My Valentine’s Day wish

Yes, I know that Valentine’s Day was yesterday. That’s why I was so struck this morning by the man at the post office who was lingering near the V-Day display: As he picked up and read the greeting cards, he looked as forlorn and unwanted as the leftover, heart-covered merchandise. And it made me profoundly sad.

Why? Because romantic love — exciting though it may be — is an illusion. It fills our stomachs with butterflies, floods our brains with dopamine and oxytocin, and then it’s gone. Maybe that’s precisely why we’re so obsessed with its celebration.

But by chasing this ideal of romantic love, we may in fact miss out on real love: love that comes disguised as kindness, friendship, forgiveness and — if we are truly lucky — unconditional acceptance.

So, here’s my Day-After-Valentine’s-Day wish for the man in the post office … and for you: May a stranger be kind to you today. May a loved one forgive you. May a friend’s words warm your heart. And may you know that you are loved — for no other reason than because you are you.

Valentine Day 2014 Carl Sagan BLOG


  1. Wonderful post! I always think that kindness, acceptance, friendship and good will are the highest human virtues. And I hope your good wishes for the stranger in the post office come true.

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