When I was a kid I loved this time of year; the 2nd week of February holds a special place in my heart. After all, Valentine’s Day and my birthday fall just a couple of days apart! So much attention in one week was pretty exciting as a kid. My mother would always make me a heart shaped strawberry layer cake. Seeing that cake on the table in all of it’s pink glory was, and still is my favorite birthday/Valentine memory.
I’m not really sure when that feeling of elation for your birthday and Valentine’s Day starts to change Maybe somewhere in your thirties? Somewhere along the way, these two days lost their excitement as I continue to fight a losing mental battle with accepting age (yes I still hate my 40’s), and most of my Valentine’s Days are spent solo. Sadly the only way I get that strawberry layer cake is if I make it and eat it myself! That’s not to say that I don’t have fun on my birthday – I can normally throw back a few drinks and find some friends and have a good time. However as someone who has been solo much of my adult life, Valentine’s day can be a real bummer.
Past Posts About Finding Love in Unusual Places:
For the last decade I normally just put up my annual Hearts in the World post and ignore Valentine’s Day altogether. If I don’t acknowledge it, then it’s not happening right?
However, last week I found something that excited me about Valentine’s Day. In fact the minute I saw it I had that child-like excitement return to me. I attended a party/fundraising event for Wish of a Lifetime, a Denver based non profit that focuses on changing our culture around our aging population and helps alleviate senior isolation.
The Battle With Isolation
Let me just stop right here – their focus resonated with me. The word “isolation” is big…really big. No one, young or old wants to feel isolated; it’s a horrible place to be. I’ve struggled with it through my 40’s and tried to figure out how to combat it for a while now. Blogging sort of helps. It gives me an outlet to ‘talk’ to people. That’s why I keep blogging, it helps fighting the feeling of isolation. However what’s even scarier to me is that as I get older, the feeling of isolation grows. I look out into the future and I see my life being even more solo in some ways, and to top it off our culture isn’t very kind or respectful to our aging population. So in all honesty – becoming elderly scares the shit out of me.
When I first heard of Wish of a Lifetime I was intrigued, you don’t see many organizations focusing specifically on the elderly. The idea came from the Founder Jeremy Bloom’s international travel when he saw how other cultures treat their elderly. Aging is one of the few truly universal experiences. As I travel the world, I’m often asked why America puts their elderly in homes to live alone and why family members don’t take care of their elderly directly. I often find myself explaining that Americans are just different, but I don’t really have a great explanation for our ‘senior culture’ overall.
America’s oldest citizens are interesting and inspiring people. They are our history, our teachers, and our wisdom keepers. Each of us knows a senior who has impacted our lives for the better. However, many seniors feel isolated, alone and unimportant. As our senior population explodes in the coming years, the problem of social isolation will too. Over 15 million seniors in the United States are isolated and living alone. For many of our elderly – whose spouses have passed away and social circles grow smaller Valentine’s Day can be a particularly difficult and lonely time. Wish of Lifetime is working at changing that.
Cupid Crews Fighting Isolation
#CupidCrew began as a local initiative in Denver, CO (Yay!) and has grown into a nationwide movement. Thousands of volunteers are joining the fight against senior isolation by sharing a rose and a conversation with an elder on Valentine’s Day.
Once I saw this – I knew this year I wasn’t going to ignore Valentine’s Day – I was going to embrace it by joining a #CupidCrew in Denver! This Valentine’s Day we’ll be going out to deliver roses to seniors and have a conversation. Suddenly my Valentine’s Day became meaningful and exciting again.
How You Can Be Involved This Valentine’s Day
2021 CUPID CREW COVID UPDATE: During COVID times obviously we can’t visit nursing homes this year, so instead, Wish of a Lifetime has teamed up with AARP and planned a way to have people create and send Valentine’s Cards to send some love to isolated older adults! It’s a great project to do – check it out!
If this idea moves you as it moved me, then you’re in luck, there are plenty of ways you too can get involved!
There’s a good chance people in your city are already organizing a #CupidCrew you can join! Check out this Cupid Crew Facebook group to connect with others delivering roses in your area. Search for your city or leave a message on the timeline to see if anyone is forming a crew in your city.
Create Your Own Cupid Crew In Your City
Why not do your own Cupid Crew – it’s easy! Deliver roses to older adult neighbors, family members, friends, or seniors at a local community. If you are having trouble identifying seniors in your life, feel free to search for senior living communities online and call a few! Once you call the senior living community, ask for the program coordinator and ask him/her if she/he would be comfortable with you delivering roses on Valentine’s Day. Most communities are thrilled to get roses, but if you have trouble with your outreach, do not fret, feel free to reach out to Wish of a Lifetime, they will help connect you with facilities that are within their network!
Maybe you are a coach for a team, are a part of a Girl Scout Club, Hiking Club, travel group, sorority, intramural sports, or simply have friends you want to gather up and do something meaningful this Valentine’s Day. These are all great ways to start forming a Cupid Crew!
You will have to supply your own roses – however Wish of a Lifetime gives you some great ideas on how to get them donated or discounted. Plus, Wish of a Lifetime will reimburse some purchases for each crew – but it is on a first come, first serve basis. You can learn more about reimbursement and ideas on how to get roses donated in the guide I reference below.
Cupid Crew How To Guide
I might not get my favorite strawberry cake this birthday or Valentine’s Day, but this year I feel like being a part of a #CupidCrew is just as sweet.
Learn all about Wish of a Lifetime
Wish of a Lifetime Website
Mission: Shift the way society views and values our oldest generations by fulfilling seniors’ dreams and sharing their stories to inspire those of all ages.
I loved this video that puts it all in perspective. America’s oldest citizens are interesting and inspiring people – watch for yourself.