Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Valentine's Day : A Celebration of the Ordinary and of Loneliness.
This Valentine's Day is a good one for internal reflection.
I had morning classes and had front seat rows to observe LLB Law students celebrate the event and was unsurprisingly underwhelmed. A few classmates for cookies and flowers but otherwise VD was a sombre affair in law school. This is not particularly different from engineering school, which is the modern functional equivalent of a monastery on campuses Singapore wide. This week, law students are too busy preparing for mid-terms this week and many of my classmates have bigger problems on their minds like getting a training contract and coping with the downturn in the sector.
As for myself, my Valentine's day plans got torpedoed by my daughter who insisted that every romantic meal between mum and dad must be eaten at McDonalds. Me and my wife ended up eating burgers with each other on Valentine's Day. We did not even managed to eat the cheese cake my daughter chose from the neighbourhood confectionary because she fell asleep once she got home.
When you look back in your 40s, you will realise that VD is not so much a celebration of love and soppiness as presented but that of ordinariness and sometimes loneliness for most of us. Most couples date for only a couple of years before they get married and have kids. If you give about 5-8 years of formal VD celebrations, that's less than 15% of a person's lifespan. The bulk of Valentine's Day is actually about living an ordinary life and the rest of it is about loneliness.
For many singles, VD is a day to hide from social media. Without knowing that they are in fact a majority online, it must be quite harrowing to see so much pink on Facebook. If you combine Valentine's Day with the effect of dating advice from gurus, books on relationships, old bulletin board systems like nus.talk.romance where I used to do most of my trolling before I discovered the importance of money, it is all about loneliness and whether it is better to cope with it or fight it aggressively.
Once you are a single who has figured out that Valentine's Day is all about loneliness, then half the battle is won. Mark Manson writes a hugely popular blog and has a great book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.
Amongst the singles and the love-lorn, there is a distinction between even singles who cope with loneliness on a daily basis.
If you look at my LLB classmates, they don't give a flying fuck about Valentine's Day or loneliness for that matter, they give a huge fuck about the bigger goal of building a long term professional career.
We may have to distinguish my classmates from singles who don't give a fuck about loneliness but have yet to find something greater to give a fuck to. That's still easy to achieve. This blog suggests financial independence.
And then there are those who do give a fuck about VD, refuse to admit it, and then decide to take cover from all that soppiness online, but then tell everyone they don't give a fuck about VD. These guys have to accept that Valentine's Day is recurring (like herpes ) and comes every year. As a general principal, loneliness will not leave you alone if you give it any fucks in your daily life.
The folks who reflect upon themselves and decide that thy do give a fuck about loneliness can take this day as a day to start acting as if they give a fuck.
This is a good state to be in because it opens a person up to examine their flaws and how they can make themselves a better person to deal with that loneliness.