Spreading the Love of Life

This Valentines Day, per usual, I’m not expecting any flowers or chocolates. But I refuse to be a person who grumbles about being single today.

I’m not claiming that I love being a +0 all the time and I’d certainly not turn away a knight in shining armor who came knocking on my door. I’m just saying that despite the message that Valentines sends, I refuse to believe that love is all about couples and candy hearts. We all qualify for love today because – you guessed it – we’re alive.

The world tries to make us believe that if we aren’t getting any love, we don’t have any love to give. I call this rubbish. We sometimes forget how much love we’ve got because we’re too busy comparing our love to what someone else has got.

I read recently that the iphone often autocorrects the word “Love” to the word “Live”.  What a great reminder that actual love is more about the actions of our day to day life rather than just an emotion or sentiment of the moment.

If you’re in love with life and living it out the best you can, there is no promise that you wake up everyday to the smell of roses. It only means you recognize all that you have, despite how you feel, and you want to share that with others. Love is about the giving.

As part of #give10 I recently discovered More Love Letters, a project that exists for the sole purpose of sharing love through life. More Love Letters organizes strangers to send notes of love and encouragement to people who need a lift.  My favorite part about the More Love Letters story is that it wasn’t started by someone who had so much love they were looking for something to do with it. It was started by one girl who wrote 400 love letters to anonymous people as a way to live out her own love to others despite her own loneliness.

I liked this project because it reminded me that I don’t have to be getting lots of love to qualify to give some away.

Maybe you aren’t ready to love a complete stranger today, but love those around you by the way you share your life. Even tomorrow when Valentines is over.

Living out love will last longer than heart shaped chocolates.

love in the chinese new year ::

I’m not Chinese and I’m not in a relationship, but having both valentines day and Chinese new year to celebrate in the same weekend must merit some sort of recognition. Lucky Chinese new year and lucky in love.  I think we can find some points of convergence:

1. It’s the Year of the Tiger

We all know about tigers, they are sleek, unpredictable and ready to pounce. Tigers can be a little scary because they are, well, pretty powerful and dangerous, and they attack from hidden places when you least expect it. But there are great things about tigers to love too- they are fast and determined, they go after their prey, and most of them are orange. I think love can relate to all of these things. You have to forget about the teeth and respect the tiger. If you can’t connect this to valentines romance, then maybe you should stay where you’re at in the slow and steady year of the ox.

2. Confucius Says

There are lots of Chinese provebs about love and lots about tigers.  While a quick google search didn’t turn up any specific about both tigers and love, I think that Confucius and his friends had some applicable nuggets to share:

  • Loveless men cannot bear need long, they cannot bear fortune long.
  • Love is incompatible with fear.
  • Men in the game are blind to what men looking on see clearly.
  • A tiger father has no canine sons.

And my personal valentines favorite:

  • A tiger never returns to his prey he did not finish off

4.  The colour red

This one is just obvious,  both holidays are very red.  Red roses, red hearts and red lanterns.   I haven’t yet seen any heart shaped lanterns, but I’m betting if they do exist, they – along with the rest of the world’s hallmarky valentines kitsch- have been made in China.

3. The Bachelor effect

In China itself, I’m guessing that the red lanterns far outnumber the red chocolate filled hearts.  Firstly because most Chinese prefer fish balls over truffles, and secondly because apparently there are 24 million bachelors in the country.  Thanks to China’s single child law and sex selective abortions, the country is now bursting at its seems with available men. That’s 2 major cities worth of testosterone.  Maybe China should pair with a city like Washington DC where there is one guy for every eight girls.   If only all these Chinese men were tall, and, well, not Chinese.

And so, another valentines passes. I’m not sure if there are Chinese New Year resolutions, but perhaps mine should be to abandon the yoke of the ox and live and love this lunar year with the abandon that a child devours a heart shaped box of chocolates.

Happy New Year. Go get em tiger.

You can’t catch a cub without going into the tiger’s den – Chinese proverb