I hope others will join in with me and post their own memories on their blogs (or in the comments). I will be posting mine every Friday, but it doesn’t matter when you write yours or if you wish to do them fortnightly or monthly – your writing should fit with your schedule. If you do join I ask that you link to my blog with this link: http://emptythoughtsrewritten.blogspot.co.uk (until I’ve worked out how to create a button for you to display) and that you will link your POST (not just your blog link please) in the comments each week (until I’ve worked out how to make a linky thing for you to add your links to – I’m really not very tech-savvy!).
Sorry for posting this so late (it is 10 pm here after all), but Valentine's Day sort of crept up on me this year - I was aware of it, I just didn't make the connection in my mind until I was just inundated with Valentine videos on my YouTube stream. I'm sure you don't care about that, so I'm just going to tell you about my favourite Valentine memory.
I was in Sixth Form (wow, that was at least 8 years ago) and dating a boy called James. In our group of friends, there was only one other couple, so we made the choice to go on a double date. It could have been a disaster, but it turned into one of my best memories of all time.
We chose Great Yarmouth as our destination (I still have no idea why we thought that was remotely romantic) which meant getting on a train. I remember being quite excited by this fact alone, as it was the first time I went on a train without my parents; it certainly added to the 'grown-upness' of the whole day and I know that it felt like I was finally an adult (who had responsibilities as well as freedom).
The first thing I actually remember is when we met up at the train station. When asked, I specifically told James that I didn't want anything expensive or any soft toys. He turned up with the Valentine bear from Build-a-Bear (definitely expensive, and definitely a stuffed toy); I was really pissed at him, after all, I now had to carry around this great big cardboard box all day. Yet I decided to let it go (I think that was a first for me) as I wanted to enjoy the day.
To be honest I don't remember much else. I know it was a Sunday so almost everywhere was closed, there were very few people around, and the weather was grey and wet. We went into an arcade where they had ten-pin bowling - the really old kind with strings on the pins and every bounce of the ball made you think the floor was going to give way (it was on the second floor). Before that day I didn't even realise there was bowling without screens and automated systems. We had pot noodles from a machine for lunch, as we couldn't find chips anywhere. Then of course had to have ice cream as we walked along the beach in the rain. These are the few specifics I can pinpoint in my mind.
What I really remember about the day was how happy I was. I was spending the day with my boyfriend and two of my best friends (admittedly, I didn't know the guy that much back then, but not the point). We never ran out of conversation and there was a lot of laughter and the kind of gaiety that has you running in circles on the sand with your arms widespread. I know there are many times since then that I've felt just as happy (or even happier), but that Valentine's Day was the first time in my 'adult' life when I fully embraced that joy and knew that if I had that feeling every now and then, life wouldn't be too bad. Since then I've been lucky enough to have that feeling often and always do my best to embrace it.
I have a feeling that in ten or twenty years time, I will still remember that Valentine's Day. Even if I forget what actually happened, I am sure I will always remember where my ability to embrace life's joys started.
Happy Valentine's Day.