Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine's Day and the austerity plan

Me with my husband, goofing around at a bar in Chicago

The Harmon austerity plan, implemented in 2008 and still going strong, forced a Valentine's Day boycott.

I can't say it bothered me too much, because it's easy to write off Valentine's Day.  After all, it's sappy.  It's contrived.  It's the retailer's way of forcing money out of your wallet.  It's the restaurateur's opportunity to pull you into his restaurant, feed you a less specatacular meal than you'd get any other time of year, and charge you double for the mediocrity.

But today, I'm here to encourage you not to dismiss this day of love.  In fact, I urge you to splurge on it.  No matter what your economic situation, I'd advocate scrimping, saving, and otherwise making yourself miserable for a couple weeks in order to invest in an evening devoted to celebrating the love you have for the special person in your life.

Why?

Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  Used to downgrading my expectations in life these days, I planned a dinner out at a local restaurant.  It would be nice, I knew.  And I was excited.

My dear husband, however, exceeded all my expectations and whisked me off to Chicago for the weekend.  We wined, we dined, we visited museums, we walked Michigan Avenue, we slept late.  And all this wonderful time, with the love of my life, made me realize that feeling fine with less, which I've been trying to do with grace over the last four years, comes with risks.

My weekend away made me realize I've spent so much energy trying to do with less, to be happy with less, that I've fallen victim to expecting too little from life.  My weekend getaway, which was the first time I'd been away with my husband in 7 years, made me realize that becoming too comfortable with less will cause me to miss some of the most important celebrations in life.  I've got to rev up the ambition!

What are your plans this year?  I hope you have a spectacular, decadent celebration.  You and your mate deserve it.

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