Feb 142013

Older hugI’ve seen a lot of professions of love, beautiful Valentine’s Day cards and many warm and loving sentiments floating across my Facebook newsfeed this morning. Then I saw an article by my friend Michele Gwynn about what folks really want for Valentine’s Day. You can read that HERE. And then it occurred to me that most of what I was looking at was for younguns. Some of us are no longer young. So that got me to thinking. . . what would older folks want for Valentine’s Day.

Well, if you’re married, I think you want to be remembered. Cards, flowers and candy sometimes get lost in the progression of years and it becomes just another day. Even a peck on the cheek with a heartfelt greeting of “Happy Valentine’s Day” can do it for you. If you get more than that. . . WOOT!

No card, peck on the cheek or otherwise? Make your love’s favorite dinner. You’ve been together a long time. You know what it is. If dinner can’t be changed, make cupcakes or some other quick and easy dessert that’s your love’s favorite. Even a drink can be special. Sprinkle some cinnamon in a cup of hot chocolate. It’s easy to say, “Hey, I appreciate you hangin’ around this long and I’m glad you’re still here.” Sounds like a lot less than a gushy, passionate “I LOVE YOU,” but after you’ve been together for a long, long time, you’ll see what I mean.

I think what I’m trying to say here is that instead of hearts and flowers and pronouncements of romantic love, what you’re trying to say is what an old song by the group Orleans says. . . You’re still the one! Remember that? Click here if you’d like to listen. 🙂   “You’re Still the One” by Orleans

If you’re alone, this may be one of the worst holidays for you. Everyone’s preaching love and togetherness. You probably feel like you just don’t belong. So love yourself. Buy yourself some flowers or candy or a little something you want. Reach out. You’re not the only lonely person out there. Go to a nursing home and visit. Don’t laugh. My grandmom used to volunteer in a nursing home when she was older than most of the residents! You will put smiles on people’s faces but the best part is you’ll put a warm glow in your own heart.

If you’re an older couple on a fixed or tight income, there are a lot of things you can do to show your love that you care without breaking that already meager bank.

Make a Valentine card. Go to the dollar store and get some construction paper. Surely you remember construction paper? Play like you’re a kid again and make a Valentine. It doesn’t have to be perfect or look like it came from Hallmark. That’s the beauty of it. Write your heart on that red paper. Cut up a paper lace doily (yes, they still make them) and trim. Voila! Instant love.

Dinner at a fancy restaurant is nice, but getting a coffee from Starbucks or other coffee shop is nice, too. A burger at McDonald’s will do the trick (if your heart can take it). The point is to eat the meal with the one you love. What you eat is really unimportant. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup at home will work just as well.

Need an inexpensive Valentine gift? Fancy chocolates are great, but you can just as easily go buy some candy hearts (that dollar store again!) and put them in a fancy Valentine box or tie them up in a square of red felt or even paper; adorn with a ribbon. If you know your person has a favorite candy bar, one of those will do just fine, too.  It’s the love that counts, not the price tag.

If you can afford a movie, that’s a nice night out. If not, rent one from one of the red or blue boxes. Our Redbox rents for $1.28. Get some hot chocolate or other beverage of choice and cuddle up on the sofa.

There are lots of things you can do, even if you are an old fart, and, yeah, it’s sill early on Valentine’s Day, so if you’re old and thinking this day is past you or you’re still young and in love but broke, there are many things you can do. Now go show someone you love them!