February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Red chocolate hearts, gushy love tributes and super expensive red roses dance into town. Bonds cottontails are replaced with barely there lace g –strings and L..O..V..E… is on the agenda tonight! Well perhaps…..
What if you live alone? What happens to the heartstrings (never mind g-strings) on this fine day? A Guardian article from 2013 reports that in the UK “Grey Divorce” rates are rising while the trend across all other age groups is that divorce has decreased or flattened out. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017) reports a similar trend among the greying population. Over the past 10 years divorce rates for over 60’s has increased. The average span of a marriage is 27 years. We are marrying later and divorcing later. So there’s a likelihood that if you’re 60 you could be spending Valentine’s Day alone – like many other 60 year olds!
It seems to me there are 3 options. One is that you say it’s all rubbish and a commercial con to make us buy more stuff and treat it as any other day. Upside? No change. Downside? You miss an opportunity to eat chocolate.
Option 2 is that you embrace the day but with a sense of theatre. Play moody love songs, buy yourself a card (displayed prominently) they’re supposed to be anonymous so no one will ever know who your admirer is! Drink wine, eat chocolate, sob, check out Tinder, write note to self “It’s Ok- You are worthy and anyway, tomorrow the roses are half price.”
A 3rd option is to embrace Valentine’s Day as a solo traveler. Go back to the original intent of St Valentine. Professor Wiki tells us that February 14th is the feast of St Valentine. He was, we think, St Valentine of Rome who was martyred in the 3rd century on February 14th because he ministered to Christians who were persecuted there. A Catholic on line video on YouTube tells me he is a saint associated with courtly love and the patron saint of courting couples, happy marriage, young people and wait for it…Epilepsy…quite a broad job description! However www.timeanddate.com also tells me that on 14 Feb. is customary to give gifts and greetings to those we love or admire.”
So this Valentine’s day as a solo traveller at the age of 69 I will help prepare a feast for those I admire and love. Three friends and I are getting together to honour the saint. We are each preparing one course. Roses will be sourced from our gardens. Chocolate will feature on the menu. There’ll be a white tablecloth and crystal glasses. We are dressing for the occasion. Each of us will bring our favourite playlist.
But there are other Valentine’s days when I’m not so organised. On those days a nice glass of wine, delicious meal, spa bath and a rerun of the “It’s Complicated” DVD with Meryl Streep is just fine. At 69 I’ve known the highs and low’s of love and I’m glad for every one of those experiences. I’m surrounded by people who love me and have done so for many, many years. Thanks St Val. This solo thing is just fine.
Post Script: Just picked up the Melbourne AGE newspaper and Terry Durack wrote about Valentine’s Day …” Even a table for one (at a restaurant) means that we are showing ourselves some love, instead of hiding at home for want of a dining partner on this night of nights.Here’s another thought- we might invite someone who needs a bit of love: a friend down in the dumps, a neighbour who never gets a night out….” Nice!