Happy Valentine’s Day/Single Awareness Day!! Today is the day that far too many people will be making themselves miserable. Perhaps they are single and annoyed by coworkers receiving flowers or gushing over the new piece of jewelry they got from their significant other. Maybe their current love interest isn’t as involved in this holiday as they are and they are let down by the lack of fanfare. They could be stressed out by the pressure put on them to plan the perfect evening or buy the perfect gift, or maybe they are unsure of their current relationship status and lost as to what to do today. Either way, this day of love and romance has the power to bring strong people to their knees.
I used to care a lot about Valentine’s Day. In middle and high school, students would put together a flower exchange. You would pay a dollar and have a carnation delivered to the person of your choosing, having it noted that it was from you or doing a “secret admirer” type message. These flowers meant everything; you had to collect quite a few to proudly carry with you throughout the day. If you were lucky, your boyfriend would bring you a little heart-shaped box of chocolates, or maybe a five-pound box like the one my friend received one year that made us sick by 10am. My girl friends and I would compare notes and see who had the best boyfriend and who needed to trade up for next year. We were ridiculous.
The last time I recall thinking Valentine’s Day was a big deal was during my freshman year of college. My boyfriend and I wore matching red shirts and went to a fancy dinner in a crowded restaurant. It was overpriced, the service was slow, and we were crammed in with dozens upon dozens of other couples who looked pretty miserable. He bought me a necklace I didn’t want because my mother pressured him into getting an expensive gift, flowers I didn’t care about because his mother said it was necessary, and I went home at the end of the evening wondering what all the fuss was about. It seemed like such a waste of time and money, all for a few hours that were pretty forgettable with a person I haven’t seen in about a decade.
I’ve been happily married for nearly five years to a man who loves me to pieces. During that time, we’ve had quite a few romantic evenings, experienced amazing things, giving each other wonderful gifts, and done countless things for each other to show that we care. We do these things because we want to and not because we have a set day in February where these things are mandatory. I don’t demand jewelry because the Jared commercial says that is the only way I’ll know I’m loved, and he doesn’t demand I cook dinner in pink lingerie (although I’m certain he wouldn’t mind that at all). Today is just Thursday and that’s the way it should be treated by everyone, single or attached.
I’m not saying that the only way to celebrate love is to ignore the 14th though, just that we should ignore the commercials and silly suggestions and gestures. I don’t know why chocolate diamonds are the must-have item right now, but I know they’re unnecessary and I know that it’s silly to blow a bunch of cash on them out of some silly obligation to impress a lady. Boxes of chocolates are always fun, but it seems more fun to surprise someone on a random day with a selection of Godiva than it does to grab one of those heart-shaped boxes from CVS and present that to your sweetheart. If you desire to show your love interest how much you care, show them in your own way and not the way that is dictated by the people who are trying to sell you things.
If you’re single, today isn’t a day for sadness or for feeling lonely. Relationship status does not dictate personal happiness and a lack of romantic love on the 14th doesn’t make you less of a person. If flowers mean that much to you, send them to yourself. Take the day and do some personal pampering. Get some friends together and have drinks over dinner. Be a little petty and laugh at all the stressed out couples trying to secure a table at the go-to restaurant. Hit Redbox and have a movie night. The day doesn’t have the power to make you happy or miserable; that lies on your shoulders alone. If you don’t give it the power to bring on negativity, it can’t do so.
For the parents out there, it’s part of your job to show your children that Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a light-hearted holiday that they should have fun with. In elementary school, the entire class will get a card from each classmate and will exchange other goodies and do fun arts and crafts. Do your best to make sure that the light-hearted attitude doesn’t fade as they grow, replaced with a need to impress, a need for gifts, and a need to have the ideal day as dictated by others. If your daughter watches you pressure your husband into buying you expensive gifts, you are teaching her that behavior is acceptable and pushing her to do the same to the love she will one day welcome into her life.
Love is a simple and complicated thing all at once. It is a wonderful thing to have and makes getting out of bed in the morning well worth it. It is too big and too powerful to be confined to a single day during the year and comes in too many varieties to be looked at as narrowly as the commercial world does. We all have love in our lives in one way or another, and while it might not be exactly the way we want it, we should feel lucky that it is there and happy to have it. Spend your Valentine’s Day living in that happiness. Appreciate what you have and do so in a way that brings you the most joy. I don’t care how many times I hear that kisses begin with Kay Jewelers, it will never become the way my kisses begin. I choose to love in my own way. You should do the same. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Posted on February 14, 2013, in Love and tagged candy, chocolate, engaged, flowers, hallmark, jewelry, love, marriage, relationship, single awareness, valentine, valentine's day. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.