It’s love’s illusions I recall

Valentine’s Day seems to create more heartache and misery than romance and bliss.

When was the last time you heard anyone, no matter what their current situation, say “Boy, I’m really looking forward to Valentine’s Day this year!” People in relationships hate the holiday because they’re full of unrealistic expectations to make this day special. Single people hate it because it’s a constant reminder that they’re single.

But it’s not the holiday’s fault, really. We burden ourselves with our ideas that love is supposed to be euphorically amazing, particularly when it happens to us. Visions of floating cupids and swooning violin music accompany our thoughts and feelings about it, and we are invariably disappointed when they don’t come. This attitude towards love has probably ended more relationships than infidelity. Anything less than total perfection cannot be tolerated.

Who can we blame for creating this expectation? Nearly everyone in our society grew up watching Disney movies and listening to cheesy pop songs. Could it be that we are a culture addicted to happy endings and deep in denial of the fact that reality tends to work out slightly less ideally than storybooks?

But pop culture can’t be held entirely responsible. After all, it is not the messages we receive but the outlook we choose to have that determines our happiness.

So this is my challenge to anyone reading: ENJOY Valentine’s Day this year. If you’re in a relationship, enjoy being with that person.

If you’re single, enjoy being single. Know that whatever position you’re in, somebody somewhere envies you. Maintain your perceptions of love as the ultimate happiness (because it IS singularly fantastic), but know that it’s also a lot of work, a lot of mundane banality, and generally a pain in the ass.

And don’t expect it to cure all your problems, because it won’t. No one wants to be content in a society where the constant demand is for more more more, but it is the only sane approach to take.

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