes, is one of the top ten things a couple can do together, maybe even the top three.