Let’s get it out of the way up front; Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday that’s purely commercial and not an actual public holiday anywhere in the world. Great. Now the scrooges and naysayers and bitter broken-hearted singletons are appeased.
Many of us love the concept of a day devoted to love though.
As I’m not a mother and I’m not a father and I’m not Jesus Christ, the only real special days of the year that have anything to do with me are my birthday and… international women’s day??? But I have loved, I am loved and I love love… so why isn’t it okay for me to go all out on a day that’s all about love?
It doesn’t have to be about roses and chocolates and presents… it can be about remembering that you’re not alone in this world. That’s a beautiful thing. Unless you actually are all alone…
Surprisingly enough (to no-one, anywhere, ever) I have not always had the best Valentine’s Days. The day usually finds me single… even if I was in a committed relationship two days before. I’m married now, and STILL I’ve managed to find myself all alone on Valentine’s Day (long story). When you’ve gone through that kind of thing enough times… Well, you start to understand why so many people say the equivalent of ‘Bah humbug’ and pretend that February 14th doesn’t exist on the calendar.
That’s why I’m writing the article I wish someone had written when I was single and lonely and NOT JEALOUS that all my girlfriends were drowning in chocolates and jewellery and flowers. I’m writing a Valentine’s Wish for Single Folks. If you’re reading this, and you’re single… *ahem* … feel free to share it with those not-so-single friends who seem to have forgotten that you exist.
You see, from the very earliest age, we’re taught that love is a wondrous thing. We’re surrounded by it. People coo over us and give us presents and hugs and kisses and tickles for no good reason at all. Love is our sunlight and we thrive on it. In kindergarten, we’re taught to carefully cut out little red hearts and give them to pretty much everyone (ALL our classmates, our parents, our grandparents, our teachers…) on Valentine’s Day. When is it that we start limiting love – and the celebration of love – to people we’ve slept with? Isn’t it much more than that?
Does anyone remember that movie, ‘Love Actually’? It’s one of my favourites. The opening and closing scenes, at the airport, are the scenes that move me the most. Because the woman who sticks by her husband after he’s made a big mistake, the man who crossed the ocean because he was so lonely at home, the guy who’s seeing his best friend for the first time in months, the little kid having his first major crush, the man who will do anything to make his stepson happy, the grandchildren racing into their aging grandfather’s arms… all those people have love. Today is a day when they might forget that. Today is a day when we should remind them.
Whatever your relationship status, I’m sure that you know one person who’s bright and beautiful and funny and just so easy to love. I’m sure you know someone who’s a great listener and always gives you a shoulder to cry on. Maybe you know someone who’s been single for centuries and has given up on finding love, someone who constantly reminds you that Valentine’s day is lame and a total waste of time. Perhaps you have a friend who’s recently been unlucky in love and is still licking the wounds of a failed relationship. Buy that person a card.
If you want to stay away from spending money on this admittedly over-commercialised celebration, there are ways around it. E-cards are free. Handmade cards are free. Hugs and kisses are free. It’s Sunday, a trip to the beach or the lake or the park is free. Netflix and popcorn are practically free. Phone calls aren’t always free, but their cost is well worth it to spread some love today. Find a poem on Google and print it out for free. Roll it like a scroll, wrap it in some red and gold ribbon that you’ve had lying around since Christmas. Make the people around you feel LOVED today. Especially the single ones.
Today can be such a lonely day for single people… but maybe we can change that.
Happy Valentine’s Day