Here’s the thing: I am not looking forward to Valentine’s Day.
I’m not not looking forward to it, either, though.
For me, a wildly single senior in college, it’s just a Tuesday.
A day which I will start by waking up in my own bed. A day during which I will go to class, meet my friend for our usual 5 p.m. dinner. I’ll probably check my mail (on my way back to my own bed), but I won’t expect to find any roses or cheap chocolates there.
Everything from Buzzfeed’s “29 Lovely Ways To Spend Valentine’s Day If You’re Single” listicle, published this week, to Vogue’s “5 Single Girl Secrets for 2017” Wednesday morning Snapchat Story seems to be trying their best to convince me I’ll survive February 14.
I mean, yeah.
I know that.
But thanks for suggesting my dog as a substitute for an eligible bachelor.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t really mean much to me. I appreciate that others are so in love (pun intended) with the day and its celebration of such calculated romance and its steady supply of sweets and cardstock validations of affection.
The thing is, I just think love should be expressed at that ridiculous magnitude spontaneously throughout the year.
Everyone makes such a big deal out of this day when it really doesn’t have to be, alienating those of us who don’t feel compelled to spend $1 on the single roses available in the BSC but would much prefer a bouquet of out-of-season lilies that someone actually makes an effort to acquire on a Saturday in March.
I feel like celebrating the love you feel for someone who makes you really happy does not have to be confined to this particular day. Valentine’s Day can make us feel pressure to find someone to feel something for in an unrealistic time span, or feel bad about ourselves when we can’t.
Sometimes you’re lucky enough to have mutual love. Sometimes the person you love doesn’t love you back. And sometimes your person does love you back, but the timing isn’t right.
My point is, we’re not always in control of our romantic situations, and Valentine’s Day is a very humbling reminder of that. And humbling is fine. Insulting is not.
I shouldn’t have to feel bad that I don’t have anything special to do this Valentine’s Day, and I don’t. I wish magazine editors and my classmates would stop judging the varying perceptions of the day’s significance. It’s really not that dramatic.
What bothers me most is how the holiday is forced down our throats from kindergarten onward. Sure, at first it’s just a cute excuse for a class party, during which you give stickers to your friends and then go home and survey your lollipop collection.
But in college, the “cute” factor is removed by our recognition of the blatant commercialism convoluting our sense of actual kindness.
If a six-year-old gave me a Valentine today I’d be flattered. If a 20-something gave me one I’d be flattered, as well. But we as a society need to understand that this is not a necessity by any means, just something to be appreciated when it does happen, at any age, at any time.
Celebrate the holiday if you want to take advantage of easily attainable chocolate and cheaply made pink teddy bears, or just do your homework.
No matter your plans (or your lack thereof), treat everyone with respect and love every day. Remind your friends they’re valued, fill a vase with a flower that makes you happy, cuddle and watch television with a boy you think is cute who you kinda hope brings you ice cream but won’t be upset with if he doesn’t.
Just please don’t put more stress on this day than you have the time or energy for.
Because it really is just another Tuesday.