For those without a significant other, it’s a day to wallow in self-pity and cynicism.
They bitterly rename Valentine’s Day, “Single Awareness Day” and loudly complain about the capitalistic, materialistic motivators behind V-Day, even though they never previously ascribed to any form of Marxism. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, depending on your relationship status, you’re either in or out.
I, myself, have only spent two Valentine’s Days in my life with a significant other. All the other times I have had to find some other way to occupy my time instead of restating my love for some boy, in 2009, for instance, I spent the night watching a program about women in federal prison. Good times. And yes, there have been years where I have joined the bitter group who begrudgingly acknowledge Single Awareness Day.
And while it looks like I will be spending yet another Valentine’s Day being single ,unless by some miracle boys finally begin noticing me. That wasn’t self-pity, by the way. That’s a fact.
I will not be spending the day pouting and bemoaning my state. Instead, I will be embracing the lesson my dad inadvertently taught me a few years ago.
I was living in Cedar City at the time attending SUU. I was not dating anyone and hadn’t for a while.
I was vaguely embittered by the fact that another Valentine’s Day was going to happen without someone special by my side, but chose to ignore it by pretending to be excited for the new Friday the 13th movie in theaters.
I actually hate horror movies but feigning excitement over something I am terrified of seemed better than being melancholy about my single-status.
I don’t recommend this course of action to anyone.
However, the day before Valentines, I received an unexpected package in the mail from my dad. He and the rest of my family lived 200 miles to the north in Provo. When I opened the package, I found loads of candy, from gum-drops to Sweethearts to chocolate.
There was also a stuffed puppy holding a heart in his mouth that I promptly named Toby and a hundred dollar gift card to Wal-Mart–a proverbial gift from on high for a college student.
There was also a Valentine’s Day card that my dad filled with words of encouragement, praise and love, all written in his semi-indecipherable handwriting.
I was so incredibly touched by my dad’s gift. There I was, feeling sorry for myself because I was “alone” on Valentine’s Day. But that wasn’t true.
The trouble was I was viewing Valentine’s Day as a day to only celebrate romantic love. Truth is there are a million different kinds of love in this world.
There is the love a father has for his daughter, the love a sister has for her brother, the love two friends have for each other and the love an owner has for his or her dog or cat. My dad mailing me that package reminded me how much he loved me and how much I love him.
I even started to cry, which, admittedly, kind of freaked out my friend Markus who was sitting next to me as I explored the contents of my gift.
So this year, instead of celebrating Valentine’s focusing on your significant other or your lack thereof, try to focus on all the other people in your life that you love and who love you back.
Give your mom a call. Hug your sister. Punch your buddy in the arm with a grin. And take your adorable dog on a walk.
There’s so much love in this world, why restrict yourself on Valentine’s?
By Kelly Cannon