Valentine’s day isn’t just for couples anymore!

Valentine’s day isn’t just for couples anymore!

Valentine’s day isn’t just for couples anymore. Especially these days, I feel like it is an opportunity to tell those you care for how important they are to you.

Years (and years) ago I lived in Mexico for a while, and I taught at a secondary or ‘high’ school. I remember arriving to my classroom in the morning, and there were cards and balloons and gifts at every table… I was so confused! I knew my students well, and to my knowledge there was only one couple in the class. As the students came in I noticed friends were huggings and giving gifts to each other, wishing each other a happy Valentines day.

Later I went to college, and I met up with friends, and realised that this holiday was celebrated very differently in Mexico, in my town at least, than anywhere in Ireland. Here in the City of Flowers know as Xalapa (pronounced ‘ha’-lapa) Valentines day was about love.

Not pigeonholed into romantic love as if that were the only important recognisable love out there.

No, here they understood love spans a wide community of people:

Love for your parents and grandparents,

love for your siblings, 

love for your children,

love for your friends,

love for the people in and around your life.

Appreciation for our communities and what binds us all together.

Love is so much more than one thing.

That was how I learned that Valentines day in Mexico is officially known as ‘El Dia del Amor y la Amistad’ (The day of Love and Friendship). It is a day of balloons everywhere, of hugging, kissing, tears, friendship, love and connection.

If there is anything these past few years have taught me is that we need to value the important relationships in our lives, and celebrate them. A phone call to a family member, a text to a friend, a post card to a parent, can bring so much joy and value to a persons day, and will nurture your relationship. Sometimes it feels like there is so much uncertainty and anxiety around, telling someone you love them can only be a good thing.

So this Valentines Day I would encourage you to embrace love - If you are thinking of someone, let them know. Send a friendly text or a funny meme. Put a stamp on a postcard and write just one sentence: Thinking of you. Make a zoom date with your mates. Send an emoji to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Pick up the phone and call your mum or your dad. Tell your kids (again!) you love them. Give your dog a long satisfying tummy rub. The funny thing about love is the more you put out in the world, the more you get back.

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