14 February 2012
From Wikipedia ~ Valentine's Day is a holiday observed on February 14 .... It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD .... It is celebrated in countries around the world, mostly in the West. The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, confectionery, and sending greeting cards."
I've found that as holidays go, Valentine's Day can be as major or minor as one makes it. The import of the day also depends, of course, on whether one is in a loving relationship. Mixed feelings arise when one is in a less-than-loving relationship, or in no relationship at all (my current status). No matter ~ I'm an unreconstructed romantic, and even though I deeply wish for the comfort, affection and trust that come with being partnered, I'm not so cynical that I can't enjoy the enjoyment of others. Wistfully.
When one's relationship has just ended, especially when the other person was the terminator, vicarious enjoyment is much more difficult. We sum up the feelings of grief, shock, betrayal, and loss with the phrase "broken heart" ~ and it truly feels as though something is physically broken and bleeding inside. It turns out that this is not so far from literal truth. A PBS Newshour segment is devoted to the reality of Broken Heart Syndrome. The trauma of a significant emotional shock may cause shortness of breath, EKG abnormalities, chest pain, or elevated levels of stress hormones. Heart cells may become temporarily dysfunctional. and coronary arterial blood flow may become slower. In 2% of cases, the results may be fatal (think about deeply-attached lifelong partners ~ when one dies, the other may no linger for long).
Having a support network of trusted friends helps immensely. Plus, the older you get and the more experience you accumulate with emotional loss, the more you realize that yes, the pain is real, but it will not last forever. Time heals that broken heart if you give it a chance, and you can use the opportunity of a solo life to pursue your own goals and dreams.
Here's a fun experiment for you ~ on your computer, bring up a search engine like Google, and in the search space type (or copy and paste) the following ~ (sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300*x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2)
You'll discover a nice Valentine surprise. Who says mathematicians aren't romantic?
If you really want to impress your amour, what better way than to Say 'I Love You' In 100 Languages? Check out the video, and see how many languages you can identify.
Below is an example of another Valentine surprise ~ an apparent form titled Declaration of Romantic Intent. You just have to say "aaaawwww". Happy Valentine's Day.