Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Extra

In all probability, I’ve lived somewhere between half and a third of my life. In that time I’ve learned a great many things, though a tiny percentage of that which is worth knowing. Some is knowledge gained through both careful study and casual coincidence. But more valuable than all the knowledge I possess is the small amount of wisdom. And the only way I’ve gained that is through persistent failure.

I have written a long history of failure in many pursuits. Some of them have been bested, others still offer torment. In examining the trappings of a good Valentine’s day, I think I’ve discovered the key to the pursuits of looking good. It all has to do with dedication and a bit of extra effort. I know that sounds a little simplistic so let me explain. If you want to look good to your boss or client, take on a little extra responsibility and see it through with dedication. If you want to lose weight or gain muscle, be consistently dedicated to your plan and always put a little extra on top, an extra 5 minutes or 3 reps. If you want to excel in sport, parenting, business, music, gardening, whatever. Work at it with consistent dedication and put forth a little more than is required.

The same applies to Valentine’s day. Your goal is to make someone happy, let them know that you love them and enhance their affection for you by looking like a great romantic companion. What’s been puzzling me for my whole life and leading to my romantic failures is searching for a specific recipe or magic gesture to reach that goal. It seems that such a pursuit is counterproductive. It demonstrates, much like the unlucky in weight loss, career advancement, or contest loser, enough effort to get it over with.

“I went to the gym every other day for a month, and lost nothing.”, “I’m always on time, but keep getting passed over.”, “The coach never puts me in the game.” Sound familiar? What your body, your boss or your coach wants is dedication and extra effort. And that’s what your partner wants. They want to see and feel like you care enough about them and your relationship that you fully dedicated yourself and went a little bit above and beyond. Sometimes this means roses, but that doesn’t take much dedication and depending on your financial situation, not much extra. Most of the time it means spending time thinking about it, going to sizeable lengths to make it happen, and offering it as a completely unselfish gesture. This generally means that it wasn’t done at the last minute and it ultimately shows that you understand, pay attention to and care deeply about him or her.

Parenthetical adjectives are key in these examples.

(Custom) jewelry

A song composed or learned (for the occasion)

(Personally delivered) flowers at work

A special (home cooked) meal

That’s not to say that you can’t get the job done with a night on the town, a store bought card or a small gift. It all depends on where the bar is set and the disposition of your significant other. I’m hoping that my attempt at Valentine’s Day measures up this year. Here’s a hint. It’s not a Pajamagram. But if it proves to be another failure, hopefully it will at least lead to greater romantic wisdom.

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