Valentine’s Day

Reinventing Valentine’s Day When You’re Over 60

I fondly remember those incredibly sweet, but cheap, paper Valentine’s Day cards from grade school.  I think our parents bought a box of these for less than $1.00 or $2.00 and we used 5 or 10 to send “valentine requests” to classmates.  The card was heart-shaped and said on one side “will you be my valentine?” and on the other side there was room for the person’s name you wanted to be your valentine and your own name. Simple, easy and an interesting day in grade school wondering why Susan or Mary Anne didn’t send you a card but Alice and Henry did.  That is my entire memory of Valentine’s Day before adulthood.

In my 20s and 30s, there was some sense of wishing for a lovely gift from my guy of the time.  But it never was a big thing to me.  It seemed contrived.  And it also seemed, back in the day when money was SO tight, a bit of a waste of money.

Bill (my husband of 19 years) and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day and definitely skip going out to dinner.  But for a long time I have used Valentine’s Day as an excuse to send cards to my “girls” AKA grandnieces, granddaughters, and Goddaughter.  But that has slipped away too. 

This year so far has had its challenges – not just for me, but for a number of my friends and family members.  And it is the response I have gotten and given to my friends and family that has me seriously considering a “reinvention” of Valentines’ Day for FabulousOver60 women.  Why not use Valentine’s Day and it’s cards, notes and messages – and maybe even flowers or candy – to not ask anyone to be your valentine, but to thank them for being a real valentine to you in one or another way during the last year?

There’s Karen who stood by you after surgery, or Barbara who drove you around when you couldn’t drive yourself, or Kathy who listened while you cried over the death of a close friend or partner.  Of course George was there when your dog got sick and Linda and John who were very willing to take care of your house when you needed to visit your daughter.  And so it goes.  Maybe one of these people – or all of them not only deserve, but would love to get a valentine for being fabulous to you in your time of need.

The note on an inexpensive card like the ones of our youth can be short and simple.

“Linda – thanks for being there for me when Courtney was ill.  You are truly my valentine! Love, Patty”

If you are newly in love, or think you are, I say go for it and send Jan or Jim a card that asks to be h/h valentine!  Why not?  Of course given today’s totally inconsistent responses to any messaging it might be taken with offense, or treasured as the first piece of real (snail) mail that has been sent to this person since 2005.  Good luck with your experimentation.  Try not to be hurt or insulted if it goes awry.

Since this suggestion is a little late for this year, maybe a call might suffice – at any time during the month of February.  We are reinventing the holiday, so precision on the date no longer matters.

We are heart-touched all year long, and we touch others as well.  This is the essence of being Fabulous. We care, and in return many of us are cared for.  I would guess the only problem in this effort to reinvent Valentine’s Day is that you can’t think of anyone who really helped in any of your times of need.  In which case, you have bigger issues than Valentine’s Day.  Time to read all of the blog posts we have written since late 2012 when we started FabulousOver60.  There are tons of suggestions on how to be Fabulous that you most definitely need to consider. 

Oh and happy Valentine’s Day – most of you didn’t do anything BIG for Cathy or I, but you read our blog posts – and that is something that has truly touched our hearts.  Maybe just reading our blogs helped you have a softer heart and more tender touch with yourself and others.  That’s a real Valentine’s Day gift for any FabulousOver60 woman.

Patty

I’m a Sucker for Valentine’s Day

OK. I admit it. I like to receive Valentine’s Day cards, roses and candy just as much in my 60’s as I did in my teens, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

This February 14th, I woke up to find four cards around the house and a box of candy with red silk ribbon on the breakfast table. The cards were pretty … and all of them had sweet, loving, romantic hand-written notes in them. Ahhhhh, right?

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I gave Ray two cards, too. One was romantic … and one was risqué (he said he wished he had seen that one to buy for me. Interestingly, in past years, we have given each other the same card several times.)

Here’s what the Huffington Post reported about Valentine’s Day:

The National Retail Federation polled 6,417 consumers in early January 2014 to ask about their Valentine’s Day plans. It turns out, 54 percent of Americans will celebrate with loved ones this year and the average amount they will spend on candy, cards, dinner and gifts is $133.91. That number is slightly higher than last year’s average of $130.97.

However, men plan to spend twice as much as women on gifts alone — $108.38 compared to $49.41, respectively.

In total, the survey estimates that Americans will spend close to $17.3 billion celebrating love.

So, I know that Valentine’s Day means a lot of money for Hallmark, candy companies, restaurants and florists. I know that many people – of all ages – say that setting aside a day to be romantic is silly – that we should express our love for our partners every day. I know that a lot of us stay away from restaurants on “amateur night”. I know that candy is fattening. I know that florists inflate the cost of red roses.

I know all of these things but I still look forward to the cards, the notes, the flowers and the kisses that come along with celebration of the day.

There was only one time in our 25 years together than I can remember not giving or receiving cards. We were in the early years of starting our new business and had just returned from separate business trips. We came back to a very busy day in the office. At 7:00pm, we left and decided to grab a bite to eat before going home.

We walked into one of our favorite restaurants on a Wednesday night, February 14, and were shocked at hordes of people everywhere. We couldn’t get a table … not even a seat at the bar. “What’s going on?” we wanted to know.

Valentine’s Day! How did that sneak up on us? We looked at each other and laughed. No cards, flowers or candy that year, but we did have a nice quiet evening at home with take-out food which was just what we needed anyway.

Other than that, we’ve always “celebrated” … always with cards… sometimes candy… sometimes flowers… and sometimes dinner out.

Romance is nice at any age, don’t you think?

Cathy Green

p.s. Here’s one more stat from the National Retail Federation: $815 million is estimated to be spent in 2014 on Valentine’s Day goodies for pets. Did Ray and I get Valentine’s Day gifts this year for Lexie (our Labradoodle) and Blue (our Maine Coon cat)? Of course we did!

 

Via HumaneSocietyHBG.org

Via HumaneSocietyHBG.org

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