A lot of us are feeling the winter doldrums in full force right now.
Part of it is the cold weather and lack of sun.
Part of it, since I’m updating this post for 2017, is post-election anxiety.
And another part, for me anyway, a girl who made her debut into this crazy world during the stark of a Minnesota winter, is the realization I’m a year older again. If I stand on my tippy toes, I can peer into the other side of the half-century mark.
For the past few years, between my late January birthday and Valentine’s Day, my moods swing back and forth as though I’m in the front seat of Steel Venom, that U-shaped inverted roller coaster at Valleyfair my kids coaxed me into riding on a couple years ago.
All I can say when I feel this way is . . . thank goodness for conversation hearts.
You know. Those small sweetheart sugar candies that bring back memories of school Valentine parties and childhood crushes with their quirky messages that make us swoon and release a wellspring of happy neurochemicals in our body.
Around this time, I typically grab at least a ten-pack of those little boxes for my kids and a big bag for myself that I hide in my secret sweet spot in the pantry.
After leaving the store, I climb into my car, lock the doors, rip open the bag, and dig through it for a message that speaks to me, depending on my emotional state or needs in that moment, such as “Chill Out,” “Be Happy,” or “URA Tiger.”
Then, I lean back against my seat, close my eyes, and allow the little chalky, corn syrupy affirmation to dissolve on my tongue and spill into my brain bringing back feelings of peace of mind and potential.
Well, it’s fun to imagine they could do that anyway.
Can you believe the history of those conversation hearts dates back to before the Civil War?
It all started when Oliver Chase, founding father of the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO), invented America’s first patented candy machine in 1847. Coincidentally, that’s right around the same time anesthesia was first used for tooth extractions.
Then in the 1860’s, Chase’s brother, Daniel, figured out a way to use a felt roller pad dipped in vegetable oil to press words onto little lozenges produced by that machine.
Imagine living prior to the existence of the candy machine! I shudder at the thought. I don’t know about you, but candy plays a pivotal role in my pursuit of happiness.
Whether I get it from the bottom of a vending machine, during a mad impulse while uploading broccoli heads, frozen pizzas and dog food on conveyor belts, or during a desperate dig in the months-old Halloween stash in the back of my kids’ closet, candy is an essential part of my daily balance.
It must be sort of tricky for those candy heart makers to come up with relevant and unoffensive mottoes with just enough space for two or three short words. I appreciate their attempts to “Stay True” to the timeless classics such as “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me.” However, like most businesses, they’ve caved here and there to stay inline with current culture.
I can understand that to a point. Replacing “Fax Me” with “Text Me” made sense. However, I was entirely disheartened when “Let’s Read,” “Occupy My Heart,” and “Shine Bright” were retired in favor of various texting lexicons and a mustache emoticon.
What does an imprint of a mustache do for anybody’s endorphin and oxytocin levels?
Each year, NECCO receives hundreds of suggestions for new sayings. And, although, I never make their deadline, I’ve made it an annual tradition (starting last year) to come up with my own list of suggestions.
I’m guessing they received a lot of late submissions regarding the current political minefield from both sides, such as “Dump Trump,” “Fake News”, “Post-Truth,” “Resist,” “Build a Wall,” “Anti Liberal Zone,” “Pant Suit,” “Fire the Fool,” etc.
I’m all for free speech, but those do absolutely nothing to rejuvenate my brain receptors! So in an effort to unclog neurotransmitters and bump up feelings of happiness and joy everywhere, I give you my candy heart saying recommendations for 2017. What would you suggest?
- Love Big
- Be a Light
- Humble ♥
- URA Human
- Eat Fudge
- Midlife Mojo
- Snort Laugh
- Quick Nap
- Hold the Door
- Shhh. Listen.
- Wine o’clock
- Let Go
- It’ll Pass
- Fuzzy Socks
- Hi Adele
- How RU?
- A New Day
- Dine Out
- Merlot Me
- Be Kind
If you really want a burst of joy, love, and humanity this Valentine’s Day, check out the “HERE IN THE MIDDLE” musical photo gallery. It includes images directly relating to the new anthology I was fortunate to co-curate called Here In The Middle, filled with stories of real people, real heroes stretching to help care for the people they love.
Julie Jo Severson, former PR girl, is now a freelance writer, editor, and mom of two teens and a tween. This blog, Carvings on a Desk, is where she reconnects with her own voice swirling around in the middle.
♦CLICK HERE to learn about the brand new collection of stories Julie recently collaborated on with Christine Organ, called HERE IN THE MIDDLE: Stories of Love, Loss, and Connection from the Ones Sandwiched in Between.
♦ CLICK HERE to view her other recent stories.
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