by Sana Hayes

That same old love holiday is just around the corner, and whether you are waiting with puckered lips or dread the mere thought of it, Feb. 14 is almost here.

I fondly recall the anticipation of decorating the shoebox or manila envelope that would become the official mailbox for receiving Valentine cards. It was the one day all school year when your own little four-square feet of desk took on the importance of a governmental agency.

You created and embellished your very own receptacle soon to be bulging with hand-signed cards exclusively for you. I’m sure most of the boys, if they remembered to sign the cards at all, simply put the requisite “to” and “from.” But for some of us more fastidious types, much of the work and fun of preparing Valentines was carefully choosing which little verse or picture matched up best with each classmate’s personality.

A kitten for a close friend who loves cats, a pirate for that wild boy who never sits down, and a dove for my friend with the parakeet. Much love and thought was put into who gets which.

I feel fortunate to have been born the type of soul who puts much thought and love into everything. Even now, five decades later, I still carefully choose which postage stamp design to put on every envelope I mail, even the ones paying bills. I know I am part of a dwindling generation of people who even still buy and send paper commentary. Many of us have been swept up in the tsunami-like tide of instantaneousness.

Frankly, little thought, time or love go into much anymore. Technology has us moving so fast, we feel fortunate if we only occasionally text the wrong person with a response to someone else’s inquiry. For devices that are supposed to save us time, I find we sure don’t seem to have an abundance of the stuff.

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions. The contrived pressure to change always seems destined to fail — a futile setup from the get go.

What has worked is getting still and quiet long enough to take a realistic look at what is and isn’t working in one’s life. My concession this Jan. 1 revealed the need for more balance in my life. It’s only when the teeter-totter slows down that one is really able to see what dramatic or miniscule changes must be made to find that elusive balance point.

Whether you are taking an extra moment to bring love to a person or creature in your world, surprising a stranger, or are finally being better at some self love, I encourage you to find your inner cupid and, if only for this one day of the year — Feb. 14 — create more love and thoughtfulness than your heart can hold, and share the overflow with everyone you can.

And, yes, if you are in that aisle of the store and see those boxes of Valentines destined for an elementary classroom, go ahead and buy yourself a box and hand out as many as you can, just do it with lots of love and at least a little thoughtfulness.

— Sana Hayes is a free spirit, as comfortable in a tiara as she is in pajamas. She writes to better encounter the radiant self in each of us. Contact her at cowgirlsana@gmail.com .